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Dodge Copperhead (Concept Car)
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purple_copperhead.jpeg

 Year: 1996 or 1997
Class: Sports Car
Type: Roadster
 
Country of Origin: USA
Host: GT1 & GT2
 
Price: prize costing $600,000 per trade (GT2 LM version)
 
Construction: unit steel
Length: 167" // Width: 72" // Height: 49.7"
Wheelbase: 110.0"
Track: 60.0" [F], 60.4" [R]
Tires: P225/40R-18 [F], P255/40R-20
Layout: front engine / rear drive
Brakes: vented discs
F. Suspension: coil over shocks
R. Suspension: A-arms
 
Engine 2.7 liter V6
 
Transmission: 5-speed manual

  
 

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------------------------EXTERIOR-------------------------
 
The Dodge Viper began its life as a concept show car in 1990 and is now a reality, and so did the Prowler. Dodge's dedication to fantasy in the '90s has kept their image from becoming stale. The Corvette and the Mustang, for instance, haven't had a drastic change in appearance since the '80s. Well, actually there is a new Corvette out that looks pretty, like an aging actor who goes to the plastic surgeon, but it's still got the same basic shape. Even if some people think the cars Dodge has been making are ugly, they oughta at least appreciate the fact that they are different.
 
For this review, I'm writing about all the Copperheads (otherwise referred to as "Concept Cars") one can win. In GT1 & GT2, there are a total of four of these beasts.

In both games, we can win an orangish-red Concept/Copperhead by getting all golds in license tests. In GT1, we get one after golding the B licenses, while in GT2, we can win one from golding the A licenses. In the first game, we can also win a purple or yellow car if the UK vs. US series is conquered, but the yellow one apparently is rarer than the purple. I did UK versus US several times during my GT1 days, don't remember ever seeing the yellow version, but others (whose word can be trusted) have assured me it exists.

 In GT2, we can get a silver car (known as the LM Edition) from one of the endurance races; I believe it's from the SS Route 5 All Night. In either game (GT1 or 2), it's far easier to obtain the race-won cars than it is to get the orange Copperheads from the license tests; and ironcally, the race-won cars have more power. A LOT more!
 
Why is the car in our game known as the "Concept"? And why did the Copperhead/Concept not make it to production, while PT Cruisers, Prowlers, and Vipers did?
 
Originally, back when the Viper was in its creation stages (before it went on sale or even in a car show), the Viper was going to be known as the Copperhead. Dodge decided against this, changing the name from Copperhead to Viper for whatever reason (I couldn't find an official reason as I surfed). Later on, Dodge re-used the name  "Copperhead" for the one-off concept car in our games that was shown (and still is shown) at various car shows. This concept/show car is the orangeish-red one we can win in Gran Turismo 1 or 2. But bad news for Dodge. Some other company had rights to the Copperhead name. So these uptight bastards were about to SUE -- forcing Dodge to rename the Copperhead lamely as the "Concept Car".
 
The body is unusual, it features a rather long hood even though the engine is only a small-block V6. It is sleek in design and quick as hell....looks like a car we'd perhaps see on the original Batman TV show. And another nice thing about this car is that it's all wheelbase. There is minimal overhang front & rear; hence, the Copperhead is stable unless one is travelling at very high speeds over a bumpy area. But, there will never be much pitching and rolling from this squat body design.

Just so you know, those two higher-powered Copperheads (not the red ones) are the ones that I'll discussing for most of this review; so when I say the car is "fast as hell", I'm talking about the purple, yellow, and silver versions, not the red ones. That isn't to say the red versions aren't good at what they're designed to do. It is possible to use the red Concepts to cheat the hell out of GT's lower-powered races, you see. But we'll get to that later.
 
Here's a fact to think about: the world's heaviest man, Oliver Wendell Hughs, weighed only 300 pounds less than this exotic car when he was still alive! Ooops. Guess noone cares! :dunce:
 
This light weight is great. It guarantees we'll win plenty of races, but it can also cause problems. Sometimes the 1,329 pound car from GT1 doesn't particularly want to stay on the road! This won't be a problem with the red 216 hp Copperheads, but the higher-powered cars are another story. The Copperheads of GT2 weigh more than this, oddly: a total of 1,924 pounds for the orange one, and 1,984 pounds for the LM edition. These cars can also display frisbeeish behaviour at times.

Thankfully, the higher-powered Copperheads come with modifyable downforce to help them stay where they need. This doesn't make any sense in the GT1 car: there's no wing back there, but the GT2 LM does have a big, phat wing. 
 
It also seems dumb in the 1st game that these cars can't be bought at the dealership, yet if we want to sell them all we'll get is $10,000 to $12,000, just like any other car we can win and sell. More can be derived from the Copperheads in GT2, though. The LM car sells for $125,000. It costs $600,000 if traded to another memory card. But I tell you, I was hella frustrated when I finally won my Copperhead in GT1, thinking it would be perfect to ace the Tuned Series since it hasn't got a racing body, only to learn that its engine CAN'T be modified. At all. It starts with 216 bhp, and that's all we're gonna get. I had spent hours....HOURS at the B-license tests trying to win this car.

...Now do you see why I wanted more than $12,000 when I sold it? I'm ranting. Never mind.
 
 
-------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN----------------
 
The best Copperheads have a lot of power combined with very little weight. All the necessary racing parts are installed from the day they're acquired, which is mighty convenient. Like the Cerbera LM, Silvia LM...etc, no parts can be bought for the Dodge Concept except tires. Since we're only using the best parts, this makes the Copperhead a fine drive for mega-speed competitions or any racing series, but unfair to race in most anything else. It will just blow all the computer cars away.
 
The engine itself is only a V6, yet behaves like a larger machine than the 165 cubic inches it displaces. Gears can be shifted before redline to take advantage of mid-range torque, in other words. But actually, the powerband is so wide in these cars, even the laziest automatic-tranny drivers can gain alot no matter when the accelerator is planted. It's almost like a Formula 1 engine with its extreme flexibility. The Copperhead/Concept Car is therefore very easy to drive & excell with.
 
And here's a warning: this car is devilishly fast. Gears can be modified so that the lower four are short, quick-shifts, while 5th and 6th are as tall as they'll go, and this car will hit 225 mph easily (if downforce is also modified). 4th, 5th, and 6th gears are extremely tall with the original gearbox set-up, thank goodness they can be manipulated. If you're skilled enough to draft another car during a long straight, you might find yourself approaching jetliner take-off speeds, so be prepared for early skillful braking as the Concept nears the bend at the end of that Test Track!

During my tests, the Concept/Copperhead nailed 0-60 mph in just 4 seconds, and 0 to 100 in 5 and a half. The 1000 meter dash is achieved in only 16.738 seconds in GT2, which is just ridiculous. The acceleration of this car (the faster purple, yellow, and LM versions) is practically the same as a CART open-wheeler. The UK vs. US prize from GT1 boasts just 2.34 HP per pound, which is the lowest HP/pound ratio in Gran Turismo 1. With a red-line of 8,000 RPM (which you have no real reason to hit unless you're downshifting early) the Copperhead has plenty of room to to dice out a broad power range. Are we sure this car doesn't have a super-charger hidden under its hood?

The lesser Copperheads (the ones we win from license tests) are no slackers, either, although they achieve times & power ratios closer to other vehicles which travel on planet Earth.


-------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING--------------

The Copperhead from those auto shows has 235/35-18 tires up front and 245/40-20s in the rear according to some websites I visited, but wikipedia does not agree, so I put wikipedia's stats up above in the SPECS section. I would hope the LM car has even wider tires; I'm sure it does. A race-savvy double-wishbone suspension with semi-trailing arms in the rear does its best at handling the car's speed when it's actually ON the road. High spring settings can be achieved, but keep in mind that this car is light, and bumps will make it jump around a lot.

When racing, keep the damper settings low (I mean really low), especially in GT1. I had to go on the 'net to discover this. Long ago, I was racing at the High-Speed ring and my car was actually LOSING speed on  banked turns because it was behaving so choppily (the TVR that appears in the British/Japan or British/American series also suffers from this. I feel bad for the TVR pit crew as I watch this car sometimes). I tried all these different settings and then discovered that some guy on a bulletin board was using a '2' setting on his Concept's dampers all around. Sure enough, this did the trick.

All Copperheads except the reddish-oragne car from GT1 have (or can have) modifiable downforce, so extreme high-speed drifting won't usually be possible without some impending disaster waiting to happen. Since this is a rear-drive, we can try to lower those downforce settings to get the car to slide around more; but keep in mind that the Copperhead is really in its prime when flying down around the track with as much grip as possible. The red car in either game won't drift much unless really pushed, so just let its genetic ability (grip grip and more grip) take the upper-hand.
 

copperhead_lm.jpeg
Concept Car LM (GT2)

-----------------------PROS---------------------

1). Light weight (lowest power to weight ratio in GT1, and among the lowest of GT2).

2). Extreme acceleration. This car hits 200 mph as easily as I can have a pizza delivered.

3). Fully-modifiable gearing and suspension are standard.

4). Cutting-edge, imaginary body work.

5). Excellent handling with the right set-up.

6). Wide-powerband engine. Somehow this little V6 achieves all this power without a turbo or supercharger. A bit unrealistic, perhaps.

7). All of these except the orange/red B-license test car of GT1 have or can have modifyable downforce.

8). Hate to say it, but any of these are great for cheaters. Even the lesser reddish-orange cars can be used to slay the Ai in lower-powered races.


-----------------------CONS------------------------

1). Light weight can cause problems with high-speed stability at times.

2). The actual concept cars based on the real-life show version are harder to acquire, yet feature less power.

3). You can't sell the lesser Copperhead in GT1 for more than 12,000 cr. Its engine can't be modified, either. Downforce can't be changed.

4). Lack of colors. Some may find these cars ugly, too.

5). The 500+ horsepower cars are great, but don't have much bearing on realism, for those who care. Dodge never actually made these in real-life. It's very possible they've never made such power with a naturally-aspirated small block V6, ever.

6). GT2: the two Copperheads from this game are expensive via memory card trade. 

 


Published: May 20, 2004

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