No One Is Buying the Dodge Viper

Viper sales are down, future production numbers are cut, and employees are being reassigned – I read it on Jalopnik. It makes sense. Truck frames and push rod V10s are the dreams of a previous generation. We all love horsepower but where is the carbon fiber? The fancy engine? The lap times? Where will it race? Actually, will it race at all? Why is it so expensive?

 

Kids these days talk about Zondas, McLarens, Bugatti’s…  Ask them sometime. Seriously. Ask a 14 year old about the most awesome cars in the world. The kid will say Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, McLaren, GTR, I bet not one in a hundred says Dodge Viper. That’s the problem. How did that happen?

 

Video games for sure, but its really because Dodge hasn’t done very much in the performance category for the past few years. The Dodge brand makes me think of Hemi trucks, mini vans, and… Hemi trucks. I’m not even sure the rental cars I drive are made by Dodge. If Hertz won’t buy them, is there something wrong with them? Not really its just been a long time since Dodge has done performance. The Viper not only hasn’t had a new model since 234234234234 but production stopped on the Viper 34534534 years ago. And marketing dollars only happen when new cars launch meaning the video games all feature a 12323423 year old car if a Viper at all, which isn’t cool compared to the modern offerings of the competition.

 

And while we are on competition, the first Viper handed the Europeans their ass at Lemans and the 24hrs of the Nurburgring. But that was a long time ago and since then Corvette took over and raced and raced and raced. Actually the viper wins were so long ago that your 16 year old kid wasn’t even born when it happened. But during their lifetime, Corvette won LeMans and everything they seemed to enter. I still see that Corvette skull deal on the back of Chevy trucks.

In contrast, this Viper showed up with no racing program. Instead we see Mercedes SLS, Ferraris, Porsches, and even a Cadillac. The new racecar is luxury. And the Viper foolishly priced itself in the luxury sports car segment at $99k for the regular model and $126k for the Viper GTS. Meanwhile the public thinks it’s a crude rocket car.

 

Then come the electric car people with their MPG this and global warming that. Even traditional sports car guys are talking about mpg gained from turbo motors or KERS. Mostly because the media talks about it so much these days. But there isn’t much to compare anymore. All the top sports cars are ridiculously fast.
So the only thing to talk about is styling and engineering. I know the new Viper is crazy advanced, but it’s almost like no one wants to speak up for fear of giving away its bad boy, raw persona. And it’s true that it’s one cool, very fast car. Except that I only want one for an hour or two; I’m pretty sure I don’t want to own one.

 

That’s a persona I would definitely not want as a car manufacturer. I think the Viper comes off like one of those high-speed power boats.  Loud, obnoxious, South Beach. Except that’s the Viper’s problem. Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston own South Beach. So the Viper has no home. No identity. People still think it’s a crazy obnoxious, uncontrollable penis machine. I feel like a similar thing happened to Corvette when disco went away and the yuppies moved in. Now the Corvette is cool again. And it’s cool at the Viper’s old price point. With a bunch of carbon. And it will go racing. Might win Lemans. Again. I know, the Viper did its thing too but that was before Corvette’s reign. Before Jake.

 

So why buy the Viper for $99,395 when the Corvette is less money and the Viper’s real competition, the luxury sports cars, actually race when the Viper doesn’t? #suckstoberight

Bill Caswell is a self-taught racing driver, mechanic, and fabricator, and rose to internet fame taking a $500 Craigslist BMW to a World Rally Championship event in Mexico in March of 2010. His exploits have featured in places like ESPN Magazine, Grassroots Motorsports, NPR Radio, Wired.com and Jalopnik.com. A lifelong fan of rally and motorsport, Caswell famously believes nothing to be impossible.