Nick Smith III, owner of Moe’s Southwest Grill in Charlotte, N.C., chose this plate for his 2002 black and yellow Viper. When you stop in, be sure to ask for the Snake Special.
By Brad Elder
I was going to send in my Viper story a long time ago, but we all know how that goes. Coming from a family of car lovers, it made perfect sense to me to start driving as early as possible. It all started with the family Kubota tractor. I was maybe four and in no time I had that driving skill down pat. I then progressed to Honda 70 three wheelers, a Mini Trail 50 and then to dirt bikes.
When I was 13, dad had taken me out in my Grandpa’s old 1967 VW bug and taught me how to drive a manual transmission. Well, I was about to turn 15 and I knew that if you were signed up for driver’s training, you could get a permit on your birthday. During the next year I drove as much as I possibly could. When the weather was nice I was always asking my dad if we could go out in the Viper. The day came where dad finally asked if I wanted to drive it. With all that torque it is very tough when you are first getting used to the clutch, gas, acceleration combo. But I managed quite well.
In the middle of July, I was scheduled to take the written test for my driver’s license. I had phoned my dad at work and asked him if it would be all right if mom and I drove the Black Mamba up to the license bureau. Being the nice dad that he is, he said yes.
I passed the written test and the man behind the counter asked when I would like to schedule the road test. I told him I wouldn’t be sixteen for two more weeks but he said, “You can take the driving part any time within a month of your birthday—and we happen to have an opening right now if you are ready.”
I looked at my mom and looked at him and said sure. He told me to bring my car up front and an agent would meet me. The lady who came out to give me my test was clueless to what a Viper is or she was being very professional to hide how excited she was to ride in one. I showed her how to get in without touching the door sills (dad’s pet peeve). One of the few comments she made to me was, “That is cool how you push the button to start the car.”
After we got going the test went great. I had points deducted because I stalled it while backing around a corner. I am probably one of a few (If not the only) kids that took and passed their driver’s test in a Viper Black Mamba. Thanks mom and dad!
For the last 10 years, the city of Danville, California, has hosted a Danville Hot Summer Nights event. This year, the temperature of the show was raised quite a bit by the presence of a number of Vipers from the Northern California VCA. Margaret and Jack Cohen then hosted a party for the Viper contingent at their home nearby and the money raised by the event was donated to the Brian Angen Memorial Foundation.
Arm art, courtesy of WV/PA VCA member Bob Zubrickie.
Ginger Kurzejewski, from the WV/PA VCA saw a Corvette that gave her pause. “Here’s a photo that I took at the Northeast Zone Rendezvous at the Pocono Raceway. This car was lined up to go on the track. Why anyone would put that sticker on their Corvette is beyond me.” All we can guess is that confession is good for the soul.
When Bill Black, of Chambersburg, Pa., displayed his Viper at a recent car show, he decided to put together his own little car event in the back window of his Viper. He explained, “I made an evolution display in the trunk of the car using 1:18 diecast model cars. It shows the various models of the car. The Vipers are (from left to right): RT/10 roadster, the first 1996 GTS coupe, GTS-R Le Mans version, a GTS coupe, a GT2, a GTS 1996-2002 and an SRT10.”
Black added, “There were more than 60 other Vipers at the show I believe. I didn’t win a trophy, but with my Viper and my models on display, we had a great time anyway.”
By Brandi Sliger
The North Texas chapter of the Viper Club of America attended the opening weekend of “Wanted.” The movie starred an incredible red 2008 Viper SRT10 and some actress—I think her name was Angelina Jolie. We had an AWESOME turnout with about 13 Vipers and 30 members in attendance. We had special parking and an off-duty officer keeping an eye on the cars. Thanks to The Studio Movie Grill in Plano, Texas; Officer Tilley and members David and Mary Anne Brown for coordinating this event.
KickingTires.com recently took the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10® out for a week of test-drives. Here is an excerpt: “The Dodge Viper leaves our offices today after a week of me tooling around in the sinister coupe, and sitting at my desk this morning I had to tally up the gas receipts for the week.
“Much to my surprise, the dang thing got 20.17 mpg over the course of 750 miles, which ain’t too shabby. Official EPA estimates put the Viper at 13/22 mpg city/highway, so looking back those numbers aren’t too surprising, but they’re still impressive for a 600-horsepower supercar. A four-wheel-drive 2009 Honda Pilot also is rated at 22 mpg highway, but don’t take that tidbit as a direct comparison, just a fun fact.”
The article continued, “The coupe is an insanely fast car to drive on the street, but I was cautious while ‘testing’ it. If you want to push it, by the time first gear is done the car will have reached or exceeded the majority of legal speed limits. Even being conservative, though, something still doesn’t compute when you say ‘Viper’ and ‘20 mpg’ in the same sentence.”
Time goes by fast when you’re having fun, so the last couple of years must have flown by for the national VCA officers. Or maybe they’re happy just to have survived. Either way, it was smiles all around as they presided over VOI.10 as the last major event of their tenures. From left to right: President Bob Carroll, Vice President George Farris, Secretary Jeff Pilgrim and Treasurer Chris Marshall.
Viper owners have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is the quality of the rubber that keeps our Snakes glued to the road. Recently, Ralph Gilles, Vice President of Design for Chrysler had an opportunity to show his appreciation to Michelin by putting a bear hug on its mascot Bibendum—aka the Michelin Man.