#TBT: What it's really like to drive a supercar every day

By J.G. Pasterjak
Apr 4, 2024 | Dodge, Dodge Viper, Viper, supercar | Posted in Features | From the Oct. 2014 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by J.G. Pasterjak and Tom Suddard

First, a ground rule: We’re going to do our best to get through this entire story about a shiny, bright-red Dodge Viper GTS without a single use of the word “douchebag.” Starting now.

In fact, we recommend abandoning all your negative beliefs about Viper ownership immediately. While there may be some truth to the stereotypes, for the purposes of this exercise let’s …

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dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/1/18 5:32 p.m.

Really good read and I completely get what you are saying about you better be a people person if you have a car that is of this type.  I have had some attention getting cars over the years and I always enjoyed it. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/1/18 5:46 p.m.

I HATE when people talk to me about my car when I'm out and about. The 911 is about as far into the realm of obvious cars as I'm willing to go. I much prefer my supercars to be wearing minivan skin. 

alfadriver MegaDork
5/1/18 6:04 p.m.

Interesting take.  

My big fault with exotics is the absolute waste they are on public roads.  Not many people will walk up to a DB7 driver for some reason, but when I drove it, all I could think about was how loafing the car was.  Even at 80mph.  If I went to 100, it was still over 80mph from it's peak.  Big deal.

Certainly nice to look at.  But very pointless.

(some will recall that I worked on the DB7 V12 from 1996-1999)

racerdave600 UltraDork
5/1/18 6:08 p.m.

I've never owned a supercar (but have driven Vipers on track), so can't comment on that aspect, but I did draw crowds everywhere I went in my old Fiat 600D.  You literally couldn't even drive it to the store without people coming up and talking to you.  Everything from how cute, to what is it, to i had one of these when i was in the military stationed in Italy.  "We could cram 396 people in it and drive to the next town" kind of stories would follow.  I also used to let people sit in it and take pictures.  Then there was the constant thumbs up driving down the road.  You couldn't be shy and drive it.  Its popularity went across all class levels, men, women, kids, didn't matter.  I'm pretty sure barnyard animals also liked it if they could talk, or had thumbs.  devil

Sonic UltraDork
5/1/18 7:16 p.m.

As usual, JG is right on.  I’ve had to get used to this with my NSX, I just be polite and talk to people or wave or whatever.  It’s worth it to drive the most engaging car I’ve ever experienced.  

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/1/18 9:05 p.m.

That is one thing I miss about the classic Mini. Driving that car around on the occasional errand was always fun. 

dculberson UltimaDork
5/1/18 9:09 p.m.

I used to have an old ambulance (1966 Pontiac Bonneville "consort," or short wheelbase hearse/ambulance combo) with the Ghostbusters logos on the doors. When I first got it, it had a bunch of Ghostbusters-esque stuff strapped to the roof. It got an enormous amount of attention.

(What it was like without the rooftop stuff.) People would shout at me, a few women flashed me, I had someone get out of line in a drivethrough to come talk to me. I had someone ask to pump my gas. That sort of thing. Absolutely for the wrong kind of person it would be hell but I grew to like it. People always smiled. It wasn't negative attention.

My favorite was selling a 1972 Corolla to a nice guy from Florida, of Indian descent. I picked him up at the airport in the Pontiac, and as we drove through downtown Columbus, I kind of noticed him sinking lower and lower in his seat. He finally said "This kind of car is not for me. I do not like this much attention." I was just so used to absolutely everyone staring at the car it just didn't phase me. It was funny to get that new perspective on it.

I was young when I got it, just 20, and it was a bondo queen. So a few years of actual regular use in Ohio without a garage led to a lot of rust. I mean a monumental amount of rust. I just didn't have the skill to restore it myself or the money to pay someone. When I sold my first house after 13 years of fun with it, I sold the Pontiac. I still miss it but hopefully it's living a good life out in St Louis with the collector I sold it to.

markwemple UberDork
5/1/18 9:25 p.m.

I don't consider my 911 or the Viper to be a super car. Sorry. Way too low tech and just not enough performance. A 911 turbo is the baseline, along with a 458.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
5/2/18 6:23 a.m.

I think I might be immune to this but will need to start driving a supercar to confirm- nobody ever talks to me when I'm driving a fully stickered up rally car, so I may have some sort of vehicular invisibility power.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/2/18 7:05 a.m.
markwemple said:

I don't consider my 911 or the Viper to be a super car. Sorry. Way too low tech and just not enough performance. A 911 turbo is the baseline, along with a 458.

No, no 911 is a "supercar" in the eyes of the general public, regardless of raw performance - they are simply too common.  Part of what defines a supercar is rarity, and the Viper for better or worse qualifies, even if a base 911 can beat it by some measures. 

My Mini definitely attracted the most attention of any car I've owned or driven regularly, followed by the ex's Volvo 1800ES (which I drove quite a bit), my '72 GT6 and then the '79 Spitfire.  If I could afford to buy and own a Ferrari, I would definitely drive it a lot.  Probably more than I drive my '06 MINI.

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