In the 1960s, British sports car manufacturer AC struggled to find a powertrain to stuff under the hood of its Ace sports car. While the Ace used an old school Bristol I6 engine for the longest time, production of that drivetrain ceased in 1961. Tied down for which drivetrain to use, AC decided to seek help in North America. This led them to Carroll Shelby, who revitalized 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 whatever 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-liter V10
- PK: 640 hp
- Couple: 560 lb-ft
- powertrain: RWD
- Transfer: 6-speed manual transmission
- Great driving experience
- Manual gearbox
- Earth-shattering engine
- Catastrophic fuel consumption
- Dangerous if you push it
- Expensive maintenance
Overview Of The Viper
The fifth generation of the Dodge Viper is the last generation, as production ended in 2017. However, we think the Viper should make a comeback. It is also the most refined, “luxury” and modern version of one of America’s greatest 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 things familiar in terms of styling, but it’s more modern and streamlined overall. LED lighting all around, a more 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 to cool the equally massive engine. The signature Viper touches such as the hood that stretches for miles and the 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, eventually becoming an 8.3-litre, and finally an 8.4-litre in the fifth generation. It’s the same base engine as in the early ’90s original, but there are some notable changes to this one. Thanks to that bump in capacity and several upgraded components, it puts out 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 analogue driving experience. There’s no AWD and no dual-clutch automatic transmission; the only way to have a Viper is with rear-wheel drive and a true six-speed three-pedal 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 truly a joyful experience behind the wheel.
Dodge Viper Comfort and quality
Inside, the fifth-generation Viper is a far cry from some of its predecessors. While it’s not a Rolls-Royce, it has quite a few mod cons that the early ’90s original could only dream of. Air conditioning, cruise control, a good infotainment system, keyless entry and start, and even a partially digital instrument panel. This gauge cluster is quite famous in the car scene, in particular because of the image of an angry snake 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 change. The cabin 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 built it up to 2,000 or even 3,000 hp, all in stock. Fuel economy, perhaps unsurprisingly, is terrible, but that’s all part of the Viper ownership experience. It seats two passengers and has a modest 14.7 cubic feet of trunk space.
Dodge Viper Prizes
The fifth-generation Dodge Viper holds its value very well as of 2022. Most of them have very low miles and it’s hard to find one for less than $130,000. There are even a few previously unsold copies with delivery miles, but they cost around $250,000. Don’t ask about the ACR.
That’s a pretty hefty sum, but the Viper has certainly earned its collector status. With the odds of Dodge bringing it back getting smaller and smaller, the Viper represents the pinnacle of the American sports car. An unashamedly huge engine, a manual transmission and most of the experience is based on the skill of the driver.