ZOOOOOOOOM

July 05, 2001 12:00 am
READY TO ROLL: Owner Tom Kagi of Spokane, Dan Niezen of Courtney Motors and Mick Courtney, left to right, give the Viper a once over in Enterprise. (The Observer/GARY FLETCHER).
READY TO ROLL: Owner Tom Kagi of Spokane, Dan Niezen of Courtney Motors and Mick Courtney, left to right, give the Viper a once over in Enterprise. (The Observer/GARY FLETCHER).

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE Why would a stock car racer come from Spokane to Enterprise to buy an automobile?

Deals are where you find them, said Tom Kagi of Spokane.

Kagis friend, Mick Courtney of Courtney Motors, cut $3,000 off the sticker price of a Dodge Viper. It was a deal Kagi could not refuse.

I dont know how they sell it for this price, Kagi said, adding that European manufacturers charge more than $110,000 for such a machine. Yet, Dodge prices its ultimate sports car at a mere $76,000.

Its the fastest production car in the world, Kagi said.

Kagi used to say that about his 12-cylinder Ferrari. Now he says it about the new V10 Viper he bought at Courtney last week.

Off the showroom floor, this will beat some Porsche and Ferrari race cars, Kagi said.

Kagi knows cars. He used to design and build race cars.

Courtney is also a customer of Kagis. Courtney Motors has two used-oil burners that were invented and are marketed by Kagi.

Courtney flew to Spokane in his airplane to fly Kagi back to Enterprise to pick up the new car.

Kagi then flew home in a new all-leather cockpit, strapped in a five-point safety harness while he went through-the-gears of the six-speed transmission.

The four-wheel independent suspension with stabilizer bars and high-performance gas-charged shocks surely snaked through the curves of Beuford and Rattlesnake grades.

The microgram alloy steel of the coil-over-shock springs is one of the exotic metals in this car designed by Carol Shelby.

The body is made of resin transfer-molded composite material with a sheet-molded compound hood, which features a full-access, forward-opening hood/fender assembly.

The chassis is made of tube steel with a center spine structure of a milled steel top and an aluminum alloy bottom plate.

It looks heavy, but its very light, Kagi said. And, fast.

Under the magnesium rocker covers is an 8-liter, 460-horsepower engine with an aluminum block and cylinder heads, cast-iron cylinder liners, forged steel connecting rods, and six-main-bearing crankshaft.

Kagis Viper has emergency reserve door latches, and a knob on the lower instrument panel to adjust the reach of the accelerator, brake and clutch.

Hand-made, only seven of these cars are produced per day. That is why Kagi had to wait one year and three months after ordering it.

Kagis is the third Viper sold by Courtney Motors, one of them to a Wallowa County

resident.