You might be surprised to learn that you can buy an early Dodge Viper on Autotrader for less than $40,000. Easily. In fact, if you go on Autotrader right now and search for 1992-1994 Dodge Viper models, you’ll find about two dozen listed, with the bulk available for under $40,000. There are even a few offered for around $30,000 and one or two under that figure.
I think this is crazy.
The original Dodge Viper is a special car, in the sense that it really was a concept show car that was put into production against all odds, since Chrysler wasn’t building anything like it at the time. While Dodge made a lot of 1992-2002 Viper models (in the "first" generation, though Dodge fans swear there are two generations in there), I think the most special were the early ones. They had no roll-up windows, but rather a side window you had to install in place. They had no roof. There was no airbag or antilock braking system. Basically, there was no attempt at practicality, and these cars were designed for two things: speed and driver enjoyment.
In later years, Dodge modernized the Viper a bit with more conveniences, and the 3-spoke wheels gave way to some more traditional 5-spokes. The arrival of the GTS model also saw a Viper I suspect will someday appreciate dramatically in value, particularly the 1996-1997 GTS, blue with white stripes. Those models also had forged engine internals, which makes them especially desirable for their dependability — even with big power.
But it’s the early Viper models that truly launched the car, and the early Viper models that will go down as the most pure of all the Dodge Vipers. The early Vipers were special cars, and I truly think it’s one of the most special, exciting and historically important vehicles you can buy for just 40 grand. More importantly, Dodge didn’t make all that many of them, and I suspect that nice, well-preserved Viper models will someday be regarded as special cars that are worth big money. In other words, if you’re looking for an early Viper, you’d better buy now, before you can’t afford one anymore.
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