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Arrigo Automotive Group

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2008 Dodge Viper

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2008 Dodge Viper

The Dodge Viper ranks among the fiercest, most raw, visceral machines sold in showrooms anywhere. Only a few cars come as close as the Viper to a street-legal race car: Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Porsche 911 GT3RS, Chevy Corvette ZO6, Honda S2000CR. For most automotive tasks the Viper is overkill, like using a six-pound sledgehammer to swat a fly. Ridiculously fast and able to slosh your eyeballs about in their orbit rounding a bend or under heavy braking, it didn't really need any more power. But with archrival Corvette Z06 at 505 hp, that's just what Dodge did for 2008. They made the engine just 0.1 liter bigger but added 95 horses to make a nice round 600. The fly would still be dead, but now you have a bigger hammer.

2008 Dodge Viper Trim

The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 is offered in two models, the convertible Roadster and GTS coupe. Viper comes standard with leather/suede sport seats, air conditioning, power adjustable pedals, tilt steering column, full instrumentation, CD player, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, console, composite bodywork, bi-Xenon headlamps, fog lamps, limited-slip differential, and emergency flat-tire repair kit. 

Safety features include frontal airbags and antilock brakes.

2008 Dodge Viper Handling and Powertrain

Rotate the key to ignition, depress the clutch, push the red Start button, and the Viper shatters Sunday morning silence with a cacophony of odd-firing sounds from its V10 engine and bellowing pipes.

Rotate the key to ignition, depress the clutch, push the red Start button, and the Viper shatters Sunday morning silence with a cacophony of odd-firing sounds from its V10 engine and bellowing pipes.

This is the only production 600-hp car sold in the United States that does not have all-wheel drive, electronic stability control, or both, and as such is not recommended for inflated egos or the inexperienced. The Viper is a brutally honest car and if you direct it to do something stupid, it will do something stupid.

When it reaches the heart of its power in second gear, you've passed the legal speed limit in most states, with four gears remaining. If you took the average interstate on-ramp as fast as possible you'd hit the highway doing somewhere north of 120 mph. Find an open track long enough, and the Viper coupe is said to top 200 mph.

Ride comfort is par for the course on a car that changes direction like this and can pin your own weight against the door or seatbelt. Brakes are immense and easy to modulate; a light touch of the pedal brings mild slowing, with retarding increasing directly with more pedal pressure.

2008 Dodge Viper Interior

The term cockpit applies as well to a Viper as any other car. A simple push on the button release atop the door pops it open, and it's not a big opening requiring a smidge of slide and contort slightly to get in. However, once inside you will find surprising head and legroom given the car's external dimensions (less than four feet high) and the fact that you are essentially wedged between the engine/gearbox and exhaust pipes.

Although the seats sport long cushions for thigh support and big bolsters to keep you contained, you wouldn't slide far without them given the wall-size center console and door adjacent. Seat controls are manual and limited to forward and backward; there's no lumbar or cushion height adjustment, but the tilt wheel and power adjustable pedals help everyone fit. Leather trims the steering wheel and shift knob, while seats have suede-like center sections with color options; the seat sides and interior are all black.

Dead ahead of the driver is the tachometer, with fuel to the left and speed to the right; the Viper won't run to the top number (220 mph) but it will go well 'round. Some mental recalibration may be in order as most cars are not traveling 110 mph with the needle straight up.

Sloping down to the right of the wheel are oil pressure (closest to line of sight, where it should be), oil temperature, water temperature, and voltage.

Air conditioning is standard and quickly cools the tiny volume of air space inside, and in warm weather the engine and pipes surrounding you can quickly turn the cockpit into a mild oven. Visibility is relatively good for a low-slung beast. The mirrors aren't filled by the fat rear fenders and although the glass backlight might distort them, sizable objects are easily detected behind.

There's no spare tire, instead there's a small air compressor and fix-kit; that makes sense because there'd be nowhere to put a massive, flat tire.

2008 Dodge Viper Exterior

From any angle, a quick glance shows the Viper means business, with a body shaped as much for function as style. It is made of composite materials over a steel frame, with aluminum sills and strengthened cowl.

The Viper's sharp front edges and gaping maw are Braille for get out of my way. Cooling air is funneled in through the trademark four-slot grille and exhausted through six extractor vents in the hood; when idling or moving very slowly the hot air wafting out those vents makes the forward view distorted much like the rear window glass. The roadster's folding soft top is manually-operated and stows neatly behind the seats but you must get out of the car to complete the five-second operation. Xenon headlamps are standard, finally endowing the Viper with suitable vision for night drives; the snake's head center brake light continues.

The fuel tank is a bit smaller at 16 gallons (compared with the previous 18.5), but the engine is more efficient so range isn't severely impacted. Besides, 2.5 gallons of gas is just an extra 15 pounds you don't need in a race car.

The Dodge Viper is the bad boy for under $100,000. Bang for your buck literally can't be matched, as you will likely spend more to better any battle of numbers bench racers are apt to argue about. It's in your face, your ears, your nose and all over the competition. If you're smart enough to show the respect it demands, it might be the race car you're looking for.