Here’s Why The Dodge Viper GTS Is The Best Cross Country Tourer

There are very few carmakers who stick to their roots and Dodge is one among them. With Ford and Chevrolet straying away from their muscle car heritage, it’s really Dodge who’s still staying true to their pony car lineage.

dodges has grown to become a household name. While the Challenger takes care of the sporty bits, the Charger and Durango take care of the sensitive side of things. However, SRT is known for its ridiculousness with the likes of the absurdly powerful Dodge Demon and the absolutely bonkers Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

However, before all these came into existence, there was the Viper. An idea that sprouted from a need to introduce the next Cobra, the Viper was a true thoroughbred in every regard. Though Dodge has axed the Viper back in 2017, hopes of it coming back are slim to none.

Perhaps an all-electric or a downsized V8-powered Viper could end up being part of the Dodge lineup in the near future, but nothing’s confirmed as of yet. While that’s a topic for another day, we’re focusing on how the Dodge Viper GTS brings in the best of both worlds.

With immense performance and a manual transmission to augment the available oomph, the Dodge Viper GTS offers one of the best sportscar experiences. Couple that to a forgiving yet tossable chassis, you have yourself the best homegrown cross country tourer money can buy.

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Dodge Viper: The New Age Cobra

The Viper is no stranger to any American. Although many claim the Dodge Viper to be a supercar, we’ll gloss over that since a good chunk of the community likes to think otherwise. Because Chrysler was struggling at the time, it was important that they made a radical choice. With previous attempts failing miserably, they had to get back to the drawing boards.

The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 at Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studios. The team was given the idea of ​​designing a modern Cobra and boy, did they deliver. A concept was shown at the NAIAS of ’89 and the people loved it. Originally engineered to be a performance car, the Viper had no exterior-mounted door handles or key cylinders and no air conditioning.

Since Chrysler owned Lamborghini at the time, they were told to design an engine for the Viper. Lamborghini made use of Chrysler’s LA V8 and gave birth to an 8.0-liter V10 with a set of cool side-exit exhausts. The first Dodge Viper made around 400 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque and was rear-wheel driven. The 1991 Dodge Viper could reach 0-60 in about 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 165 mph. With no traction control or any driving aids, the OG Viper had a dangerous reputation.

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Dodge Viper GTS: Let’s Talk Generation VX

Although the Dodge Viper has seen many generations before ending production, it’s the Viper VX that brought in true handling prowess. Launched back in 2013, the Viper now became a Dodge prior to its SRT prefix. Aside from that, many tweaks were done to the original Viper platform leading to the birth of an immensely capable machine. Power no comes courtesy of an 8.4-liter naturally aspirated V10 putting out 640 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.

Driving the rear wheels only, one of the distinguishing factors of the Viper was that it came with a stick. Yes, an 8.4-liter monster paired to a good ol’ six-speed three-pedal transmission. This was also the generation when the Viper TA and the record setting Viper ACR were introduced. The standard Viper GTS was the perfect formula for a cross country mile muncher thanks to its meaty engine plus gearbox combo and surprisingly athletic dynamics.

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Dodge Viper GTS: Far From A Rational Choice

At around $92,995, back when it was new, the 2017 Dodge Viper GTS was far from the most rational choice of wheels. While the Dodge Viper’s miserable MPGs won’t attract your attention, its sumptuous exhaust note and ridiculous horsepower are enough to gravitate towards it. It’s quite frankly the best GT for an enthusiast.

We understand it’s not as luxurious as its European adversaries nor an all-out track toy as the Porsche GT3 (unless it’s the ACR). However, the sheer absurdity presented in a package that’s in the ballpark of a well-specced Ford Expedition is enough to get us giddy. While any rational family man would think twice before stepping in and ordering a Viper, if you have the means, we’d say why not?

Though the Viper has been discontinued the used market is pretty strong. People who own Dodge Vipers are not selling and those that are part of the pre-owned market are demanding hefty premiums. A used 2016 Viper GT is going for $120,000, which shows the market demand and general positioning of the mid-engined American thoroughbred. It’s hard to not like the Viper largely thanks to its raw and visceral characteristics paired with its widowmaker title from the ’90s.

The Dodge Viper especially in its later generation proved to be quite the package, however, not many people were sold at the idea leading to its eventual demise. We hope the Viper name is resurrected and be worn by something that lives up to its name.

Sources: Dodge, Motor Trend

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