Dodge Viper GTS 2002
Dodge introduced the Viper concept in 1989 to an awe-struc public to show that Chrysler was capable of producing something that could dethrone the Chevrolet Corvette as America’s sports car. America’s supercar war officially began in 1992 when Dodge released the 2-seat convertible to the public.
The Viper was as raw as sports cars came, with a loud powerful engine and wide menacing body that reminded many of the Shelby Cobra. For some, the car was too over-the-top, and Dodge, hearing these comments produced a fixed-roof version of the Viper, called the GTS in 1996. At the same time, a race version of the GTS was also introduced, called the GTS-R. The GTS-R was created to contest in the world’s GT races that included Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
The GTS didn’t only get a fixed roof, but also got more power. The massive V10 under its long hood now produced 449 HP, as opposed to 400 in the RT/10 roadster, which made the car quicker off the line.
The aerodynamic shape created by the fixed roof accounted for a better top speed, one that eclipsed the RT/10’s top speed of 165 mph at 185 mph. The GTS’s handling was also sharper, thanks to the car’s added structural rigidity. The FR (Front engine, Rear drive) sports car set record-breaking slalom and skidpad records, thanks in part to its meaty tires.
The original Viper was a nostalgic and pure sports car, but the attractive fixed-roof version, the GTS, catapulted the Dodge brand to supercar status.