Both the Chevrolet Corvette and the dodges Vipers have their sweet spots in the heart of American muscle fans. While the two have had head-to-head showdowns over the years (especially the latest Viper going against the Corvette Z06), the Dodge’s decades-long history ended in 2017. Still, since its introduction back in the 90s, every model of the Viper added to its reputation for insanity, which is what ultimately saved Chrysler from bankruptcy. Similar to the track races, the fans have had their battles over the ultimately superior car.
For us, the Viper wins for reasons ranging from its roots in sports, its stunning design, and the rawness of its engineering. Of course, as no car is perfect, the Chevy Corvette has the Viper beat on many fronts. So here are eight reasons why we prefer the Viper and two why the Corvette is the final survivor.
10 A No-Nonsense Sports Car
With a Viper, the power always compensated for the comfort in early production. One of the reasons why the Viper needs a comeback is its traditional appeal. Especially in its early years, the Viper was all about the power and none of the nonsense. It came with no ABS, no air-conditioning or roll-up windows (they had zippers), or exterior door handles.
What it did have, however, was an 8.0-liter V10 which helped this venomous monster of a car go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Over the years, the Viper has built a reputation for difficult handling and discomfort. Still, in reality, it handles smoothly, and this driving review commemorating the Viper’s 25th birthday proves it can hold its own even in sharp corners.
9 Its Timeless Looks
The Viper was supposed to be a modern Shelby Cobra (is called the “Viper,” after all) that housed a V10 in a small body. Tom Gale, Chrysler Head of Design, was given free rein to bring this vision to life, and he had more than enough experience under his belt to help him create an iconic American muscle. There wasn’t anything like the Viper when it came out.
The initial prototype was a two-seater with a long hood, a short rear deck, wide arches, and a roof made of removable canvas. Unlike the Corvette, which comes with a convertible top throughout its production, the Viper never featured a convertible. Apart from its sleek curves, the Viper had a minimalistic design language, pointing out that it’s a car built for speed above all. During its nearly 30 years of production, the Viper’s body and looks evolved but didn’t undergo any substantial changes.
8th Lamborghini V10 Performance
Compared to other power units on the market, a V10 is relatively unheard of, let alone an 8.0 liter. The Lamborghini built the engine for the Viper is among the little-known facts about the V10. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. The Viper eventually boosted the engine up to 8.4 liters, grounds that even some V12s don’t dare venture to
To achieve their ambitious roaring V10, Chrysler had Lamborghini engineers fit a cast-iron block V-10 designed for trucks to a sports car. They, in turn, cast the entire bock in aluminum, which is responsible for the Vipers lightweight. The result is 400 hp+ (read 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque for later models) of beast-level power, achieved with a touch of European style.
7 Racing Championships
Chrysler wanted to prove how the car is a beast in performance and handling to compensate for the Viper’s so-called basic looks. So they partnered with Oreca, a French racing team, to race the Viper in Europe.
In 1997, Oreca and their Vipers secured first place by winning six out of the eleven races of the GT2. The following year, they brought home another victory by winning nine out of ten races. On top of all its racing experience, the Viper was also a three-time Le Mans winner in 1998, 1999, and 2000, making it one of the most successful American race cars ever.
6 Sudden Surge in Value
In 2020 the Dodge Viper (among 9 other classic cars) saw an increasing surge in value that most experts don’t expect Corvette to experience. This is mainly owed to the Viper’s rarity, which with Corvette’s near-unlimited supply will not be the case for this vehicle. Apart from rarity, the Dodge Viper has unique characteristics that make it deserving of being sold for $110,000 like this particular Viper was.
While the Viper hasn’t enjoyed a collector car status, most owners kept the car’s mileage low, foreseeing such a day, resulting in higher price tags. But the Viper is an American-built supercar through and through, and besides the V10 buzz, it also benefits from having Carol Shelby’s name associated with it.
5 American Dream Nostalgia
The unique, loud, and ambitious Viper embodies the American spirit. It was modestly funded and built in Detroit. Unlike the Corvette that measured itself against European competitions, the Viper was meant to be the bare-bones of an American car; it’s power and power alone.
The concept became a reality through the complex, handy work of 85 engineers and was meant to be a proud purchase for any American willing to put hard work into earning its money. Most ’90s kids who were the fans of the supercar circle would agree that the Viper was the first sports car they dreamed of buying, and back then, it would’ve been an achievable dream.
4 Safer and Cheaper Than Its Reputation Allows
Before its value started to rocket in 2020, the Viper was a relatively affordable supercar, and it was always manufactured to be so. When it was first released in 1991, the Viper only cost a sensible $52,000. Even with its recent surge in value, most earlier models, especially third-generation Vipers, remain a valuable and relatively affordable purchase.
When it comes to maintenance, the Viper is relatively undemanding. Apart from the routine upkeep and maintenance that every car inevitably needs, most Vipers are bought and sold in-stock conditions because the simplified formula continuous throughout its production works. The Viper owes most of its reputation for danger to poor traction and astronomical speed. But as most current Viper owners in this forum agree, Dodge Vipers are extremely tough cars, provided you know how to handle the monster.
3 A Rare Breed
Most of the features of the Viper were at some point or are still unique to the car. When the industry was looking at luxury creature comforts, the Viper went against the current by focusing on speed, along with other questionable decisions made for the sake of flashiness. During its thirty-years legacy, only around 31,500 Vipers were made (Corvette sold just short of that number on an annual basis,) and after 1995, its production was cut in half.
Of course, the baddest, flashiest, and fastest American supercar was neither everyone’s cup of tea nor long-running material. Ask any Viper enthusiast why they prefer a Viper over a Corvette, and their reasons boil down to “it’s a Dodge, and it’s a dime a dozen.”
2 Why Chevy Corvette Survived: Better Value for Price
A Corvette produced anytime in 2019 or prior is far more affordable than any used Viper, and was even before the Vipers surge in value. Back when the two cars were being compared regularly, one could own a brand-new Corvette for half the price of a Viper and an even faster one with a little boost in the budget.
The upper grades of the Corvette came with an LT4 or LT5 supercharged engines that beat the Viper. The SRT Viper’s 645 hp was indeed way more potent than its equivalent base trim in Corvette, but the 2017 Corvette Z06 has 650 hp while still being cheaper than the Vipers of the same year.
1 Why Chevy Corvette Survived: Real-world Comfort and Features
The Viper was a no-nonsense car stripped of anything non-essential for power. However, if you were looking to drive your car daily and comfortably, the Corvette is a much more sensitive choice. The dashboard itself is pretty telling when it comes to the creature comforts the Corvette offers.
It comes with an all-inclusive display that includes an 8-inch touch screen equipped with Chevrolet’s user-friendly MyLink system, along with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi. Besides that, larger sales for the Corvette mean easily available parts and service should you need modifications. The Corvette also has a superb aftermarket and many enthusiast groups for you to join.
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