Likes

  • Absolute automotive icon for reasonable money.
  • Nothing else drives like a Viper
  • Simplistic mechanical package, quite reliable.
  • There’s nothing else like a Viper and, look at it.

Dislikes

  • Exterior panels can be horrendously expensive.
  • Nothing else drives like a Viper.
  • Interior is agricultural at best.
  • Complete lack of logic and it might hurt you.

Stuff you should know

  • The original Dodge Viper was produced from 1991 to 1995, designed to be an iconic American sports car.
  • It featured an 8-liter V10 engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive, emphasising simple engineering and a pure driving experience.
  • The car was stripped down to the essentials, providing a raw and exhilarating driving experience that focused on power and handling rather than luxury or convenience.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Viper’s V10 engine was not merely a repurposed truck engine from the Dodge RAM. The Viper’s engine actually predates the RAM’s V10 by two years.
  • It features aluminium block castings and other components designed by Lamborghini, thanks to Chrysler’s ownership of Lamborghini at the time. This collaboration resulted in an engine that, despite its simplicity, shares more characteristics with Italian supercars than with work trucks.
  • The engine’s design prioritised performance, with a robust power output and a distinctive exhaust note that became one of the Viper’s trademarks.
  • Due to its hand-made nature, the first-generation Viper saw subtle improvements and updates throughout its production run. Each car was essentially custom-built, allowing for continuous refinement.
  • Early models were particularly spartan, lacking even basic features such as windows and a roof.
  • Initially, side curtains were used instead of proper windows, and the roof was a simple canvas top.
  • Dodge eventually addressed these shortcomings by offering removable hardtops and improved side windows, though the early versions were still rudimentary and had a distinctively utilitarian appearance.
  • For enthusiasts seeking exotic and aggressive looks, a removable roof, a powerful engine, manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, and a stripped-down driving experience, the Viper offers a unique combination at a competitive price.
  • Its performance capabilities, combined with its raw, unfiltered driving experience, make it a favourite among purists and collectors.
  • Despite its mechanical simplicity, the Viper can develop issues due to its age, we elaborate below.
  • Owners should also be aware of the Viper’s lack of modern safety features, which can make it a more challenging vehicle to drive compared to contemporary sports cars.
  • Regular maintenance and a thorough understanding of the car’s quirks are essential for keeping a first-generation Viper in top condition.
  • Read on to discover more about maintenance tips and common problems associated with these iconic vehicles.

What goes wrong

Exterior:

  • Replacement Parts:
    • Exterior panels are no longer manufactured, making even used replacements extremely expensive.
    • A plastic windscreen cowl can cost around $3,000.
    • An enormous bonnet clamshell, shipped to Australia, can exceed $10,000 before painting; a freshly painted new bonnet can cost around $20,000.
  • Bonnet Alignment:
    • The bonnet’s size and weight can make alignment difficult and it can shift over time, causing uneven panel gaps.
    • Due to the hand-made nature of the car, some owners report persistent issues with achieving perfect panel fitment.
  • Accident Damage:
    • It’s critical to inspect any Viper for accident damage before purchase, as restoring the body requires significant skill and dedication.
  • Door Issues:
    • There are reports of sagging doors that need occasional alignment and other minor sporadic issues.
  • Overall Durability:
    • Thanks to the lack of exterior features and electronics, not much else goes wrong with the exterior. The simplicity makes minor repairs easier.
    • The Viper shares many components with other Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, making some parts affordable despite the high cost of major components like doors.

 

Interior:

  • Wear and Tear:
    • Given its 30-year age, the interior can show wear in high-traffic areas.
    • A common issue is a creased center armrest, which indicates a cracked support structure. Repairing this involves removing the center console and reinforcing it with fiberglass, a time-consuming task.

Mechanically:

  • Design Philosophy:
    • The Generation 1 Viper is known for not only its mechanical simplicity, thanks to it lacking features like windows and door handles, it all reduces potential points of failure.
    • Despite being old, the Viper is generally mechanically reliable, which is why many are used in motorsports and often modified and turbocharged for higher performance.
  • Engine:
    • The V10 engine is simple and robust, featuring old-school pushrod technology, which contributes to its reliability.
    • Common issues include oil consumption due to the engine’s design from the 1980s and rare occurrences of blown head gaskets.
    • Early models had some issues with oil consumption and fuel pressure regulators and filter leaks from plastic fittings, but upgrades are available.
  • Transmission:
    • The T-56 6-speed transmission, initially designed for the Viper and used in millions of cars until 2008, is extremely reliable.
    • While some parts are hard to find, many components are shared with other Dodge models, aiding in maintenance and repairs.

 

Exterior:

  • Replacement Parts:
    • Exterior panels are no longer manufactured, making even used replacements extremely expensive.
    • A plastic windscreen cowl can cost around $3,000.
    • An enormous bonnet clamshell, shipped to Australia, can exceed $10,000 before painting; a freshly painted new bonnet can cost around $20,000.
  • Bonnet Alignment:
    • The bonnet’s size and weight can make alignment difficult and it can shift over time, causing uneven panel gaps.
    • Due to the hand-made nature of the car, some owners report persistent issues with achieving perfect panel fitment.
  • Accident Damage:
    • It’s critical to inspect any Viper for accident damage before purchase, as restoring the body requires significant skill and dedication.
  • Door Issues:
    • There are reports of sagging doors that need occasional alignment and other minor sporadic issues.
  • Overall Durability:
    • Thanks to the lack of exterior features and electronics, not much else goes wrong with the exterior. The simplicity makes minor repairs easier.
    • The Viper shares many components with other Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, making some parts affordable despite the high cost of major components like doors.

 

Interior:

  • Wear and Tear:
    • Given its 30-year age, the interior can show wear in high-traffic areas.
    • A common issue is a creased center armrest, which indicates a cracked support structure. Repairing this involves removing the center console and reinforcing it with fiberglass, a time-consuming task.

Mechanically:

  • Design Philosophy:
    • The Generation 1 Viper is known for not only its mechanical simplicity, thanks to it lacking features like windows and door handles, it all reduces potential points of failure.
    • Despite being old, the Viper is generally mechanically reliable, which is why many are used in motorsports and often modified and turbocharged for higher performance.
  • Engine:
    • The V10 engine is simple and robust, featuring old-school pushrod technology, which contributes to its reliability.
    • Common issues include oil consumption due to the engine’s design from the 1980s and rare occurrences of blown head gaskets.
    • Early models had some issues with oil consumption and fuel pressure regulators and filter leaks from plastic fittings, but upgrades are available.
  • Transmission:
    • The T-56 6-speed transmission, initially designed for the Viper and used in millions of cars until 2008, is extremely reliable.
    • While some parts are hard to find, many components are shared with other Dodge models, aiding in maintenance and repairs.

 

Additional Notes:

  • Inspection and Maintenance:
    • Due to its age and the unique nature of its construction, a thorough inspection is crucial before purchasing a first-generation Viper.
    • Regular maintenance is essential to address common issues and ensure the car remains in top condition.
  • Unique Appeal:
    • The first-generation Viper offers an unmatched driving experience with its powerful engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive.
    • Its hand-built nature and minimalistic design make it a standout vehicle for enthusiasts who appreciate raw, unfiltered driving dynamics.

Exterior:

  • Replacement Parts:
    • Exterior panels are no longer manufactured, making even used replacements extremely expensive.
    • A plastic windscreen cowl can cost around $3,000.
    • An enormous bonnet clamshell, shipped to Australia, can exceed $10,000 before painting; a freshly painted new bonnet can cost around $20,000.
  • Bonnet Alignment:
    • The bonnet’s size and weight can make alignment difficult and it can shift over time, causing uneven panel gaps.
    • Due to the hand-made nature of the car, some owners report persistent issues with achieving perfect panel fitment.
  • Accident Damage:
    • It’s critical to inspect any Viper for accident damage before purchase, as restoring the body requires significant skill and dedication.
  • Door Issues:
    • There are reports of sagging doors that need occasional alignment and other minor sporadic issues.
  • Overall Durability:
    • Thanks to the lack of exterior features and electronics, not much else goes wrong with the exterior. The simplicity makes minor repairs easier.
    • The Viper shares many components with other Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, making some parts affordable despite the high cost of major components like doors.

 

Interior:

  • Wear and Tear:
    • Given its 30-year age, the interior can show wear in high-traffic areas.
    • A common issue is a creased center armrest, which indicates a cracked support structure. Repairing this involves removing the center console and reinforcing it with fiberglass, a time-consuming task.

Mechanically:

  • Design Philosophy:
    • The Generation 1 Viper is known for not only its mechanical simplicity, thanks to it lacking features like windows and door handles, it all reduces potential points of failure.
    • Despite being old, the Viper is generally mechanically reliable, which is why many are used in motorsports and often modified and turbocharged for higher performance.
  • Engine:
    • The V10 engine is simple and robust, featuring old-school pushrod technology, which contributes to its reliability.
    • Common issues include oil consumption due to the engine’s design from the 1980s and rare occurrences of blown head gaskets.
    • Early models had some issues with oil consumption and fuel pressure regulators and filter leaks from plastic fittings, but upgrades are available.
  • Transmission:
    • The T-56 6-speed transmission, initially designed for the Viper and used in millions of cars until 2008, is extremely reliable.
    • While some parts are hard to find, many components are shared with other Dodge models, aiding in maintenance and repairs.

 

Additional Notes:

  • Inspection and Maintenance:
    • Due to its age and the unique nature of its construction, a thorough inspection is crucial before purchasing a first-generation Viper.
    • Regular maintenance is essential to address common issues and ensure the car remains in top condition.
  • Unique Appeal:
    • The first-generation Viper offers an unmatched driving experience with its powerful engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive.
    • Its hand-built nature and minimalistic design make it a standout vehicle for enthusiasts who appreciate raw, unfiltered driving dynamics.

Should you buy it?

Should you buy a Viper? Logically, no—you should opt for something more sensible. And that’s precisely why you should buy a Viper.

If you’re looking for a weekend toy, stop researching other cars’ Nürburgring lap times and acceleration figures. Those stats won’t make you laugh—a Viper will.

It might sound crazy, but hear us out. We love performance cars because they’re fun and make us feel alive. Few cars will make you feel as alive as a Dodge Viper. Every drive is an event, an exhilarating experience that’s hard to match.

Be prepared for some significant expenses, such as $20,000 for a new bonnet, along with fuel and possibly increasing your life insurance. The Viper offers a raw, thrilling driving experience unlike any other, making it a joy for enthusiasts who seek excitement over practicality.

In essence, the Viper is for those who want an unforgettable, unfiltered driving experience. If you crave excitement and are ready for the commitment, the Viper is the perfect choice.

Should you buy a Viper? Logically, no—you should opt for something more sensible. And that’s precisely why you should buy a Viper.

If you’re looking for a weekend toy, stop researching other cars’ Nürburgring lap times and acceleration figures. Those stats won’t make you laugh—a Viper will.

It might sound crazy, but hear us out. We love performance cars because they’re fun and make us feel alive. Few cars will make you feel as alive as a Dodge Viper. Every drive is an event, an exhilarating experience that’s hard to match.

Be prepared for some significant expenses, such as $20,000 for a new bonnet, along with fuel and possibly increasing your life insurance. The Viper offers a raw, thrilling driving experience unlike any other, making it a joy for enthusiasts who seek excitement over practicality.

In essence, the Viper is for those who want an unforgettable, unfiltered driving experience. If you crave excitement and are ready for the commitment, the Viper is the perfect choice.

Should you buy it?

Should you buy a Viper? Logically, no—you should opt for something more sensible. And that’s precisely why you should buy a Viper.

If you’re looking for a weekend toy, stop researching other cars’ Nürburgring lap times and acceleration figures. Those stats won’t make you laugh—a Viper will.

It might sound crazy, but hear us out. We love performance cars because they’re fun and make us feel alive. Few cars will make you feel as alive as a Dodge Viper. Every drive is an event, an exhilarating experience that’s hard to match.

Be prepared for some significant expenses, such as $20,000 for a new bonnet, along with fuel and possibly increasing your life insurance. The Viper offers a raw, thrilling driving experience unlike any other, making it a joy for enthusiasts who seek excitement over practicality.

In essence, the Viper is for those who want an unforgettable, unfiltered driving experience. If you crave excitement and are ready for the commitment, the Viper is the perfect choice.

Need help with finance?

What is the car's build year?

2020

Loan Amount

$5,000

Finance estimate ~

$30

Per week*

8.49%

Comparison rate p.a#

Models, pricing & features

Dodge Viper-1

Viper (SR 1)

Price when new: N/A

Price used: $70,000 - $190,000

Equipment

  • Canvas roof
  • Pop-out door windows
  • Hardtop (optional)
  • Air Conditioning (optional from 1994)
  • Cassette player
  • AM/FM Radio
  • Multiple speakers
  • Clock

Carpet

Seatbelts

Tech specs

Body Style

  • 2-door targa roadster

Engine specs

  • 8.0 litre, V10 petrol, 400 hp (298 kW) / 630 Nm (465 lbft)

Transmission

  • 6-speed BorgWarner T56 manual

Fuel Consumption

  • Don’t ask

Length

  • 4,450 mm

Width

  • 1,920 mm

Height

  • 1,120 mm

Wheelbase

  • 2,446 mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1,490 kg (3,285 lb)

ANCAP Rating

  • Hahahahahaha!

Body Style

  • 2-door targa roadster

Engine specs

  • 8.0 litre, V10 petrol, 400 hp (298 kW) / 630 Nm (465 lbft)

Transmission

  • 6-speed BorgWarner T56 manual

Fuel Consumption

  • Don’t ask

Length

  • 4,450 mm

Width

  • 1,920 mm

Height

  • 1,120 mm

Wheelbase

  • 2,446 mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1,490 kg (3,285 lb)

ANCAP Rating

  • Hahahahahaha!

Body Style

  • 2-door targa roadster

Engine specs

  • 8.0 litre, V10 petrol, 400 hp (298 kW) / 630 Nm (465 lbft)

Transmission

  • 6-speed BorgWarner T56 manual

Fuel Consumption

  • Don’t ask

Length

  • 4,450 mm

Width

  • 1,920 mm

Height

  • 1,120 mm

Wheelbase

  • 2,446 mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1,490 kg (3,285 lb)

ANCAP Rating

  • Hahahahahaha!

Warranty & servicing

Warranty

  • N/A

Servicing

  • 12 months / 10,000 kms

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of May 17, 2024.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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