In the vast and often unforgiving used car market, there are three prices that matter - initial cost, ownership cost, and most importantly, sweat equity. That’s why today, I present you with this bonkers Dodge Viper that you can buy for the price of a depreciated Korean economy car, but only if you’re willing to get really, really sweaty.
This 2006 Dodge Viper started life as a model that likely got delivered to a helicopter dad that decided that his 52nd birthday was his moment. It had a more-than-eight-liter V10 engine, and celebrated the legacy of being the successor to the world’s most hilariously deadly factory built go-kart.
However, between this car’s inaugural pants-shitting, ass-puckering ride and today, it experienced two accidents - both rear collisions - and the engine was misplaced, although all other drivetrain components remain untouched, or so the seller claims.
For those uninitiated to the platform, all the panels on the Viper are removable and made of fiberglass. If the skeleton underneath is undamaged, which it looks to be from the panels lining up correctly in the ad’s pictures, then the salvage title shouldn’t scare you away, especially not at the no-reserve price tag that currently stands at $15,000 with no bids and a little over half a week left in the auction.
To remedy the car’s chronic case of no-go, all you’d have to do is source an engine and various other bits and pieces omitted by the car’s seller. Graciously, thanks to the interchangeability between the Viper and the Ram SRT-10, there exist a a plethora of engines ripe for the choosing, in both the earlier 8.3 and later 8.4 liter displacements, starting at around $6000 for a running example with all the fixings, a few grand more if you want low mileage and a warranty.
If you’re willing to take on a project like this, you’ll be smart to do your homework and come to terms with being the end user of the car due to its hindered sellability. If those things are checked off, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a running, driving modern Dodge Viper, in a color befitting any Guy Fieri impersonator in the country, for around $23,000. Personally, if I had the money to play around with, I’d pick it up, swap over some better looking wheels and stiffer suspension and go for a cross country drive, all the while trying not to bankrupt myself on the fuel bill.
This car is a far cry from a turnkey project, but it’s not an insurmountable one for the average weekend warrior with a decent set of tools. Once done, the repair and maintenance costs are quite reasonable and the engine and parts for said engine are plentiful, with a wealth of knowledge on Viper forums to help with any and all issues in the future.
It’s supercar fast and surprisingly stress-free to run, so if you’re willing to put in the time, as I know some of you are, it doesn’t get much better than this.