It's been quite a long time since I've written directly about something I disagreed with. In all truth, I think the last time I did something of this nature I was on the dwindling CarThrottle website. However, I suppose it was naive of me to think I'd never make an article for similar reasons ever again.
Especially when it relates to the Dodge Viper...
The why: I was browsing DriveTribe recently and I came across a newly posted article about the aforementioned car. Viper articles are sort of rare to see on DriveTribe these days, so I always get pretty excited whenever I see one (especially when it's not one I did, hahaha), and this article from Alessandro Renesis was no exception.
As you can see, it's a first-gen RT/10 with aftermarket paint, wheels, tinted headlights, a less-than-clean engine bay, and a faded interior. Three out of four of those things are bad enough, but bad enough to warrant a price reduction down to $15K? I don't think so, and I'm going to explain why.
(I found the ad for the car, so just know that I'm talking about the wheels on this specific car despite the fact I'm not going to use the images from the ad: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ctd/d/hayward-1995-dodge-viper-rt-10-2dr/7001877948.html)
I don't necessarily have a problem with the handful of people complaining that the paint isn't original (the author said the original paint was black), but I do want to point out that the paint is unique for a Gen 1 and seems to be well done. The paint isn't peeling and it's not pink or an ugly shade of green, so I don't think paint is the biggest problem here at all.
I do take some issue with the wheels, however. I think they're a bit too big and, depending on who made them, they might not stand up to some abuse. With that said, the design isn't the worst one the previous owner could've chosen. It's a relatively simple five-spoke design with splits in-between the spokes and –what looks to be– rivets near the dish. Not great by any means, but it's not absolutely horrendous.
The Headlights and Fog lights:
This is the part that I dislike most about this Viper. I don't really care for the tints on this Viper (especially with the orange) but the worst part is that the tint isn't the same on each side! The right (left) headlight is darker than the other one! If anything, the one on the left side seems to be the standard headlight. Why they tinted one and left the other untouched is beyond me.
As for the fog lights, at least they're symmetrical. That's about the only thing good thing they've got going for them though.
Yes, the interior looks to be faded. However, the condition of the leather doesn't appear to be all that bad. Let me ask, which would you rather: A cracked, broken, interior with missing buttons, or an interior that's just a bit faded? I don't know about you, but I can live with faded leather.
With all that in mind, why isn't this Viper worth $15K like some were suggesting? Simple: Vipers –unless they're wrecked or are rolling chassis like this Viper– just don't go for so little. In fact, let me show you some examples of Vipers for sale right now (at the time of this article of course).
Gen 1 Viper Values:
Good first-gen Vipers tend to hover between $30K and $40K. Bad Vipers –and sometimes really good bargain Vipers– generally go for somewhere in the 20s (it can vary depending on condition and mileage) but don't always crack the $30K barrier. Here are a few links so you can see for yourself:
In all of those links mentioned, there is one constant: It's pretty darn easy to find a Viper between the prices of mid-20s and low-30s. Better Vipers from this generation can even reach the low-40s if they're in good enough condition and have low enough mileage. If you're looking for the best possible example of a Gen 1, then looking in the high-30s to low-40s is your best bet.
If you're a bit overwhelmed by all those Vipers then don't worry, let's go through a good example, a great example, and a bad example.
A Good One:
Here's a Viper that looks to be in pretty good shape without too many miles on it (17K might be a bit much –oddly– for some though). The headlights aren't glazed over, the interior looks clean and seems to be holding up, the engine bay looks pretty clean, and the paint still looks good. All-in-all, a nice example for a good price.
A Great One:
Basically like the last one but with lower miles.
A Bad One:
And now, we get to a terrible Viper. Not as bad as that grimy Viper on Jalopnik a while ago, but still bad. So what's wrong with this Viper then? The most obvious thing is that the Viper badge on the front of the car is in the wrong place! It should be on the front bumper, not on the hood. What exactly that indicates I'm not 100 percent sure, but let's just say my suspicions aren't good.
Another odd thing to note is the color of the faux side-exhausts. Gen 1 Vipers do have side-exit exhausts (unlike Gen 2s), but the actual mufflers aren't visible on the exterior, they're hidden behind a faux muffler that was painted black from the factory. As you can see, the faux-mufflers here aren't painted black at all. In my mind, two possibilities explain this. The first one: The owner repainted it. The second one: The car was in a crash and the “rocker panels” were too damaged to fix, so the owner bought a new set that didn't have the phony muffler bit repainted.
There's something wrong with the wheels too. The center caps on three of the four wheels are correct, but the fourth one –on the left-front rim– is chrome. The original RT/10 rims were painted, not chrome. That's why the center cap on the fourth wheel stands out (and is incorrect).
Things don't get much better in the engine-bay either. Normally I wouldn't fret about a clean engine-bay so much, but for a car like a Viper? It makes me wonder if the owner made sure to change all the fluids at the proper intervals (if at all).
If we compare that with the Viper in Alessandro's article, the Viper in their article certainly appears to be in better condition (except for the engine bay), but if the Orange Viper had its original paint, wheels, and untinted headlights/foglights, I'd say it'd be a pretty solid $24K Viper easily. Well, I'd say that even without the... “additions” simply because they're really not that bad. The wheels can be easily changed, the headlights can be fixed, the paint only needs to be fixed for the buyer who doesn't like orange (as the paint-job itself looks pretty good), and the interior looks to be in good shape. Yeah, it's a bit of a high-mileage Viper, but there are Vipers with similar mileage that don't drop below $20K. In short, $15K is simply far too little for this Viper despite all the modifications it has.
With that, I rest my case. What do you think? Feel free to air your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading, see you all soon.