Fat guy in a little car: Chris Farley’s Viper sells for $84K
Big, loud, boisterous, hilarious, a little obnoxious, always entertaining, Nineties icon—all words and phrases that describe funnyman Chris Farley. But they also describe his car, this 1995 Dodge Viper RT/10.
The 11,000-mile, 10-cylinder terror finished in Viper Black paint sold online this week for $84,000. It’s a hefty sum for the miles, plus bumps and bruises, but it’s not an outrageous price considering the SNL legend’s star power, either. Let’s just say the new owner won’t be living in a Dodge down by the river. And by the way, no, the car doesn’t wear Callahan brake pads, as far as we know.
Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 1989, the Viper famously broke Chrysler out of its K-Car convention and was probably the most exciting new American car in a generation. And even though it was only America’s other sports car, this hungry snake absolutely ate the Corvette’s lunch at the time with the Viper’s 8.0-liter V-10 pumping out 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. For ’90s kids, both the original roadster (called the RT/10) and the subsequent coupe (called the GTS) were childhood poster cars. Seeing one always makes me do one of these:
The early RT/10s are very basic cars, equipment-wise. They didn’t come with a real top or side windows, and hot, skin-searing side pipes run right underneath the long doors. Air conditioning (which Farley’s car has) only became a factory option in 1994. Although you don’t need the flexibility of a Beverly Hills Ninja or a Chippendale’s dancer to get inside, the cockpit is a bit tight, too, and given the monster power plus lack of driver aids, they quickly gained a (somewhat unearned) reputation for being easy-to-crash danger machines.
Which is why it’s a little surprising that Chris Farley chose to buy a Viper in 1997, right at the height of his stardom. A commenter on the auction chimed in that his dealership was the one that sold the car to Farley, and that “I had to teach him how to drive a stick. He could barely drive it as his stomach hit the steering wheel. He called me a hour later and said the car would not start. I told him to push the clutch in!” I really hope that’s true. Maybe he should’ve considered a Cadillac.
It isn’t clear how much Farley drove the Viper (he died the same year he bought the car, 1997), but there is a photo of him in the car being pulled over by Santa Monica police, and the seller claimed that just 500 miles have been added to the car since 2008. Aside from the usual wear and age of an almost 30-year-old sports car, there are scrapes on the bottom of the front lip but no other major issues are apparent.
The original 1991-95 RT/10 may be the first of the breed, but it is also something of the Black Sheep of the Viper family. The subsequent 1996-2002 cars are better-built, more refined, faster and arguably better-looking. RT/10s, like all Vipers, have appreciated sharply in recent years and #2 (Excellent) values in the Hagerty Price Guide are up 26 percent over the past five years, but at a slower pace than the later cars, which are up 39 percent.
So, for someone to blow $84,000 on this one doesn’t seem too crazy. It’s almost exactly the car’s condition #1 (Concours, or best-in-the-world) value. High, then, but it didn’t exactly make me spit out my Colombian decaffeinated coffee crystals. Super-low-mile, like new RT/10s have sold for well over $100K before.
“Ex-Chris Farley” isn’t something we see too often in our business (neither was ex-Dennis Rodman), but a shabby ’67 Plymouth Satellite dressed up to look like a GTX and used in the movie Tommy Boy sold for $66K at auction a couple years ago. As far as we can tell, then, this is the most expensive Chris Farley car ever sold. An odd record, but at least the new owner gets to picture Chris Farley smiling down from heaven, saying: