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  1. #1

    Debating between 2004 roadster and 2009 coupe

    Someone is selling me a 2004 roadster and a 2009 coupe. I'm trying to decide which is the best option in term of investment and fun to drive. I have the impression that the coupe is more desired than the convertible. I love how the coupe looks but at the same time I like the idea of having a convertible in this excellent island climate.

    2004 Roadster:
    Millage = 36000 miles
    Asking Price = $37,000
    Color = Red
    Excellent Conditions

    IMG_20200208_145650.jpgIMG_20200208_145751.jpg

    2009 Coupe:
    Aero Package.
    Apparently it was crash in the front. Front splitter is missing ($6k OEM). Front bumper doesnt look aligned with the hood.
    Radiator is leaking. Is it possible that the car is turning off due to low pressure in cooling system?
    Millage = 9000 miles
    Asking Price = $55,000
    Color = Red with black stripes



    FB_IMG_1580183837957.jpgIMG_20190127_142015.jpg


    What do you recommend and advise me? Will it cost too much to take it to a good condition? What things should I watch for?

    I am trying to make my dream come true by having a Viper but I want to prevent it from becoming a nightmare.

    I am located in Puerto Rico, so the car here is a bit expensive due to shipping and import taxes.

    Note: I posted a similar question for a 1993 Viper.

  2. #2
    Enthusiast Steve M's Avatar
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    The '04 doesn't look hateful, but "excellent condition" is a bit of a stretch IMO based on the couple pics provided. At the very least, it is missing the top piece of the stock intake/air box assembly. It is also hard to tell the condition of the paint with as much dirt as there is on it - the headlights look a bit sandblasted, but that could just be the dirt and unflattering flash photography. That's a decent amount they are asking for the mileage, but that could be the going rate these days. Clean, no stories cars are becoming increasingly rare, so expect to pay a bit more.

    Hard pass on the '09 - that's big money for a car that clearly has a story. You have no idea if it was repaired correctly, and based on your description, it has not been fully repaired. The car shouldn't be shutting off because of a coolant leak, but it certainly isn't doing it any favors. I have a feeling there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. If you were well versed in Viper restoration, I'd say give it a whirl, but I'd be asking for them to take $10k-$15k off the asking price due to the unknown unknowns. It looks like someone is looking to offload their problem onto someone else.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M View Post

    Hard pass on the '09 - that's big money for a car that clearly has a story. You have no idea if it was repaired correctly, and based on your description, it has not been fully repaired. The car shouldn't be shutting off because of a coolant leak, but it certainly isn't doing it any favors. I have a feeling there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. If you were well versed in Viper restoration, I'd say give it a whirl, but I'd be asking for them to take $10k-$15k off the asking price due to the unknown unknowns. It looks like someone is looking to offload their problem onto someone else.
    Got agree with Steve here. Front end collision can leave you with MAJOR issues if repair isn't thorough and perfect.

    But it's odd that you're torn between a vert and coupe. That's usually a no brainer since buyers fall into one category or the other before even looking into the market.
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  4. #4
    I think prices are high right now, pre-spring and the auction sales. If you wait you will find a much better car Nov-Dec. I found a 2008 with 12K miles for $45K perfect condition. I let that one go for the 2004 white mamba. 10K miles and $40K. Take your time, I spent 18 months looking. The coupe was the better buy but I wanted a vert!
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  5. #5
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    It';s all about your end game. If you plan on going for more power down the road a GEN 3 is easier to Mod.than a GEN 4. If your are thinking in terms of investment I would say go buy yourself some rental property.

    Have you given any thought to how much money you would have to put into a GEN 3 just to bring it up to a level of a GEN 4. plus I believe the the GEN 4 transmission and rear end are superior to the GEN 3.

    Best of luck on your decision. Buying a Viper can be a slippery slope indeed, but man what ride.
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  6. #6
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    Have had both Gen III and Gen IV cars. The Gen IV car is an overall better machine from a track driving standpoint in stock form. From a just cruising around and having fun, it sure is great to be able to put the top down. Personally, I would never purchase a previously wrecked Viper if I was ever considering tracking the car. Agree with everything that Steve said above.
    As long as it is not yellow.

  7. #7
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    Crash damage is a complete non-starter for me.
    Washed-up Viper pilot.

  8. #8
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    I have a 09' convertible with coupe back end I might sell... Best of both worlds. Only 9k Miles
    TT everything

  9. #9
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    I think it really comes down to whether you want a coupe versus vert.

    As others have said/implied, major crash history should send out signals larger than a Las Vegas jumbotron.
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  10. #10
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    lmm21pr, you have been presented with some sound advice in the above posts.

    I have a different suggestion: Skip all three of these cars as a "front end bargain" can/often will be a nightmare and potential nonrecoverable financial disaster.

    I would further suggest that you make known your location so that Members in your area can reach out to you and offer Viper assistance. Often times, local Members will know of Vipers for sale that are KNOWN entities without "stories". In my own experience of helping folks find a Viper, this approach works out quite well.

    Finally, TRUSTED dealers such as Woodhouse's Bill Pemberton and Roanoke's John Gastman are great resources for finding great trade-in Vipers that their shops sort and service...thus preventing the new owner from stepping into the trap of unknown or overlooked Viper problems. These guys have been around since "Viper-time" began !! They are fair and square gentlemen.
    I don't send or receive "PM's" since I prefer DIRECT communication.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-Indy View Post
    lmm21pr, you have been presented with some sound advice in the above posts.

    I have a different suggestion: Skip all three of these cars as a "front end bargain" can/often will be a nightmare and potential nonrecoverable financial disaster.

    I would further suggest that you make known your location so that Members in your area can reach out to you and offer Viper assistance. Often times, local Members will know of Vipers for sale that are KNOWN entities without "stories". In my own experience of helping folks find a Viper, this approach works out quite well.

    Finally, TRUSTED dealers such as Woodhouse's Bill Pemberton and Roanoke's John Gastman are great resources for finding great trade-in Vipers that their shops sort and service...thus preventing the new owner from stepping into the trap of unknown or overlooked Viper problems. These guys have been around since "Viper-time" began !! They are fair and square gentlemen.

    I agree. None of the pricing and the conditions of those cars impressed me. Selling a car with multiple issues for top dollar is also BS. Shop around and spend some money shipping THE RIGHT car to you. I bought my 04 out of Arizona and got it shipped back for a grand. WELL WORTH IT! Don't buy a beater man, it's a Viper!

    Write down your MUST HAVES and know the difference between the Gen3/4. Gen 4 has 100hp bump, forged engine, etc. Gen 3 is less money, reliable, Mambas are rare as well as other collectors.

    Get to know your Gens and figure out what you're doing with the car MOST... and purchase something that checks the most boxes and fits the budget. Don't buy simply for price and don't buy a car with issues, ever.
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  12. #12
    Enthusiast Steve M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACR-ISH View Post
    Write down your MUST HAVES and know the difference between the Gen3/4. Gen 4 has 100hp bump, forged engine, etc. Gen 3 is less money, reliable, Mambas are rare as well as other collectors.

    Get to know your Gens and figure out what you're doing with the car MOST... and purchase something that checks the most boxes and fits the budget. Don't buy simply for price and don't buy a car with issues, ever.
    The Gen 4 cars (2008-2010) did not have forged pistons. They are cast (hypereutectic) pistons, just like on the Gen 3. The Gen 4 and 5 motors are very similar, but not identical.
    2008 SRT-10 Coupe - Venom Red Metallic w/ White Stripes
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  13. #13
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    I understand the fear that many on here have of cars that have been damaged or even come with a salvaged title. But in the end the Viper is just a car and if the repairs have been done right and you can get something at a greatly reduces price or even do some of the repairs yourself. You can save a great deal of money. Also if you are of the belief you must have a unmodified car chances are good you will pay a premium for such an example. I myself was of this mind set way back when I bought my first Viper. But in looking back at it and all the money I spent on modifying that car it was pretty silly in the end. Because as a seller you will be lucky to get pennies back on the dollars you spent. So why not take advantage of this when looking to buy.

    My 2010 is a salvage title car that I bought for next to nothing. Sure I put in some time and money into the car but as it sits I have the car the way I want it and still at a cost way below what I would have payed for a stock car. Lastly I drive my cars and in two years I have already put on 17,500 mile on this car alone. So my train of thought won't apply to many Viper owners who don't drive their cars as much. As they mite see value in low mile and clean titles.

    Not driving your Viper because you don't want to put too many miles on it.

    Is just like saving your girlfriend for the next guy.
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  14. #14
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    I bought a 06 coupe with a salvaged title a handful of years ago from a third party. I was a rookie to the Viper world so I didn't do my homework when it came to having the car inspected. Since it was out of state I did have a company go look at the car and give me some feedback. Now looking back, I'm sure if I was buying a Camry they would have done a great job. It turned out that the car had frame damage and the person/ company that repaired it did their best to cover it up. So $20K and a new frame later the car is the way I want it. I was EXTREMELY lucky because my insurance paid for it (another long story) so I didn't have any out of pocket expenses. My point is have the damaged Viper inspected by someone that knows what they are looking at.

  15. #15
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    There may be possible cost benefits when buying a salvaged car. But the real pain comes when you try to sell it later on. 99% of people will not be interested.

  16. #16
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    It seems the OP is getting some 'voice of experience' input and helpful perspectives. I'll add mine as well > If there's a story of any sort on a vehicle, be prepared for aggravation and unexpected costs. You might get lucky, but that would be the exception, not the norm. Whether I am buying stock or modified cars, I've found it is best to pay more to get one that requires no explaining. That would be even more true if I lived somewhere where parts and local expertise was a concern. You'll find the right one ... It's worth waiting for.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by drewsss View Post
    There may be possible cost benefits when buying a salvaged car. But the real pain comes when you try to sell it later on. 99% of people will not be interested.
    As a guy who has sold many salvage title Vipers I am telling you your numbers are way off. Now like any car you need to do your proper homework. I have 8 Vipers in my garage now with half being salvage title. I welcome you to come inspect them and tell me what ones are salvage. You will not be able to. No I have seen many poorly done salvage title Vipers out there but at the same time I have seen clean no story cars with bad frames that were totally cobbled back together. So as with any Viper purchase you need to do your homework.
    TT everything

  18. #18
    I agree that there are different approaches on how to repair a car and you can definitely do a quality job that would be near impossible to detect and as good, or better than new. However, I also think that most buyers will stay away from a salvage title, regardless on how well it was done. Insurance companies may also not agree to a high value, based on the salvage status

    I think there are enough cars out there for sale that you can find one without any stories.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by commandomatt View Post
    I agree that there are different approaches on how to repair a car and you can definitely do a quality job that would be near impossible to detect and as good, or better than new. However, I also think that most buyers will stay away from a salvage title, regardless on how well it was done. Insurance companies may also not agree to a high value, based on the salvage status

    I think there are enough cars out there for sale that you can find one without any stories.
    Wonder how I sold so many then? Strange.
    TT everything

  20. #20
    Some may be ok with a salvage if the price is right. So you sold a few since that’s what you had for sale. That doesn’t mean the majority of buyers would choose a salvage if they had a choice. By your comment it sounds like you think your sales history is an indication that people don’t care

    Why don’t you start a poll to see if it matters to buyers if the car has a salvage title and see what the responses would be.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by commandomatt View Post
    Some may be ok with a salvage if the price is right. So you sold a few since that’s what you had for sale. That doesn’t mean the majority of buyers would choose a salvage if they had a choice. By your comment it sounds like you think your sales history is an indication that people don’t care

    Why don’t you start a poll to see if it matters to buyers if the car has a salvage title and see what the responses would be.
    I have sold more than a few.. I do think some people care and some do not. Your comment of most buyers is what I was referring to. You might be one of them and there are plenty out there but it is by no means doom and gloom trying to sell a salvage title Viper. Takes about the same time or maybe even a little less for me to sell a salvage title one vs clean. I would guess it would be due to the better price.. Every Viper is a little different.
    TT everything


 

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