Thoughts on the SRT Viper

SRT Viper

Back when I was a kid my first real “Dream Car” was the Viper GTS. There was something that was just so cool and awesome about it, and thats what matters when you’re a kid. Now as I’ve grown older, and have learned more about cars and driving, I realize how insane the Viper is as a car. I still love Vipers though, and they will always have a special place as my first automotive love, however my tastes have since gravitated to the more refined offerings from Europe. That said, seeing this new car  brings me back to when I first saw the GTS. It’s shape is much more that of the original Viper than of the previous generation, and for me that is a major step in the right direction (not that I disliked the previous gen at all). The Magic seems to be returning, and this new Viper looks very promising in many ways.  

Im not going to restate all the details of the car (I will post a link at the bottom for that), but overall I am glad to see that the new Viper is still very much a true Viper, despite some added refinement. In fact, for me at least, a touch of refinement is what the car has needed the most over the years. I’m not saying I want it to become a GT car, hell no, but a few bells and whistles to help justify its place in a higher price segment are great to have. With its 8.4L V10 the new Viper is just as insane as ever, and it sounds like the Italians have aided in giving the GTS model a pretty sophisticated traction/stability control system, a great thing if Ferrari was involved in any way. I think these refinements will do well to make the Viper more accessible to more people, and thus widen the appeal of the car. All the systems can be fully turned off though, so all of you die hards need not worry. Looking at the details it is clear that the Viper is still all about high performance, with many race-bred options. I am also thrilled to see Chrysler launching the Viper racing program from the get-go as well, it shows they are serious about making this new car a real contender with a solid pedigree.

I am pretty excited about this new Viper. In my eyes the car is exactly what it should be here in 2012. Sure it is a bit less of a brute, but a brute it still is, and I am sure many european car people will still think it simplistic because of that. The thing about the Viper though is that ,unlike most american cars, it could actually beat the europeans head to head despite its brutish simplicity; and that commands respect for the nameplate (See the ACR’s Nurburgring lap). Many people are already comparing this new Viper to the Corvette ZR-1, a logical step of course. However, look at the Vette and then look at the Viper, there is really no comparison; the Viper has a character that the Vette just doesn’t. Maybe it is because of the fact that only a trained eye can tell a ZR-1 from a base model Vette, but either way the Viper is just so much cooler. The ZR-1 seems tame with its 6.2L V8 compared to the Viper’s 8.4L V10; it is totally not socially acceptable and that is why I love the Viper. It is this social audacity of sorts that Vipers share with Lamborghinis in my mind that gives them a badass appeal all their own. The new Viper clearly has kept in line with the character of its predecessors while also becoming a bit more up to date in areas of refinement.  It does seem that everything has been done in just the right doses though, so they haven’t gone too far with the refinement stuff. Needless to say I have very high hopes for this car.

See Road & Track’s details on the SRT Viper here

See a full gallery of Viper pictures on GTspirit

-Nick Walker

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