By Zac Doell
Back in the 1980s, Dodge (and Chrysler) could be found slinging all sorts of sensible K-cars and family haulers, cars that didn’t exactly ruffle your feathers.
Then in 1989, Dodge rolled out the Viper RT/10 concept at the Detroit auto show – with a firm thumbs up from Carroll Shelby – and it was a sensation. Three years later, Dodge began churning out said Vipers and the fans were pleased.
So how does Dodge’s sultan of torque fare against crosstown rival Chevrolet and its stalwart Corvette? We’ve found two racy examples from the early 2000s – a ’00 Dodge Viper GTS ACR and a ’01 Chevy Corvette Z06 – and we want to know, if it were your money, which would you buy?
Reviewers in its day lauded the raucous Viper ACR for its lairy driving sensation and ridiculous torque in any gear, though it was let down on the track due to its lack of ABS (introduced for 2001).
Throughout the lifespans of both competing nameplates, the Corvette has always been the – ahem – more sensible option. In terms of the C5 Z06, it wasn’t as fast or as visually striking as the Viper, but at around $48,000, it was nearly half the price of the Dodge…and still plenty quick.
The Z06 reemerged from Corvette history for the 2001 model year and touted Chevrolet’s tuned LS6 engine, good for 385-horsepower and a dash from 0-60 in four seconds.
Underneath, the stiff FE4 suspension helped the ‘Vette put its power down a bit more tactfully than the Viper, as well as its ’90s ZR-1 predecessor, and inside the Corvette offered more in terms of amenities.
Dressed in black, this 2001 first-year C5 Z06 (see link above) appears to be a good nick. The owner claims to have serviced the car religiously over its years, and has owned the vehicle since it had only 2,700 miles on the odometer (now reads 44,000).
There you have it, Internet. Which early 2000s American sports car gives you a case of the “buys”?