1996 Dodge Viper R/T10 GTS - Toybox

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Oldtimer Australia

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Long, low and brutally quick, the Viper was never accused of being subtle

This probably isn’t the car for the shy and retiring type, which is one reason why it gained so much notoriety over its model life. And we doubt this is about having the absolute fastest track weapon in the world. Owning a Dodge Viper, we reckon, is about having a car that lifts the pulse rate.

This was one of those weird anomalies in the long history of the Dodge brand, where parent Chrysler suddenly got a sudden rush of blood to the head.


The double-bubble roof profile was new for the second series

What we ended up with was very American in some respects, despite the Lamborghini-developed V10 powerplant. We’re talking a fibreglass body on a long-nosed missile that had the twin attributes of a big engine shoe-horned into a relatively light car.

In this case we’re talking an eight-litre powerplant in a 1500kg unit.

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It was initially built as a roadster from January 1992. By the time this R/T10 GTS version rolled around in 1996 it was claiming 450 horses (335kW) at 5200rpm and 660Nm of torque at 3700. Enough to make it very quick.


Some five generations of the car were developed, with countless variants along the way. They were: SR I – 1991-95, SR II – 1996-2002, ZB I – 2003-07, ZB II – 2008-10 and VX – 2013-17. Those generations represented some significant technical upgrades, along with modifications to the overall shape of the beast.

Several third-party cars were developed off the platform, most notably the Alfa Romeo Zagato TZ3 Stradale and the Bristol Fighter. We’re talking production numbers of just nine and 13 respectively.


There’s no mistaking the profile

Incredibly, the Viper also had its own eponymous TV show. It was a California-based crime-fighting series, set in a fictional city of the future, where a hi-tech Viper was a prime crime-fighting tool. Think ‘KITT’ on steroids. It ran for four seasons and, thanks to corporate backing, featured an awful lot Chryslers.

Perhaps more significantly, the car has starred in numerous digital games across the decades.


Over the years, they’ve popped up with some remarkable auction results. Most recently was the sale of an example owned by legendary automotive industry figure Lee Iacoca. It was build number one and went for a heady Au$412,000 in 2020.

The Viper had a remarkable production run, across just over two decades, though there were a couple of breaks – in 2007 and again in 2010-12 – while the company considered its future. While sales were never world beating, it racked up a respectable total production number of a little over 31,000. Despite the relatively modest numbers, it had enormous cultural traction in the motoring world and was one of those cars people loved for its sheer audacity.


Open the  bonnet and you get what looks like a proper engine

This example was converted to right-hand-drive in Australia and claims all the expected approval paperwork. It’s listed by Oldtimer in Queensland for $189,950 and shows a low 11,400km on the odo.


1996 Dodge Viper R/T10 GTS

BODY 2-door Coupe
ENGINE 8.0lt-litre V10
335kW @ 5200rpm
660Nm @ 3700rpm
0-100km/h – 4.0sec
TOP SPEED 300km/h
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
BRAKES Front and rear discs
PRICE $189,950
WHERE oldtimeraustralia.com


From Unique Cars #449, February 2021

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