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Old December 14th, 2018, 08:32 AM   #1
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Perspective

Just thought I would share my perspective as a Porsche and Ferrari enthusiast on the early Vipers.

If you frequent the Rennlist or Ferrarichat boards you will see a lot of owners of very, very expensive exotics cite the early Vipers (GTS in particular) as some of their "must have" cars, keepers, or cars they intend to add in the future...

They are usually described along with 993 Porsches, classic Ferraris, and others. Comes up very often in threads about cars that are "keepers".

From my own very limited experience so far (96 GTS, completely stock, completely restored wear items, low mileage) is:
* The experience of driving the car is more of an event than almost any modern Porsche short of the GT2RS/GT3RS
* The aesthetics of the car are superior to almost anything out there (ages extremely well, along lines of Cobra etc)
* Lots of positive feedback vs. mixed or negative feedback in Ferraris, BMW, Porsche (not that this should matter)
* Significantly worse apparent build quality overall - really does not feel well constructed (interior) compared to other sports cars I have driven extensively (Porsche, BMW primarily)
* Mediocre exhaust note - though note I have a stock exhaust
* Mediocre steering feel - though that is in comparison to Porsche
* Loads of power and torque and incredibly raw feel - adds to the uniqueness and is maybe the American equivalent to a Ferrari F40 as the last of an era (and similar performance)
* Rarity more in line with the rarer modern Ferraris/Porsches rather than other cars at this price point

Overall it is a keeper for me. Not practical for my purpose to drive a whole lot, but I cannot imagine something more exciting as a weekend sports car. The only real letdown is the interior quality, though I must say it is really comfortable!
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Old December 14th, 2018, 09:08 AM   #2
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I appreciate the thoughtful commentary on how the Viper stacks up against the top Euro sports cars from a collector/enthusiast perspective. I know that when I was tracking regularly in the mid-late 90's, the BMW/Porsche/Ferrari folks were very surprised at how well my car compared, or even exceeded the performance of most of their cars. There was a softly spoken admiration for having a modestly-priced all-American car that could go toe-to-toe with them.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 09:11 AM   #3
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Having had both a Gen 2 GTS and a 993 I can tell you that there is no comparison as far as build quality or precision of driving experience. That said the 993 was BORING in comparison.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 10:02 AM   #4
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I read some sort of critical review back in the 1990's by some auto rag stating the only reason the Viper could perform as it did was because they stuffed huge/wide tires on it. Basically stating that if you put wide tires on a POS, it would corner. Words to that effect. The author went on to state that if the Viper was a true performance machine, it would not need that wide of a tire. Poor engineering offset by wide tires.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 11:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSnake99 View Post
Having had both a Gen 2 GTS and a 993 I can tell you that there is no comparison as far as build quality or precision of driving experience. That said the 993 was BORING in comparison.
My sentiments exactly. That was part of what I was trying to say... build quality and also certainly precision of driving (in my opinion, mostly the steering feel) is not close to a Porsche. The overall experience is completely comparable or superior, however, which is why I think so many put the viper on the list of must haves.

Of course, the Cobra is on those same lists, just it is a completely different price point being a seven figure car. I have never driven a Cobra so can't compare directly.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 12:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllowViper View Post
I read some sort of critical review back in the 1990's by some auto rag stating the only reason the Viper could perform as it did was because they stuffed huge/wide tires on it. Basically stating that if you put wide tires on a POS, it would corner. Words to that effect. The author went on to state that if the Viper was a true performance machine, it would not need that wide of a tire. Poor engineering offset by wide tires.
That is pretty funny. That an automotive writer would be so ignorant.

Motortrend gave a favorable comparison against a 993 turbo, which I (and most Porsche folks) would say is pretty near the pinnacle of things 911.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Detroitmuscle View Post
993 turbo, which I (and most Porsche folks) would say is pretty near the pinnacle of things air-cooled 911.

Fixed it.


The magic thing about the 993 in my opinion is the mix of vintage and modern feel (floor mounted pedals are SO cool). Problem is, it is so refined that it is easy to forget that you are driving a reasonably fast 30 year old car and not a really slow new car. In a supercharged Viper there are very few cars you can be next to at the light and not know you can decimate them to the next light. A non-turbo air-cooled 911 MIGHT pull a new Subaru Legacy if you don't miss a shift.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
I know that when I was tracking regularly in the mid-late 90's, the BMW/Porsche/Ferrari folks were very surprised at how well my car driven expertly compared, or even exceeded the performance of most of their cars.
Corrected.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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Old December 14th, 2018, 08:46 PM   #10
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Guys, prepare for SKYROCKET! I foresee garage queen Vipers everywhere!


On a side-note, my neighbor let me track his 600whp 930 once. That was a handful. A couple years ago he sold it to pay cash for an airplane - which probably costs less to maintain.


@58 seconds into the MotorTrend clip, door already sagging. lol.
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Old December 15th, 2018, 02:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllowViper View Post
I read some sort of critical review back in the 1990's by some auto rag stating the only reason the Viper could perform as it did was because they stuffed huge/wide tires on it. Basically stating that if you put wide tires on a POS, it would corner. Words to that effect. The author went on to state that if the Viper was a true performance machine, it would not need that wide of a tire. Poor engineering offset by wide tires.
Funny. Big tires, big motor and manual trans were the selling points for me. If they would have built a minivan with those instead of the Viper I would have bought a minivan. Two of them.
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Old December 19th, 2018, 10:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Detroitmuscle View Post
Just thought I would share my perspective as a Porsche and Ferrari enthusiast on the early Vipers.

If you frequent the Rennlist or Ferrarichat boards you will see a lot of owners of very, very expensive exotics cite the early Vipers (GTS in particular) as some of their "must have" cars, keepers, or cars they intend to add in the future...

They are usually described along with 993 Porsches, classic Ferraris, and others. Comes up very often in threads about cars that are "keepers".
Yep, agree with all of this. When I got 355 wheels for my 348, I bought them from a fellow Gen2 ACR owner.
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Last edited by c6matt; December 20th, 2018 at 07:45 AM.
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