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The first-generation Viper tapped into desires we'd all but forgotten we had. Big horsepower, droptop roof, and a decent set of creature comforts, it was the modern embodiment of the original Cobra, but with more muscles. This supercharged 1996 Dodge Viper RT-10, like many of its kind, has been upgraded under the hood into another level of unbridled American prowess, and the result is one of the most powerful exotics we've endeavored to tame. The Viper remains a monument to an era when Chrysler reinvented itself on the back of the snake, and uber-powerful, dialed-in examples like this fun driver are a testament to the car's enduring popularity.
There's probably nobody on the road who doesn't recognize the Viper as something remarkable. Most were red, so this black SRII Viper probably caused a lot of double-takes back in 1996 when it was new, and even today it has a predatory look that will keep those pesky Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes at bay. The swoopy body was rendered in various durable plastics, not aluminum like the Cobra, but the resemblance is definitely there and the sculpted muscles are uncanny. Perhaps there are only so many ways to clothe a giant engine and a minimalist chassis – you make it wide and beefy – but the Viper manages to look streamlined as well. Anyway, the long hood, short deck look totally works here and has been washed and waxed carefully throughout its life so that it still has a showroom shine. Sure, it's been driven and presents like a driver today (we'd recommend a high-end cut-and-buff to restore some former glory, it will go a long way), but there is no evidence of abuse or track use anywhere on the car. Even things like the front chin and rocker panels remain remarkably free of major road rash, and if this car has ever seen rain, I'd be shocked. White racing stripes provide the perfect amount of contrast to the black finish, and they're also featured on the removable hard top. The 2nd generation RT-10 wasn't much different than that 1st generation on the outside, especially early production cars like this one, (evident by the side-exit exhaust; later '96 models had rear-exit exhaust) as most of the changes were reserved for the 'double-bubble' GTS coupe that came out later in the year. But that rarity is precisely what makes this RT-10 so special, and features like the hood scoop, hood louvers, hidden-pipe side exhaust, and lighter curb weight all add to the mystique.
Inside, the minimalist approach paid serious dividends with a pair of deeply bolstered buckets and only the essentials. It does show some aging, with fading found on the dash and regular wear-and-tear on the leather surfaces, but that's to be expected from a Texas car that loved to be shown off in the sun. The wide center console straddles the 6-speed manual transmission, and the instruments are all individually nestled into their own round openings in the dash. The original stereo was a cheesy off-the-shelf Chrysler piece, so it's been upgraded to a Pioneer AM/FM/CD/AUX unit that sounds worlds better, but if you have any hot blood running in your veins the symphony of the rumbling exhaust is likely all that you'll ever need. Two removable tops are included, with the aforementioned hardtop continuing the white stripe pattern, and a black canvas top that seals up the top just as well.
The Viper's whole reason for existing in the first place was to showcase Chrysler's new 8.0L V10 truck engine. Never mind that the all-aluminum engine in the Viper didn't share even one component with the truck lump and that the work was farmed out to Lamborghini instead. The net result was a horsepower and torque monster that catapults the roadster forward at any speed, in any gear. But the 415 factory rated horses obviously weren't enough for the former owners of this black beauty, so a Roe Twin Screw supercharger, bored 63mm throttle, true ram-air intake, methanol injection system, VEC engine management system, and an updated exhaust were all added to kick things up a notch. The bright red intake manifold is a work of art all by itself, and the spotless engine bay is more proof of a dedicated and conscientious owner. Underneath, the factory chassis looks like a fabricated piece, which it pretty much was, but it came built for combat with an upgraded stock suspension full of lightweight aluminum components (new for the SRII), power steering, and massive power disc brakes at all four corners. The mechanicals are virtually bulletproof and have demonstrated over the years that Chrysler over-engineered their halo car because they knew nobody would be taking it easy with the loud pedal. Chrome Viper wheels add a jolt of bling and there's no mistaking those gigantic 275/35/18 front and 355/30/19 rear meats that stick this monster to the pavement.
The Viper is still the king of the hill, and even at 25 years old, this one will still break hearts. Call today!