Just A Viper In The Desert

There are often times as a Speedhunter where you find yourself in a situation that you previously never could have imagined. This was almost certainly one of them.

It was around sunset, out in the desert on the outskirts of Dubai. It was hot, but not unbearable courtesy of the relatively mild spring weather.

2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-3

I had just finished shooting Dan Price’s R32 GT-R, while our friends from ILB Drivers Club, Adam and James, were wrapping up some rolling shots with this 2017 Dodge Viper SRT for an upcoming video series they’re working on.

The Viper had been omnipresent both before and throughout this trip. It was the car that called out to me from MADE 2019, and in its new Khyzyl Saleem-designed livery for the 2020 show, stood out even more.

2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-17
2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-20

With light fading, there were just a few minutes left to grab some statics of the car as it sat after its video shoot. You can actually see the light fading throughout the photo set, with the sun having already dropped below the horizon before we started. Luckily, I had caught some random snaps of it throughout the day in brighter conditions.

Ordinarily, we would avoid shooting a car in the same location so shortly after another shoot, and especially with less than ideal light. But this was one of those times where I thought ‘f*ck it, it has to be worth a shot.’

2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-24
2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-13
2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-21

As mentioned in my previous event coverage, I don’t get exposed to a lot of US builds, so this was another reason in the ‘might as well’ column. The 8.4-litre V10 Viper is pretty much the antithesis to the current European sports car recipe, and it’s all the better for it.

You might think it’s on air, but it’s not. It’s static on coilovers, without the convenience of any sort of lift system. That takes commitment, for sure. The wheels are Vossen ML-R1s, measuring 19×11-inches at the front and a barely believable 20×13-inches in the rear.

2020 Dodge Viper SRT JonBoy for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-23

“That’s about it really,” its owner Jonboy told me after the shoot, almost as if a static Viper sat on the floor with a race car-inspired livery and monstrous sized wheels could pass as being subtle. If anything, I think these modifications bring the Viper up to the same standard as the rest of the car, because a Viper should never be subtle.

While I’m fully aware that this is a feature light on substance, sometimes, it doesn’t need to be any more than what it actually is. After all, it’s not everyday you get to shoot a Dodge Viper after sunset in an Arabian desert.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos



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Just what in God's name IS the appeal of Dubai, anyway?

The place looks like what's left of Earth after space aliens saturation-nuked the planet.


Prolly not too many mosquitoes. I could possibly endure quite a lot for that perk. :)


Been there twice, last one was like 3 years ago. Tbh, I don't get why everyone wants so hard to go to Dubai, I guess they have great marketing. The city feels like a racing game city, full of buildings, some cars on the street but not too many (Or none) ppl walking around. Skyscrapers, even if big, have too much space in between, which adds to that "emptiness feeling" the city transmits. It doesn't feel alive, like NY or Tokyo. Said that, they have some cool stuff to do, but I'd rather spend my money to visit many cities before going to Dubai.
Btw, the desert makes a great backdrop for these photos, so I guess they have that in favour.


Dubai? yeah lived there 10 years ago. Covert dictatorship, extortion and hypocrisy of the ruler. Harem,concubine, under age marriage if you happen to be part of the royal family. Where else on earth that one would be thrown to jail if he / she couldn't afford car loan repayment or mortgage. Only in that arab region. You take a car loan because you can't
afford to pay it cash.


OK I will leave politics behind but I have to make it clear that the risk of taking a loan when buying a car as that is the fact. By the time buyer takes the loan it would be too late. Pay cash only.


An awful lot has changed there in the last 10 years, and the UAE remains the most progressive society in the region. However, can we please leave the politics out of it?

This is an outlet about cars and car people, politics should never come into it.


Reminds me of that whole Riyadh car show debacle, when it's even just indirectly backed or played up by the regime you're part of the propaganda whether you like it or not. I get there is a balance, we don't want troll wars on here, but cars are part of wider society, surely you are happy your readers are not completely thoughtless? Balance is important, shows you are a well rounded person, doesn't make the cars any less cool - in fact in many cases makes them more interesting, Shah of Iran, Silver Arrows etc also 'most progressive in the region' lol.. you know the region we're talking about right? By all means cover the cars, but don't stick your head in the sand.


I wholley respect what you're saying, Chris, but no country in the world is without its past. It's best not to start pulling at those threads, and just stick to the cars and the people who build them.


the appeal?

parents, obscenely rich parents


There's a problem with making assumptions.


can´t understand why people can keep their joy but not their jealousy

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

A real shame the Viper is dead. Here's hoping Chrysler will pull another "we lied" scenario and give us a new gen. LOL!


I just wonder how road in the sand is maintained, let alone paved in the first place. I mean, it's practically in a slow-moving ocean. Does it not simply disappear sometimes?

Love the livery, by the way, with the matching wheel colors.


This particular area is a bit of an abnormality, as it was paved for a new building project which never went ahead. So, you have all of these roads and no buildings just on the outskirts of Dubai. You're right though in that the sand does blow over the road in places and creates temporary road blocks, but that's more so down to how little this area is used.


Very cool photos!


Putting 235's on a Viper should be a sin.


100%. got wider tires on my civic, 245 on 8' wides


The Combo of this set-up has something alien or unreal

And i like those shots so much , the fading daylight, the monotonous background which highlights a b/w ..just perfect


A Viper in the Desert
Oh man a deadly combo!

Damian Cortisse

I just had to say that these photos and this car is beautiful. Excellent job taking and editing these photos. Truly wallpaper worthy.



That is a nasty ride! Love the design on the wrap. Those front and back wheels are the same right? Hard to tell since it is pretty dark and the back wheels are black. I assume they are...


Must handle amazing now


Doubt it. Ruined steering geometry with undersized tires??? Looks good though


Love this!


Great photos Paddy. Khyzyl has smashed that clean out of the park with that design. It seems like it's already a classic livery and fits the car perfectly.


The 20x13 is believable when you consider that Sebastian Polit's static Viper ran 20×15 with 345/25 in the rear.


love you


Not digging the white fronts and black rear wheels. All white or all black would have been better in my opinion. You always want to emphasize the rear wheels in a performance car to give the image of power and forward movement (hence the manufacturers making the rear fenders more prominent). They did the opposite here giving more importance to the fronts, looks like the car is tail dragging,, even missing the rear wheels in the dark shots.