2015 Dodge Viper GT: What We'd Buy Instead
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on October 9, 2015
Maybe it was the constant droning noise on the highway or the laughably tiny pedal box that got to me. It might've been the scorching-hot door sill or the useless trunk lid that never opens on the first try. Maybe it was the unnecessarily heavy steering or the cramped cabin.
Whatever the reason, after an extended weekend climbing in and out of our long-term 2015 Dodge Viper, I knew that I couldn't justify spending a hundred grand on one, especially if it were my daily driver.
That led me to the inevitable hypothetical-money-finds-its-way-in-to-car-guy's-wallet thought-process. What would I buy if I had $103,785? Wait, do I just get one car? Does it have to be new? What about mods? Can I just put nitrous on the Yugo and keep the extra cash?
Before I went too far down the rabbit hole, I put out a call to a few of the Edmunds editors who had driven the Viper.
My e-mail read: What would you buy for $103,785? If it's the Viper, tell me that too.
One car, same price point. For extra credit: Three cars, same combined price with at least one two-door sports car in the mix.
Here's what I got in return.
Mark Takahashi was brief, but I had a hard time arguing with his response:
Jag F-Type R Coupe
For $103K, I'd be looking for a really special overall package, not just raw speed. The Viper hauls the mail on a race track, I hear, but I want my six-figure performance car to be good at everything. I don't think that's too much to ask these days. Gotta hand it to Dodge for the styling, though. Nothing matches the gravitas of a Viper rear three-quarter angle.
Mike Magrath referred back to a breakdown he'd written about our long-term Jaguar F-Type and how he'd have a Cayman GT4 instead. He had a few backup plans, too:
A Z51 Stingray and a 528, or a Boxster Spyder and lease a 435.
James Riswick agreed with Josh Sadlier when it came to the one-car option, and he came up with a similar BMW-with-a-manual opinion:
The better question is "What wouldn't I buy instead of a Viper?"
1 Car: Whatever Porsche 911 I can get for $103,785
But I'd rather have these three:
Dodge Challenger R/T; BMW 340i manual; and, ah, because I have $16,000 leftover and I'm the used car editor, a first-gen Boxster like this.
Apparently everyone likes the GT4, because that was one of Carlos Lago's choices too:
$100K buys you a pretty solid Boxster Spyder or Cayman GT4. It also buys you a very nice Corvette Z51 with enough money left over for another car (or plenty of tires). The Viper is a unique car, though. Enough to make it appealing if it's your third (or plus) car. I'd have a Morgan 3 Wheeler.
Whether or not it was confirmation-bias, I didn't see anyone clamoring for ownership of our Viper. At least until I got a submission from Kurt Niebuhr:
For $103,785 I'd have a Viper. Our Viper, too. Why? Corvette's are tacky and 911's are too easy. You only live once.
Three cars? A standard Viper costs $87k, so I'll take one of those. That leaves just enough money for a decent 1965 Chevy C10 Shortbed and Honda CRF230F to put in the bed. I can live with that.
With only one dissenting opinion, it was hardly a win for the Viper. It's absolutely unique and undeniably fast, but that doesn't seem to make it supremely desirable. Even if you have the money, it's an acquired taste. I still haven't made up my mind as to whether I'd go with one car or many, but with so much stiff competition out there for my imaginary cash, I probably wouldn't pick the Dodge.
What would you choose? One car? Many? New? Used?
Travis Langness, Social Media Editor