We love our fans.
Their absolute enthusiasm for one of the most bonkers vehicles in the history of motoring is exactly why we do what we do. One of the most common vehicles to come up in the “why don’t you have” conversations is the legendary Dodge Viper. Yes, the Viper may have an engine that’s derived from a Dodge RAM, and it may try to kill you on a regular basis, but that just makes it more charismatic and more of a bucket list drive for car enthusiasts everywhere.
Trust us, we love the Dodge Viper and many of us grew up with posters of this slithering beast hung up on our bedroom walls rather than the latest swimsuit model. It just has that kind of effect on car enthusiasts in ways that only a few cars ever really could.
So, why doesn’t Xtreme Xperience run the Dodge Viper in their fleet of supercars? Let’s get into it.
The Dodge Viper
Some stories just need to be told, and the Viper’s in one of those crazy kinds of stories.
Development for the Viper began way, way back in 1988. See, Dodge was struggling to find their footing and a product that would define the brand. For much of the ’80s, they produced cars that were devoid of all passion but sold well. Legendary Chrysler group president Bob Lutz wanted to change the brand perception of Dodge, and produce a car that would invigorate the employees at Chrysler group and bring more attention to the brand. He wanted something like a Shelby Cobra.
Tom Gale at Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studios had already been tooling around with the idea of a preposterously sexy 2 door sports car, so it was a no-brainer to show this clay model to Lutz, and he was head over heels for this new exciting vehicle design. By 1989, the design was complete and it hit the show stand at the North American International Auto Show to rave reviews from the automotive press and more importantly, consumer enthusiasts.
Lee Iaccoca, the chairman of Chrysler at the time, wasn’t quite as impressed as everyone else seemed to be. So much so that he incomprehensibly delayed funding to get the Viper developed and built for over a year. Dodge being who they were, marched forward with the program developed under the radar of Iaccoca and had a complete car clandestinely developed in a little over a year and a half.
It launched at the RT/10 as a 1992 model, and the world was never the same.
Italian Developed V-10
One of the most famous parts of the Dodge Viper experience is the V-10 engine that lives under that ridiculously long hood. Yeah, it was developed by a little-known brand called Lamborghini, which Chrysler happened to own at the time. The engine needed to fit into the plant tooling here in the United States, so Chrysler based the Viper V-10 on the Chrysler LFA truck engine for the RAM and set the engineers at Lamborghini about the task of creating a powerful, world-class engine around this trucky mold. The end result was 8.4 liters and 400 horsepower – groundbreaking in 1992.
The comprehensive result of these efforts was a body that was made from fiberglass to save weight, a super-strong race car style tubular chassis with a fully independent suspension (optionally adjustable), a canvas roof, zip up vinyl windows, and no air conditioning. Oh, and the exhaust came out under the doors and would easily single your skin if you weren’t paying attention. Performance was insane, with 0 – 60 times of around 4.2 seconds, over 1G of lateral grip, and a capable, yet spooky suspension. You had to drive the Viper hard, just to survive.
Sound like fun? Yeah, we think so too.
Each generation of the Viper to come after the original RT/10 model kept the original formula of the first Viper, but two things also happened along the way. First, it became more liveable on a daily basis with features like a nicer stereo, an Alcantara steering wheel, a roof, and an exhaust that doesn’t burn your legs. Secondly, it also became faster, and faster. To the point where the last-gen 8.4L Viper ACR crushed not one, not two but THIRTEEN production car lap records.
You’ll have plenty of people tell you that the Dodge Viper is a garbage truck or a “monkey machine” that’s built for Neanderthals who can’t go fast unless they have ten cylinders. We’re here to say that those people are just, frankly, jealous and that the performance of vehicles like Gen IV Dodge Viper ACR made it a pure legend and a nightmare for the world’s premier sports car and supercar manufacturers.
Why The Viper Won’t Be In The XX Fleet
So, a track crushing machine seems like a great fit in the world of Xtreme Xperience, so we should be looking to add one of these to the fleet, right? Well, not exactly, but trust us, it’s not because of lack of desire.
Two things keep the team at Xtreme Xperience from purchasing a later generation Dodge Viper from the used market:
- The Dodge Viper is a track-focused weapon with performance that’s best extracted in the hands of experts. It has low-tech driver aids, and only comes with a manual transmission.
- Today’s modern car market makes the Viper extremely expensive, and parts are hard to come by.
We’ve covered why we don’t offer manual transmissions before, but let’s just reiterate for a second here that driving a supercar on a track is hard, and when the car happens to be as much of a handful as the Dodge Viper is, that difficulty goes up a whole bunch more.
You may be a great manual transmission driver, but well, not everyone is and we want the experience at the track to be great for everyone. Sure, the last-gen Viper had things like ABS and traction control, but Dodge intentionally watered down these aids to give the most guttural performance from the Viper. Read any review and you’ll see that what Dodge managed to create in the later Viper years was a true racecar for the street.
Dodge Vipers today, especially ACR versions, are going for the cost of a new Porsche GT3 or Lamborghini Huracan. Yes, you heard that right, the market on these now extinct reptiles has gone through the roof! We use our cars every single week, and they take a proper beating around the tracks of our great country at the hands of enthusiasts. Since the Viper is out of production, beating it up on a race track and dealing with replacing hard-to-find parts just doesn’t seem like the best usage for this rare, and elusive slithering snake.
Will Xtreme Xperience Ever Have Exclusive Cars?
We’ve come a long, long way since we started this journey to bring supercars to the best tracks and scenic roads in America.
Although we’d love to say that we will one day have exclusive cars like the Dodge Viper, McLaren P1, or Bugatti Veyron in our fleet, the reality is that moving around is nearly priceless, and rare supercars is not something that’s easily done. Beyond the challenges of moving them, there’s also insurance and a whole bunch of other operational mumbo jumbo that just makes it nearly impossible to practically cart around a bevy of rare and extinct supercars like the Viper.
What we can offer is a bespoke driving experience that does put you behind the wheel of stunning powerful American muscle like the Shelby GT500. I mean, the last Viper ACR put out 645 horsepower, and well, our GT500 is pushing out over 700 tarmac ripping horsepower. Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, Audi’s, yeah we got all those for you to try out too! So, rather than talk about what we don’t have, let’s just appreciate the legend that is the Viper together, and have you come out and try your mettle in a world class supercar.
See you at the track!