One of the last Dodge Vipers ever is up for sale | Top Gear
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Wednesday 7th June

One of the last Dodge Vipers ever is up for sale

Subtle as a sledgehammer and even more likely to do damage in the wrong hands. Of course we want it

Published: 21 Feb 2023

As Joni Mitchell once lamented, don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?

Of course, we’re just short of thick enough to think that the same Ms Mitchell who penned an environmental anthem would have anything but disdain for an 8.4-litre, V10-powered paragon of profligacy. But, funnily enough, Sammy Hagar didn’t have anything as poignant to reflect on the end of America’s other supercar – the Dodge Viper – even if he’s probably closer to the target market.

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At the risk of signalling that we’re also wholly unable to drive... 55, we might be the target market, too. The Viper has been a guilty pleasure since childhood; now that it’s gone, all that’s left is the guilt that we never had the pleasure of owning one.

And besides, by the time the Viper finally bit the dust in 2017, it was hardly the bare-bones bad boy it began as, was it? You got niceties like carbon fibre and aluminium, amenities like climate control and power windows, and necessities like traction and stability control. Things that weren’t even on the table with the original... and in many cases, with the three generations that followed. In fact, the fifth and final generation of the V10 Viper was an entirely more serious entry in the supercar canon altogether, with talk of drag coefficients and torsional rigidity, of four-channel ABS and rain modes in the multistage traction control.

And the ACR treatment just multiplied the seriousness. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes to rein in the 645 horsepower and 600lb ft delivered by the 8.4-litre, all-aluminium V10. Bilstein adjustable suspension forcing custom Kumho street-legal competition tyres to maintain traction. A limited-slip diff to maximise mechanical grip and complex aero – wheel arch vents, splitter, diffuser, Gurney flap and all – to back it up with real downforce. This, more than any other, was the serious Viper, right?

Erm... not really. It was still all kinds of silly – calling the last-of-its-line edition the ‘Vooodoo II’ (yes, the extra ‘o’ is intentional) is hardly the work of Ron Dennis.

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But then we need silly cars. Cars that bellow and shout their (and your) intent through sight and sound and touch. Possibly smell, if you’re a bit liberal with the right foot. Generally not taste though, unless your way of enjoying cars differs wildly from ours.

RM Sotheby’s reckons this particular Viper could be yours for between $275,000 and $325,000 – or about £230,000 to £270,000 in the King’s English. And sure, that’s a fair chunk of change – Viper prices haven’t been immune to the car world’s most recent brush with absolute madness – but it’s worth remembering that the Viper bowed out due to low demand. Guess people really don’t know what they’ve got ’til it’s gone.

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