Pros: Gorgeous "Look at Me" Styling, American Muscle Car Rumble, Future Collectibility, Stability at High Speed
Cons: Dodge Build Quality, Expensive Replacement Parts/Modifications/Maintenance, Poor Ergonomics
I purchased my 1999 Dodge Viper GTS (Red/Silver Stripes) in 2007 for two very silly reasons: 1) I had been dreaming about one since I was 12 years old in 1992 when the first versions were actually released for production, 2) I wanted a car that would be a "classic American muscle car" when I was older. The car would keep my near 1,000 horsepower Supra company in the garage. :) No matter how fast that Supra was, the Viper is always the eye catcher of the pair.
The most obvious thing about the Dodge Viper is it's incredible styling. No car looks this mean, and when you turn the key . . . it sounds just as ferocious. It gives you the true "American Muscle" feel. The car tears from a dead stop (breaking the 335's in the rear loose from just 1.5K RPM) and pulls consistently to high speed with minimal low end shifts. The torque is available at any RPM. The car handles incredible, and it's a true performer.
That being said, the car is very much a Dodge. Many interior fitments like the A/C, Window Controls, and some of the gauges look like they are fresh out of a Dodge Ram down the street. On the majority of the Vipers, there is a gap between one corner of the hood and the bumper. The owners' club considers that a perk, part of the attitude, others refer to it by answering, "It's a Dodge." The weatherstripping on the doors wears pretty quick, my car has only 12.7K miles on it, and the weatherstripping already allows a lot of air through. The ergonomics on the inside (although corrected substantially on the newer SRT-10 models) is very akward. The parking brake is a mile away and the gauges are flat in the center, requiring far off glances during driving to read them. Not to mention, replacement parts for these cars can be horrendous, depending on what you need.
There are several things that a Viper owner has no right to complain about because they knew it going in: You feel like you are being rebirthed everytime you get in and out of it, 7.5 mpg isn't too far off of an estimate (Allowing you about 130 miles per 19 gallon tank), and you'll feel like a rock star every time you are driving . . . kids will take their camera phones out to snap pictures, and people will be steering before you are even near them.
Next, I was very specific about wanting a 1999 for a number of reasons. Primarily, it was the last year Dodge produced the forged engine in this car, much stronger and more reliable than the successive engine. Next, there were minor updates that were attractive like power mirrors, nicer wheels, different styled handles, interior hatch release, etc. To me, 1999 was the only year Viper I would accept . . . and to me, this body style was the greatest.
I am hoping that this will be an incredible collectible in the future, but in the present . . . I'm going to enjoy putting some mileage on it. :)