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Goodbye, Viper!


As my Dodge Viper SRT-10 burbles, belches, and blazes through upstate New York, I'm reminded of everything I've always hates about it: the bruising ride, the Dodge Neon plastics, the truck-stop chugga-chugga of its pushrod V-10. Yet like a Judd Apatow character, the Viper's unabashed crudeness and hostility are also what have made it so lovable.

Now, after nearly 20 years and 23,913 cars, the last Viper has rolled off its Motown assembly line. (Chrysler's idea to perhaps revive a Viper based on an Alfa Romeo sounds as heretical as a Ferrari Ram pickup.) This is an American beauty after all, a dangerous 600-horsepower beast that still can't be bothered with wimpy lifesavers such as stability control. 

If the Corvette is a middleweight boxer, this is an ultimate-fighting champion. Sure, the 'Vette has more polished technique, but cage them together and the Viper will tear its balls off. And as for pure gob-smacking visual appeal, please: While driving the Viper, I passed a trio of teenage girls, who delivered a Bieber-worthy scream: "We love your car!" Don't expect that in a Corvette.