2009 Dodge Viper Long Term Road Test

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2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10: Traction Control via 12s

June 05, 2010

viper shoes1.jpg

Hopping into the Viper after picking it up from DC Performance a couple of weeks ago, I had two real goals for my first time -- not on a closed course -- in our Long-Term Viper SRT-10: Don't stall. Don't spin into that Hennessey thing on the right. Pretty simple most of the time, but when you drive a few hundred cars a year, the first few seconds feeling out the engine and clutch can be tricky. I've yet to crash into a Hennessy, but I did stall our Mazdaspeed 3 the first time I pulled it out of our parking spots.

So I'm in the car getting the seat just so -- much closer and much more reclined than I'm used to, but still workable -- and the mirrors good before I stab at the gas only to find I can only manage about 1,500 rpm. Hm. I've driven a bunch of Vipers and most of them, at least I think, revved past 1,500. Stab again, 1,500. Hm. Once more? 1,500. A steady 1,500.

Hm....

Turns out we don't have a measly 1,500 rpm rev limiter, but rather my shoe, with my heel placed dead between the throttle and brake pedals, catches the carpeting just forward and to the side of the gas limiting how much I can modulate that pedal.

Not the end of the world, I just readjusted my feet so that my heel was directly in front of the gas. Turns out, though, that trying to re-adjust your footing after a decade-or-so of driving is more difficult than simply taking your shoes off and driving in socks. At least for the 3 miles home.

Viper Socks.jpg

In other pedal-placement news, trying to use the dead-pedal results in the clutch being depressed (probably due to loneliness -- get it?) or if I slip my foot under the clutch to get the dead pedal, I can't get it back out. So that leg needs to stay bent at about a 90-degree angle which then interferes with my left arm.

viper dead pedal.jpg

I wore sneakers the following today and I'm going to keep some spares around just in case I ever get this car again because when you can work all of the pedals without getting trapped or limited or otherwise inconvenienced, this Viper is the coolest car in the world. It's fast. It's loud. It looks weird and unlike so many other cars on the road today, it does everything and only what you tell it to do. It's great. Just pack appropriate shoes. Like some Vibram Five Fingers pictured here, in our How to be an Automotive Journalist story

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 7,000 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Dodge Viper in VA is:

$157 per month*
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