Wheels – Viper SRT-10 Coupe

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Heavy Metal
The supersized Viper SRT-10 Coupe is as tough as it looks — and faster!
Story by Patrick Deveraux, Photography by Andrew Yeadon

The 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe is so brutal it could reasonably be charged with assault. Visually, it knocks out your eyes with its cartoonishly aggressive proportions — a hood spanning two zip codes, wheels and tires that are almost as wide as they are tall, and that glow-in-the-dark paint job. But it’s the oily, mechanical side of things where this car really hangs tough.

The key to this Viper Coupe is that Dodge has let loose its Street Racing Tuning team on the chassis and powertrain. What emerged was a car far more serious and single-purposed than the original. Gone is the removable roof, with its wind-in-the-hair boulevard cruiser attitude, replaced by a GTS-style double-bubble hardtop that not only tightens the Viper’s styling, but also improves its chassis stiffness and handling bite. The Viper Coupe is a car built for going fast — really fast!

Starting at the front, the first tweak, if you can call it that, is to the absurdly huge 8.3-liter, aluminum-block V10 engine. Here, the already-aggressive output figures were replaced by numbers as oversized as the rest of the car. The headline horsepower is 510, but it’s the 535-pound-feet of torque — most readily available from around 1,500rpm — that really help describe the way this animal gets down the road.

You can pussyfoot around, letting the burbling engine lug you out of corners, but if you feel like playing racer, it will happily play along. Just make sure you are ready for the results. The SRT-10 Viper accelerates like a missile. The run from rest up to 60 mph takes less than four seconds, and quarter-miles dispatch in slightly more than 12 seconds.

Moving back from the hood, we come to the operations center, which is as snug as the rest of the car is huge. You don’t so much as climb in as insert yourself into the seat and footwell. Once in position, there is a small range of available adjustments; but if you are taller than 6-foot-3, you had better book regular sessions at your chiropractor and masseuse.

Also remember to wear light footwear, as the slightly offset pedals are more closely spaced than keys on a piano. It’s great for lightning-smooth heel-and-toe downshifts, but it can also be hairy when you go for a big footful of brake and get juice, too.

[…] This article continues in the May 2006 issue, or subscribe to avoid missing future issues!

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