Plymouth Prowler Modern Classic Dec 6, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

The Plymouth Prowler is a striking roadster, although not everyone will agree that this model can be referred to as a classic. The concept first made its debut in 1993 in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. Right from the start, it appealed to enthusiasts enamored with its “hot rod” style, and a production model was released in 1997, 1999-2000, and as the Chrysler Prowler in 2001-2002. It can be a significant challenge to find this vehicle, however, as it only had one generation and only 11,700 models were produced.

Original Design

When the Plymouth Prowler made its debut in Detroit in January 1993, it was a showstopper with its sportster styling unlike any other car on the market. Later that year it appeared at the “Goodguys” Spring Nationals in Pomona, California, a genuine hot rod show, and dealers got enthusiastically behind the vehicle later that year. In 1994, it appeared at the auto show again, and engineering began building the vehicle. The production model hit the road in 1997. Realistically, if you look at any model year of the Plymouth Prowler, you will notice striking similarities, as it didn’t change too much throughout its life. It only lasted a single generation and always had a front engine, rear transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The Prowler stands out with its open front wheels that resemble an Indy 500 racecar.  

Engine History

The 1997 Prowler ran on a 3.5-liter 24-vavle SOHC V6 engine found in Chrysler LH cars. This engine generated 214 horsepower at 5,850 rpm. For the 1999 model year, the Prowler received an upgraded engine with 253 horsepower at 6,400 rpm. This was simply a variation of the original engine. In either case, the roadster worked with a four-speed semiautomatic transmission from Autostick. Some originally criticized the V6 engine as too small for a hot rod, but it had similar or better output to V8 engines. The original engine was able to reach 118 mph, where it stopped thanks to electronic limitations, and the aluminum car went from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. When it was updated in 1999, the 0-to-60 sprint only took 5.9 seconds and the electronically limited top speed increased to 126 mph.

Its Brief History

The Plymouth Prowler officially began production in early 1997 in limited quantities. That year, there were 457 Prowlers built, only in purple, and most of which were for sale in the United States. When the 1999 Prowler appeared at the Los Angeles Auto Show, it had the new all-aluminum engine and was purple with silver wheels. In March, a yellow model with silver wheels was added to the lineup. Black was added in October with chrome wheels. Red arrived in February 1999, and production continued to switch between the various colors, focusing on one at a time. In 1999, the run-flat tires got a softer sidewall, low-friction ball joints became part of the rear suspension, and there were new suspension springs and shocks. This year also saw an auto-dimming rearview mirror and new radio, plus a production run in silver. Two-toned Prowlers arrived in January 2000. Throughout its remaining history, there were also models in bright silver, black and silver, black and red, orange, midnight pearl, and Inca gold.

Drivers were eager to purhcase one of these limited roadsters. The unique styling and performance of the Plymouth Prowler make it a modern class.


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