We won't dive deep into all of the common descriptors encircling the Viper's early years like, "Plasticy", "Agricultural", "Impractical", and "Phallic". These are words for thou who shalt not complete a pass in their Acura NSX or Corvette ZR-1. When there's a car so adept in shredding nerves like Viper it becomes natural to bite the cloth and just drink the venom. It's a car that'll peel back your sweet-mannered self to let the devil run free.
You'll never find another sense of normality after a drive because well.......the Viper simply becomes you. 1995 may be considered the final year of focused purpose before video games and celebrities had to look good around Dodge Vipers. No shiny wheels or stripe packages, just a rumble and silhouette that's sure to make clubs of poindexters throw off the bifocals and get into the gym. All testosterone, in all gears. That's not to say there aren't capable women who could absolutely throttle it, but such point is rarely a first glancer's thought.
Three years in, Dodge was still alone on the brink of horsepower hell not seen since the 426 Hemi buried its tusks some 24 years prior. 400 horsepower is easily wrung out of small block LS V8s today, but when fuel injection was just getting hot these feats were something comparable to spaceflight. That's almost exactly how driving a 1st gen Viper at speed felt: flying into space. Every panel is creaking and shaking as 170 mile per hour ground speed generates enough wind resistance to permanently tear a smile on your face. You've become a newly converted slave under the Pentastar, but it's service done happily.
Thundering into the final production year of the rawest Viper, the first generation, it seemed the world was beginning to crave sophistication meant to wipe such lethal vehicles from the planet. For a sum hovering around $56,000 ($93,606.44 today) people expected ABS, supple leather, hand-stitched accents, real wood paneling, and a car telephone. Dodge gave you nothing like this as such luxury is a fatal distraction within an automobile this......angry.
In more ways than not, a Dodge Viper at this point wasn't going to score many hot dates when they burned the blood out of their calves on the side-running exhaust. When going out on a leisurely trip to the cinema at least one party wants to be comfortable; this a Viper never promised. It was low, loud, and proud, not craving everyone's approval. For power you had two options: a V10 and another V10 oh and manual transmission only *this we'll gladly forgive, but that secluded the Viper to a select slice of enthusiasts.
So who bought the Viper? Aside from factory employees, individuals that got green on the wave of Clinton-era economical stock soaring and budget surplus. After they've accumulated the latest massive Sony flatscreens and lightweight Nokia 880s, some play outdoors is in order. Hardly their only vehicle, a Viper awaits at the far end of Ferrari, Rolls Royce, and Mercedes office shuttles. But, today is a sun bathed Saturday, perfect for freeing the beast. They want to shed out of their suits for the freedom of teal tees and white shorts. For once their skin can breathe like the Viper so anxious to swallow tons of atmosphere. Richie Rich gets in, depresses the clutch with his left white tennis shoe, and turns hot 8 liters of metal manhood. "This must be how the cavemen felt after a good kill", he thinks.
While it's not the car we "need", the Viper is the aggressive edge we can't afford to lose.