Here’s Why The Dodge Viper RT/10 Is Now An Insane $50,000 Sports Car

Cleverness become a household name. While the Challenger takes care of the sporty stuff, the Charger and Durango take care of the sensible side of things. SRT, on the other hand, adds a little spice with the absurdly powerful Dodge Demon and the absolutely bonkers Durango Hellcat.

Before all of these came into existence, there was the Dodge Viper. The Viper is no stranger to motorists. Born from the idea of ​​a modern Cobra, the OG Viper was a true thoroughbred in every way. It’s fast, unforgiving and has gained quite a fan following as a gearhead’s dream ride.

Dodge discontinued the Viper in 2017 and hopes for a resurgence are slim to none. Perhaps an all-electric Viper could be part of the Dodge lineup in the future, but nothing has been confirmed so far. While that’s a topic for another day, we’ll focus on how the Dodge Viper, especially the RT/10, epitomizes American rowdyness while simultaneously offering the gore at an accessible price tag.

Look around and examples of used RT/10s go for an average price of $46,000. With a manual transmission to complement the available V10 appearance, the Dodge Viper RT/10 is without a doubt one of the best sports cars you can buy for less than $50,000.

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Let’s look back at the Dodge Viper RT/10

Via: Dodge

While Chrysler struggled in the late 1970s and 1980s, it had to make a radical choice to gain market share. Since previous attempts failed to attract attention, the company had to go back to the drawing board and stop bleeding money. Smart decisions followed and Chrysler slowly started to get on track. The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 in Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studio. A concept was shown at the 1989 NAIAS and people loved it.

While many claim that the Dodge Viper is a supercar, much of the community likes to think otherwise. Designed as a performance car, the Viper initially had no exterior-mounted door handles, key cylinders, or even air conditioning. Something modern road cars can’t imagine, it was that simple.

Here's Why the Dodge Viper RT/10 Is an Insane $50,000 Sports Car
Via: Dodge

Since Chrysler owned Lamborghini at the time, they were told to design an engine for the Viper. Lamborghini took advantage of Chrysler’s LA V8 and gave birth to an 8.0L V10 with a set of cool side exhausts. The first-generation Dodge Viper made about 400 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. First introduced in 1992, the Dodge Viper RT/10 could accelerate from 0-60 in approximately 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 165 mph.

Introduced in 1996, the gen-2 Viper, otherwise the SR II RT/10, was pretty much a carryover car, retaining most of the SR I mechanics. However, instead of the side exhausts, conventional rear tailpipes were brought in, unlocking an additional 15 horsepower and 23 lb-ft of torque. The Viper RT/10 put out around 450 horsepower in later model years and was eventually replaced in 2003 by the SRT developed third generation Viper ZB I.

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The Dodge Viper RT/10 is not for the faint hearted

Here's Why the Dodge Viper RT/10 Is an Insane $50,000 Sports Car
Via: Dodge

The Viper RT/10 is the perfect formula for enthusiasts thanks to its powerful engine-gearbox combination and quite unpredictable character. The latter is a bit controversial because the Viper RT/10 was not equipped with driver aids such as ABS or traction control. So handling this beast of a car would have been an absolute test for car enthusiasts, professional or not. Controlling only the rear wheels, one of the Viper’s differentiators was that it came with a stick.

An 8.0-liter behemoth with no driver aids coupled with a good old three-pedal six-speed experience is more than just a handful. It wasn’t long before the Viper gained a reputation for being wild and playful. Early Vipers were ferociously raw, leading to several write-offs and high insurance claims. It was rather fitting that the Viper’s hairy-chested personality earned it the title of widow-maker.

All told, the Dodge Viper RT/10 is a performance bargain today

Here's Why the Dodge Viper RT/10 Is an Insane $50,000 Sports Car
Via: Dodge

At about $52,000 when new, the Dodge Viper RT/10 wasn’t the most rational wheel choice money could buy. However, that is not the case today. A fairly low-mileage Viper RT/10 can be had for $53,000, while a number of dealer items are advertised slightly higher. One thing to note is that there aren’t many of these for sale.

The used market is quite strong. Vipers that are part of the second-hand space command hefty premiums, especially if they are sought-after examples, indicating market demand and the overall positioning of the front-engined American Thoroughbred.

We understand it’s not as luxurious as its European opponents, nor an all-out track toy like the Porsche 911 GT3 (unless it’s the ACR). However, the sheer absurdity presented in a package that sits in the margins of a well-equipped Ford Explorer is enough to make us giddy. The Dodge Viper, especially in its unhinged avatars, turned out to be quite the package. As far as classics are concerned, the RT/10s are still among the few that are viable and not reserved for posh first-class auction houses.

Sources: Classic, Hemmings

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