Buying a Gen II Dodge Viper doesn’t have to be a snake pit of horrors


The ’89 Viper concept car wowed the world. It was as a completely unexpected, over-the-top modern reinterpretation of the original Shelby Cobra. And when the production Dodge Viper arrived in 1992, it was only slightly more streetable. With 400 horsepower from an enormous V-10, no door handles, no side glass, and only the faintest suggestion of a removable vinyl roof, the first few years of Viper RT/10 roadster production were more about Chrysler proving it could execute a rambunctious rolling proof of concept than building a perfect production car.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/29/1996-2002-dodge-viper-buyers-guide
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Excellent write-up. I’ve been involved with Vipers for quite a while and currently own a '01 ACR and this is the most accurate and concise write-up I’ve seen thus far. Very well done with accurate facts and excerpts from respected and knowledgeable members of the Viper community.


Incorrect info from Katz on the tires: “No one makes the 275/40/17 front, 335/35/17 tires that were sold with the earlier Gen II. You’ll have to upgrade to the 18-inch rims that came later at the very least, or move to a slick tire, which is still available in 17-inch sizes, for track use.”

Michelin produces the PS2 in 17in for the Gen II occasionally in batches. Tire Rack currently has a set of 4 in stock for $1,532.64. Or you can go with Pirelli P Zero 285/40/17 for the front, 335/35/17 rear (which was also the oem rear tire size for the '96 Lamborghini Diablo) for $1,928.76 shipped.

Also worth mentioning, the oem '96 17in rims (and some of the earlier '97 cars) were two-piece cast welded aluminum. Some owners who tracked their cars, in particular, on slicks, cracked/broke the wheels at the spokes, so that recommendation doesn’t make sense. All '98 17in rims were forged, and those did not exhibit track failure.


Funny how raw the car was. I was able to go to the Detroit show in '89 with a friend. We both were like “wow to bad it’s a concept car and won’t ever be built”. Low and behold it was. My point being, as raw as it was the facias had to be perfect. I was at the Georgia plant that produced and painted the fascias. They had to be perfect!
I’d like someday to own a Viper.


Another great source for Viper service in the North East is Tators Garage in South Salem NY. The former Tators Dodge (One of the oldest dealers in the country before the shut downs) Chuck is well known amounst Viper owners as “The Viper Wizard” and has been fully involved with these cars since the very beginning.


Being a Michigan boy from Traverse City (hello Hagerty’s), I always said I would own one. I Have had many sports cars in my days but this one tops them all. This article is really spot on. Very low maintenance and easy to work on. I’ve had mine for 11 years and it still makes me grin when I drive it and everyone driving around me grin too. I’ve never had people hanging out of a window to take a picture of any of my Vette’s or Porsche’s like I do my Viper. Glad to hear they are going back up in value. It is very rare on the road! Great article!


They do carry a certain presence. We would love to see it at Cars and Caffeine this summer!

Cars and Caffeine at the Traverse City Hagerty campus starts up the first Friday in May, 7-9am and continues on a weekly basis till it’s too cold! Come join us


Would love to but I live on Hilton Head Island South Carolina now. We have Cars and Coffee here in the area that usually brings in better than 200 cars every month at the USC campus. Great monthly event and hope yours is the same!