The various Hellcat models may be Dodge’s performance halo cars today, but they weren’t always. Before them, and even before the first SRT models, there was the Dodge Viper. Since its cancellation, Viper values, especially for the earlier models, have steadily grown. But you can still find some decent bargains, including the 1994 Viper RT/10 currently for sale on Bring a Trailer.
The first-gen Dodge Viper RT/10 is a true old-school throwback
Back in the late 80s, Chrysler’s president had an idea: create a modern Shelby Cobra, Automobile reports. That means rear-wheel drive, manual transmission, a roadster layout, and a minimalist design. From that idea came the 1989 Dodge Viper concept, first displayed at that year’s North American International Auto Show. The public’s and media’s responses were extremely positive, so Chrysler decided to put it into production, The Drive explains.
However, that took a few years, because the concept’s V10, originally meant for the Dodge Ram, wasn’t really a sports car engine, Hagerty reports. Luckily, at the time Chrysler owned Lamborghini. And with its help, the engine was lightened and strengthened, Petrolicious and Road & Track report.
The result was the 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10, a car raw enough to earn a ‘widow maker’ reputation. The first-gen Viper follows the Cobra’s footsteps so closely, it doesn’t even have exterior door handles or roll-up windows, Car and Driver reports. There’s no traction control, no stability control, not even ABS or airbags, Automobile reports. And the side-mounted exhausts have been known to cause burns. This is why the second-gen Dodge Viper replaced them with a conventional rear-exit exhaust in 1996.
But just like the Cobra, the first-gen Dodge Viper RT/10 has speed and presence. The 8.0-liter V10 makes 400 hp and 465 lb-ft, sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. With that, the Viper goes 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds, Car and Driver reports. That’s faster than the contemporary Corvette and Porsche 911, Automobile reports.
However, while the first-gen Dodge Viper lacks safety nets, it’s oddly Miata-like in some ways, Car and Driver reports. The 4-wheel disc brakes, though a bit wooden, stop the sports car quickly. The steering is sharp, accurate, and full of feedback. And the shifter’s throws are sharp and precise. Plus, with the Viper’s 4-wheel independent suspension and modern tires, the car grips and handles well, provided you’re paying attention, Hagerty reports.
The 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10 on Bring a Trailer
The 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10 currently listed on Bring a Trailer isn’t quite as stripped down. Though in the Viper’s case, that’s a relative term. In this case, it means this example comes with the optional A/C and a removable hardtop roof panel.
Bring a Trailer notes that this Dodge Viper RT/10 has an extensive service history, and recently underwent an oil change and general inspection. It’s also practically showroom-stock. The only modifications are the hardtop, a front-end paint protection film, the Lexan side windows, and an aftermarket K&N cold-air intake.
Indeed, one commenter claims that there hasn’t “been a gen1 viper [sic] this ‘complete’…on [Bring a Trailer] in the past decade.” The seller is even including the OEM wheel cap removal tool, the cloth side windows, the factory owner’s and service manuals, and the original owner’s VHS.
This 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10 isn’t 100% perfect. There are one or two rust spots underneath, and the tires are rather old. However, the seller notes the leaking steering rack was recently replaced. Plus, this Viper has less than 23,000 miles on it at the time of writing.
What makes this car a bargain buy?
As of this writing, this 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10 is listed on Bring a Trailer at $26,250 with 3 days left in the auction. Considering its condition and mileage, that’s below the average $30-$45,000 range, Hagerty reports. And it’s definitely cheaper than Lee Iacocca’s Viper.
RELATED: Can You Daily Drive a Dodge Viper?
The first-gen Dodge Viper isn’t valued as high as the second-gen model, which has more power and a few luxuries, like locking doors, Hagerty reports. However, a 1994 model avoids the piston-ring issues which plagued the earliest Vipers, R&T reports. And it’s “still a riot to drive,” The Drive reports.
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