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. However, SRT is known for its ridiculousness with the likes of the absurdly powerful Dodge Demon and the absolutely bonkers Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
Before all these came into existence, there was the Viper. An idea born out of a need to introduce the next Cobra, the Viper was a true thoroughbred in every way. However, Dodge scrapped the Viper in 2017 and hopes of it coming back are slim to none.
Perhaps an all-electric Viper could be part of the Dodge lineup in the near future, but nothing has been confirmed so far. While that’s a topic for another day, we’ll focus on how the 2017 Dodge Viper GTS epitomizes American rowdy while providing an enjoyable driving experience.
With a manual transmission to increase the look available, the Dodge Viper GTS is without a doubt one of the greatest sports cars ever made. Couple that with a forgiving but fairly athletic chassis and you’ve got a blissful V10 experience that epitomizes the best of American ingenuity.
Let’s look back at the Dodge Viper
The Viper is not unknown to any American. While many claim that the Dodge Viper is a supercar, much of the community likes to think otherwise. With Chrysler struggling at the time, they had to make a radical choice. With previous attempts failing miserably, they had to go back to the drawing boards. The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 in Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studio. The team got the idea to design a modern Cobra, and they made it happen. A concept was shown at the 1989 NAIAS and people loved it. Originally designed as a performance car, the Viper had no exterior-mounted door handles, key cylinders, or even air conditioning.
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 8.0-liter V10 with a set of cool side exhausts. The first Dodge Viper made about 400 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque and was rear-wheel drive. The 1991 Dodge Viper could do 0-60 in about 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 165 mph.
Generation VX has made the Dodge Viper modern
While the Dodge Viper lived through many generations before ending production, it is the Viper VX that brought modernity and real driving prowess. Launched in 2013, many modifications were made to the original Viper platform, leading to the birth of a hugely capable machine. Power now comes courtesy of an 8.4-liter naturally aspirated V10 that makes 640 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque (645 horsepower for 2015 and later models).
Controlling only the rear wheels, one of the Viper’s differentiators was that it came with a stick. Yes, an 8.4 liter behemoth combined with a good old three-pedal six-speed experience. This was also the generation that introduced the Viper TA and the record-breaking Viper ACR. The standard Viper GTS was the perfect formula for enthusiasts thanks to its beefy engine-gearbox combo and surprisingly athletic dynamism.
2017 Dodge Viper GTS is not for rational people
At about $93,000 when new, the 2017 Dodge Viper GTS was far from the most rational wheel choice. While the Dodge Viper’s miserable mpg numbers won’t grab your attention, its luscious exhaust note and that V10 are enough to draw you to it. We understand it’s not as luxurious as its European opponents, nor an all-out track toy like the Porsche GT3 (unless it’s the ACR). However, the sheer absurdity presented in a package that sits in the margins of a well-equipped Ford Expedition was enough to make people dizzy. Any rational family man would think twice before stepping in and ordering a Viper, but if you’ve got the means, why not?
Although the Viper has been discontinued, the used market is quite strong. People who own Dodge Vipers don’t sell them. Those who are part of the second-hand market command hefty premiums. A used 2017 Viper GTS is going to cost $136,000, showing the market demand and overall positioning of the front-engine American Thoroughbred. The raw and visceral characteristics coupled with the ’90s widower title make it an absolute treat. The Dodge Viper, especially in its later generation, turned out to be quite the package. However, not many people were sold on the idea that led to its eventual demise. Here’s hoping the Viper moniker gets revived with something that lives up to its legendary moniker.