Relive 1994, Daily
Found: A First-Generation Dodge Viper Is History Worth Preserving
As of next month, the sole plant that builds the Dodge Viper will close its doors for good. Fiat-Chrysler, Dodge’s parent company, isn’t scaling back Viper production. It’s not taking a few years off to save a little money, either. The Viper is dead — it’s the end of an era.
That might be the reason why this first-generation 1994 Viper stood out this morning on Bring a Trailer (the fire engine–red paint probably helped a little, too). Knowing that one of America’s most iconic supercars is no more has really sparked a romantic sentiment, and no one can be blamed for seriously contemplating hitting the “place bid” button.
The Viper came along at a time when America was reeling with a post-Malaise-era hangover — its targa-top, 8.0-liter V10 engine, side-pipe exhaust and analog-everything were a shock to the system of the American auto industry. That was the real draw of the original Viper and it still is 24 years later. It was made as an incredibly basic and direct way to feed a need for speed. No electronic aids, no traction control, hell, it didn’t even have airbags. This particular Viper was optioned with A/C — a true luxury when you have a boiling-hot V10 pumping away right in front of you.
Dodge Vipers, even the newer ones, are a visceral experience, the kind that’s hard to find these days and is in danger of disappearing altogether as we approach the dawn of fully autonomous vehicles. Do yourself and the world a favor: Pick up this Viper, drive it, enjoy it, savor it. We’ll soon be living in a post-Viper world, and this 1994 Viper is a piece of American history worth preserving.
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