YouTuber Buys Childhood Dream Dodge Viper. But Can He Handle It?

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Hoovies Garage host Tyler Hoover is smitten but quickly learns all the foibles of the mighty 1995 Viper RT/10.

Every automotive enthusiast has a dream car (more than likely, they have several of them). Unfortunately, not every car nut is able to get the machine that they spend hours fantasizing about. It depends on what you want. Tyler Hoover, the host of the popular Youtube channel Hoovies Garage wanted the first-generation Dodge Viper RT/10 roadster when he was a kid. He recently bought one and made a video showing just what it’s like when you turn an automotive fantasy into a reality.

His love of the Viper’s styling certainly didn’t diminish after he took ownership of the red roadster. It looks just as beautiful in the metal as it does on a poster. Hoover says, “From every angle – every angle – this car is gorgeous. Just gorgeous.” The Viper’s appeal is about more than just its looks, though. The fact that Dodge actually made a breathtaking V10-powered concept car into a street-legal vehicle is also satisfying.

dodgeforum.com Hoovie's Garage First-Generation Dodge Viper

The catch is that Dodge seems to have rushed certain aspects of the Viper’s production. Hoover mentions exposed wiring and points out a computer on the passenger’s side of the car that is largely exposed to the elements. In stock form, there is no form of security system that prevents hoodlums from getting under the massive hood or into the cockpit.

dodgeforum.com Hoovie's Garage First-Generation Dodge Viper

When Hoover himself gets inside the cabin, he bumps his head into the fabric roof (aka “the toupe”) and has to duck down to see through the fabric/plastic window panels.

dodgeforum.com Hoovie's Garage First-Generation Dodge Viper

So what’s the Viper like out on the road? A bit tricky. Even after Hoover installs a $3,000 hardtop/hard window package, he has trouble taking the Viper through a drive-thru. He says, “It’s kind of like a bigger, really powerful Miata.” In fact, it’s a little too strong for its tires. The Viper’s old rubber has trouble staying hooked up with the cold pavement.

dodgeforum.com Hoovie's Garage First-Generation Dodge Viper

The Viper may not be perfect, but it has advantages over its contemporary rivals. Back in the ’90s, the Viper shared bedroom wall space with cars from Italian manufacturers such as Lamborghini and Ferrari. Unlike those exotics, the Viper makes repairs relatively feasible. “The engine? Four-hundred-horsepower V10. It’s a good old-fashioned American pushrod engine so it’s super easy to work on,” Hoover says. The car itself is no longer as unattainable as it may have once seemed. According to Hoover, many of the first-gen Vipers for sale on Autotrader are under $30,000.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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