The Copperhead Is The Affordable Dodge Viper We Never Got

The Viper is an admired American supercar made by Dodge that made its way into every little kid’s Hot Wheels collection and hearts, making it the ‘dream car‘ of so many. For some time there was talk of the potential for a more affordable version of the Viper, called the Dodge Copperhead, which was created as an official Dodge concept car. Unfortunately, the Copperhead never became a full-scale production car.

What we missed out on

The Dodge Copperhead concept car was almost unlike anything we’ve ever seen and in its own way almost a little homely. From the front, the Copperhead is unlike any other sports car that was on the market at the time, or maybe even ever.

The unique design of the front fascia was followed by beautiful sweeping body lines, and the long front hood and as well as rear taillights gave it some striking similarities to the already in production Dodge Viper.

The interior of the Copperhead was just as odd as the outside, looking both futuristic and classic at the same time. In the center of the dash was a brightly colored circle decked out with the car’s gauges, like the oil temperature gauge, and radio controls. 30 years ago it might have been an example of what we though futuristic cars would look like inside.

Then, of course, the Copperhead shared the iconic Viper badging, including on the steering wheel which is shared with an earlier version of the Viper itself. Why not by a Dodge Viper then, you might ask? The Copperhead was designed to be more affordable, with a brand-new sticker price estimated to be around just $30,000.

Power and performance

The Copperhead wasn’t just styled aggressively, it was designed to perform aggressively too. With the few full-scale cars developed by Dodge, we could really get to know just how cool the Copperhead would turn out to be.

It would have had a much smaller engine than the 8.3L V10 engine sitting properly under the hood of the Viper, but instead held an aluminum block V6. This might sound like a big let down to some, but for the price difference, it wasn’t that unreasonable.


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The smaller engine didn’t mean the Coppperhead would fail to keep up with other sports cars. It could go from 0 – 60mph in 3.9 seconds and had a top speed of 189mph. It wouldn’t be breaking any records, but after all, that’s not what the car was designed to do.

You can buy one of the full-scale, running versions of the Dodge Copperhead when one occasionally comes to auction or up for sale, but that is incredibly rare. The Copperhead never made it to full-scale production, and chances are you may never actually see one in person.