The Dodge Viper: American muscle at its absolute finest.
Ever since the dawn of the motor industry, the Americans have produced most of their fast cars with a very simple formula: Take a small car, stuff a massive engine into it and sell it with a very low price tag. Over the years, rules and regulations have made this formula less viable, but our Car of the Week stuck to it almost perfectly.
Introduced in 1992, the Viper was just 3.1 inches longer than the Toyota Corolla of the time, but had an 8.0L V10 good for 400 hp, and a price tag of $50,000. Despite the price tag. it was very simple. with no driving aids whatsoever and a spartan interior.
Power upgrades kept it going until it got a complete redesign in 2003. The engine was replaced with a 500 hp 8.3L V10, later upgraded to 600 horsepower, and it still didn’t have any electronic gizmos to keep you of of the ditch.
Despite its butch approach to speed, the Viper was meant for racing, and to this day you’ll see them on racing circuits and drag races. Some bonkers owners even take them to autocross competitions. The car is so versatile that Mercedes used the upcoming Viper’s basic design to produce their latest supercar: the SLS AMG.
The fact that the Viper will live on has been pretty much confirmed, even with a new logo leaked (Shown above), and while it may be some time until we see pictures, there’s rumors around that the car may be just a rebadged Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. While there’s no denying the 8C is a very pretty car, it’s not what a Viper should be. The Viper should be angular and menacing. It should make Prius drivers wet themselves when it shows up in their rearview mirrors. It should made parents disinherit their sons and dogs to run away in fear. Still, I’m sure they can pull it off.
As American as baseball, apple pie and lawsuits, the Viper is the ultimate muscle car of our era, and a perfect choice for our Car of the Week.
Viper logo photo credit: DragTimes