While Elvis Presley’s 1961 hit has absolutely nothing to do with cars, us crazy enthusiasts always have that one car that swept us off our feet and took the breath out of our gut with a swift kick in the feels. Laying eyes on a piece of metal for the first time can have a transformative, ever-lasting pull on our automotive heartstrings. That car may not be the fastest, or the best, or anything other than something that we want—*cough* AWD Ford Tempo *cough*—but to us, that doesn’t matter.
Chris, friend to our photog extraordinaire, Joel Chan, had his dream car picked out quite early. When Chris was just a little tyke, his father took him to the Indianapolis 500 where he first saw her curvaceous lines and powerful front end. It was the first time he laid eyes on the then Dodge Viper, which was running as the pace car for the race. You know how every love affair starts… you try to find out as much information as you can, vowing one day that you two will be together forever. You cut out a yearbook picture and put it in your special secret place—or your father buys you a blue Viper model as Chris’ did.
Chris still owns that model, which helped him keep the passion alive to one day own the sports car. When he had the means to do so, Chris waltzed his way to the dealership to lay down some serious cash on a new vehicle. He wanted a black one, but the dealership wanted too much for it.
Walking out, he noticed a TA Orange model. He had already researched the orange Viper TA at the lot, but had questioned why anyone would buy one in orange. After seeing it in the metal, he had fallen hard in love, purchasing the beast just two days later.
Chris knew that the vehicle would one day be a collector’s item, given the low volume of Viper’s already being made. Originally, only 100 orange TAs were slated to be produced, but (thanks?) to poor sales, only 12 were ever made, making this specimen a 1-in-12 car. You can almost hear buyers lining up at a 2051 Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Springs, cash in hand. Chris felt that the lines of the TA—standing for Time Attack—closely resembled those of the car he had so fallen in love with at that Indianapolis 500. And that’s the enjoyment of being an automotive enthusiast, we can find love almost anywhere and be happy.
Even with its exorbitant price, the SRT Viper isn’t faster, or more reliable, or even better on the track than a lot of cars in its price range, some of which are significantly cheaper, but it has draw that no other car really has. The Viper was always the ride you bought if you had a death wish.
Up until the current-generation model, safety systems like traction and stability control were nonexistent. You drove this car carefully. With the low-end torque and massive amounts of power, one wrong move could easily send the most experienced driver into dire trouble.
While technology has infiltrated the current SRT offering, the burly V-10 is still up front and all the nanny systems can be rightfully turned to the off position, leaving the most visceral of driving experiences, one that has only been captured by the legacy that was crafted by Dodge.
The two will spend hours of time together, and regardless of your automotive creed, you have to enjoy that such wonderful love has been found.