For Viper fans, the last three years have seemed like an eternity. After the Dodge Viper was discontinued in 2010, no one was sure if it’d ever return.
Then, this past spring, it came back with a vengeance, badged as an SRT vehicle instead of a Dodge. The 2013 SRT Viper is just months away from going on sale. Its first iteration to find customers will be the Launch Edition, a throwback to the Vipers that terrorized the streets from the first GTS coupe in 1996 and 2006 redesign.
Adorned in GTS Blue with Bright White dual stripes exclusive to the Launch Edition, it pays homage to the cars that came before it, the cars that helped carve the path for one of America’s most popular sports cars. But it also helps pave the way for the upcoming SRT Viper and Viper GTS models, shod with a new-style five-spoke wheel design and the third version of the snake on the badge, the aptly named Stryker.
Setting the 2013 SRT Viper Launch Edition apart from non-special edition Vipers to follow are a serialized plaque, Black Laguna leather with contrast stitching, an Alcantara headliner, and white bezels with a Satin Silver finish. More than any Viper before it, the 2013 model exudes the sort of luxury one would expect of a roughly low six-figure supercar (Prices have not yet been announced, but expect it to be near or slightly above $100,000.).
But that’s not why people buy Vipers; they buy them for their visceral performance and raw appeal. Despite now having federally mandated traction and stability control, the 2013 SRT Viper still delivers those in spades by way of its relatively light weight—down more than 100 pounds versus the last 2010 models—and 640-horsepower, 8.4-liter V-10 engine, which is 40 horsepower up on the last car’s. The 2013 SRT Viper also uses carbon fiber extensively for the first time, replacing the previous car’s fiber glass panels and helping stiffen up the car’s structure and lighten it some. The rest of the body is made of aluminum.
The 2013 SRT Viper Launch Edition makes its debut at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California, from August 17-19. It is expected to hit showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year.