Everyone has a dream. Some of us just dream a little bigger than others.
Shaun Lynch dreams of owning the hottest street car in Canada. He already has bragging rights for Newfoundland and Labrador, probably the entire Atlantic region. And he figures that right now he’s a contender for the national title with a 2001 Dodge Viper that’s capable of producing 1,300 horsepower at the rear wheels.
That’s big power — equal to corralling all the prancing ponies you’d find in ten Toyota Corollas and stuffing them under the hood of a single two-seater sports car.
You could also call it overkill. But it’s the kind of overkill that starts to make sense when you consider this guy is also the first engineer on a billion-dollar offshore drill rig. He earns his daily bread working with engines that have pistons the size of garbage cans and develop horsepower by the tens of thousands.
When Lynch’s Viper left the factory back in 2001, it was already one of the fastest street cars you can buy. It came with a V10 engine rated at 450 horsepower and a base price of almost US$70,000. The car’s first owner started the obsession by taking it to Heffner Performance in Florida and ordering a $60,000 go-fast package.
The Viper emerged with twin turbos, a complete engine rebuild, a cover story in an glossy American muscle-car magazine and a reputation as the fastest street car in Arizona.
Fast-forward a few years and a couple owners and you’ll find that same car in an auto shop in Conception Bay South. A mechanic flown in from Maryland has just bolted on two newer, bigger turbo chargers and given the Viper a tune up. The results from the dyno (that’s gear-head slang for dynamometer, a device that measures force) show that on its best run the snake spit out 1102.6 horsepower while running on race fuel. That’s with the turbos set at medium boost. Meaning there’s room for even higher numbers — that’s where the 1300 figure comes from — if only a glitch in the system didn’t prevent a run at high boost.
What’s it like to drive a car with 1,102 proven horsepower? “A real handful in the city,” says Lynch. “It’s geared really tall and can do 100 km/hr in first gear. That means it’s almost stalling in normal traffic.”
Lynch can step on the gas at highway speeds and break traction at the rear wheels. The car could show up at the strip in Clarenville and run competitively with purpose-built dragsters. And then Lynch could drive it home. Very, very carefully. Because you don’t mess with a dream come true.
Driv.r caught up with Lynch while he was having the Viper tested and tuned at Brian’s Auto and Performance shop in Manuels. Click on the video to see the action.