Been a long time coming, this one. Been lurking on the viper boards for 6-12 months, learning, doing research on pricing, and waiting for the stars to align. They aligned yesterday morning after a long and tumultuous process. I think i "bought" about 4 cars in the last month, all didn't play out one way or another when the dust settled. Everything from failing ppi's, to people selling cars out from under me after a deal has been struck, to finding the "perfect" car out of state and having the financing institution and dealer bicker like little children about the payment/lien transfer process and blowing the deal. I was actually starting to get discouraged and pissed off about the whole process and lo and behold one late night I am doing my usual creep through autotrader/cars/ebay and this redhead pops up for money that made me scratch my head--and at a dealer that is notorious for overpricing vipers to boot. I was skeptical so i ran the carfax. 1 owner, low and consistent mileage(car never sat without being driven for more than a month which is great), been in the same city all its life, no accidents, no stories. I did a little poking around--the viper community is a small one--and found out it was owned by a lawyer who traded it in on a '14 GTS. I figured i should strike while the irons' hot so I went drove and put down a deposit on it the following morning.
Been enjoying feeling like a "celebrity" cruising around
06 Viper Red Coupe
Bone stock minus a short throw
Car drives extremely well--i've test driven at least 4-5 gen 3s and gen 4s in my search and this was the tightest driving of them all. Steering is heavy, direct, and on center, clutch is light, shifer snicks into the gates with a rewarding mechanical *click*, and the engine builds revs without a care to which gear you're in. I was really expecting a creaky, squeaky experience synonymous with dodge's world class craftsmanship. Which, i would of course made excuses for---"but its a racecar bro!". Surprisingly, the car is very devoid of any cowl shake or chassis flex. It feels like you're driving something carved out of a single slab, no rattles, no squeaks, just a some fairly stiff dampened coilovers and lots of road, tire, and engine noise. Sometimes there is a very unsatisfying lash from the drivetrain at low speeds, but this common of all vipers (and all mustangs/vettes/etc i've ever driven). Apparently, its a function of some very generous tolerances on the ring and pinion, and goes away when people do gears and shim them properly.
Things i dont like:
-The LR turn signal taking on water like a 15th century wooden galleon.
-The lifters/rockers sounding like a sewing machine (should be alleviated with a switch to 15w-50).
-A blown subwoofer (although subwoofer is pushing it, its more like a shi*ty 6.5 coax in a ported enclosure).
-Zero visibility out the rear. When my roommate follows me around in his c6, he's literally invisible to me at following distance.
-A light yet audible pinion related whiiir from the rear end at around 65-75mph (prob needs a little friction modifier).
-The gas mileage--i've put right at 100 miles on the car and half a tank is gone. But honestly if you buy a viper for gas mileage you're an inbred. I expect 12mpg from this tank.
-Driving around in a space heater. In all honesty, people complain about the cabin temps all the time in these cars and i think it does get a bit over blown. Yes. With the stock catback, and the x-over piping underneath the passenger compartment, after some drive time you definitely can tell its toasty inside compared to whats going on outside. Its almost comical to put your hand down into the footwell area and feel the temperature differential. Its got to be at least 10-20 degrees hotter down there than it is at chest level. Its not unbearable however, and nothing that the AC cant handle--in fact the AC blows so damn cold i cant even keep it on its lowest setting without feeling like i'm in a igloo (this seems to be a trend with most american cars).
Things i do like:
-The sound. Yes, it sounds like a tractor at idle, but under load the v10 has this spine tingling bellow/roar to it. It just sounds like nothing else. I think most of the people who say vipers sound like sh*t have never been in one, nor heard them under load at speed.
-The torque. My god the torque. Everywhere, at any rpm, in any gear but 6th, put your foot it in, and in a few seconds you'll be in jail.
-The looks. This is obviously subjective, but i think this is one of the most beautiful and recognizable automotive shapes at any price.
-The telopathic steering. I've never driven anything even remotely close to this in terms of turn in and communication through the steering wheel. You sneeze, and you're 2 lanes over. Every mm of steering input gives you tangible results at the front end. However, you do have to have both hands on the wheel to feel in control. 275s up front means the car follows every rut in the road and tries to pull and tug you all over the place.
-The mechanical grip. Take your favorite sweeper, multiple your usual entry speed by 2, profit.
-The brakes. 4 piston 14" brembos at all corners. They never feel taxed, and the car sheds speed as fast at it piles it on.
-The seats. You really have to be the right frame to fit in a viper, but if you meet the requirements, the car cradles you like a glove. I'm 6'0 and an athletic build (around 175lbs). I love the huge bolstering and the support they provide under lateral loads. Gives a very reassuring and connected feel to the driving experience.
-The constant feeling like you're just one errant throttle input away from a tree somewhere. I know its ridiculous, but i think this is the best part of the driving experience. It's a car that you have to be awake to drive. Theres no nannies, no safety aids, no one to hold your hand. Just you, 3 pedals, and a lump on engine that can rip asphalt from the ground. Get it right, you're a hero, get it wrong, even for a split second, and you'll be on someones youtube fail compilation as another "douchey viper owner who has more money than skill".
Apologies for the anemic cell phone photos--i will get proper ones when the car gets a full detail and the weather cooperates.
The quite attractive cougar in this 997 didnt want to tango, but she did compliment the coupe generously at a light
The daily driver shunned out of the garage into the cold. The grand sport is the roommates.
Tasks for this weekend;
-Oil & filter change (Mobil 1 15w-50)
-Drain & refill clutch fluid resorvoir
-Install K&N intake
-New IAT sensor
-New IAC valve
-A good scrubbin
-Belanger catback and eventually longtubes
-Eibach springs for the oem coilovers
-Gen 4 hood
I'll use this thread to post updates/progress on the car as the time wears on. Bring on the mopar haters!