Viper Week: The SRT Viper Then And Now

The public got its very first look at the Viper when pre-production models debuted as pace cars during the 1991 Indianapolis 500. The following year, in January of 1992, the car hit showroom floors as the Viper RT/10 Roadster and they could take one out for a spin. It was fast and it was sexy and it has come an incredibly long way in the last 20 years to become the 2013 SRT Viper of today.

Let’s take a look at the car as it was in 1992. The Viper RT/10 Roadster boasted 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds with 400 bhp and a top speed of 164 mph. That was fast and pretty impressive for back in 1992. The focus was on making a performance car so what it had in speed, it lacked in comfort and practicality.

It didn’t have a roof or side windows and even lacked exterior door handles. This was a car for sunny, warm days and short drives, or for parking in your garage and drooling over. A perfectly reasonably option, but clearly there was room for improvement.

The 2013 SRT Viper has come a long, long way. This year brings an all new version of the car and it’s considerably more tricked out than the 1992 version or even some more recent years. It does 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 206 mph and has 640 bhp. Not only does it have a roof, side windows and exterior door handles, but it now comes with an incredible amount of gadgetry.

It’s got cruise control, UConnect Bluetooth connectivity, an Alpine surround-sound system, heated leather seats, a Garmin navigation system, traction control, a “Track Mode” and a whole list of options that could make your head spin, in a good way. The price tag is also about double what it was in 1992, coming in at just under $100,000, but you get a lot more bang for your speed-loving buck.

The 2013 SRT Viper is not what it once was, but in this case, that’s a very good thing.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. When not drooling over cars, Nicole writes for Wired’s GeekMom.