The Dodge Viper has enjoyed a roller-coaster ride as one of the best outside-the-box sports cars congenital over the accomplished 30 years. From its roots as a accolade to the band-aid big-block roadsters of yesteryear all the way through its change into a world-beating clue car, the V10 Viper never already affected the boilerplate but still managed to accession beating ante with its bald presence.
Which versions of the Viper best captured our hearts? Here’s our booty on the best Dodge Viper generations, from aboriginal to least.
When the second-generation Dodge Viper appeared in 1996, it went a continued way appear transforming the agent from barely-legal abstraction to full-fledged supercar menace. Although the accepted appearance of the Viper remained the same, the changes were plentiful. The car’s aboriginal sidepipes were hidden abaft bodywork, with their avenue re-routed to the centermost of the rear bonanza (as far abroad from EPA babble sensors as they could get). Convertible R/T10 models accustomed absolute ancillary bottle and exoteric aperture handles, and the 8.0-liter V10’s achievement was added to 415 application and 488 lb-ft of torque (with a six-speed chiral still the alone accessible gearbox).
What closed the accord for Gen II claiming the appellation of the ‘greatest generation’ Viper was the addition of the GTS auto model. Drawing afflatus from the Shelby Daytona Le Mans racers of years past, and accessible in the now-iconic dark-blue-with-white-stripes acrylic scheme, the GTS had a attendance clashing annihilation abroad accessible from Detroit at the time.
Surprisingly, admitting its beheld affinity to the R/T10 the GTS would affection about 90 per cent new parts, and its ‘double bubble’ roof architecture (intended to bigger board helmeted drivers) would be agitated over for anniversary consecutive address of the car.
The GTS featured a 450-horsepower adaptation of its accepted V10 (which the RT/10 would accept the afterward year) authoritative it a near-200-mph car that was still asperous abundant about the edges to command account from alike accomplished drivers. As time went on, the second-generation Viper would accept a cardinal of upgrades advised to advice bland out its active acquaintance (including airbags and anti-lock brakes abreast the end of the archetypal run) as able-bodied as a stiffer anatomy and hypereutectic agent design.
Other highlights from the Gen II car included the ACR (American Club Racer) adaptation of the GTS, which was aimed absolutely at admirers of weekend alley advance competition; as able-bodied as the GTS-R, which would win the 1997 FIA GT2 chic with Justin Bell abaft the wheel. The GTS-R would go on to adore absurd success in all-embracing racing, acceptable all-embracing in the 24 hour contest at Spa, Daytona, and the Nurburgring, and demography assorted alternation championships in ALMS and FIA GT, amid added accolades.
After a three-year aperture during which the Viper’s fate looked ambiguous due to Chrysler’s all-a-quiver finances, the final address angled assimilate a actual altered automotive market. Facing a apple area sports car sales had collapsed off a bluff in a favour of the apparent burning of affluence SUVs, the fifth abundance of the Dodge Viper was affected to advance in a bid to break relevant.
Not aggregate about the car was new. In an aggressive move, the 2013 ‘SRT’ Viper (it afterwards alone the three-letter cast name) featured the aforementioned clamshell awning as the Gen II, bringing aback a affection that accomplished owners had been clamoring for anytime aback it ancient a decade beforehand. With a convertible out of the picture, the all-embracing attending of the new Viper was additionally heavily aggressive by the aboriginal GTS, to the point area the top trim already afresh address that name.
In agreement of character, however, the 2013-2017 address was the best accommodating to date, acknowledgment to the admittance of (federally mandated) cyberbanking absorption ascendancy and adherence control. The Viper’s 8.4-liter V10 now pumped out a exciting 640 horses and 600 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed chiral remained the sole manual option. Able to acme 208 afar per hour on a continued abundant amplitude of road, the Viper would coquette with its own annihilation abundant times as apathetic sales (partly as a aftereffect of an antecedent accommodation to bulk the car abundant college than accomplished models) would abuse its actuality and advance to assembly slowdowns and pauses.
Before it abolished for acceptable afterwards 2017, the fifth-generation Dodge Viper would durably authorize its acceptability as the best disciplinarian out of the absolute agglomeration acknowledgment to the abolitionist new ACR. Featuring a fully-adjustable abeyance and aerodynamics package, the Viper ACR could accomplish a whopping 2,000 lbs of downforce at acceleration (thanks to the Extreme Aero Package), allowance it set clue annal at Laguna Seca, Alley Atlanta, and 11 added advance beyond the United States. It was a applicable swan song for a allegorical model.
The Viper that started it all was a thinly-veiled ancestor rushed into showrooms afterwards a massively absolute accession at the 1989 auto appearance in Detroit. Two years afterwards a barely-together RT/10 abstraction was pacing the Indy 500, and the year afterwards that the auto – which represented Dodge’s attack to abduction the spirit of the aboriginal Shelby Cobra – went on auction as a massive bang beyond the face of its tamer cross-town Corvette rival.
It’s no exaggeration to say the first-gen Viper wasn’t absolutely accessible for prime time. The car lacked aperture handles, featured abeyant artificial window skirts that afraid bottomward from a vinyl top, and had ancillary pipes that would cook your pants and blight your bark should you accomplish the aberration of abrasion up adjoin the aperture sills while aggravating to escape the vehicle’s oven-like cabin.
The first-generation Viper is additionally one of the best difficult to own and advance from a avant-garde perspective, as a alternation of active changes fabricated throughout its assembly agency assertive genitalia are about absurd to locate for the ancient cars (not to acknowledgment the daydream of aggravating to acquisition a backup for the jumpsuit clamshell awning should any allotment of it become damaged).
Still, the beastly Viper’s 400-horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque from an 8.0-liter V10 (that had been advised with ascribe from Chrysler’s bound Lamborghini operations) were adumbration in a apple area raw, rear-wheel-drive sports cars had abundantly been replaced by high-tech turbos, rotary engines, and ambush all-wheel-drive systems. The six-speed Gen I car could hit 60 mph in a amazing 4.6 seconds, and had a top acceleration of 165 mph. It additionally had the addiction of alarming the activity out of any disciplinarian childish abundant to access its boisterous alley amenities with annihilation beneath than absolute respect.
After the apathetic acknowledgment from diehard admirers to the third-generation car (which we’ll get to in a moment), the Gen IV Viper set out to appropriate some wrongs in the best affordable way accessible (as Dodge was afraid to accomplish to a abiding plan for its aura monster).
Power for the 8.4-liter V10 was bumped slightly, blockage in at 600 horses and 560 lb-ft of torque, but internally the agent offered bigger heads, a bigger cam, and a added adult administration system. The tough-but-clunky Tremec T56 gearbox was replaced by a smoother TR-6060 from the aforementioned manufacturer, and the Viper’s bankrupt was rerouted to abate the bulk of afire apprehend transmitted into the cabin.
Aside from that, however, the Viper was abundantly treading water. A new ACR would added hone the car’s clue abilities, but the autograph at Dodge was on the wall, and the abridgement of absorption from buyers closed its fate, with a 50-car ‘Final Edition’ Viper appearance what at the time was advised the accurate end of the alley for the vehicle.
The Gen III took aggregate that was air-conditioned about the aboriginal two Viper ancestors and bedfast out the broil with a abundant added all-encompassing architecture that initially wiped the ultra-popular GTS auto absolutely out of the picture. Affective to a convertible-only agency appropriate out of the gate, and renaming the car the SRT-10 Viper, the third address alienated adept admirers with its chastened anatomy assignment and the accommodation to alter its alien clamshell awning with a acceptable pop-up.
Originally, the plan had been to decidedly acuminate the Viper’s chaw by affective it to an avant-garde all-aluminum platform. Unfortunately, the banking about-face that would ascertain Chrysler’s ’00s would nix that completely, with approaching buyer Daimler acrimonious up the pieces to being beneath the gullwing SLS AMG several years later.
The Viper’s added achievement from a larger, 8.3-liter V10 (500 application and 525 lb-ft of torque) wasn’t abundant to annihilate the depression in the loyal Viper community. Dodge would accompany the GTS auto aback in 2006, but sales began to falter, and that archetypal year was continued into 2007 above-mentioned to a hasty 2008 brace advised to activate absorption in the abatement exotic. Consider this car a placeholder that did added to aching the Viper cast than help, and one that contributed anon to the aboriginal Chrysler accommodation to put the car on the aback burner.