1997 Dodge Viper Review

Pros & Cons

  • Speed, power, looks, handling. The GTS is the ultimate babe magnet.
  • Poor city gas mileage, and, ummm...not very practical is it? The GTS is the ultimate cop magnet, too.
List Price Estimate
$8,365 - $17,999

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Vehicle overview

The Viper has been the biggest automotive performance news since the original Mustang, and while its sales totals have been nowhere near those of the legendary ponycar, it has just as many devotees drooling over full-color pictures of its cartoonish structure like winos at a peepshow.

Designed to be the modern incarnation of the Cobra, Viper debuted at the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as a show car. Enough people wrote to Chrysler requesting street versions that plans for production of the rakish roadster were set into motion soon after. Viper was introduced for public sale in 1992, and became the darling of the automotive press, not to mention high-profile stars like Jay Leno and Kelsey Grammer, who managed to flip his over on a street in Agoura Hills, Calif., last year. It even got a TV show; a dismal one that lasted one season on major networks and survives in syndication.

A preview of things to come from Chrysler, the success of the Viper revitalized a company that many thought wouldn't last through the middle of this decade. Originally, the car was available only in red, but black, green and yellow were added as color choices. Last year, the RT/10 was painted one of three shades with colorful Hot Wheels graphics slapped on.

Dodge introduced the GTS coupe midway through 1996. The 8.0-liter V10 was substantially reworked, featuring a new block, new heads, shorter cooling jackets, and revised sump. These changes resulted in a 35 horsepower jump to 450. Overall, the revised motor is 85 pounds lighter than the one in the old RT/10. Inside the GTS, analog gauges and dual airbags greet serious drivers, who have the option of adjusting pedal height. Power windows and door locks are standard on the GTS.

For 1997, one new color (flame red with or without white stripes) is available on the GTS. Silver, sparkle gold, or yellow gold wheels come with red GTS Vipers. The original blue-with-white-stripes paint scheme is available as an option, as are last year's standard polished aluminum wheels. The RT/10 roadster is set to return later this year, with dual airbags, power windows and door locks, and the fresh 450-horsepower V10. Also set to debut on the revamped drop top are the four-wheel independent suspension and adjustable pedals from the GTS.

Truly, Chrysler Corporation has created an American icon that rivals Corvette's lock on the "America's Sports Car" title.

1997 Highlights

One new color, flame red, with or without white stripes, is available for 1997. Silver, sparkle gold or yellow gold wheels come with red Vipers. The original blue with white stripes paint scheme is available as an option, as are last year's standard polished aluminum wheels. The RT/10 roadster is set to return later this year, with dual airbags, power windows and door locks, and the 450-horsepower V10 from the GTS. Also set to debut on the revamped drop top are the four-wheel independent suspension and adjustable pedals from the GTS.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Dodge Viper.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Not for sale at ANY price...
I have owned the car since new for 6 years now. Eevn now, after all that time, the power and handling of this car still amazes me. This car IS NOT recommended for the faint of heart, posers and Wusses - I recommend a Ferrari for those people.
My Viper
great car , very fast picks up lots of chicks
Neo Mobeus,02/23/2004
Quick and sporty, overstear is a problem.
Vipers Rule
This is my 2nd Viper. I purchased a 1994 RT/10 in '97 and enjoyed the car both on and off the track. Track experience was with the IL Region Viper Club of America. Which included drag racing, autocross and road racing events. My most recent Viper is the '97 Coupe. Much more refined, better handling, more power, and better aerodynamics. I have installed about $15k worth of aftermarket to increase performance. This includes BIG brakes, alum. flywheel, short shifter, hi-ratio roller rockers, smooth tubes, headers/catback exhaust, 3:55 gear, rollbar and fire extinguisher. Car is still street legal, good manners, and all amenties such as air, pwr wndows, stereo, etc. Run 11's in qtr!

Features & Specs

See all Used 1997 Dodge Viper features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Dodge Viper

Used 1997 Dodge Viper Overview

The Used 1997 Dodge Viper is offered in the following submodels: Viper Coupe, Viper Convertible. Available styles include GTS 2dr Coupe, and RT/10 2dr Convertible.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Dodge Viper?

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Which used 1997 Dodge Vipers are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Dodge Vipers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Dodge Viper for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $10,329.

Find a used Dodge for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $21,562.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Viper for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $20,905.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $21,169.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Dodge Viper?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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