This 17-mile 1997 Viper GTS just set an auction record for second-gens
First-gen Dodge Vipers aren’t the only members of the Viper family etching their place in record books. This second-gen, 1997 GTS with a mere 17-miles recently sold on Bring a Trailer for $116,000 (buyer’s fees included), surpassing its #1-condition (Concours) value by 50 percent. Let’s break down this eye-watering result.
We’ve been keeping an eye on the “gen-two” Viper for a while—particularly the GTS model, the first coupe in the Viper’s lineage. In May of 2018, we observed that the 1996–2002 Viper GTS was hot, and getting hotter; between 2014–2018, values for 1997 GTS models in #2 (Excellent) condition were up 44 percent. The momentum has hardly slowed, and the incredibly low-mile Viper on BaT capitalized on that movement.
“Second-gen Vipers, especially the GTS, have proven time and time again that they are deeply appreciated by enthusiasts,” says Greg Ingold, Associate Editor of the Hagerty Price Guide. The hardtop model, which debuted in 1996, hit just the right chord. Performance remained insane but became slightly more manageable—despite an upgrade from 400 to 450 hp—thanks to an updated chassis and suspension. Brakes were also upgraded, though Dodge wouldn’t go so far as an antilock system until 2001. Thanks to niceties such as air conditioning, power windows, and airbags, the cabin became more livable. It was in the second generation of road cars that the Viper made its competition debut, hitting the international endurance racing scene in the form of the GTS-R. However, the gen-two Viper also benefits from a reputation earned in video games.
“This is a car that Gen X and early millennials drove in Gran Turismo 2 and it made a big impression,” says Ingold. “I have spoken with Viper fans who got into the brand because of the video game or because their children were into the game and could recite all the specs from memory.”
Gran Turismo 2 marked the Viper GTS’ first appearance in the game, and, with the exception of Gran Turismo Sport, it’s appeared in every installment since. A Viper GTS-R later appeared in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, specifically a replica of the ORECA-campaigned car that won its class at Le Mans in 2000 and earned the ALMS GTS Championship to boot.
Like any other gen-two Viper, this ’97 GTS enjoys the prestige surrounding the Viper racing lineage, but this particular car distinguishes itself by its odometer—reading a mere 17 miles. The car wasn’t even registered until 2005; to help preserve its nearly untouched condition, this Viper was trailered to have its fluids flushed and replaced in 2011. As a testament to its perfectly sheltered existence, the tires display flat spots. (Not really a badge of honor, but that’s what happens when a car stays parked for more than 20 years.)
“It is no surprise that such a low-mile car would bring such a hefty price,” says Ingold, “and it isn’t even finished in the iconic and very desirable Viper GTS blue with white stripes, which collectors prefer. That makes the sale all the more noteworthy”
This car’s $116K result creeps into higher echelons of the Viper hierarchy. In 1998, Dodge built 102 special-edition Vipers to celebrate the GTS-R’s 1997 FIA GT2 World Championship win. This one-year-only special edition, though it’s slathered with GTS-R stickers, is known in Viper circles as the GT2.
The celebratory edition wasn’t simply a cosmetic upgrade, either; the GT2 got the same K&N air filter and smooth intake tubes as the ACR did, bumping total power from 450 to 460 hp. The #3 (Good) condition value for a GT2 currently sits at $100,000. Bringing $116,000, the 17-mile GTS in question is right in GT2 territory. The discrepancy in production totals—Dodge made 540 GTS models finished in Viper Red alone for 1997, and only 102 GT2s all-told—makes this recent result even more impressive.
Even so, Ingold leaves us with a word of caution. “This sale is still an outlier,” he says. “But given where second-gen Viper prices have been headed in the past year, I would keep a close eye on these.”