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The Viper SRT-10: Obnoxious and irresistible

Discussion in 'SRT10 and SRT10 Coupe Discussions' started by JBsZ06, May 13, 2006.

  1. JBsZ06

    JBsZ06 Enthusiast

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    The Viper SRT-10: Obnoxious and irresistible

    Driving the hellacious V-10 coupe is like falling in love with someone you know is crazy

    Warren Brown / The Washington Post



    DaimlerChrysler Corp.

    The two-seat interior is cramped. The gearshift lever is high above the center floor, forcing short drivers to reach up to shift. See full image

    2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10

    Complaints: The 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 is totally impractical for everyday use. It's noisy, consumptive. It comes with a $3,000 federal gas-guzzler tax.
    Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and handling are great on a racetrack, or on a well-maintained highway relatively free of traffic. Both ride and handling diminish noticeably in the city, especially on poorly maintained streets. Superior acceleration: It goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in four seconds.
    Head-turning quotient: The SRT-10 is the most polarizing vehicle I've driven since 1992, when I drove the first Viper. Critics passionately voiced their contempt, damning it as a wasteful excess in an era of rising fuel prices and declining oil production. Those who loved it were just as passionate in expressing their admiration for the car.
    Body style/layout: The Dodge Viper SRT-10 coupe is a compact front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-door car with a fixed, scalloped hardtop (to allow its driver and passenger to wear racing helmets--seriously). It also is available as an open-top roadster.
    Engine/transmission: It comes with an 8.3-liter V-10 engine that develops 510 horsepower at 5,600 revolutions per minute and 535 foot-pounds of torque at 4,100 RPM. The engine is linked to a six-speed manual transmission.
    Capacities: It has tight seating for two people. The trunk can hold a golf bag, or one or two small soft-pack overnight bags. The gas tank holds 18.5 gallons of required premium unleaded gasoline.
    Mileage: I averaged 14 miles per gallon in city/highway driving.
    Safety: Side and head air bags are not available at this writing. Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard.
    Price: The base price on the tested 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 coupe is $83,145. Dealer's invoice price is $75,704. Price as tested is $86,995, including the $3,000 federal gas-guzzler tax and an $850 transportation charge. Dealer's price as tested is $79,554. Prices sourced from DaimlerChrysler AG, www.edmunds.com and www.cars.com, an affiliate of The Washington Post.
    Purse-strings note: It's a hellacious toy, a weekend race car. Compare with Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari F430 F1, Ford GT, Jaguar XKR and Porsche 911 Carrera S.



    DaimlerChrysler Corp.

    The Viper SRT-10 comes with a $3,000 federal gas-guzzler tax. See full image




    WASHINGTON -- It was an insane choice. There was the sensible, thoroughly enjoyable 2006 Honda Accord V-6, easily one of the best midsize family sedans on sale in the United States.

    The Accord was loaded -- leather seats, onboard navigation, a smooth six-speed manual shifter, side-curtain air bags, four-wheel disc breaks and a spunky three-liter, 244-horsepower V-6 engine. All of that, and the Accord got 31 miles per gallon on the highway and could be had for what in today's automotive retail world is considered the reasonable price of $29,850.

    What was there not to like? Nothing, absolutely nothing ...

    But I parked the Accord, dropped it quicker than a hot-blooded teen-ager dumping a dull date. I didn't want the wholesome girl next door. I wanted action.

    I wanted to drive the black-on-black, chrome-wheeled, 8.3-liter, V-10, premium unleaded gas-guzzling, 510-horsepower 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 coupe.

    Whoa! Have you ever fallen in love with someone you knew to be crazy?

    Getting heated up over the Viper SRT-10 is something like that. It's sexy, attractive and thoroughly nuts. It is woefully impractical. It ultimately will take from you more than it will give, but you become so addicted to what it offers that you can't resist. You are pulled in by the obnoxious roar of its engine, replete with the loud pop-pop racecar noises emanating from exhaust pipes cleverly integrated into rocker panels right and left.

    The Viper SRT-10 has minimal storage space--enough for the proverbial golf bag and a pair of shoes. Its two-seat interior is cramped. If you drive it with side windows raised, the entrapped cacophony of roaring engine, tympanic hardtop and popping tailpipes will pummel your brains and pound your soul--va-va-varoom, boom, pop-pop!

    I loved it, hated it. I wished I could quit it. I couldn't.

    Motorized insanity is like that. It defies logic and does violence to common sense.

    The Viper SRT-10 is not an everyday driver. It beats you up, bounces you around on imperfect urban streets. Its six-speed manual gearshift lever is an attractive leather-bound thing, smartly framed by satin-finish metal. But it is high above the center floor, forcing short drivers to reach up and shift, stretch and shift. You are so exhausted after a city run in this one that you're good for nothing.

    Yet Viper SRT-10 aficionados are willing to spend nearly $90,000 to own the rear-wheel-drive beast. They want its power and its exclusivity. Few people can afford it. Few can drive it well. I am not among the few.

    Taking the Viper SRT-10 over local streets at legal speeds isn't driving. It's more akin to strolling around the perimeter of a gymnasium floor pretending to work out.

    Those who think themselves capable of mastering the Viper SRT-10's power often take the car to weekend racetracks where, real or imagined, they become champions of speed--the royalty of the super-accelerated world.

    In that regard, the Viper SRT-10 is a tad misleading. It is street-legal. It meets all safety and air-quality standards governing the operation of passenger motor vehicles on U.S. roads. But it is immensely unhappy in the urban-suburban milieu, where driving it seldom requires shifting beyond second gear.

    Driving the SRT-10 on the track is a challenging experience, too, as is taking it home to a quiet suburban neighborhood late at night.

    Boom, va-va-varoom, pop-pop! It frays the nerves, makes you wonder why you ever got behind its wheel. But you remember those rare moments in secluded settings where you and the SRT-10 did your thing.

    You know you can't live with it forever. It's too demanding. It eventually will break your wallet, if not your heart.

    It's crazy, completely wacky. But you love it.
     
  2. Bill Pemberton Woodhouse

    Bill Pemberton Woodhouse VCA Member VCA Member

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    Fun reads and we who have owned , know we are owned by this sinous , slithering serpent of the highways.

    Thanks for the Post!! :2tu:
     
  3. DodgeViper01

    DodgeViper01 Enthusiast

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    Funny stories.
     
  4. V10SpeedLuvr

    V10SpeedLuvr Enthusiast

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    Nice articles :2tu:
     
  5. Eagle

    Eagle Viper Owner

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    Very cool, thanks for posting. Eagle
     
  6. Volltage

    Volltage Enthusiast

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    Well look at that some agrees with us and got it right.
     
  7. DanAuito

    DanAuito Enthusiast

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    Spinning, squaking, screetching, growling, popping, roaring, addictive, dangerous, ya I'm good with that!
     
  8. cbarber

    cbarber Viper Owner

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    I've read all these negative reviews before and so have my Corvette buddies. I have found my Viper rides as well as the C5 Vette I previously owned, has a better sound system with the creature comforts of the Vette and some things the Vette did not have like adjustable pedals. My Vette buddies were expecting something very crude and bruteish when they first saw her and were left stunned, shocked and drooling over her muscular and aggressive looks, numerous safety and interior features, creature comforts and equipment, several of which their Vettes don't have. Their jaws hit the pavement when I popped the hood. They know she'll blow the doors off their Vettes but thought it would be at the expense of ride, handleing and features that their Vettes are known for and they're accustomed to. They couldn't contain their surprise and disappointment. They kept saying over and over "Oh no, Oh no, we've been deceived this is what a Vette should be and nobody breaks their necks trying to get a good look at our cars like they do this beastess". The Viper is much more than I and they expected. The negative reviews are bunk !
    CB
     
  9. Ron Hickey

    Ron Hickey Enthusiast

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    Unlike 99% of the automotive writers, Warren Brown apparently "gets it." How rare to find an automotive journalist who knows his limitations!
     
  10. WILDASP

    WILDASP Viper Owner

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    Well, that was a pleasant surprise! Thanks for posting!
     
  11. JBsZ06

    JBsZ06 Enthusiast

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    Fun article on a great car.

    Glad to hear the author nailed te attributes of the car so well.

    Enjoy

    JB
     
  12. Sellshomesdrivesviper

    Sellshomesdrivesviper Enthusiast

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    AGREED, thanks for sharing
     
  13. YoungDoc

    YoungDoc Viper Owner

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    I agree with Ron, Warren Brown gets it =) Finally!! I'm sharing this article with many people who just don't get it in hopes of changing them =)
     

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