• Oct 19, 2011
Say what you will about what he's done since, but nobody was as hot a talent as Jacques Villeneuve in the mid '90s. The French Canadian driver – and son of Gilles Villeneuve, who died while racing for Scuderia Ferrari – won both the Indy 500 and the IndyCar title in only his second season in the series. Then he moved up to Formula One and repeated the feat by taking the championship in only his second season, having only lost out to his Williams teammate Damon Hill the season before.

The 1997 world championship was nothing short of epic, pitting the newbie against Michael Schumacher in a battle that came down to the last race and saw Schumi disqualified from the standings for some questionable driving tactics. Needless to say, Williams was elated at securing what would, unfortunately, be the end of its dominant winning streak. And so were their sponsors. So much so, in fact, that Rothmans – the tobacco brand that was the team's title sponsor – gave Jacques the very special gift you see here.

What might look like an ordinary Viper, in fact, packs some serious Venom – modified by Hennessey to the tune of over 600 horsepower, and decked out in Rothmans racing stripes to boot. It cost $135,000 new, but with a 3.3-second sprint to 60 and a 205-mile per hour top end, was capable of keeping pace with the half-million Ferrari Enzo that wouldn't come out for another few years. Of course, with all that power driving the rear wheels and no electronic aids whatsoever, you'd have to be an F1 driver to keep it all under control.

The car traveled with Villeneuve as he contested the 1998 world championship to considerably less success, and, with 23,000 miles on the odometer, is now up for grabs in the UK with a £39,995 asking price – equivalent to $63k at today's conversion rates. Which may be worth it for the performance capabilities alone, never mind the provenance.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Myself
      • 3 Years Ago
      I see how tonight lottery goes! One thing is the car itself, second is the JV connection. I confess, I purchased JV's CD ... that says it all, I guess :-) But it's actually a rather decent first album. Put it this way, I've heard worse debuts from acts that were hailed as "future classic" by musical press.
      Bryant Keith
      • 3 Years Ago
      in the ad it says it was involved in a minor crash and has no visible damage....um yeah what about the huge panel gaps between the front bumper and fender?
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bryant Keith
        No, that's just the Viper's poor factory panel fitment. All of the early cars had unsightly gaps on the front end.
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      How many "Finds of the day" can you post in one day AB?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wow... Hennessey's past bad business decisions were never about build quality. It was about him stealing money.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        Im pretty sure a high profile champion racecar driver is the last person John H would cheat.
      th0mb0ne
      • 3 Years Ago
      Damn, look at those panel gaps.
        Andre Neves
        • 3 Years Ago
        @th0mb0ne
        Looks like the front fascia might've been replaced. Just read (Google Books - Viper's Buyers Guide) that if the front fascia has ever been replaced, that it could be difficult to align the new one properly to factory-spec. Then again, it mentioned(and points out the game between the headlights/hood) that build quality on older model Vipers was pretty "inconsistant" and doesn't necessarily point to accident-damage.
      Dan S
      • 3 Years Ago
      JV was hot property as long as he had a dominant car under him.
      lorenzo
      • 3 Years Ago
      gee, I wonder why anyone would want to part with such a beauty...... not aging well.....
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        Actually, the 1st generation has aged quite well. It's still one of the most desirable sports cars of the 20th century.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          It's a 1st generation, 1st revision. In order for a car to change generations, it would have to be totally redesigned. If a facelift constitutes a next generation, then the Camaro would be at its 7th generation (See: 2nd and 4th generation Camaros). But it's not, it's at its 5th generation.
          Pj Taintz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          you do know that the car here is a second gen right? *to be fair the viper has been my fav car since its inception, * father was a Chrysler franchise owner from the late 80s to 2001
          BShoppy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          You better spend some time updating the information out there, especially Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Viper#Second_generation.2C_Phase_II_SR_.281996.E2.80.932002.29 I would say that a reworked engine, an almost entirely new chassis, and major suspension revisions would make it a Sesond Generation.
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Back in the day, when 600 hp was extreme.
      aMaG1CaLMaNg1Na
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't really want an old Viper, but just having the cool story and history to tell anyone that asked about the car would be worth the price!
      michael stephan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too bad JV never owned or was given à viper..EVER!!! You guys are completely off your rocker posting this bullshit!! I've known him for 25 years and I even asked him and he never had one... I guess this is gonna be another lawsuit against some counterfeiter trying to make a buck on someone else's back...
      Freddie
      • 3 Years Ago
      fin car http://www.flirting.no/dating/
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