Digestible Collectible: 1994 Dodge Viper

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1994 dodge viper

As a classic car fanatic, I should be fundamentally opposed to the idea of the Dodge Viper. After all, the Viper was Chrysler’s attempt at co-opting the heritage of the Shelby Cobra. The later coupe was even worse in this respect, aping the legendary Cobra Daytona Coupes.

It’s blasphemous, I tell you. Imagine the uproar should Mazda, for example, try to recreate an MGB or Lotus Elan.

Anyhow, I’m still intrigued by these big, brutish roadsters. I’m seeing the early cars approach affordability in some cases, with prices as low as $25,000. This 1994 Dodge Viper is just a bit more, at $29.995.

Vipers rarely have high mileage, as I’d have to imagine that long trips are, at best, miserable in a loud, wide tired, open-topped roadster with virtually no creature comforts. As a masochist who folds his linebacker-sized frame into a Miata regularly, I’d relish the idea of a cross-country top-off cruise in a Viper.

I’m told there are very few things that actually go wrong on the Viper. Plastic bits are cheap, so they crack and fade, but mechanically there isn’t much to fail.

If I had thirty grand to throw down on a toy, I don’t see how I could go wrong with an early Viper.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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  • JMII JMII on Feb 12, 2016

    The ultimate track day toy. I assume the only downside would be paying for rear tires constantly. This car pretty much captures "because racecar" mentality. There is nothing good about it on the street, because it was meant to live on the track. I've always heard them described in one word: "brutal", because it applies to acceleration, ride quality, fit and finish. Don't buy one if your shy or don't want attention because people swarm over these. As mentioned they command a presence very few vehicles do, maybe a Lambo but that is it. Every kid in America has a bed room poster of a Viper. Some really nice, high priced rides can just blend in (Telsa & Bentley for example) but a Viper always draws eyeballs. I could see having this a toy one day or a Miata with LS swap.

  • Viperkim Viperkim on Mar 15, 2016

    Ok enough is enough, contrary to everyone here,I have b owned 4 vipers from Gen 1 to Gen 5.I have road raced ,I have driven cross country, I have been in and organized car shows, etc etc.I'm 60 years old ,I have owned and still owned numerous cars in my collection. Some have gone up in value a few have staid flat, but all were fun to drive and enjoy.by far the vipers have given me the most joy of all my cars. The Gen 1 was far from a kit car,but a great design project from chrysler that set the muscle car world ablaze.ending w Gen 5 viper acr setting more track records than any other production car in history. Viper was built for the track, was raced endlessly and is going out on top.if you ever had the desire to own one, nows the time they will never be cheaper. With less than 26k total production and half of those totaled and sitting in junk yards, now is the time. The gene viper is world class quality, fit n finish, rides and handles Luke a dream 2017 will be the last year. BuY one Enjoy the ride.

  • MelanieRichardson GOOD
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  • FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
  • Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
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