Even when it was launched 30 years ago, the notion of a Dodge Viper containing an 8.0-litre engine seemed pure fantasy. Though it was a time when swept capacity really was the panacea for all power problems, 8,000 cubic centimetres was an obscene amount of engine. A gloriously obscene amount.
Dodge didn't stop there, either, engine size growing to 8.3 litres, and eventually a ridiculous 8.4 litres. Which you will all probably be aware of. But in the current climate, it seems worth drawing attention to it once more: even as recently as Donald Trump's presidency, customers in the USA were able to buy a sports car with 511 cubic inch V10 and a manual gearbox. Imagine explaining that in 10 years' time.
This car, as you might have guessed, isn't any old Dodge Viper - if such a thing even exists. This is a Time Attack car, the sort of Diet ACR if you will, a Viper prepped for circuit work but not quite as full on as the American Club Racer. In fact, this particular car is a Time Attack 2.0, a later evolution of the package introduced by Dodge following the Time Attack 1.0. But which were sold alongside each other.
The marketing may have been confusing, but the hardware was easy to understand: firmer Bilstein Damptronic dampers (as used in the Nissan GT-R), stiffer springs, bigger Brembo brakes, lighter wheels and thicker anti-roll bars were just the start. On a 650hp car. Marking out 2.0 from 1.0 TA is the more focused aero package, the canards, rear wing and front splitter unique to this version. It isn't subtle, but it sure is effective, with another 55kg of downforce at 150mph compared to the first Time Attack. And who buys a Viper to blend in?
Which makes the case of this car all the more curious, because despite just 2,000 miles it's already had two owners. You would assume whoever went to the effort of getting a TA imported and registered here would love it so much that they'd never separate - it can't be a cheap or quick process, after all - yet here we are. Barely driven, flawlessly presented and sitting pride of place in Joe Macari's showroom.
It's actually one of the more affordable cars in the dealership, too, with a sticker price of £120k. Though that says a lot more about the calibre of car in there than the Viper being bargain of the century, it does compare favourably with other track focused machinery. And the only other way you're going to get this sort of power with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive is by buying an Ultima. For those with a penchant for a more traditional sports car experience, one that will only be as good as its driver, the Viper surely has no equal. It'll be a pain at points, of course - we've made it all this way without mentioning left-hand drive - but driving a TA 2.0 in the UK is never going to be forgettable. And that ought to count for a lot.
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