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Dodge Viper: More charm needed for this snake?

The Dodge Viper returned to the world in 2013 and everyone… kind of went, huh. That’s a bit of a surprise considering the styling is excellent, the V10 makes amazing noise, and the performance capability of the car is higher than that of most drivers that will climb behind the wheel.

Still, it’s priced a bit high in its 2013 and 2014 model years, and the sales are sluggish. Dodge has decided to fix that for 2015 with a massive price drop and a minor power bump.

We’re curious what would make the car sales figures so flat though, as this seems like something that fans of the well-to-do fans of the brand would be snapping up. Is it simply a matter of a car being priced too high?

Pretty much… yes.

[Disclaimer: Dodge loaned us the Viper for a few days, and included a tank of gas. I believe I used one tank for each day I drove the car… worth it.]

  • jeepjeff

    Was that the Si(gh)? There are a lot of marketing professionals who have a lot to learn about writing long form youtube ads from you, Mr. Glucker. (Mainly: if you aren't into within 5 seconds of rolling film, your long-form youtube ad is garbage. 🙂

    Also, the new Viper is perty. I hope the price drop helps move them, because I want these to stay around a bit longer.

    Seriously, did you call the Si(gh) a busted ass-civic?

    • dukeisduke

      I did read somewhere that the price cut has boosted sales (at least for now).

      • At 85k it's a great deal. This car at 140? Not so much.

        • ramLlama

          Jeff, 140 – 85 > 15. Or, is the 85k car for the base model? Would the car you drove be ~125 then?

          • Correct, 85k is the new MSRP for the base car.
            I'm not sure exactly where the GTS will fall, but 120 shouldn't be a terrible guess. I'd like to see it at 105 though.

    • I did, haha… poor Civic. It's running great right now though. In fact, I'm going to take it autocrossing to get a base line time figure before I add any mods to the car… and then break it again.

      Thanks for the feedback on the ad. I knew I had to make this one shorter and better…

      • jeepjeff

        Playing to the crowd with burnouts was a good idea. I was also ribbing the majority of minute long youtube pre-play ads that start with slow, 10 second long mood setting pan with a quirky twist at the end. Apparently no one explained the five second "skip ad" timer in the corner to the director and copy writers. You don't have the problem of me hitting the skip ad button like I'm working on my reaction time at the drag strip, but it was still better than all of them. Also, clearly I let it play through the burnout, which means it was less annoying than trying to fast forward to the Viper hoonage. If you aren't annoying me with your ad, you're doing well. 🙂

        I keep waffling on whether or not to suggest spoofing a monster truck commercial. That probably works better on the radio (and for people who sat through endless pitches for monster truck shows on commercial radio, where $10 gets you the whole seat, but you'll only need…. THE EDGE!). Maybe a 10 gallon hat and sport coat and go for a used car ad spoof on one of these?

        EDIT: Almost forgot. Glad to hear the Si(gh) is running good after the timing belt fiasco.

  • I am right on the verge of becoming a genuine Viper fanboi. You know, one of those totally irrational, blathering, rabid, overly-defensive fanbois we all hate. I think actually driving one would be all it would take.

    So, fortunately, we're safe.

    • jeepjeff

      I'm right there with you.

    • Everything I read about the Viper makes me want a MK1 all the more.

    • pj134

      I'm in that category without ever having sat in one… but then again the Viper was my childhood poster car.

  • Biker Joe

    Such a sweet chassis! I wish FCA would allow a lower cost V8 option. It should compete against the current crop of pony cars. The Challenger is too darned heavy. If they could match the price point of a 5.0 Mustang, or Camaro, I think they would have a real winner.

    • ptschett

      2015 Mustang GT 3705 lbs
      2015 Camaro 1SS 3908 lbs
      2015 Challenger R/T 4082 lbs
      (all 6MT)

      174 more lbs than a Camaro for a car that has a back seat that non-amputees can occupy? Seems like a good tradeoff to me…

      And an edit: I would not be a Challenger owner if it weren't a little bigger than the other cars… I would have had to buy a Charger instead.

      • JayP2112

        Challenger isn't a pony car.
        It is an excellent muscle car.

        • ptschett

          This is true. The alternative is that it's the Clydesdale of the pony cars, which have moved into the dimensional territory of the original 1971-73 Mustang/Cougar Clydesdales themselves anyway. (I should know, I had a '73 Cougar XR-7. It was just as long as the '96 Thunderbird that replaced the Cougar, and my Challenger is actually a few inches shorter in overall length than the prior Fords.)

  • wunno sev

    i'm going to have to take issue, mr glucker, with this being "the best-looking viper".

    <img src="http://photos.ecarlist.com/I7/vx/H3/zP/Yh/er/j9/Cc/Q6/AM/SA_640.jpg"&gt;

    maybe it's the six year old in me, but the first-gen is where it's at. and no coupes, please. open-top, gray plastic interior, flaming side exhausts, three-spoke wheels, i want my life-size hot wheels car.

    all that said, the new viper is still extra-dope for the money and i'd rock one.

    • The six-year-old in me agrees. But if I was ever in possession of Viper-level fundage, I strongly doubt I would let my six-year-old self decide what to spend it on.

      • wunno sev

        oh, for sure. if i were gonna spend 85 grand on a car, i'd not spend it on a twenty-year-old self-execution chamber.

        but just for gawping at, i love the curves on the hood of the first-gen, and the sheer stupidity of the car in general. it's not really a Good Car, but it's got a ton of charm. to abuse the cliche, the new Viper is almost certainly a better car, but it's not really a better Viper.

      • I tend to let my six-year-old self make all my major automotive decisions. So far, so good.

        • ptschett

          I couldn't dare let six-year-old me loose on car buying… if I did, I'd have a full-size Bronco, a Bronco II, a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, an LTD Crown Victoria, an '80's F-series-based monster truck, and a Mustang 5.0 LX or GT from the transition period between the quad sealed beams and the aero headlamps.

    • The 1st Gen Vipers photograph much better than they appear in real life. I'll spare you the obvious carry-on metaphor.

    • JayP2112

      My inner 6yr old says this is the best looking Viper.
      <img src="https://mywheellifedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/1995-dodge-viper-gts.jpg&quot; width="600">

      He is correct.
      Damn.
      Edit: DAMN!
      Edit #2: G-D DAMN. This is total pron! Why I post this? This may be the best looking American car since the Olds Trofeo.

  • MVEilenstein

    They expect better sales, yet they pulled all support from their TUSC GTLM program. Boggles the mind.

  • I was at Mid Ohio the race the new Vipers debuted. The prototypes sounded amazing, the Ferrari & Porshe wails were thrilling and the Corvettes had a rumble that made the ground shake. The Viper sounded horrible, flatulent, like a dime store whoopee cushion. Maybe the production car sounds better, but I'll take the sound of a V12, flat 6 or a good old american V8 any day.

  • DanCMos

    Great video Jeff. The price seems ridiculous though. I imagine there isn't a lot of price shopping going on here, but I'd go for an i8 or 911 GT3, or maybe an M4 or Z28 AND and a DD like an X3, etc…

  • skitter

    The Viper would be one of those great cars to gather up every single generation for a group test. Ranking should be done on the horsepower-to-scary ratio.

  • MattC

    Jeff,
    What if Chrysler ditched the V10 and instead shoehorned their Hellcat engine? Would that make the car more or less appealing?

    • Andy

      It would be cool, with a stick, of course. I would like to see the Hellcat mill in the Jeep SRT8 powering all 4 wheels. I am guessing a lot of stuff would break, but at least it might be able to hook-up well with AWD.

    • JayP2112

      They've been crowing the Hellcat won't fit. Less appealing. The V10 needs to be made to compete.
      Get on it Gilles!!

  • 7FIAT's Later

    The Vipers problem is it is too expensive for the people who actually would want it and not expensive or exclusive enough for the people who can easily afford it.