When Brian Kennedy saw a photo of the Viper concept car that debuted at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show, he vowed that one day he would own a Viper. In fact, the goal of obtaining a Viper would set in motion his eventual career path. In early 1993, while still a teenager, he spied a Viper on the road for the first time and followed the Snake for miles just to get a glimpse of the car in its full splendor.
Kennedy took his first ride in a Viper in 1996 at his college graduation party, when a family friend pulled up in a 1994 Viper RT/10. His desire to purchase a Viper partly inspired him to found his personal business, a software company that keeps track of preventive and repair maintenance on vehicles. Kennedy diligently saved for two years, and in 1998 bought his first Viper, a 1994 RT/10 with 250 miles.
Fellow Vipers currently in the garage of Kennedy, now 40, include a 1996 GTS, a 1999 Viper R/T 10, a 2001 GTS and a 2006 SRT-10®, which is one of only 16 VOI9 cars ever built. Newer additions to his car collection are a 2013 SRT® Viper Launch Edition and a 2014 SRT Viper Time Attack. Kennedy also drives a 2014 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT®.
“The sheer beauty of the Viper is what drew me to it,” said Kennedy. “The Viper has definitely evolved over time. I like them all. I can’t say I’d pick one over the other. The new Vipers have come such a long way. They are a supercar and the perfect driving car. It’s something that you can enjoy on a daily basis that doesn’t wear you out.”
While each of his Vipers is driven on the street, Kennedy, who hails from Pennsylvania but now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, has an even stronger affinity for his 2013 Launch Edition. He considers that Viper his daily driver, as long as it’s not raining and he is driving alone. Kennedy has taken the Launch Edition to the race track as part of a club event, but he prefers driving his Vipers on the street versus “tracking” them. He also attends cruises and car shows throughout the North/South Carolina area with his Vipers.
“People are mesmerized by Vipers,” notes Kennedy. “It’s something you don’t see very often and that’s what I love about the Viper. They are unique and low-volume. Even when I see one driving down the road, I’m stretching my neck to look at it, because you just don’t see them around that much.”
With a wife and three children, Kennedy needed a more family-friendly vehicle. Enter the Grand Cherokee SRT, which he purchased earlier this year. Kennedy previously owned a 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT and sold that before he moved to North Carolina, three years ago.
“In its own way, the Grand Cherokee SRT is just about as much fun to drive as the Viper,” he admitted. “We actually call it our ‘Family Viper.’ When I walk out of the mall with my family it puts a smile on my face and I look forward to the drive home.”
Kennedy has become a true ambassador of the SRT brand, sharing with family and friends his experiences with his Vipers and Grand Cherokee SRT. The father of three is not the only one in his family with an SRT product. His father is the proud owner of a 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT that he picked up last summer.
“The quality of products from the SRT brand is amazing,” said Kennedy. “I’ve been so impressed with that fact over the last few years. SRT has really taken it up a notch. The SRT brand is so personal. It’s nice to be able to go to events and speak with the engineers and have engineering chat sessions on the forums. They are so accessible and it’s such a personal experience that I don’t think you get with any other car company.”
Over the years, Kennedy has made some minor modifications to his Vipers. Usually it’s just small tweaks to the exhaust or other such components. The most drastic modification he made was supercharging his 2001 GTS. No matter the year of Viper, he enjoys driving them all, and thanks to the usually mild climate in the Carolinas is able to log plenty of miles.
“Driving the Vipers really makes my day,” said Kennedy. “If I am having a bad day, and go out and drive one of those cars, it totally lightens me up and is a real pick-me-up. To hit that button and hear that engine rumbling is music to my ears. I absolutely love it. There is no other car like it in the world.”
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