Yesterday, I wrote about selling the Elise, as well as a review of the enjoyment and disappointment it brought me. I also mentioned something
frightening exciting was coming next.
That something is now in my garage, this was last night as the Elise met its replacement. I left the house Friday at 10:00 am to drive west of New Orleans to a small community where english is a second language to the colorful creole. I arrived around 3:30 in a rental Accent, ready to buy the car of my dreams. As I pulled into the parking lot I saw it there. Two white stripes adorned an elongated body quietly nestled in as the most venomous creature amongst Stingrays. I knew immediately I had made the right choice to come.
Let me backtrack, I've been searching for this particular color combination, car year, and body style for the past two years in a price range I could afford. When this popped up I immediately called to ask why is this car 8,000$ cheaper than the others. He mentioned it had been rear ended. My heart sank. After dealing with the lotus this is a huge red flag because a rear end collision in the Elise more than likely means the car has a salvage title. I searched the vin, and the title was clean.
I decided to take the chance and drive out to Houma LA. to know whether or not I could live with a previously damaged car with a clean title. If I could, the money I would save for the low miles made the decision even easier. The title was clean, but I was hesitant about putting a deposit down sight unseen, instead I drove out as early as I could to look.
I was greeted by the manager immediately. He gave me the two prior owners' phone numbers to talk too. Thank god for small towns in the south. I called them both. The first couple bought it brand new. The wife was rear ended in 2009 at 10 mph at a stoplight. Instead of fixing the damaged panels the husband bought new OEM panels. Four years later he traded it for a 2013 SRT Viper.
The next owner was a 65 year old man who wanted the car show quality. He had the snake disassembled and repainted so all the body panels matched perfectly and instead of matte white vinyl stripes, pearlescent white stripes were painted on the beautiful blue body. He also added a rear diffuser, new suspension, short throw shifter, and some interior upgrades. He emailed me all the receipts for the work he put into it. Coming in just over 15K$, I was beginning to feel more comfortable. I have never been more impressed with a small town dealer making the effort to contact a prior owner. I felt they genuinely wanted to help me buy my dream car, and they knocked some money off an already low price as well. After a thorough inspection with a different Viper owner and mechanic, who said if I didn't buy it he would, I knew this was the car for me.
Three hours later, one rental car drop off, a 6 inch subway sandwich, and 4 bottles of complimentary water I was headed into the night with a 5 hour drive and a 2006 SRT-10 Viper, my dream car a blue and white stripped Viper.
The drive began—I was terrified. I did not want to get bit and tossed into a LA Bayou because of inexperience with 500+hp, rain, and the stories we have grown to love about this car. At first, I was timid with the wheel and right pedal, and the car seemed to know it. I was unsettled by the weight, power, and unfamiliarity. I kept thinking did I make the right choice with this car, or should I turn around and cancel the deal because I'm scared? I pressed on, I fly jets for a living with a rocket under my butt. I was going to let my nerves get the best of me.
After five months of owning the Elise I would have never taken it on a four hour drive at night in the rain. Again, some people might have, but the car requires so much attention when the roads are wet eventually I would slip up from exhaustion or boredom. The highway drone of the car eats at you. I bought the Viper drove home on a rainy night and never felt the rear end loose traction or slide.
With two hours of driving in the rearview, a pit stop for 17 gallons of gas(it is a gas guzzler, but gas is cheap!) and a long talk with myself, I decided to be calm and finish the drive that night. Three hours in we were starting to gel a little better, I started to know when things became squirrelly. I knew when to leave it at 1,500 RPMS in 6th gear and cruise at 75MPH(yes you read that correctly). By the time I parked at my house I realized this car was everything I had hoped for and more. My dream car exceeded every expectation.
The Viper is unapologetically heavy, which is a good thing. If it were significantly lighter I cannot imagine how terrifying it would become. The interior is excellent, everything is focused around the driver similar to the layout in an s2000 and the C7. The seats are large and bolstered, the cabin was spacious compared to the Elise, and the exhaust is under the window, so if nothing is on the radio you can listen to the V10 roar. Side note, I drove for four hours and the side sills where the exhaust run were cold to the touch, this may be because it was 40° F therefore the air flow kept it cool, but I didn't burn my legs on day one. Success!
The fit finish and comfort of the Viper is above and beyond the Elise. The Elise feels looks and drives like a track toy. The Viper, well, you decide for yourself...
I have an autox planned on January 31st so I will give you a full handling update now, because the roads were wet last night, it was dark, I was scared to die so I limited myself heavily.
I'll answer any questions you have, but for now enjoy some Viper porn.
I'll end this article by using the only quote that came up to describe this car. It's from the move Live Die Repeat by MSGT Farell:
BattleThe Viper is the Great Redeemer. It is the fiery crucible in which true heroes are forged. The one place where all men truly share the same rank, regardless of what kind of parasitic scum they were going in.