Depreciation Station: 2003-'06 Dodge Viper SRT-10

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Story by Myles Kornblatt • Photo Courtesy Dodge

There is a supercar waiting for you at family sedan money. No, we are not suggesting a 25-year-old Maserati or Aston Martin that requires a mortgage’s worth of repairs. Instead, $35k can get a ready-to-run Dodge Viper.

The Viper has always been about providing a lot of power for the money, and the third-generation (2003-’06) coupes and soft tops hit a sweet spot in the current market. This was the first version to be more domesticated thanks to a real convertible top and a real interior.

Improvements did not mean that this Viper lost its elemental sports car feeling. The huge 8.3-liter V10 engine makes 500 horsepower and 525 ft.-lbs. of torque—2006 cars got a 10-horsepower bump—which is enough to chirp the tires through third gear.

Dodge skipped the 2007 model year, and came back with a vengeance for 2008. The V10 was reworked to 8.4 liters and 600 horsepower, and there was a revised suspension for better handling at speed. Although the 2008-’10 Vipers are virtually identical in appearance to the 2003-’06 cars, these improvements mean they command a higher market price. So for those of us who can live with only 500 horsepower, the earlier models have depreciated further into bargain territory.

Vipers are not for everyone. The technology-free, raw nature of this model might be attractive to some enthusiasts, but the heavy clutch and truck-like gearbox can be a real workout. The side exhaust pipes are fun look at, but they burn legs and sit deafeningly close to one’s ears.

Still, a used 2003-’06 Viper has real appeal for those who want a budget supercar. Its simple nature means any past abuse is easier to fix than on its contemporaries—and when everything is in order, the zero-to-60 run happens in 4 seconds, which is quicker than a brand-new Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.


The Viper Exchange, a specialty dealership located within Tomball Dodge in Tomball, Texas, sells the most Vipers in the country. Founder Bernie Katz shared some insight on the 2003-’06 models:

Chrysler’s Viper-specific plant in Detroit produced only about 1100 third-generation cars per year, which means assemblers had the time to make sure all body lines were even. So any ill-fitting panels or excessive gaps on used examples are a place to start looking for any body work and/or damage.

Average market prices for the convertible are between mid $20,000 to mid $40,000.

2006 was the last year for the mechanical throttle body Vipers.

Special edition cars like the Mamba, Copperhead, and VOI.9 (Viper Only Invitational) are coveted by collectors and continue to retain above-average market value.

The factory paint stripes on the 2003-’06 cars had a raised lip, so any cleared-over striping is a sign of new paintwork.

Vipers are stout track cars. This means signs of extensive competition use usually appear only in more general areas, such as brake rotors cracking from excessive heat, or track debris causing several chips in all the glass.


Viper Exchange
(281) 378-1465

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deaconblue New Reader
11/15/18 9:10 a.m.

Just for sh-ts and giggles I just ran a nationwide search on cargurus for '03-06 Vipers - there were 98 of them and they all were rated over or way over priced.  Seems like the current owners don't realize that they cars have depreciated as much as the article would seem to indicate.  I remember watching a couple of them at Gingerman several years ago - they could not seem to make a clean lap always breaking loose in old #10 turn when trying to hustle them too much.  They were always fun to watch at the local autocross events too.  We use to have a pool on how many cones they would collect on each run - don't remember the winner having zero too many times smiley

Desert 2009
Desert 2009 New Reader
11/15/18 9:19 a.m.

Well- the article is from January 2015, vipers have strengthened in price significantly in the last 4 years. Like any good artist, values go up after death!

Tornado_Dave1 New Reader
11/15/18 1:20 p.m.

From the UK I suggest look up the Bristol Fighter.  'A Viper wearing a Saville Row suit.'  Sadly they only made about 11 before the company folded.  Shame as Bristol had been going since about 1950 and made brilliant but incredibly expensive cars.  

crankwalk SuperDork
11/21/18 6:06 p.m.
Tornado_Dave1 said:

From the UK I suggest look up the Bristol Fighter.  'A Viper wearing a Saville Row suit.'  Sadly they only made about 11 before the company folded.  Shame as Bristol had been going since about 1950 and made brilliant but incredibly expensive cars.  


This thing?


It's like an FD RX7 and an Integra got into a fight and they both lost.

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