The 2017 edition of the Dodge Viper is this glorious anachronism's swan song. It's the last year for what is simply the most unapologetically brutal, uncompromisingly mechanical and brilliantly primitive American sports car. It's not the sports car for everyone, but if it's the sports car for you, there are no substitutes.
Way back in 1989 at the North American International Auto Show, Dodge showed the Viper concept roadster. It was essentially little more than four massive tires, a bare-bones cockpit and the humongous V10 engine from Dodge's heavy-duty pickup trucks. It was audacious in a way no sports car before it had ever been. It was instantly beloved, instantly iconic and the chances of it heading for production seemed ridiculously slight. But dang it, if Dodge didn't put the thing on sale to the general public in 1992. And it was barely changed from the concept car, too, right down to the three-spoke wheels and side-exit exhaust.
Over the last 26 years, Dodge hasn't strayed far from the original Viper formula. It's still four giant tires, one small minimally comfortable cockpit and one enormous V10. Only now that V10 displaces 8.4 liters and slams out an otherworldly 645 horsepower. The only transmission offered is a six-speed manual, the only wheels that get power are the rear ones, and the only body style offered is a fastback coupe.
Produced in limited numbers, the 2017 Dodge Viper is available in a few distinct flavors: The SRT, GTC, GTS and race-ready ACR. The Viper isn't completely without modern techno-toys — there's an 8.4-inch center screen for navigation and entertainment systems plus a driver-center 7-inch digital cluster — but that's not the reason to buy this car. It would be like buying a sledgehammer because it's shiny.
As far as fuel economy goes, well, the Viper's EPA ratings are dang near hilarious. Does 12 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway tickle your funny bone? It should, because that sort of economy is really only achievable when this monster is driven very gently. And no one drives their Viper gently. Single-digit fuel economy is the norm.
Finding a 2017 Viper in a dealer's inventory is rare. But there's no better way to find one than through the tools here on Edmunds. Or let us guide you through specifying the exact Viper of your dreams. Before it's too late.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.