The Dodge Viper is the Supercar Designed for Muscle Car Fanatics

There is something about a Dodge Viper that makes it hard to categorize. While it is a fully-blown American supercar by all standards, it shares in the MOPAR camaraderie and fits in just fine with the muscle car scene. In this way, it is easy to argue that the Viper was designed to appeal to muscle car fanatics who didn’t want something exotic but rather home-grown and American.

The Dodge Viper looks like a muscle car

A Dodge Viper | Paul Marotta, Getty Images

The Dodge Viper can be described as many things based on appearance: aggressive and aerodynamic being two common word choices. But, the car itself doesn’t look exotic. Rather than adjusting to sharp, jagged lines and exotic styling features of supercar manufacturers like Ferrari or McLaren, the Dodge Viper takes styling cues from American muscle cars instead. Older generations are inherently Dodge in appearance, sharing interior components with many other Dodge vehicles — which is a major bonus if you are looking to rebuild a wrecked one, such as the one we are rebuilding after it was driven into a ditch.

High horsepower engine that looks and sounds like American muscle

The 8.3 liters (or 8.4 liter in some years) V10 engine under the elongated hood might make you reminisce over the V10 engines in a Lamborghini, but the engine of the Dodge Viper is inherently American. In fact, the Viper engine originated in a truck motor (a supercar with a truck engine just sounds like an American muscle), available in the Dodge Ram SRT-10. While the V10 engine of the Lamborghini Gallardo is merely 5.2 liters, it sounds more refined, while the SRT-10 sounds aggressive and wild like an animal. The tones of the engine itself even sound like American muscle, and, to the trained ear, you can tell them apart just by the sound of the engine revving.

There has been a lot of debate over whether the Dodge Viper is a supercar

The Dodge Viper blurs the line between American muscle and supercar, making owners question where exactly they belong. It fits all of the determining factors for being classified as both an American muscle car and a supercar, making it easy to argue that it is one or the other — but fans of each market segment will tell you that under almost no circumstances can the vehicle be both. The SSC Tuatara, for example, is an American-built supercar, but it isn’t considered American muscle by any means. Built by Dodge and accepted by the MOPAR community, however, the Dodge Viper sits awkwardly between the lines. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, however, the Viper ticks all of the boxes, making it considered one of the longest-running American supercars — though it just so happens to target the muscle car enthusiasts along the way.

The Dodge Viper is no longer in production, though many forums and fans have speculated that it could be making a return once again. Some enthusiasts even believe that it could return as a mid-engine variation to compete with the new mid-engine Corvette, though Dodge has not given any indication that they are interested in producing the Dodge Viper again any time soon — or at all. Instead, the brand has turned towards electrification, focusing on a new path of producing electric muscle cars, and an SRT-10 engine is about as far away from that idea as possible.

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