In the movie Signs, crop circles portend the arrival of evil. The circles you could make with today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Viper are potentially parking lot donuts, but does the fact that it’s signed by Carroll Shelby make its price a sign of the times?
Prior to his passing, Carroll Shelby was as munificent with his pen as is actor Charlie Sheen with his peen. Shelby - when he wasn’t suing somebody for use of his name - was happy to plaster it across the glovebox doors of his various offspring, the way rockstars sign women’s ta-tas.
One such car that received Shelby’s John Hancock is this 1995 Dodge Viper RT/10, which sports the legendary autograph in sassy silver Sharpie. The uber low mileage Viper also comes relatively stock and in its original sin red paint.
How long does it take to build a legend? In the case of the Viper, that honorific was almost immediately applied. Here now, two decades plus later, and on its third major design interpretation, one thing that has remained constant is the Viper’s use of a massive pushrod V10 as a motivating force.
That engine was perhaps not the most audacious aspect of the Viper upon its production debut. Instead, it was the fact that that the all-aluminum 7,990-cc engine’s 400-bhp and 465 ft lb of torque were fed through a chassis bereft of even the most rudimentary safety and assistance accouterments available at the time.
That means this 17,000 mile Viper lacks any sort of SRS, ABS, traction control, or other electronic nanny that would potentially get in between its operator and pure visceral driving satisfaction. . . or perhaps punting the car ass-first into a tree.
Hell, this Viper, being a first generation, even lacks roll-up windows. It’s only nod to civility is the double bubble hard top that ties windshield and targa bar together to keep birds from using the whiplash fatigued heads of its occupants for target practice.
Other notables on this seemingly mar-free über Dodge are the original three-spoke slicers that look so quaint today, and seat bolsters inside that haven’t seen their leather coverings abraded through.
In fact, aside from the glovebox door graffiti and a satellite radio head unit (how you would possibly hear anything over the side exhausts is beyond me) this Viper looks all stock. Speaking of those side pipes, this is the last year that the Viper came with that trouser cuff searing feature. Coincidentally, it’s also the first year the model was offered with A/C- you know, for the pussies who can’t handle a little sweat.
Owing to his history as a snake charmer, it’s unsurprising that Carroll Shelby would have had a hand in the Viper’s transformation from auto show dais dream to production road missile.
Shelby was a board member and consultant for Chrysler at the time of the Viper’s creation, and an obvious choice to weigh in on its development. The legendary racer and car builder also participated in the car’s production-form debut, driving a production prototype that served as pace car for the 1991 Indy Fi-Hunert.
The question however, is whether or not ol’ Shel’s autograph on the glovebox of this ’95 RT/10 goes anywhere towards making it worth its $39,900 asking price. Early Vipers are unique in that they are so raw in operation as to be fatiguing to drive. For some that’s an attraction, for others it’s just a pain in the ass.
This generation also sees a lot of examples that for one reason or another have not been maintained - and of course the materials sourced for its construction - the aforementioned leather for the seats, switches and whatnot - weren’t the best money could buy at the time, so there’s a lot of cars out there that are just kind of crappy.
This one doesn't seem crappy at all. In fact it looks like about the nicest example of a stock first-gen RT/10 one could find. But does that make it worth a Benjamin shy of forty grand to own? What do you think, is this Carroll Shelby signed Viper worth $39,900? Or, signed or not, that price makes this car snake-bit?
H/T to Phil Griebel for the hookup!
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