If you're considering the purchase of a Dodge Viper, chances are you won't be spending much time comparison shopping. Simply put, there is no direct competition for the Viper. Oh, you might want to look at the Chevrolet Corvette. Like the Viper, it has a large engine shrouded in a plastic skin. But it's seen more as a model of high-tech sophistication when stacked up against Dodge's supercar. If you want the day-to-day practicality of a solid, easy-to-use convertible top, an available automatic transmission and a first-rate climate-control system, the Corvette is your choice. Other sports cars in the same price range, principally the Acura NSX and Porsche 911, offer similar performance, but coddle their drivers with luxury appointments galore. Both would be good choices for all-around use. If, on the other hand, you're looking for the essence of visceral automotive performance, the Viper definitely gets the nod. Amenities? You'd best look elsewhere. The Viper's sole reason for existence is to provide maximum 4-wheeled thrills without frills. There are no gimmicks and no window dressing. For that matter, there are no windows, unless you choose to pull them out of their storage bag in the trunk. Now in its fourth model year, the limited-production Viper has changed little from the concept car that toured auto shows across the land back in 1989. In fact, there's nothing new worth mentioning for 1995, unless for some strange reason you want air conditioning, which is now an option. Good news for the immediate future, though: A hardtop coupe version is just around the corner. And that brings us back to the basics. On the fun-for-the-money scale, the Viper rates a top score. Sure, as a daily commuter, it is about as useful as a fishing rod and tackle in the middle of the Sahara. But if you want lots of power bolted to a chassis that can make the best use of it - this is your car. Our test Viper, with no options, was $56,700 worth of fun.