Wednesday 20th February 2013


An eight-litre V10, 450hp, 490lb ft and 1,500kg - and all for £35,000. Still fancy that Cayman?

Say what you like about American cars; they've always been able to offer pure, uninhibited drama in automotive form. Noise, looks, and character – they have it all in spades. And none more so than the Dodge Viper.

Bulges, ripples, and slats: it's got 'em all
Bulges, ripples, and slats: it's got 'em all
When the Viper was launched, it became an instant object of desire. Kids' bedrooms in the late 90s were festooned with posters featuring its swooping, almost cartoonish body. That huge, swollen bonnet housed an engine which was the stuff of legend – an eight-litre (eight, no less!) V10 – and tapered back to a tiny cockpit and a wide, kicked-up tail. Along the way, the bodywork bulged and rippled, supposedly with the effort of containing all that muscle, even splitting in places to reveal vents and air dams that fed the monstrous powerplant with air. Gosh.

How the Viper drove was almost irrelevant (despite the fact that it actually drove pretty well). The hook was the look, and of course the unending power and torque - 450hp and 490lb ft to be precise, giving a 0-60mph time of around four seconds. And the noise. Gosh, what a noise. If you haven't already, go and look up some videos of Viper exhaust noises. Done it? Good. You'll know just what we mean, then.

Exposed in all its glory...
Exposed in all its glory...
The Viper wasn't perfect, by any stretch. It was pretty cheaply made, ludicrously expensive to fuel, and of course, the side exit exhaust burned your legs every time you tried to clamber out. But as a flight of fancy; as a pure, hedonistic hit of adrenaline, it was unrivalled. While newer versions – the latest SRT Viper, for example – have continued in the same vein, they have along the way lost some of the raw charm of the original.

So how's about it, then? This one's a great example. As a GTS, it does without the leaky roof and wind noise of the original RT/10 convertible. It's covered just 35,000 miles, and looks from the advert to be in immaculate nick. The silver over black colour combo is a tad dull compared to the loud, proud reds, yellows and blues that were available – but with that styling, it's not really an issue. There's no mention of history, but then the ad is pretty sparse, so you'd hope that it's an oversight rather than a shortfall in that department. It's yours for £34,995 – or, less than the price of a new Cayman. And as incredible a car as that is, if it's drama you're looking for, the Viper's the one.

Why you should: It's a cartoon character's car made flesh
Why you shouldn't: It's thirsty, and not particularly well-made

See the original ad here

Author: Alex Robbins
Want more PH news like this daily - then signup for the PH newsletter here!