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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

23 and Me: Viper-crazy collector is all for love-and money

Bill Blewett owns 23 pristine examples of Dodge's super-sports car, parked in rows three-deep under hot-white halogen in a garage kept cleaner than the Pope's porch. He owns at least one Viper from every generation and seemingly every special edition.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/people/dodge-viper-crazy-collector-23-bill-blewett/
52 REPLIES 52
MeJ
Detailer

I don't know. I've never been a Viper fan. To cartoony, questionable build quality (FCA, after all), and a horrible exhaust note. These have never been my kind of sports car.
Would take the Corvette's higher models any day over these.
merlebalke
Detailer

Not a fan either. The Viper is the one performance car I've never had an interest in owning.
gfviperman
Detailer

you guys have read too many mag-rags articles written by jealous vette people ...
OldCarMan
Instructor

The Viper is the anti-Vette!
The thesis was raw, unrefined, fast, and affordable!
Certainly NOT boring like Chevies...
OldCarMan
Instructor

What's to understand? Either you get what the Viper is or you don't.
Then you are happy with the homogenized vanilla chevies of the world!
Lightning1
Detailer

There's a person to collect everything. Some people even collect Gremlins! I'm not a Viper person either, but I have to admit they have been ignored and undervalued for years. They were supposed to be the Cobra of the 90s. A Cobra is 1mill+ so in that vein, these are a bargain!
Davis_H
Pit Crew

Best part of the article is this guy's hairstyle
Viperenvy
Intermediate Driver

MeJ - As a Viper fan since January of 1989, I was drawn to the styling. Remember all the aerodynamic designs of the 90's? Viper put every manufacturer on notice in 1992 as owners paid two, three, four, and five times the sticker. When the coupe hit, it started dominating racing circuits with a year. Without Viper, where would corvette be? Viper's "Fourfather", Bob Lutz, left Chrysler and went to GM. Every wonder why the C6 was a massive leap forward from the C5? I have seen some notes on what he thought of the C5. When the Gen IV 2008-2010 ACRs came out with aero, many (including you, maybe) laughed. "Who needs a racecar on the street" I heard everywhere from others. Now, every serious car has aero. It all started with "cartoonish" styling. It is only "cartoonish" until everyone follows. The Corvette C7 even added a big splitter and wing as the ACR-E was going out of production. Corvettes turned into a great vehicle, but needed a big push 30 years ago. I now enjoy the C8 dominating the mid-engine space at a fraction of the cost. We all have our passion. Great to know yours is Corvettes. See you on the road enjoying the Car Culture!
drhino
Instructor

Differing opinions make the world go ‘round. Glad you like the Viper, never been a fan. To me “cartoonish” has remained “cartoonish”. Regarding Vette styling, I’m of the opinion that the C4 is the last good looking Vette. And they keep getting more “cartoonish” (actually I would use the word “overstyled”— just carrying the word forward). I absolutely love what the Viper stands for; minimalist, no BS, just a performance car. I could easily live with the styling, especially the second generation (must be spat and wingless). My real issue (as mentioned by others here) is the sound. Sorry, but I’ve always thought they sound like an old garbage truck. Maybe that’s why the subject of the article doesn’t start them.
Viperenvy
Intermediate Driver

Sound is a thing.  However, trying to get the "drive by" noise requirement with side exhaust was an issue.  So they opted for horsepower.  My understanding is they made an engine to "sound better" and appease the V-8 crowd.  If ran fine and sounded great.  One problem, 10% less snakes in the engine and was quickly discarded.  Aftermarket solved many of those problems since the EPA wasn't on the case about modifying.   

LightningLee
Intermediate Driver

As a Viper fan and multiple Mopar owner I recommend an after market exhaust or take the resonator off. They sound great with a basic after market as I can attest to my SRT 10. It sounds awesome! As well as most others that are being enjoyed as driving cars. It is typical that low mileage collector Vipers will have the stock exhaust
LightningLee
Intermediate Driver

Add - Newer models may have the resonator. Newer model owners can chime in on which years have that
Lee
Pit Crew

I don't see any sprinkler heads in the ceiling of his building. Would a guy this smart have his collection in a building with no fire suppression? It's probably even attached to his house...
markvii1
Intermediate Driver

Chrysler made less than 30,000 units over a 25 year production run, and quite a few of those cars are in a spotless private garage being "preserved". I don't care personally if you put the car under glass or drive it every day, but locking them away and never using them seems like a waste. There are probably more Vipers with low or no mileage than there are ones with more than 50K. I know for a fact that almost every modern Ford GT produced was sucked up by an "investor" and bubble wrapped in a secret garage somewhere. The auto manufacturers might as well just start selling the clay models as sculptures and never make a functioning sports car.

LightningLee
Intermediate Driver

There are collectors, drivers, and people who collect and drive their cars. Like the article mentioned, if you decide to put your money in cars instead of and or the stock market why hate on them. Let people do what they like and enjoy it with them. There is room for
everyone
narod85
New Driver

All I see is a rich guy hoarding these desirable cars and 22 car guys that don't own a Viper
NoahFence
Pit Crew

Are you really rich if you can't launch one into space to prove it?
RoadDog
Intermediate Driver

I would have asked him what he uses as a daily driver. Would have been a good question to ask.
bill1974
New Driver

Based on the 1st & last photos in the article, I counted 27 Vipers (back row 12) then rows

of 6, 5, & 4. All look like Vipers. Does he own the extra 4 or maybe those are his daily drivers.

JGeske
Intermediate Driver

The Cobalt Blue Metallic (looks like a 96) GTS Coupe in the middle is a thing of beauty, a car of which I have had many models and posters of through the years. Maybe someday I will be able to own the dream car of my teens.
Maestro1
Instructor

He sounds like an intelligent guy who knows what he's doing. I am not a fan of these cars,
but that doesn't matter. My interests lie elsewhere, and I have been in the Hobby forever. I
have never bought a car for its potential financial reward although I have done OK when I have sold. I'm in this for the cars. I drive all mine, and their mere prescence in my life gives me great joy. I'm 84 years old and still at it. I've had everything from a 41year old Japanese
truck with maybe 65 horse power to monster Chryslers with 400 plus inches under the hood and loved them all. I wish Bill very well, and I hope his investment strategy is gratifying to him
Thank you Cameron well done. Stay well.
Turbo4Joe
Pit Crew

"He bleeds Viper red and loves the cars..."
But he never drives them....
Yep....he's a REAL car guy!
Maybe he's afraid of the wind messing his man bun.
Viperenvy
Intermediate Driver

His drivers are interesting.  You'd enjoy.  Car culture encompasses many aspects of "Car Guy."  When we celebrate our common passions, we come together.  When we relegate others based on our standard and perspective, we divide.  Tastes great, Less filling.  Who cares, you like cars - I like you 😉

OldFordMan
Detailer

I like what the wife said about if he should die. And which one would he want to be buried in I would ask.
wdb
Detailer

I'm somewhat ambivalent about Vipers but not about what this guy is doing -- using cars as an investment bet. As people like this guy drive prices upwards, my bucket list keeps shrinking to fit my budget. He wins, I lose.
MATTMERICA
Instructor

For an "investment guy" he seems to not have a diversified portfolio, unless the one-offs and limited edition vipers are the "diversity" in his investment?
JGeske
Intermediate Driver

Indeed, he shrunk the already small market (as they point out, 30k made, and how many crashed? I know of at least one Viper crash here in Northern Wisconsin in 2015) by 23 cars. Additionally, to make an investment comparison, in the stock market, a sudden spate of purchases on an asset often triggers a run on said asset, causing the price to increase artificially (the smart investor triggers the run and then sells off the asset, making a quick buck off the lemmings who followed). The purchase of 23 rare cars in 2.5yrs is a run on that asset, probably causing others to jump in thinking that the cars would be harder to come by and rising in value. A self fulfilling prophesy. Of course, in the stock market, and car market, the value will drop as now there will be a lull of anyone buying them for a while (it will just be a longer process in the car market) and may come back to devalue his investment. We shall see.
Viperenvy
Intermediate Driver

All of you investment wizards may have heard, buy low.  Who here thinks he has been buying in the last 6 months?  Who here thinks he was buying when all those complaining they are expensive, did not want to buy them.  Think about that just for a minute or two.

 

JGeske
Intermediate Driver

Yes, buy low, we are aware. In fact I am a Financial Analyst for a living. Buy low is not the only rule in play here. I do think his purchases, made in a 2.5yr timeframe, as per the article, may have contributed to the recent high prices. Now, I do think the Viper will continue to be an appreciating asset as more of them crash and the remaining "shares" become scarce. I just think that the current high value (as stated in the article, the values are currently ahead of his projection) may be a short-term bubble caused by his buying, which will slow and/or drop temporarily, and then resume a steady climb in the long-term.
MrBill-1943
Intermediate Driver

Blewett is 100% correct when it comes to Show Drivers, Show Towers and collectors. I have an 87MCSS and while I could have kept it under wraps since I bought it in 1988 and just looked at it, it would not do it for me. Today as I drive her and when folks see my restored 102000 mile beauty I get Thumbs up, Horn Honks, and all kinds of comments and stories about cars that they once owned, still own or wished they still had. The look on the faces of everyone of the guys and yes some ladies, as they tell there stories about parents and friends who have passed and rides they took with them and the love of having had them or like me still having and driving makes them a joy to listen to. While I may not get a big return on my $10,600 investment in 1988 I wouldn't trade one mile, story or smile for the few extra dollars.
Rspcharger
Pit Crew

Monte Carlo Super Sport?
MATTMERICA
Instructor

Honestly the whole thing is just weird.
- If you "love" vipers, why not drive one?
- If you are an investment "genius", isn't this the opposite of the diversified portfolio lol?
- Something fishy in the story - he worked at a scrap yard and was a water skier for 24 years (no money in either) but has a double major from MSU - I didn't see PFA or any other designation mentioned...
- There is collecting and then there is hoarding
- I have 2 friends who own vipers (and drive them) - and not that my opinion matters at all, but the ride, the sound, and the maintenance is not very good
- Let's not use BaT numbers as gospel - just because something "sold" for that amount doesn''t mean it actually "sold" lol
gfviperman
Detailer

A couple in East Texas have 82 Vipers. Eighty-Two ...
They do drive them ...
Super nice people!!!
Joey
New Driver

Biggest production pushrod engine to date. yes, they are collectors car.... and scare the crap out of those that don't respect the engine/car. Would love to one just one but for my life right now... it's not practical. Besides, I have an old demon that helps me fill the void for now.

Would love to see more pictures of each car
drhino
Instructor

Kudos to Cameron for asking great questions. If that guy wants to collect those things and leave them sit; his prerogative. He’s enjoying himself, that’s the important thing. This is America; it’s your right to do things that others may find terrible (as long as nobody gets hurt). Like restomods/clones/fakes.
markvii1
Intermediate Driver

Some of those vipers look a lot like corvettes, particularly the four in the back corner of the first shot.

Truthworldwide
Intermediate Driver

Two actually are, C6 ZR1 and what looks like a Z06.
Alfanorth
Pit Crew

Greedy rich guys driving up the prices of enthusiast cars across the board.
Then when he's too old to even polish them, let alone drive (which he doesn't!), they get sold to another greedy rich guy who will do the same.
God Bless America
Bunka
Intermediate Driver

There is plenty of room in car world for some enthusiasts to purchase a car for the drive, or for racing, or for the show, or for the visual enjoyment or as an investment. The purpose is totally irrelevant. One persons investment may suit an other's purpose as collections build, shrink and evolve. The subject here is whether a Viper is a worthy car for any of the above purposes. Regardless of personal likes and dislikes, there are very few people in car world that would disagree that a Dodge Viper is a very worthy car.
CitationMan
Instructor

Starting the cars “routinely” but not driving them to get up to operating temperatures? Wow.
TG
Instructor

I was about to comment that I don't get the idea of collecting a lot of the same car until I read the article and realized there is a business plan behind all of this. This guy is more of a broker than a collector, but I guess a lot of collectors are.
Personally, if I had that kind of money and space, I would have all kinds of crazy cars
Canucklehead
Pit Crew

We can't all love the same thing. The goofy stuff I like would have your eyes rolling. As to Vipers I'd prefer a bunch of Covettes rather than these but I've long thought I'd like one-of-each-colour '70 Nova's. Mostly Super Sports, couple Yenko's. Just because. That would be 20 plus cars but it's hard enough keeping up with a couple so I doubt I could properly care for and store so many. Would be fun to try.
SJ
Instructor

Actually you do have to change synthetic oil regardless of mileage after a year. According to the "experts" it breaks down over time; period.
mamrhrs
New Driver

Bill, enjoy those cars. For all those "non-viper fans", not fans because they never had one. I myself fell in love with vipers when I was a kid, had a big poster in my room. Loved the concept of an 8 liter V10. Everyone is going to like something different. As much as I love viper, I actually own and track a ZL1-1LE. Best track car for me and I love it. I also love my father's 1930s Fords, and they are Fords for God's sake. Don't hate on the vipers, just appreciate a great collection of modern muscle cars no longer in production and many of us deep down, would love to have.
Hth70
Pit Crew

Not a big dodge anything fan, But still what a pathetic shame.
Tinkerah
Technician

He bought them with his own money and can do whatever he wants with them. If he triggers a spike in prices and doesn't sell, he's a bit more collector and a bit less investor. If he dies in an avalanche without ever driving or selling them, well...that would be triply sad.
Ptingle
New Driver
V10-eats-V8
New Driver

I own Ferrari 488GTB, Lambo Evo, 2 Porsche TT, Pantera GT5, 3 Vettes C6 ZR1 gen 2, C7 Z07,C8 3LT, and Vipers. 7 Vipers=3ACR, 4 Gen 2 GTS. Let me tell you only Viper can get my joy up when i drive them. Every day after swing trading stocks I stepped out my office which is my warehouse with all the cars in hand a glass of wine or a beer I can't stop smiling look at my Vipers with a kick. Thanks Bitcoins $$$
BobbyShoe4
Intermediate Driver

So sad that none of these will be properly driven. Never understood collecting more cars than you can drive.