Forgive me for stating the obvious, but everything about the Viper is ludicrous.
It makes 650hp from a gargantuan V10, has side pipes with a nasty habit of burning its occupants ankles, and it only comes manual. In every sense, the Viper is a throwback to cars like the Shelby Cobra. Cars that were basic, rear-wheel drive and sported massively powerful engines – cars that had a nasty habit of killing their drivers. The original Viper’s V10 was based upon a truck motor, built in what was virtually a shed by a small group of Chyrstler employees that now make up Dodge’s SRT division. Today, the Viper has airbags, traction control, stability control, but the original formula is still there.
However, the current Viper has an MSRP of $86,995, and special-editions go for much more. For that money, there are other options. Compared to cars like the Corvette Z06 which is faster, grips harder, is cheaper and even gets better fuel economy, the Viper is a tough sell. In a time where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell manual cars, the Corvette also comes with an available 8-speed slushbox unlike the Viper. Unsurprisingly, sales have been low and it looks like the Vipers reign is coming to an end.
It appears that the Viper is ending after the 2016 model year, though the reason for its death is somewhat surprising. Fiat-Chrysler has been on the brink of a massive strike for that past few weeks. While an agreement has been reached, “The $5.3 billion product plan indicates no replacement vehicle for the small factory where Vipers are built by hand by about 80 employees” according to Automotive News. So, after 25 years in production, a union disagreement is what put the Viper out of its misery. In any case, we’re going to miss the burly 8.4l V10 powered brute.