1st Time Gen II buyer advice with some questions

SGViper

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New to the board and Viper world. I have obtained a lot of great information from the members and contributors regarding Gen II vipers and put together a spreadsheet checklist which is quite extensive thanks to everyone's posts and videos. It covers the basics, body panel gaps, paint, years for glass, lights, sill exhaust heat, etc. Looking at 1997 GTS red with stripes and need information on if that year offered the with stripes or not. Also seen an advertised GTS with stripes but had ACR logo, but doesn't appear to have the Viper GTS logo above the ACR logo. The car does have the blacked/blocked fog lights too. Very pricey car$$. The 96 & 97 Blue with stripes are sky high too but better prices come with higher miles. All my searches end up with dealer options and the prices are HIGH which is great for current owners. Makes it hard for first time owners to be part of the club that's why these questions are kind of newbie. Appreciate any help!
 

Peter Kater

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Hi SGViper,
First of all, chasing for a GTS Viper, you can't really go wrong is you follow a few "hunting principles".
Among them:
- clear CARFAX history (service) and NO accidents!
- confirmed mileage (CARFAX or service)
- 2 to 3 owners max (it is just me recommending)
- no modifications (**** stock is better for value and often "car's health")
- buy only after a PPI (pre purchase inspection) or test drive/thorough check performed by a QUALIFIED person or a Viper EXPERT (I think here might be the right place to find one!)
- follow your first feeling and never give up a car because of the distance from your home (what's 3.000 miles if you want a nice Viper that isn't quite "next door" to your house?)
If I repeated something already written, sorry, just trying to help :)
If anything helped and came new or as repeated advice to you, then I'm glad and wish you the best possible "hunt" for your snake !
It is a fantastic car..but that you know already :cool: (I have a '96 GTS)
Next step will hopefully be the "stabilization" of your car to keep it well maintained and reliable...
 

MoparMap

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Another thing to keep in mind is what you really want the car for. I made a spreadsheet of every Viper for sale in the country that was up to around $10k over what I was ready to spend. I figured I might be able to talk someone down a bit, so didn't want to exclude something immediately if it was just a little over the number I had for myself. From there I started whittling down the list based on what I could find. Similar to what Peter mentioned, I would go through CarFax info on each and had columns for miles, mods, location, price, etc. I knew my car was going to be my daily driver, so I didn't mind something with miles on it as long as it was well taken care of. I also didn't mind something with a few mods as they could be things I wanted to do to the car anyway. What I was looking for would be very different than what someone who wants a collectible would have been searching for though. If you want a Viper because you want to drive and enjoy it, I would say I wouldn't let miles bother me that much. Generally speaking these cars are very very solid and well built and will be reliable for many years to come with just typical maintenance. If you're looking for a "perfect day" driver that might only make it out a few times a year and you're hoping to potentially even make money off of it down the road, then a low mile desirable year/color combo makes more sense.

Ultimately speaking you are the only one who can decide what is right for you. Some people have zero problems buying broken cars because they like fixing them. I personally have very little problem buying a car with mechanical issues (assuming the price is right) because I like fixing stuff, but other people would never even consider a car with an issue because it could mean thousands in dealer and specialist fees if they can't do the work themselves. Some people are willing to pay $80k for a gen 2. I think those people are crazy when there are gen 4s out there in that price range in just as good of condition, but that's just me. If money was no option and there was a car I just had to have I can understand it though. It's not like they are building any more and they are only getting more and more collectible.
 
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SGViper

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Thanks for the great advice everyone. There are a few options here in the Midwest for lower mileage Gen II's. Unfortunately $80K is hard to come by for lower mileage "closer" to stock vipers. Looks like I'm in the "crazy" column since I do prefer a low owner and lower mileage car and will most likely have to accept the going rates. Hopefully there is some negotiation. It's a very true statement as ultimately I need to decide what's best. These comments absolutely help. You sure can tell a lot by looking at the hood gaps!
 

MoparMap

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Haha, I mean no offence with the crazy comment, just that there are different car buyers out there. Personally, I have never bought a car with the thought of selling it at any point down the road in my mind. I've bought all my cars for me because they are things I wanted and would enjoy. I don't worry about what the next person wants and I really don't even think about how much the car costs in a way. By that I mean I drive it and enjoy it and park it wherever I want and don't really worry about scratches or rock chips. I don't like them, but I know they can always be fixed at some point if I really wanted to. I also just don't really keep tabs on the market that often, so when I see high prices on early cars it's weird to me because the only reference I have in my head is the snapshot in time when I was buying mine. But thinking back that was nearly 10 years ago and the gen 3 market has been somewhat stagnant. It has started going up, but not nearly as much of a spike as the gen 2 and gen 5 markets did. What baffles me is why the gen 1 market is still so slow to rise. It was the original car and you'd think that would really mean something to people. Yes, they are somewhat "garage built" cars in appearance and design, but they are still what started it all. The original Corvette was an inline 6, but that doesn't make them any less collectible.
 
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SGViper

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Just looked at 97 yesterday. Wanted share some pics without offering my opinion. Probably will look elsewhere which is too bad since it's close to me. Saw some added dash lights/indicators I wanted to get your thoughts on too. Discoloration on warning sticker normal? It did have a muffler delete. Interior on door washer stripping hard to get? How about door weather straps attached to the body? Any comments appreciated!
 

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