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!