Bye-Bye, Viper! Thanks for the Adventures

2016 Dodge Viper SRT GTS in competition blue

I can’t say I’ll miss the Viper.

About 15 years ago a friend of mine had a 1994 version that we enjoyed flinging along twisty back roads. The car was fun, and we got lots of attention (and third-degree calf burns from the ill-placed exhaust). The Viper was perfect for young adults in the late 1990s, but it doesn’t have a place now.

FCA has realized that fact, too, and come 2017, the venerable Viper will end production. There is no replacement car in the works.

Sales for the American supercar have been dreadful since the car was reintroduced in 2013. Only 504 Vipers have been sold as of last month, and just over 700 left dealerships in all of 2014.

The CarGurus review of the Viper says:

Like all Vipers, the 2016 is a mid-front engine design with rear-wheel drive and a humongous, normally aspirated (non-turbo) V10 engine displacing 8.4 liters. For those that prefer to think in terms of cubic inches of displacement, that would be 512. See if you can find a larger engine in a production vehicle. We looked and could not. The 645 hp the engine produces is impressive, but the 600 lb-ft of torque is what most drivers feel as they launch this beast. The only transmission available is a manual 6-speed.

I have to wonder if that’s part of the problem with the Viper. Using old non-turbo, non-hybrid technology with massive displacement is just so, well, 1994. With a price that can eclipse $115,000, potential buyers are likely lured by more advanced, more modern, and more impressive vehicles that are friendlier to drive.

Or they’re just buying Hellcats and getting an additional 60 horsepower for almost half the price.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy a Viper while you can. It’s possible that the car could become a collectible and be remembered as one of the last true American exotic supercars.

If you do go shopping for one, allow me to recommend one of the ’94 models. That’s the one that retains the true essence of the Viper and is, in my opinion, the car that best represents old American firepower.

Do you think FCA should discontinue the Dodge Viper?


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