Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2003 Dodge Viper Overview
The Snake Sheds Its Skin
From its inception, the Dodge Viper was destined to become an American classic. It has taken not only the United States, but the world by storm (not to mention the devastation it has wrought on the European racing circuit). Yet for all its might, the Viper has never been comfortable in the presence of the great names like Porsche and Ferrariit's still too rough around the edges to play in their league. For 2003, the Dodge boys have sent their pet python to finishing school and after a thorough re-tooling, the results are down right deadly.
The running theme for the Viper design team is 500/500/500. Translated, this refers to the Viper's 500 cubic-inch engine, producing 500-horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque. Official figures have not yet been released, but it is a safe bet that a lot of old Viper records are going to be shattered. Dodge was careful with the redo, evolving the Viper rather than trying to reinvent it. Its body lines still reflect those of the original but are now crisp and less bulbous. The cross-hair grille, side-door scoops and side-exhaust pipes are still there, augmented by a new retractable soft-top and electrically-operated side windows. The Viper features newly styled 18-inch wheels up front and 19-inch wheels on the rear.
The interior is more civilized and no longer resembles something produced by an apprentice in shop class. We suspect the good folks at Johnson Controls had a hand in creating the new Viper's cockpit. The seats are still racing-inspired leather buckets, slotted at the top to accommodate a 5-point harness belt. The dash prominently features the tachometer front and center, with the speedometer (showing 220-mph) slightly smaller and placed just to the right. Gauges are stacked vertically along the right side of the speedometer/tachometer pod and the radio and heating controls are stacked below two large port-hole-like dash vents. The one oddly out of place item is the amusing addition of the obligatory cup holder, placed between the shifter and the emergency brake.
For now, all we can do is look at the Viper and drool over the pictures. It will probably be another year before the car hits the street and then another year after that for the hardtop to debut. Until then, just keep dreaming and saving your money.