Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On November - 20 - 2010

Ultimate Street Machine

by Ted Hlokoff

 

 

 

“Which car is the ULTIMATE Street Machine?”  Ask this question in any crowd of car guys and you’ll get a lot of different answers.  Ask the question in a different group and you’ll get a lot more different answers.  Different ages – different answers again. 

A Sport Compact guy will answer with the name of his favorite SC.  To a Musclecar guy, the answer is obviously a Musclecar.  Everyone has a different Ultimate Street Machine.

My Ultimate Street Machine is the Supercharged Viper GTS I recently purchased back east in Illinois, or is it?

Finally attaining a position in life where I could purchase nearly any car I wanted, I decided on a 2nd generation Viper GTS, but not just a Viper, a Supercharged Viper GTS.  I watched ebay and constantly surfed autotrader.com for ‘the’ Viper of my dreams.  I found 3, all back east and all Red with silver stripes. 

Deana, my wife, and I flew to Chicago with a handful of US Bank Drafts made out in my name (better than a traveler’s cheque).  Landing in O’Hare Airport we had a choice of a Kia rental car, as that was the only car rental left at the airport.  The first Viper we were to look at was 220mi. away in Pekin, Ill.  We made it to Pekin and looked at the ’98 Viper stashed in the rear of a 3 car garage.  It was like a new car and spotless.  I looked it over and started it.  Beautiful, but the owner wouldn’t let me test drive it because there was a few puddles on the road and the owner didn’t want it to get dirty.  I thanked him and took off in the rental car for Ringgold, Georgia where there was a ’01 Red Viper GTS ACR (American Club Racer) that I was sure was the car I wanted to buy.  I’d stopped in Pekin just in case the ACR wasn’t in perfect shape, like the dealer stated.

A couple days before flying the owner of the Red ’99 Viper Venom 650R I had been dealing on for 2 weeks had convinced me that I didn’t want his car.  It was in Florida and he refused to tune the car so that it would idle and mentioned that the a/c only worked for 5 minutes at a time.  Regrettably, I agreed with him.

In Ringgold the ACR made huge power, but ‘felt wrong’.  It had aftermarket upholstery that was falling off the dash.  The car had a shimmy that got worse after 70mph and the hood didn’t fit properly so I decided that was not the car for me.  I test drove a ’96 Viper GTS that ran perfect, had awe inspiring power delivery that made my soul sing, but it had 51,000miles on the odometer.  I offered $8,000 less than the asking price and was refused.  I wasn’t hurt by this as my back-up plan was to buy the Pekin Viper.  Another day of Kia driving and I test drove the first Viper I looked at.  The smart way to test drive a car with over 500hp is for the owner to drive it, and then try it myself and that’s how we did it.  Being unused to that much power I slid sideways on the freeway entrance ramp at 90mph … as I passed a cop driving down the freeway.  I pulled onto the freeway and drove the speed limit.  The car ran great, and I eventually did get the speedo past 130mph.  The power delivery was nearly identical to the ’96 at Ringgold.  It took about 4 hours for paperwork, a trip to his bank, insurance and documentation.  Deana sat quietly in the Kia, which I hated, the entire time.  Jeff, the owner, offered drinks and she declined.  I explained to Jeff that my wife wasn’t into the “car thing” at all and she was fine.  He told me that he was impressed because his wife had never even deigned to sit in either of his Vipers.

                                                

I took Deana along on this 6,500mi. Trip as kind of a holiday (for me).  On the 3,200mi. trip home we were forced to stay ahead of the approaching storms expected back east and didn’t have much time for her favorite pastime, shopping.  The few stops we did make she hardly bought anything owing to the small volume of trunk space in the Viper.  Although she did mention a few times that her Escape does have much more “shopping space”.  I countered in what I considered to be the winning argument, “But the Viper gets better mileage than your car.”  She mentioned once or twice that the Viper had no cup-holders. 

In Wisconsin was informed by a trooper that the minimum speeding ticket was $182us and if you can’t pay it, on the spot, it includes a night in jail.  Deana mentioned that the Viper maybe needed cruise-control?

We outran the storms and had mostly sunny days of driving, at least until William’s Lake and Highway 20.  Closer to home, Nimpo Lake, I decided that the Viper was the absolute worst car I’d ever driven in the snow and ice.  I got stuck in my driveway and had to rope-tow the Viper to the house with Deana’s Escape.

It was great to get into the Stealth and feel the 500 horses accelerate all 4 tires and rocket down the snow covered road the next day.  Already, I was missing that adrenalin rush.

 

For most of us cost is one of the most important considerations for their Ultimate, ergo – no Viper.

To many of us “hardcore” guys it’s the hands-on part that makes our Ultimate.  For us, the factory stuff just didn’t make it, although a few efforts came close.  For us, the Ultimate is one that we fixed.  Drivelines, power-trains, suspensions and bodies – nothing is sacred, at least until after we’ve fixed it.  Whatever it is that we’re doing, be assured that once we’re satisfied, it’s our Ultimate.

The Ultimate Street Machine?  For Deana it’s the shopping space allowed by her Ford Escape.  My new Viper is the Ultimate for me during the summer and the Stealth is my Ultimate ride throughout BC winters.  I am forced to conclude that all the cars made and all the classics built throughout history are Ultimate Street Machines.  Some are better used for parking, some for driving and my favorites are all for adrenaline rushes.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ioq41bZFxc

Like  most things in the world the cliché, “To each his own” is the best description for the Ultimate Street Machine.

 

 

Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

One Response so far.

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