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Dodge SRT - 10 (2004 - 2009)

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Introductionword count: 122

The Dodge Vi hold on. You know this car is a Viper, I know it's a Viper but because of some tedious copyright infraction in this country, we're not allowed to call it a Viper, the rights to that name being held by a kit car maker. So instead of one of the most evocative names in motoring, we instead get the rather antiseptic sounding 'SRT-10'. Some would argue that this dilution of charisma is reflected in the latest car but, if we're honest, perhaps the old Viper had a little too much personality. Although the SRT-10 turns the extroversion down a notch or two, it's still not for the shy or retiring. As a used buy it has a certain appeal.

Modelsword count: 8

Models Covered: (2 dr roadster 8.0 petrol [SRT-10])

Historyword count: 186

It does seem quite surreal that the very first Viper prototype debuted at the North America International Auto Show way back in 1989. Since that time, the Viper was productionised with the help of Lamborghini, went on to spawn a hard top GTS model and became one of the most successful GT racing cars of all time. UK sales of the original open top RT/10 model ceased in 1997, with the GTS coupe soldiering on until 2001. For three years thereafter, those looking for serious muscle turned to Corvettes, TVRs and Marcoses until Dodge brought us the all-new SRT-10 in November 2004. Sales targets were deliberately kept modest, the importers realising that £70,000 was a big ask for a left-hand drive car whose capability could be bettered by many cheaper rivals and which looked a lot more restrained than its cartoonish predecessor. Besides, UK customers had already expressed a preference for the coupe version of the SRT-10, a body style which Dodge, curiously, never introduced here. These decisions meant that this model was sold at a rate of fifteen cars per year - officially at least.

What You Getword count: 273

Dodge had a number of key design aims with the SRT-10. First off, they wanted to mellow the car's road behaviour back a notch or two. Many would-be customers were intimidated by tales of the original Viper's lurid handling and roadholding and instead defected to cars with a little more built-in safety margin. Perceived quality was also an issue, the Viper's cabin looking more like that of a £7,000 shopping hatch than a premier league sportster. The SRT-10's cabin has been fully reworked with a big centrally mounted tachometer and a 220mph speedometer as clear statements of intent. Rather than the low-grade plastics of the original car, there's a sheen to the current SRT-10 fascia although it's still only qualified praise. Good for an American car is about as good as it gets. The hood is a manually folding soft-top affair that's workmanlike at best. Dodge owners specifically requested that there be no cupholders and the manufacturers have acceded to their application. The other demands were bigger brakes and more power and the SRT-10 scores well on both counts. Fourteen inch discs front and rear with monster Brembo calipers take care of stopping duties, and the braking system features anti-lock and improved feel compared to the rather agricultural Viper set up. The 60mph to 0 stopping distance of less than 100 feet is exceptional for such a big heavy car. The immense contact patches of the tyres are a big boon when it comes to outright braking power. If you thought the eighteen-inch wheels at the front were impressive, wait until you clock the nineteen-inch alloys at the back, shod with 345/30ZR19 rubberwear.

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Category: Sporting Cars

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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