Dodge Viper GTC: Is It Worth The Price?
by Dim Angelov
The Dodge Viper is one of the most distinctive sports cars ever made. It started in the 1990s, with the idea of recapturing the spirit of the 1960s Shelby Cobra and Carroll Shelby, himself, was attached to the Viper’s development. Sadly, the last Viper rolled off the production line in August 2017, and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a new one. And while prices have remained steady, one question remains: is it worth it? YouTube channel Raiti’s Rides gives a good answer.
Joe – host of Raiti’s Rides – tackles a subject few people talk about when it comes to the Dodge Viper – motorsports. Since the introduction of the Viper GTS, in 1996, the Viper has participated in some of the most popular racing series, both on home soil and abroad. The Viper’s most notable success was at the 1999 LeMans, where Vipers took first through sixth position, with the Oreca team Vipers winning the class.
During its racing career, the Viper participated and won other events, such as the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, the American LeMans Series GTS class, nine out of 10 races in the FIA GT Series. The fifth and last-generation Dodge Viper is the culmination of Chrysler’s motorsport prowess and SRT’s know-how.
Plenty of Grip
While earlier Vipers had a very specific tire size, later ones have it easier when it comes to shopping for a new set of tires. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the enormity of the tires, particularly in terms of width.
Joe makes a point that “the Viper’s front tires are wider than most sports cars’ rear tires". The Viper features a staggered set, with 295/30 R18 tires at the front and 355/30 R19 at the back. Moreover, tire technology has come a long way since the 1990s, so those Pirelli P-Zero tires grip properly. That said, it’s still a Viper, so you need to be awake when driving it.
The heart of the Viper is one of the main reasons to like it. It features the largest-displacement engine on any production car. Starting from 8.0 liters in earlier models, the fifth generation’s 8.4-liter, pushrod, V-10 is the last normally-aspirated V-10, in the world. It develops 645 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 600 pound-feet (814 Nm) at 5,000 RPM.
Even more importantly, the massive V-10 is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. Get it right and the Viper will do the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint in 3.4 seconds, on its way to 206 mph (330 km/h). Moreover, you get side pipes, so you won’t miss any of the epic tunes the V-10 plays.
While it’s not a Bentley or a Ferrari inside, the fifth-generation Dodge Viper still offers plenty of refinement. Gone are the days of the bare-bone interior and cheap plastics. Of course, that was part of the old Vipers’ charm, but this 2017 model features vast amounts of leather and Alcantara.
Joe also points out how neatly the infotainment system has been integrated into the center console. It doesn’t stick out like some weird afterthought. Granted, the 8.4-inch touchscreen is on the small side, when compared to ones in newer vehicles, but who cares? Buying a Viper for its infotainment system is like buying a porn movie for its plot.
When new, the 2017 Dodge Viper had a $93,000 starting price, while the Viper GTS cost $112,000. This is after Dodge reduced the MSRP, in order to bump sales, but the price of a brand new, fifth-generation, Viper was always in the $93,000 to $130,000 range, unless we count the more special T/A and ACR versions. Regardless, Vipers have retained their value exceptionally well and the 2017 Viper GTC we see here, currently has a $129,000 sticker price.
Prices will go up, as they have with other Vipers, so now is as good a time as any to get one of the last normally-aspirated, big-displacement engines. Think of another car that gives you over 600 horsepower, a manual gearbox, and a normally-aspirated V-10, and exclusivity for that price. I couldn’t either.
You usually don’t hear that word in the same sentence with the Viper, but for a two-seater sports car, it has a generous cargo area of around 14.7 cubic feet (416 liters). Doug DeMuro demonstrated the practicality of his 1997 Viper GTS, a while back and proved you can, indeed, go shopping with it. Moreover, the seats of the Viper, albeit race-inspired have enough padding and are actually comfortable to sit in. It’s not a gran-tourer, but you can definitely live with it.
The Sheer Driving Experience
As with all proper car reviews, Joe takes the snake for a spin. He immediately demonstrates the immediate response of the big, naturally-aspirated V-10, as well as the massive low-end torque. While we would have preferred to hear more of the engine, Joe’s screams are an eloquent validation of the exhilarating driving experience that the Viper provides.
Is It Worth It?
The direct steering inputs, instant engine response, crisp gear shifts, and perfect balance are the main takeaway from Joe’s drive in the 2017 Dodge Viper GTC. “To hell with mid-engine, this thing is badass”. You would think that, at low speeds, the Viper is an uncivilized brute, but you’d be wrong. The clutch is light and modulating it is a breeze. The massive 355.6 mm brakes have a strong bite and with this, the Viper is a complete package. Is it worth it? Oh yes!