One of the region regulars got a 1994 Viper RT10 a few weeks ago and brought it out for a first time. I took a ride along. I’m not really sure what I expected, but it definitely exceeded whatever expectations I had
It’s an impressive car, it really is. It’s obviously quite fast in a straight line, though I wouldn’t say the power was particularly impressive. That’s not to say it isn’t powerful or fast, but I’ve ridden in C5 Z06s, tuned STIs, and an RS4 at autox (and I’ve driven a C6 ZR1), so my perspective on power is a little skewed. Where it really impressed me was the way it cornered. I expected it to be fairly loose but it was on rails. From the passenger seat it actually felt more composed than a C5 Z06, but that could just be observational bias as it’s been a while since I rode in a Z06. Regardless, I think I expected it to be ill suited to an autocross course but it seemed right at home, and a top 5 non-kart time on the owners first day with it on a very tight course certainly shows it.
On the car as a static object this is the first time I’ve ever interacted with a Viper this closely. I haven’t seen one of this earliest generation in years, and it’s a crazy car for sure. It looks like Dodge built a one-off concept car then said ‘fuck it, lets sell this to the public!’. I mean the car doesn’t even have windows or door handles! All the top components just kinda stick on to pretend that the car has a roof. Opening the door means reaching into the cabin and using the door handle on the inside! How crazy is that?!
Getting into the Viper is much like getting into any other true sports car. It has side sills that make the C4 Corvette feel like a Kia Soul, especially with the added fear of burning your calves on the sidepipes. Oh, and those side pipes make for a fun sound environment when the cars is driving. With the engine in front you get a forward engine note but you can hear the exhaust right about where your ears are. It’s very unique and quite cool.
The inside of the Viper certainly reflects the ‘one-off concept car’ aesthetic. It feels like a joke. I don’t really mean that in a bad way, more in the sense of ‘I can’t believe this is a real car’ way.
It just looks like a toy car, or a kit car. The Lotus Seven style kit someone had at autocross has almost the same level of functionality as the Viper. That being said, it actually doesn’t seem all that cheap from the passenger seat. Spartan? Yes, but the materials seem to be decent quality and the fit and finish doesn’t seem particularly terrible. Of course everything I’m saying is coming from just a few minutes in the car, but that’s enough to get some impression.
Overall it was a cool experience and I’m looking forward to seeing it more the rest of this season. It’ll be really exciting to see it duke it out with the C5 Z06s that normally dominate my region.
Oh, I did pretty well today. 14th of 55, where the only car that beat me that I feel like I should have beat was an RSX, and frankly I don’t know how he did it. It was an impressive time for sure. I tried to do gopro video but something went wrong and I have no videos. I was told that my car was on 3 wheels for the majority of the course. We had a photographer on hand, I hope she caught some of my 3 wheeling.