In the 1960s, British sports car maker AC struggled to find a powertrain to cram under the hood of its Ace sports car. While the Ace used an old school Bristol I6 engine the longest, production of that powertrain ceased in 1961. AC decided to seek help in North America. This led them to Carroll Shelby, who revived the Ace with a Ford V8. The resulting car, the Shelby Cobra, is one of the most famous sports cars of all time.
A few decades later, cleverness decided to modernize the philosophy of the Cobra. They put together a sports car with everything they could find, trying to create a vehicle with an identical concept. Fittingly, they called it the Viper.
- V10 power
- Iconic nameplate
- Manual only
- Engine/Engine: 8.4-litre V10
- Horsepower: 640 hp
- Couple: 560 lb-ft
- Drive: RWD
- Transfer: 6-speed manual transmission
- Great driving experience
- Manual gearbox
- Earth-shattering engine
- Catastrophic fuel consumption
- Dangerous if you press it
- Expensive to maintain
Overview of the viper
The fifth generation of the Dodge Viper is the last generation as production ended in 2017. We do think that the Viper should make a comeback. It is also the most refined, ‘luxurious’ and modern version of one of America’s finest sports cars. When it first debuted, Dodge sold it under the short-lived SRT sub-brand. After that was fixed, they just called it the Dodge Viper again.
The fifth-generation Viper keeps everything familiar in terms of styling, but is generally more modern and streamlined. LED lighting all around, an aerodynamic profile and much more modern lines. The front has a more sculpted grille, better cooling components on the hood, while the side had a huge vent for cooling the equally massive engine. The signature Viper touches, such as the mile-long hood and side exhaust, are still present on this generation.
Dodge Viper powertrain and powertrain
If there’s one thing people know the Viper for, it’s the powertrain under the hood. The first Viper had an 8.0-litre V10, which eventually became an 8.3-litre, and finally in the fifth generation it is an 8.4-litre. It’s the same base engine as in the early ’90s original, but there are some notable changes to this one. Thanks to that capacity bump and several uprated components, it delivers 640 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. It propels the Viper from 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 206 mph.
Part of the Viper’s DNA is an analog driving experience. There’s no AWD and no dual-clutch automatic transmission; the only way to have a Viper is with RWD and a true three-pedal six-speed manual transmission. While the Viper has the basics in terms of assistance systems, it’s still pretty scary to drive. However, if you know how to handle it, the Viper is a truly joyful experience behind the wheel.
Dodge Viper Comfort and quality
On the inside, the fifth-generation Viper is a far cry from some of its predecessors. While not a Rolls-Royce, it has some modern conveniences that the early 90s original could only dream of. Air conditioning, cruise control, a decent infotainment system, keyless entry and start, and even a partial digital meter cluster. This gauge cluster is quite famous in the automotive world, especially for the angry snake image that gradually glows red as you get closer to the red line.
In terms of reliability, the Viper is quite expensive to maintain, especially when it comes to the tires. The 295-section rear tires are huge and a little hard to replace. The cab can also get quite warm and the clutch is quite heavy. The V10 in the Viper can take a beating as some dedicated enthusiasts have taken it up to 2,000 or even 3,000 horsepower, all on the stock block. Fuel economy is, perhaps unsurprisingly, appalling, but that’s all part of the Viper ownership experience. It seats two passengers and features a modest 14.7 cubic feet of trunk space.
Dodge Viper Prices
The fifth-generation Dodge Viper holds its value very well as of 2022. Most have very low mileage and it’s hard to find one for under $130,000. There are even a few previously unsold copies with delivery miles, but they go for around $250,000. Don’t ask about the ACR.
That’s a pretty high figure, but the Viper has certainly earned its collectible status. With the odds of Dodge bringing it back and getting smaller and smaller, the Viper represents the pinnacle of the American sports car. An unashamedly huge engine, a manual transmission and the most experience based on the skill of the driver.