Looking to buy my first Viper! Need opinions!

Discussion in 'New Owner Questions' started by SKETCHN, May 13, 2015.


    SKETCHN Enthusiast

    Oct 2, 2013
    Hello all. I'm Ren. I have the good fortune to be a designer for SRT, here in Auburn Hills.
    I may have met a few of you at some of the big events up here, and hope to meet more of you soon.

    After about 4 years of being surrounded by Vipers at work, I feel ready to take the plunge and get a new-to-me Viper.
    However I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction...

    I currently drive a 2011 Camaro SS, with a few mods. I've daily driven this car for about 5 years.
    I'm looking to replace this, my only car, with a Viper for the summer. Obviously I've been spoiled by all the modern driving aids, none of which I'll get with the Vipers in my price range, which is about $40k and under.

    At first I was leaning towards Gen2, yet the ones in my price range do not have ABS. So that lead me to Gen3. Im not really a convertible guy, but I guess I can deal with that in order to finally have a Viper of my own. This would be my daily driver all summer until it starts to get cold again.

    What would you guys recommend? Is a 2003-2005ish Gen3 an easy car to live with? Is it too punishing to drive everyday, or in bad weather?
    Sadly, my only experience is with the new Gen5 Viper. So I dont really have any idea how "dangerous" driving a Gen2 or Gen3 would be. Am I biting off a bit more than I can chew?

    Also, I'm quite a perfectionist when it comes to quality issues. Squeaks, rattles, and bad noises drive me insane.
    Does that mean I should just overlook Vipers all together until I can afford a used Gen5?

    Any tips or suggestions? Anybody got a lead on a good car for sale?
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  2. NMviperguy

    NMviperguy Viper Owner

    Apr 30, 2015
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    I did a huge amount of research before buying mine last month. I ended up with a 2004 with 35k miles. Was able to haggle the price down to about 36k. Drove it for 20+ hours my first day for the ride home... I will tell you this, the seats are comfortable enough for a few hours of driving, but anything beyond that and you will be sore for a few days... The fit and finish as well as care of my 11 year old car was amazing. I think anyone that owns one of these cars obligates specific care for them... I would say the weakest area for finish that I've seen is in the door area, they just seam not up to the standard of the rest of the car. When you close the door the inner panel seems loose and loud. I drove through a lot of different weather on my way home so can attest to using it as a daily driver. Holds up to rain just fine, and considering its a convertible didn't have a single leak... Just be prepared for the tire drone on the freeway above 70mph. Comparable to an off road trucks giant tires... With all this said... I don't see myself getting rid of this car any time soon. My family and myself absolutely love this car already!!!
  3. Paul Hawker

    Paul Hawker Viper Owner

    Oct 1, 2000
    San Diego, Calif, USA
    Gen III Vipers are fantastic. Getting a smoother, quieter ride is often as easy as changing out the run flat tires for some Michelin Super Sports. (Transforms the car).
    They do not tend to squeak as are built on a very strong solid chassis. The one latch manual top is super easy to flip up or down and is pretty quiet. It actually has a solid top section, so no ballooning at speed.

    All those modern driving aids disappear into the background when you begin to enjoy driving again. There is such a direct connection between the driver and the car, that there fade into the background.

    The later generations are better cars, but more expensive, and not necessarily more fun to drive.

    Gen III are holding their value pretty well now, and if you think you have made a mistake, you can often resell it for only a slight cost. Little risk here.

    You also get promoted to instant "Rock Star" status when driving a Viper.

    Gen III not only get ABS brakes, but fantastic brakes all together. Weakest spot is their rear end, that is not as robust as the Gen IV. It is a pretty easy upgrade incase the need arises.

    Imagine getting off work, on one of the upcoming warm Michigan summer nights. Flipping down the top, putting your elbow on the window ledge, and rumbling home in one of the most Bad-Ass cars on the planet.

    You know you want one...
  4. Roy

    Roy Viper Owner

    Mar 1, 2010
    Gen 3 is perfect for your needs, rides like a coupe with the top closed and true covertible with the top down! It has got "real" windows, good airconditioning, steers light, brakes awesome and uses very little fuel when you ease the throttle. (Ok that last one is a plain lie and only wishfull thinking)
    Maintainance won't be much more expensive than your current car, there is no higher math in this car, maintainance is dead easy and no special computers thingy's needed. if your annual mileage isn't too high, you drive a superbad supercar and not pay "ferrrari money at the dealership each year

    Good luck finding the perfect car! (I came out of a Gen 1 and drive my gen 3 with lots of pleasure)
  5. Modoc-Scott

    Modoc-Scott Viper Owner

    May 1, 2015
    I'm not a veteran Viper owner. I bought a 2015 Viper SRT a few months ago. I drive it every chance I get but I don't even have 2,000 miles on it yet. I must say though, the ride is pretty good all things considered. I won't drive it in bad weather either although I could easily. As for driving a Viper on the open road? LOL, I drove from Kansas to Minnesota a week ago, getting in and out of it takes practice, there is a technique to that, but lots of leg room once you are in it, plenty of room to stretch out and relax while you drive. Cars in the left lane see you coming and scootch right on over to the right, yes, there is a certain respect shown for this car indeed, during the drive both going and coming back from Kansas to Minnesota I didn't see one other Viper, lots of vettes, Cameros, Mustangs, even 3 Porches, but 0 Vipers. And everytime I parked it somewhere to go shopping or eat out, when I come outside people are around it taking pictures and gawking at it. So far I have no rattles or squeaks, the door close with a solid thump, no air leaks, no rattles, it's just perfect but I guess time will tell, I've only had it a few weeks and it is brand new so. I'm a Viper fan, I also have a Dodge 2500 Turbo Diesel Crew Cab, I'm sold on Dodge, best two cars I have ever owned personally.
  6. Frank P

    Frank P Viper Owner

    Feb 2, 2011
    St. Louis
    I started with a Gen III (of course, red) convertible. Loved it and still have it. I offer only two caveats, if you think you might want to start doing track events, the hoops do not qualify as roll bars so you might want to think about a coupe, again, if tracking the car is likely in your future. The second caveat is to beware of the "4th Biggest Lie," "ALL YOU NEED IS A HELMET." Buy it and enjoy. Time's a wasting.

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