Automobile CollectablesCar StoriesFeature CarsFeatured

Dodge Viper

Wife's Car

I am a very lucky man to be married to a woman who loves cars as much as I do. However, it does occasionally have its drawbacks. We have a small collection of cars and we like all cars with no real preference to one make over another. I have always considered all of our cars to be “our” cars. That is, because she goes to all the shows and other car events, they are “ours”, not mine. I do most of the driving and I do have cars that I prefer to drive and she has ones she would rather drive. Recently that changed.

1967 Corvette in Lynndale Blue

One of my all time favorite cars that I owned when I was much younger was a 1967 427 4-speed Corvette coupe. I regretted selling it back in the day and always wanted to replace it. Out of the clear blue she said, “I know you have always wanted another older Corvette and we aren’t getting any younger. Why don’t you get one.” Well, that little nudge was all I needed and off I went. I knew exactly what I wanted and thought it would take a couple of years to find the right car. Remarkably, within two weeks I found my dream car. It is a 1967 coupe with 427 4-speed, factory side pipes and air conditioning. It is also in the correct one year only Lynndale Blue. All was right in the World.

However, everything was about to change. A year or so later she said she wanted a car of her own! Ok….uh….what do you want, I asked? She said a Viper! Now, I have nothing against MOPARs, after all we have a 69 Daytona. But, Vipers are just not one of those that has ever been on my radar. I said how about a C1 Corvette instead? May be a 1956-1960 model. She said ok and off we went looking.

1998 Viper in Vroom Silver with Black Stripes (incorrect)

I owned a 1962 right after college and have fond memories of cruising around with the top down. Time must really warp our memory because, today, neither of us could easily get in or out of a C1 Vette with the top up and the handling was not something we could tolerate. After looking at several C1s and not wanting another C2 she reminded me she really wanted a Viper.

Stripes are tape, too narrow and in incorrect black.

With that I simply said ok, you do your research and find something to look at and we will go from there. She did just that. She went deep into the Viper world and within a week or so she had decided she wanted a generation two Viper, ones built between 1996 and 2002. It had to be a GTS coupe but only in certain colors. She really wanted it to be a 1997 or 1998 for reasons she explained to me. Now, I am no Viper expert and after her research I was asking her lots of questions about them and trying to catch up. She was taking this very serious. She was just a little scared of what owners were saying about the torque and lack of ABS, traction control and other electronic handling supplements found on modern high performance cars. We have a C5 ZO6 Corvette we bought new and you can easily get into trouble quickly with it when you turn those features off. The Viper doesn’t even have these and it has even more HP.

Well, the search was on and, like with the 1967 Vette I found, she had found a Viper we both liked. It was a rare color, low miles and in great condition with some expensive aftermarket options. After a couple of weeks it too was in our garage. One complaint she had with the car was that it was silver with black racing stripes. They were not only tape instead of paint, they were also the wrong color. They were black and the factory never did black stripes on a silver car in 1998, just blue stripes.

Got a V8? Got a Hemi? NO! V10!

I talked her into having them professionally removed and she did not want to add any stripes back. It had not had them from the factory so that is the way she wanted it. I wanted to put the correct blue stripes on it but she refused. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, when the black tape stripes were removed they left a faint yellow ghosting under where the tape had been. The tape stripes were also narrower than the factory stripes. My solution was to paint the correct blue stripes on the car and cover up the ghosting. The only other alternative was to repaint the entire car. She reluctantly agreed and off to the paint shop went our Viper.

Viper with stripes removed.
Viper with stripes removed.

Since there were a couple of scratches and scrapes on the nose we decided to repaint it entirely, add the blue stripes and clear coat over them as the factory did.

Nose is off for paint.
getting ready for new silver paint.
Nose is prepped for its new silver paint and blue stripes.

When we went to pick the car up and she saw the blue stripes it was like a little girl on Christmas morning who sees that special doll under the Christmas tree that she has wanted more than anything! Katrina could not stop smiling and running around the car to see it from every perspective.

Blue is laid down.
The finished product!
Back home, next step is to polish the wheels!

It has now been a couple of weeks and I love the Viper. I actually was permitted to drive it a couple of times, it IS HER car and she said I can drive it sometimes. This is a completely new feeling for me, I may have to buy my own Viper.

Show More


I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button