Falling In Love With Dodge’s Limited-Production Legend, The Viper RT/10
Owner and Photographer: Jason Keesee
I guess it all started with Matchbox cars when I was little and just grew from there. While other boys my age were playing with G.I. Joe figures, I was playing with cars in my bedroom. And one car in particular was always at the top of my list.
The Dodge Viper RT/10 was the car that I had on my wall when I was 15, not the exotic Lamborghinis and Ferraris that so many of my friends had. There’s something about the RT/10’s raw and brutal nature that I love. The Viper is one-of-a-kind in looks, and it’s a design that captures the essence of looking fast while standing still. Its complex curves and almost cartoonish appearance really push it over the top. Nothing else looks like it. Nothing.
I remember the first time I ever saw a Viper in person. I was riding my bike down the street and one came roaring over the hill—I instantly locked eyes on the car. As a kid, I remember feeling like it was an actual snake slithering down the road, apart from the thunderous noise coming from its side pipes! As it passed me by I couldn’t take my eyes off it…and I crashed into a mailbox.
The driver saw my embarrassing accident, stopped up the road, and invited me back to his house where he let me sit in the car and, to my surprise, actually took the time to start it up and teach me about it.
Fast forward 16 years and I was able to finally buy my dream car. I searched high and low for years but to find one that wasn’t abused or heavily modified was difficult. I finally came across the one pictured here at a dealer where a collector had traded it in. I purchased it over the phone.
My 1994 Viper RT/10 is different from all the others thanks to its very special prototype hardtop made for me by Autoform’s Steve Dryer, an automotive genius in Michigan. There are only two of these tops in existence and, as a result, my car looks different from just about every other RT/10. To finish its looks, I’ve also fitted custom HRE race wheels. This car is an in-class show winner and has no trouble attracting attention, both good and bad!
In fact, the car sometimes attracts as much negative attention as positive, which surprised me. Sometimes it’s ultra ‘green’-type radicals, and sometimes it’s just people who don’t seem very happy to begin with. It’s worth it, though. I love being on the back roads in my area and thundering through the forest, but it is also pretty awesome to be in the city and watch impressionable kids stare at the car the same way as I did when I was a kid.
About 16 years after I saw that first Viper while riding my bicycle, I looked like the owner of the car that had caused me to plow into the mailbox and who had ignited my own passion for these cars. I invited him to lunch and he accepted. This time, though, we got to enjoy my car.
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