Good Lord. The Dodge Viper, especially in ACR trim, is the most masculine vehicle on the road. You can watch the heat rise through several large and functional vents in the enormous hood while you reflect on the fact that 600 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque is on tap from the 8.4-liter V-10. This is a good time to ponder the lack of traction or stability control. The only way to save yourself is quick reflexes and a lots of driving skill.
Despite the huge power and lack of modern electronic aids, the Viper is quite manageable. If you respect the power and acknowledge your own skill level, everything is fine. But, like the namesake, this Viper is venomous and can strike an inexperienced driver with a vengeance. At least there aren't any distractions in the cabin. A basic stereo and set of HVAC controls are about all you get.
It's sad to see the Viper heading out of production, but I'm happy to have had a chance to experience the final iteration. Even if the Viper name manages to survive, it won't be the same car. Federal requirements are making electronic stability control mandatory by 2012, and the lack of electronics has been a staple of the Viper's identity. If you aren't at least a little scared the entire time you're behind the wheel, you shouldn't be driving a Viper.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer