“I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to Mopar fans asking for a fun rear wheel drive roadster that I provide, and then question the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "thank you", and went on your way”, fictional Chrysler engineer circa 1999.
First, one shouldn't compare the Plymouth Prowler to other cars purchased as daily drivers. Although as standard equipped one could live with a Prowler doing DD duty, not something really said about Viper. Prowlers were purchased as fun weekend rides. They shouldn't be compared to muscle cars or rat rods. They should be compared with other purchased hot rods that don't do any serious track time. In that case they should look cool and be fun to drive and the Prowler is all that. It is also something rare and special in the modern automotive world.
The Plymouth Prowler was a radical show car that would preview a design language, it would be a test bed of technology and manufacturing techniques. A car like Prowler would also be a vehicle that normally wouldn't see road duty in a customer's hands. Mother Mopar did build it and sell it even though they never expected a profit from it. This was started in the early 1990s, a different time in the automotive landscape. Chrysler was still a separate independent corporation, selling FWD full-size LH cars. This was long before the new generation HEMI. The writing was also on the wall for Plymouth. Inside Chrysler they knew Plymouth couldn't continue as rebadged Dodges. This 5 year limited edition car program would be an exciting sign of the direction the new Plymouth would take. It was never intended to have a V8. The development of more powerful and efficient V6 engines was Chrysler's focus for Plymouth. Unfortunately the brand Plymouth wouldn't survive to see it's planned bright future. Prowler would survive eventually becoming a Chrysler.
After a few years as a popular auto-show darling in June of 1997 Prowler becomes a production car available at your local Plymouth dealer. All first year Prowlers sport a purple aluminum body with a 3.5 iron block V6 producing 214hp. Underneath is an aluminum chassis and suspension gear. Prowler would also have a rear trans-axle like the revolutionary C5 Corvette. Zero to 60mph came in 7.1 seconds, with a 1/4 mile time of 15.3 seconds. That probably feels pretty good with the wind in your hair. There would be no 1998 Prowler as Plymouth engineers couldn't put the final touches and certify the all new aluminum engine in time. For 1999 the all aluminum 3.5 V6 would put out a little more than 250hp, with revised transmission tuning the 2,780 pound roadster was good for 0 to 60mph at 5.7 seconds and the 1/4 mile at 14.3 making the Prowler competitive with the V8 Mustang GT. The sexy Prowler didn't just look quick, it felt quick. From 1999 through 2002 changes to Prowler were mostly paint colors added and dropped, and suspension tuning. The cars sold quickly and often in the earlier years significantly above MSRP.
Prowler owners quickly dismiss comments about needing a V8. They say the power to weight ratio provides them a fun, fast car that bystanders still admire. Advice for you single guys get a Prowler have a Golden Retriever riding shotgun, you’ll be a hit with the ladies. Some parts are becoming a challenge to get, fortunately the online Prowler community is pretty robust with fellow travelers helping each other out. Expect to pay $25K for a nice solid driver, for another $10K you get a perfect show winner.
Prowler has enough cargo room for clean underwear and socks, for those doing a long road trip pick up the snazzy matching trailer. The Prowler already has the tow hitch. (Correction)The Prowler did not come with a tow hitch, that was a Mopar parts dealer item.
In a world of blantastic CUV/SUV I’m glad there are people out there driving Prowlers.
John is a GenX car enthusiast who grew up driving classic muscle cars. He enjoys the new modern muscle cars that can out perform the classics in every way. In the sportscar world his banners are Viper and Corvette. John has a guilty pleasure. The disco era street machine. Those unloved, underpowered cars festooned with scoops, spoilers and stripes.