Thread: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

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  1. #1
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    Default Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Okay,

    So I'm going to humble myself when I say that between videos of people crashing their Vipers popping up seemingly left and right these days, and the fact that I've driven, but never owned, any manual car at all - the idea of owning a Viper is starting to scare me. If I took it easy on this car, would people suggest getting something else? I don't know if anyone else on here has had their first manual car be Viper, but I'd like some input.

    I do want one, because I think they are amazing and beautiful cars, but the thought is out there.

    Thanks guys!

    I'm considering calling about this car. Does it look legit to you? 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Convertible - Red

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    I had never owned a sports car before buying a Viper. Plenty of experience with a stick and breaking tires loose and sliding the car and stuff, but nothing of the league of the Snake. Soooooo, after a 4 hour drive home with my purchase being stuck in Holiday traffic for most of the way I got a free spot and did a sideways burnout ending at 70 mph at which point I had to turn into my target beer joint. 4 hours before that I had never even driven the car.

    The trickiest part is not the engine power or stick shift or clutch etc. It's the pedal on the right. Learn not to mash it too much and the rest is easy.

    Moral of story: Buy the car, and match your driving skill to a plan to learn how to drive it. I continue to learn on mine 3 years later, and most of the tricky moments are related to the pedal on the right.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    If you are already afraid,, prolly not the best choice. Espeacially never having a stick car before.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    You will be just fine. Just be carefull and know your abilities.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    If you have never driven a stick and you are looking at getting a Viper, you probably won't have it very long...lol But I don't know you at all.

    I think you might be better off starting with a six speed corvette since it has more safety electronic "nannies" in place. (traction control)

    It is actually easier to learn how to drive stick on a higher horsepower car since you will just have to ease out of the clutch with no throttle applied and it will start rolling (not stalling out). Actually taught my wife to drive stick in my 600 rwhp Cadi CTS-V.

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    I appreciate everyone's input.

    I did notice that as I've driven acuras, and hondas and such that It's not very difficult to stall them out. But I test drove a Camaro SS a couple years back and it was just like you said just easing out of the clutch got the car going.

    Does anyone know how often the high performence courses are given? Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    I expect the viper is a pretty easy manual shift car to learn on. That said, I'd only advise that you go easy on the throttle in every situation.

    Enjoy! Sorry, I really don't have any input on the car out in Warrenton....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Fear not the right hand, fear the right foot. Control it and the rest will follow. Practise figure 8s and donuts in an empty parking lot on a wet day (it's easy on the drivetrain and tires) and learn to steer and countersteer with throttle. Once you get that, your survival rate will skyrocket.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoVaViper View Post
    Okay,

    So I'm going to humble myself when I say that between videos of people crashing their Vipers popping up seemingly left and right these days, and the fact that I've driven, but never owned, any manual car at all - the idea of owning a Viper is starting to scare me. If I took it easy on this car, would people suggest getting something else? I don't know if anyone else on here has had their first manual car be Viper, but I'd like some input.

    I do want one, because I think they are amazing and beautiful cars, but the thought is out there.

    Thanks guys!

    I'm considering calling about this car. Does it look legit to you? 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Convertible - Red

    It's hard to give you a good answer with out knowing exactly how competent you are with a stick. Obviously if you're very sketchy at operating a manual car, you should look to get some pratice in that area before jumping into a snake. For the sake of argument, I'm going to assume the transmission isn't an issue.

    That being said, I get the feeling you're the type of person that would not end up crashing their Viper. Why? because you acknowledge their ability to bite back. If you're careful to always keep your traction control computer (your brain) functional, you won't have any issues.

    The Viper is my first car with less than four doors and more than four cylinders but I've never had it get away from me.
    I eased into it and learned the car at a very slow pace.

    Vipers can be first cars, but they aren't a toy.

    As for the car you linked to, I'll be more than happy to go check it out for you. I don't live far from there at all. You have a PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Yeah, one MUST-MUST-MUST remember that a Viper is a DRIVERS' car. YOU control it. You're used to cars that have traction control or ESC. TOTALLY different. If you want to learn to drive a Viper, best bet is take one to a large, empty parking lot (NO POLES)...and try out the clutch/shifting.
    Yes, it's easy to stall the Viper (I know ). Once you're bitten with ViperFever, there's no going back...that said, you MUST be careful. The rear end can come around on you faster than you can blink. All said, YOU control the Viper. There IS NOTHING helping you. Tires on cold roads????
    BE CAREFUL!
    Now go have fun~~~~ (Good Luck with your decision)
    ~juli]

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoVaViper View Post
    Does anyone know how often the high performence courses are given? Thanks!
    It's been a while for me but I think they still do driving schools/training..

    Summit Point Motorsports Park

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    juli well said glad to see your back on the form

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    Cool Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by viper k View Post
    juli well said glad to see your back on the form
    Thanks K...HI to P for me~! ~juli

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    So I went and took a look at the Viper in the opening post. It looks amazing, like I kind of knew going out there, but I realized on my drive out there that I wanted a black or white coupe, so I probably shouldn't be jumping the gun. Either way I wouldn't say it was a wasted trip. Any time I can see a Viper, I'll call it a good experience!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by SNKEBIT View Post
    If you are already afraid,, prolly not the best choice. Espeacially never having a stick car before.
    viper: perfect beginner car

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    FIrst learn to work the clutch then work on the gas. The cars are very driveable for normal commutes. You just need to understand the gas pedal and brakes when pushing the cars limits.

    Bruce

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Actually I would say a Viper is a very easy car to learn how to drive a stick on. I've taught both my kids in my Vipers. Vipers have so much torque that they are pretty hard to stall in my experience. Heck you can start out in third gear and not stall it. I don't recommend this mind you.

    However, you must treat the right pedal with respect or the car will try to kill you. The car has way more potential than most people have so you must not try to push the car to its limits until you have developed your skill. Skip Barber used to offer a driving course, 1 or 2 day, that would let you drive a Viper. If they still do spend the money and go.

    Most of us have never driven a car with the kind of power and capabilities as a Viper until we bought one so don't be afraid to jump in.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    I think a little fear is a good thing. Keeps you from doing something stupid. It's the guys with no fear that worry me.

    I think a Viper might be ok as a first manual car as long as you don't put your foot in it. If you miss a gear it will still go without stalling out. You can pull away from a stop in third (maybe even 4th, I'm not sure) and you can get pretty slow before it starts to buck.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    The Viper was the first car I have owned (not driven) with a manual transmission and it was pretty easy to get used to. I learned right away while driving the car back from Florida what wet weather driving in a Viper is like. I have had much more respect for grip and throttle position since that first drive. As long as you don't get stupid with the car before you know what you're doing, you should be ok.

    Of course, if you want a "learning" Viper, you should buy a yellow one as they are down about 200 HP to any other color...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Just like a motorcycle--as long as you're "afraid" of it, you'll be safe. Once you think you can ride or drive like a pro, it's time to sell.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    One word: FOUNDATION. If you want to be a great driver in the future, you must start at the beginning and develop the skills that become the roots for your tree of skills.

    I suggest you should learn how to thorougly drive stick first.
    It is completely different than an automatic and the funny thing is that it has Nothing to do with shifting, but Everything to do with traction and wieght transfer.
    Also it would be very beneficial for you starter vehicle to be RearWheelDrive. The dynamics/physics of how a FWD and RWD react are completely different.


    A. Start with a Viper and you will stump your driving skills to mediocracy.

    B. Learn how to drive a low powered RWD car to the Limit, Then you will be able to do great things with something like a Viper.

    Take your pick

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoVaViper View Post
    I appreciate everyone's input.

    I did notice that as I've driven acuras, and hondas and such that It's not very difficult to stall them out. But I test drove a Camaro SS a couple years back and it was just like you said just easing out of the clutch got the car going.

    Does anyone know how often the high performence courses are given? Thanks!
    The fact that you are aware the new Viper will have a steep learning curve for you is a plus. The car has certain tendencies that you will learn as you drive the car. As long as you don't push the envelope you'll be fine. The Viper is very tame and docile when driven in a normal manner. The driving schools (HPDEs) are available in Texas at least once a month year round. How many HPDEs there are where you live depends upon your proximity to a race track. Buy the Viper, there is no other sports car like it!

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Besides the stick, I was also thinking the insurance was going to be hell. It turns out that my insurance is relatively ridiculously cheap. That's one less thing holding me from getting this car.

    Thanks to everyone from chiming in. one day I'll be able to thank each and every one of you when I get my car, if something goes wrong when I drive and something bad happens, well, then the more pessimistic individuals can say they told me so, but I think it's a fair bet to give me the benefit of the doubt. I respect the car and just need to learn how to drive. That shouldn't be that hard.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    i learned how to drive stick on a 93 viper when i was 16

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    good to know that the viper is easy to learn stick with. i want to teach my wife but taught maybe get a junker stick car so when she pops the clutch and missses gears that trama would not be on my car.maybe i will start to teach her.and i say go buy the viper you want and respect it you will love it and take your time learning you will be fine. no reason to see how fast you can go or how much smoke you can make. just have fun and you will never regret it.

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    forgot to add now is the time to purchase one with the prices being so low.

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Nothing wrong with a Viper at all Its all down to you. Take your time through shifting, no sudden movements and dont hit the gas too hard You will soon get used to it

    I remember my first American car over here in the UK, It was a 1976 Chevy Camaro, Straight six with a 3 speed stick shift. I too had owned an Auto before I purchased this car!

    So, not only did I have to worry about the stick shift, I also had to worry about driving a LHD car in the UK and at rush hour too, Then also found out the car had almost no gas in it and had to get to a filling station ASAP.

    Happy memories
    Mark

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    There are only a few things I can add to the advice you've already gotten here. The Viper IS really an easy car to drive, and an easy car to drive fast. However, the learning curve is steep, and a little fear is a healthy thing as it will keep you alive and your Snake in one piece. Some tips:

    (1) Go to a good driving school (preferably before you get your Viper, but in any case, GO!) You will learn a lot of very important skills, and have a much better understanding of vehicle dynamics as a result; that will make your driving experience with a Viper both safer and more fun.

    (2) Tires, Tires, TIRES! If you get a used Viper, it may very well have older or mismatched tires. No matter how good the tread looks, DO NOT DRIVE ON OLD OR MISMATCHED TIRES, EVER! You can check the age of a tire by the tire identification number (the one that begins with"DOT". (Tire Rack's web site has the info on how to do this) . If the tires are more than 3 years old, CHANGE THEM. If the tread wear looks uneven, CHANGE THEM. If They are not all the same type, CHANGE THEM. If they are runflats, CHANGE THEM. If you are not sure, CHANGE THEM. You should budget the cost of a new, properly matched set of tires into what you plan to spend on the car. If this seems excessively cautious, just remember that those four contact patches, (smaller than your own feet and hands), are the only thing holding your Viper, (and you), to the road. If they don't stick, bad things happen. Seriously! BTW, I DO NOT sell tires, or work for anyone who does, so this ain't about money, it's about your safety, and that of others. Read it and believe it!

    (3) In conjunction with (2) above, make sure your tires are warmed up, before doing anything enthusiastic with the throttle. This will take longer in cooler weather. Also note that most of the excellent tires we have for the Viper are NOT recommended below 40F. The compound gets harder and slicker in cold temperatures. Either change to a tire rated for colder temps, or park it! Most of us do the latter. Know the outside temp before you drive, AND the expected temp for your return. When in doubt, drive something else!

    (4) FOCUS! A Viper demands your full attention, both on the track, and on the street. Do not talk on a cell phone, eat, or smoke, while driving. Be aware that because of those massive front tires, a Viper will bump steer and follow grooves on rough pavement. This is not ordinarily a serious problem, IF you are paying attention.

    (5) Do NOT play in a Viper on public roads! It may not seem that way, but the street is a far more dangerous environment than the track! There are simply too many variables you cannot control, many of which come up with little to no warning. Adjust your driving accordingly. The place to explore the limits (yours and the car's) is in a closed, controlled environment.

    (6) In conjunction with that last comment, the last place, THE VERY LAST PLACE, for any sort of showing off, is in the cockpit of a Viper! When you get in and shut the door, make sure your brain is engaged, and your ego parked outside the car, before you buckle up and push the red button. Certain other drivers (read idiots!) do nutty things around a Viper. DO NOT respond to this with anything more with a rev and a wave, EVER! The risks are NOT worth it; it's not worth your life (or someone else's), not worth losing your license, not worth wrecking your Snake! Our car has NOTHING to prove, to anyone! WE have nothing to prove, to anyone, except that we can drive it safely and smoothly! If you feel YOU have something to prove (to yourself or anyone else), take it to a sanctioned competitive venue: the track, the drag strip, or the autocross course.

    (7) We are all proud of our cars. Don't let this lead you to act like a jerk. Do NOT antagonize other drivers on the street. Don't tempt idiots into doing something rash (they will do enough of that without any help from you!). If you're going to be part of the VIPER Nation, be an ambassador for it. Be courteous, be friendly, be safe. Acknowledge the other guy's ride (he's proud of it too, even though it's not a Viper). This does not say you're a ninnie; what it says is that you have the skills, the self control, the self-confidence and the maturity to be responsible with 500-600hp.

    With that in mind, go find the Viper of your choice, drive safely and enjoy it!

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    Wow, Wildasp. That was one helluva a write-up. Halfway through I'm like "Yeah! I'm going to buy a Viper tonight!" and then after reading about the Viper nation I got all teary eyes, I'm going to be apart of something. :sniff sniff:

    Really, thank you for taking the time to write all that. Very inspirational/thought provoking.

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    Default Re: Is getting a Viper for me a really good idea?

    That was a good write-up. It's all true, too--drivers in everything from Civics to pickups to Corvettes will try and provoke you.

    I have owned 4 cars since I turned 16: a 1974 Pontiac Grandville (auto), 1995 Toyota Tercel (auto), 1991 Toyota truck (manual), and finally, a 2002 GTS. I would not trade the experience of driving and owning the Viper for anything. If that's what you want, nothing should stop you from getting one, least of all unfamiliarity with manual shifting or high-horsepower cars. There's only way to learn, after all: Go do it!

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