I consider myself lucky that as part of my gig of driving and reviewing new cars for newspapers and websites I’ve crushed the gas pedal on several Dodge Vipers, but not the Viper GTS-R ACR. That’s the racy version that put the cap on the Viper run from 1991 to 2017, not all inclusive.
That’s right, whether you remember or not, Viper took a few years off as sales lagged and insurance companies questioned their wisdom of covering these rocket sleds being driven on public roads.
I can tell you the various V10 engines that Dodge packed under Viper’s long muscular hood were all among the most powerful cars I’ve ever driven, some new Hellcats being the most recent exceptions. The Viper was a beast!
When Bob Lutz and his Chrysler cronies unveiled Viper for 1991 it was a rarity, a roadster with no roof, meant to be a hot rod menace on public roads and driven by guys who simply couldn’t get enough power under their right foot. It was a super car that didn’t pretend to be anything more than raw power in a muscular, intimidating body. Refinement be damned!
Yet it evolved to include a roof and by its fifth and final generation 2013 to 2017 models had some of the rough edges removed to create a smoother, easier to race body. The ACR going with a carbon fiber body to cut weight.
For its final act the Viper touted a monster 8.4-liter aluminum-block V10 packing 645 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, all delivered to its rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. That’s right, a manual, because Viper wasn’t fancy, just fast.
Riding on a short 98.8-inch wheelbase and weighing roughly 3,400 lbs., Viper would do 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in 7.5 seconds according to Car and Driver magazine tests. C&D put top speed was 177 mph, while an SRT version reportedly hit 206 mph. Just what you need when running to the grocery.
Some did, including Dodge running the GTS-R in the Le Mans GTE class from 2012 to 2014.
For the record the ACR came with a front splitter and a fixed carbon fiber rear wing that created 1,500 lbs. of downforce. Yikes! Its 15-inch Brembo disc brakes were carbon ceramic designed specifically for Viper and included 6-piston calipers up front, and 4-piston calipers in the rear. Tires were from Kumho.
Before disappearing into super car history the Viper set 14 lap records around the world. A 15th record came after a crowdfunding project to run the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife. That resulted in Viper becoming the fastest American, rear-wheel driven (with no additional assistance), and manual transmission car to ever lap that historic track.
Up front is a black nose diffuser with chrome struts holding it in place, plus blacked out grille and two carbon fiber winglets on either side, just in front of the wheels. The blue stripes start below the grille and extend then over the hood, roof, hatch and monster rear wing on black struts.
Headlights are sharp single beams and there are six black plastic hood inserts to cool that throbbing engine, and vents atop the fenders to help cool the big drilled disc brakes you can see behind the back racing wheels. Red Viper calipers visible behind those wheels too. Kumho branded wide low-pro performance tires fit snugly to the wheels.
White race mirrors blend well atop the doors and the big air scoops along the body’s sides and doors feature black mesh at their base behind the front tires. Black plastic exhausts poke from beneath the doors.
In back the rear window features a defroster grid and that big wing and hatch flip up, but not much to see inside, just black carpet flocking. Taillights are realistic red and clear with a carbon fiber-look surround and down low is the massive black diffuser that keeps the racer planted.
On the passenger’s side rear fender is a black gas cap and a small U.S. flag decal on each C-pillar beyond the side windows, the rear being a carbon-fiber look panel behind the side door windows. A GTS-R logo is printed behind each front wheel too.
Under that massive forward opening hood is a pride of bracing to make this Viper race ready, plus a red engine cover with Viper printed on each side and a Viper logo on the center bracing. A few coolant bottles also are visible and air scoops feeding into the engine’s front through the open scoop in the hood.
Inside, and a little hard to see because the interior is black, are leather-look bucket seats, handsome dash with realistic looking gauges and four chrome-trimmed round air vents. Door detailing is nice and there’s a stout shift lever and parking brake on the console. Shoulder belts with metal clasps are here and the kick plates on the door frames real Viper too.
I’d gladly drive any Viper, but the finale, this ACR model is the epitome of Dodge’s super car in both looks and performance. Autoart’s model is a perfect reminder of that!
Vital Stats: 2017 Dodge Viper GTS-R ACR (Commemorative Edition)
Stock No.: 71731