Initial thoughts on the car - 200 miles

ViperSmith

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Jack B gave a much more useful one!

I figured I'd throw my first impression out there, as I am sure over time it will change a bit. I apologize for this wall of text.

I ordered: White SRT, Packages: Infotainment, Leather, Matte Rattler Wheels

I'll preface this by saying: This is the first performance car of any kind I have owned. I've never owned, yet driven or sat in a Viper.

When I graduated college in 2004 I bought a Corolla. I traded that for a Lexus IS350 in 2008. I drove that for a year and a half and traded it in for another Corolla (My commute went from 80 miles round trip to 4 miles, so no need for an expensive Lexus). Got tired of the Corolla and leased my current BMW 335i. So, I've had quite a collection of boring vehicles. Though, the 335i has 300hp, so it isn't lacking - but this is a ~215% increase in power.

I fully intend to daily drive this as much as possible. I work from home so, any chance I get out of the house I plan to drive it. I mean, I purchased it to drive it, so I might as well. I don't care how many miles I put on it.

I plan on tracking it - eventually. I am a complete novice, so I may get a Miata to beat up on before thrashing around this. I plan to go to Summit Point in WV with a few friends in July for Track Daze, just to ride along with them and see how I like it.

For those that don't know, I had originally canceled my order with Bernie in May. I had grown tired of waiting for the car to be built and delivered. When the car got in, Bernie contacted me and asked if I still wanted it. Both my wife and business partner told me do it, you idiot.

Enough back story

I have about 200 miles on the car on the car since Friday. I find the car a breeze to drive. I was pretty intimidated at first. I haven't driven a stick in 9+ years now. Though, I grew up on a farm and drove tractors and learned how to drive a dump truck with a two speed rear at the age of 11. So, manuals aren't new to me.

The clutch is easy to work. Though, it can get a bit tiring if you are engaging it a lot. But, not so much it annoys you.

The gear box is a breeze. The skip shift can get extremely annoying just putzing around town. Rowing through gears is an afterthought in this car.

The car goes when you give it gas, the "burble" sound is just exhilarating when downshifting. Yesterday morning it was a bit wet out and I did feel the rear slip a bit when giving it a bit more gas than I should have. A gentle reminder to respect the power.

I find the ride to be great (for being a purpose built car for a track). My wife and I took a 120 mile trip last night for our anniversary dinner into the country (Inn at Little Washington for DC natives - I even let them valet it - and this is the only place on Earth I'd let a valet drive it).

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Cruise Control came in quite handy for the interstate. She graded the ride quite favorable. The best was driving back with the windows down. 70* outside, cruising at 55, it was a fantastic experience.

The sills can get a bit hot from the exhaust. I wouldn't say burn you hot, but you wouldn't want to more than just touch it. With the AC on, it isn't noticeable at all. If I drive around town, I'll put the windows down and have the AC on low just to keep me cool. (Take that, environment!)

The interior material quality is fantastic. I have the SRT, I got upgraded leather seats. I find the faux leather on the dash to be of high quality. It is soft enough to the touch (Oddly I find it softer than the BMW real leather in my 3 series). The steering wheel is god like. It is perfect. Perfect size, perfect softness.

The backup camera is worth its weight in gold. If you have an SRT in mind, order the infotainment (though, 2014 I think it is mandatory).

I do have one issue with the carpet. It is pulling out a bit near the sill on both sides of the car. I probably just need to readjust. Other than that, there really isn't anything that needs to be changed. Another with the "one touch up" for the driver window. It will go all the way up then go 1/2 way back down. I can't figure out what is going on.

I did think the front driver speaker was going out. I had engaged navigation and the voice announcer was so low I couldn't hear it. Music kept on going out in it. I finally realized what it was, the navigation.

Exterior wise, I only have two complaints. On the top of trunk where it meets the rear quarter panels, there is about a 1/4 of an inch drop where the trunk meets the quarter panel. Just a minor annoyance, you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking. Also, the passenger and driver windows do feel a bit flimsy, I wonder how they will hold up over time.

I do think a lot of the "gaps" in pictures were do from how LIGHT the hood and trunk are. You really have to give it a good push to get both of them closed correctly.

There are a few minor points where the Carbon Fiber on the hood and trunk could use some refinement, but since they are mostly hidden, it doesn't bother me at all.

The car is just beautiful. It is outrageous. It is why I wanted it and it is why I loved the 1996 GTS when I was 14. Like many of you, this was a present to myself for working my fingers to the ****. I hope to have many years of enjoyment derived from it.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the actual purchase. Of course, getting the car was a complete different story as I and many others have lamented quite often. Bernie was fantastic as expected. I'd be cautious to order another vehicle from SRT after this, personally. I think Ralph is a great guy - but I think SRT needs to have a come to jesus with how getting cars to people went. Communication and setting expectations would have helped a lot.

If I could reorder again, I think I'd upgrade the sound system to the HK. I am still on the fence about stripes. I'd probably still go with the SRT as well. Not much in the GTS I needed.

It has gotten a lot of positive attention as well. People love it. People want to take pictures, you get thumbs up. I do live in a fairly good part of town, so I don't think I'll see too much hate towards it in negative actions. I won't drive it into DC... Though it is a bit scary to see people taking pictures as they drive by you!

I've had a smile on my face since Friday...
 
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Pythonpete

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congratulations and good luck. One point of advice: let that be the last time you valet the car. This form is rife with valet stories gone horribly wrong.
 

swexlin

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Thanks for the great writeup. This is not your first performance car. Your 335 is ver high performance car, albeit way different than a Viper. I admit, the first time I drove my Gen 3, it was intoxicating, and still is, after over 3 years with it. I can only imagine what the Gen 5 is like. And, I'll second the NO VALET! Even if it IS that place. NO VALET. ****, I don't have any valet my Turbo Dart, let alone my Viper.
 

Voice of Reason

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I also work from home and have for the past 5 years. Our corporate office is ~3 hours away in Chicago so I get up there a few times a year to kick off a new project, the rest of the time I'm in my home office chained to my desk on the phone and computer all day long. Point being I FULLY understand the desire for a car like this. It helps me keep my sanity.

Enjoy the miles!!!
 

Paul Hawker

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ViperSmith.

Sounds like you are really enjoying your first Viper. Looks like you got a beauty.

Check in your owners manual. There is a process to calibrate your window operation. Believe it requires you to put it full down till you hear a beep, then raise it full up till another beep or something like that. This should give you properly operational windows.
 

ViperSmith

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I also work from home and have for the past 5 years. Our corporate office is ~3 hours away in Chicago so I get up there a few times a year to kick off a new project, the rest of the time I'm in my home office chained to my desk on the phone and computer all day long. Point being I FULLY understand the desire for a car like this. It helps me keep my sanity.

Enjoy the miles!!!
yeah, crazy how badly we need the slightest bit of human interaction! I feel like I've fell in love with driving again.
 

ViperSmith

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ViperSmith.

Sounds like you are really enjoying your first Viper. Looks like you got a beauty.

Check in your owners manual. There is a process to calibrate your window operation. Believe it requires you to put it full down till you hear a beep, then raise it full up till another beep or something like that. This should give you properly operational windows.

Paul,

Thank you. Ill take a look. I figure it is something simple.

Harold
 

ViperSmith

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I've also found I take it easier while driving as well. I leave plenty of space been me and other cars, use cruise control a lot more, etc. Best of all, no more texting and driving LOL
 
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Nine Ball

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Only 300 more miles to go, until the clutch and brake pads are officially broken in. :)

Have you gone wide open throttle yet? Say in 3rd? A lot of fun.
 

ViperSmith

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Only 300 more miles to go, until the clutch and brake pads are officially broken in. :)

Have you gone wide open throttle yet? Say in 3rd? A lot of fun.

A few times so far, boy - does it roar when you do. Hopefully hit 500 in a week! (Though I need more highway miles, sucker EATS gas around town!)
 

ViperSmith

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Also, I was a bit disappointed that the cubby area between the two seats in the SRT is a mesh storage area, unlike the marketing pictures that featured the storage area that had a cover over it.

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Pythonpete

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Also, I was a bit disappointed that the cubby area between the two seats in the SRT is a mesh storage area, unlike the marketing pictures that featured the storage area that had a cover over it.

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The car pictured is the GTS model and that's exactly how they are built. The SRT has only mesh.
 

Nine Ball

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That net cubby came in very handy during Power Tour. We threw all kinds of stuff into it, made for easy access. Sunglasses, radar, ipod, snacks, and phone charging cords.
 

Voice of Reason

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I'd be interested to know how much the nice cubby costs from the parts bin and how hard it would be to swap. I best cost is more than I'm hoping for and ease of swapping is pretty easy.
 

ViperSmith

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I'd be interested to know how much the nice cubby costs from the parts bin and how hard it would be to swap. I best cost is more than I'm hoping for and ease of swapping is pretty easy.

I wonder if Viper Parts has any idea...

That net cubby came in very handy during Power Tour. We threw all kinds of stuff into it, made for easy access. Sunglasses, radar, ipod, snacks, and phone charging cords.

I guess I'd like something that adds some ability to hide things. The mesh is helpful, but isn't useful overall IMHO

The car pictured is the GTS model and that's exactly how they are built. The SRT has only mesh.

I guess there just weren't any pictures of the SRT interior to give indication it was different. I know there is supposed to be a carbon fiber cubby in the future.
 

Nine Ball

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The enclosed cubby says "GTS" on a silver plastic button though. Some might find that awkward in a non-GTS. It also has the diamond pattern leather covering it. Can see it better in this pic:

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Hard to see it, but it does have the diamond pattern like the seats do in this pic:

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Policy Limits

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glad u are driving the car. I'm about 60 miles in so far. Very intimidated at first; getting more comfortable with each drive. your cars of past were pretty boring indeed...holy upgrade!! glad to see that someone else worked hard for a nice toy, earned it and enjoys it....congrats. usage for me will be opposite...got it as a weekend toy not a daily...will likely see 1000-2000 miles per year. would be interested to see how it is as your daily as time goes on. Its one of the coolest cars I've owned.....lots of fun. keep us posted on your experiences!
 

ViperSmith

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glad u are driving the car. I'm about 60 miles in so far. Very intimidated at first; getting more comfortable with each drive. your cars of past were pretty boring indeed...holy upgrade!! glad to see that someone else worked hard for a nice toy, earned it and enjoys it....congrats. usage for me will be opposite...got it as a weekend toy not a daily...will likely see 1000-2000 miles per year. would be interested to see how it is as your daily as time goes on. Its one of the coolest cars I've owned.....lots of fun. keep us posted on your experiences!

Agree, I felt intimidated at first but it has been a breeze to pickup. Did a lot of back roads driving to get used to it.

I still have the BMW, so I'll have that to drive as well. If I had an actual commute, this would be more of a weekend car.

Been a blast so far, definitely fun to kick around town in.
 

ViperSmith

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The enclosed cubby says "GTS" on a silver plastic button though. Some might find that awkward in a non-GTS. It also has the diamond pattern leather covering it. Can see it better in this pic:

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Hard to see it, but it does have the diamond pattern like the seats do in this pic:

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Yeah, I think the one from SEMA might be an optimal solution

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Can't wait till Mopar gets all these goodies out... Have some cash I'd like to spend!
 

davidn

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Also, I was a bit disappointed that the cubby area between the two seats in the SRT is a mesh storage area, unlike the marketing pictures that featured the storage area that had a cover over it.

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+1 so I reached out to the SRT rep that I had spoken to before and here is the details on it.... I think it will be a easy swap................Good afternoon,

I'm sorry for the delay, but specifying finally found a part number for the cover - it's 1WT42DX9AA.

We don't show anything currently in stock, which isn't unusual when a vehicle is in production, but the dealer should be able to order one for you.

If you have any questions or need anything else, please give me a call.

Thanks for driving Viper!

Bridget
SRT Customer Assistance Center

855-525-5085, ext. 4720258

 

ViperSmith

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698 miles on the car as of Today. I think it has been washed four times in the last two weeks.

It simply won't stop raining in the DC area (Anyone on the east coast can sympathize).

I've driven it in the rain quite a bit. Last weekend we drove on the highway in pouring down rain for about an hour and a half coming back from my parents. I set the car 5mph below the speed limit and just cruised. Did a bit around town this weekend. The car handles just fine.

I've really found the car a complete pleasure to drive. The steering is fantastic IMHO. The car (I guess once properly aligned for those with initial alignment issues) goes wherever you point it. I love the way the steering wheel feels in your hands. The pedal is fantastic. It took me long enough to figure out that 100rpm translates to 1mph in first gear. When you give it gas, it just goes. Which, lets be fair, is why we all want it! The clutch is a breeze.

The only issues I've noticed as I've noted:

1) One burnt out LED in the Angel Eyes - will be fixed when I take the car in for VA inspection for registration
2) Carpet by the sill gets pulled out a bit. Need to look into having it fixed. I think how my wife gets out of the car pulls it weird.

I definitely feel that the car has "settled" into itself, it is noticeably different, in a positive way. The suspension has settled as others have noted. Pulling into my steep driveway, initially there was no scraping, now pulling in the little black piece that hangs down by the front passenger tire scrapes a bit. Don't care much - as long as it is that little piece getting rubbed!

I think I'll get the oil changed at 1500 for the first go.

Registered for the SRT area at the Baltimore Gran Prix next month, can't wait!
 

kratedisease

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from the picture posted above it lloks like your car is pulling to the left. How is your alignment ?
 

HyperViper

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Just watch out for flooded areas. Our Vipers do just fine in the rain but can really hydroplane with our extra wide tires.
 

VENOM V

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Harold, I don't know how I missed this thread for a whole week. Congrats brother!!!!!!!!!!

Regarding tracking it, I have a couple of thoughts. Take the Ron Fellows ZR1 school if you want to really learn to drive a car of this performance level. An absolute kick-*** good time, and gives you the confidence that you need to approach the limits of this fine super car. Plus, it's located at Spring Mountain, a "car country club." Condos, swimming pool, day spa, club house with leather sofas. Quite different than the typical hot asphalt paddock. My lady even joined me, she could see me hot lapping from the condo balcony. I'm returning for level 2 in October. I will be tracking the Viper in the evenings each day after class too, and I'm going to let the instructor show me what the Viper is like at 9/10ths. He took me for a couple of laps in the ZR1, made me feel like I was driving like a grandma!

I too was thinking about a Miata as a track car. My friends talked me out of it. The school director nailed it - he said that "once you've been passed enough times by Vettes and GTRs, you'll run home and swap the Miata for the Viper," lol. So I got a Camaro SS 1LE instead. For under $36k, you absolutely would not believe how well this thing handles. At VIR, it beat the Audi R8 V10, Carrera S and Corvette Grand Sport! Yes, it's that good. Its no Viper, but remarkable for its weight and HP.

Regarding the cubby, hold out for the carbon fiber one! That would be a nice touch in that gorgeous interior.

Carpe diem!
 
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ViperSmith

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Harold, I don't know how I missed this thread for a whole week. Congrats brother!!!!!!!!!!

Regarding tracking it, I have a couple of thoughts. Take the Ron Fellows ZR1 school if you want to really learn to drive a car of this performance level. An absolute kick-*** good time, and gives you the confidence that you need to approach the limits of this fine super car. Plus, it's located at Spring Mountain, a "car country club." Condos, swimming pool, day spa, club house with leather sofas. Quite different than the typical hot asphalt paddock. My lady even joined me, she could see me hot lapping from the condo balcony, lol! I'm returning for level 2 on October. I will be tracking the Viper in the evenings each day after class too, an I'm going to let the instructor show me what the Viper is like at 9/10ths. He took me for a couple of laps in the ZR1, made me feel like I was driving like a grandma!

I too was thinking about at Miata as a track car. My friends talked me out of it. The the school director nailed it - he said that "once I'm passed enough times by Vettes and GTRs, I'll want to run home and swap the Miata for the Viper," lol. So I got a Camaro SS 1LE instead. For under $36k, you absolutely would not believe how well this thing handles. At VIR, it beat the Audi R8 V10, Carrera and Corvette Grand Sport! Yes, it's that good. Its no Viper, but remarkable for its weight and HP.

Regarding the cubby, hold out for the carbon fiber one! That would be a nice touch in that gorgeous interior.

Carpe diem!
Thanks. I only look to the Miata because it is so damned cheap to keep up. And if anything bad happens - it is only a miata! LOL. Thankfully I do have a friend who is a driving instructor out at Summit Point in WV - he is going to give me some lessons.

Ron Fellows is definitely on my wish list in the next few months (Sadly prob not till early 2014) - I think your experience sold me.

Hopefully yours arrives sometime soon.
 

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