Plymouth Prowler – 1997

The extraordinary Plymouth Prowler retro-rocket appeared in 1997, though this two-door roadster was actually unlike anything anyone had seen before. The Prowler had a tapering bonnet ending in a triangular grille, open front wheels with motorcycle mudguards, a crouching cabin and high, rounded rear that had unmistakable hot-rod echoes. This fanciful confection was enhanced by zingy paint finishes that boasted names like Purple Metallic, Candy Red, High-Voltage Blue, Inca Gold, Prowler Orange or Black Tie . . . you get the picture.

The power train was a 3.6 litre V6 delivering 214 bhp (tuned to belt out 253 bhp from 1999), with four-speed automatic transmission located at the back end to facilitate even weight distribution. The layout was a front-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration — making the Prowler Plymouth’s first car since the 1989 Gran Fury not to employ front-wheel propulsion. The aluminium body was built using the latest bonding techniques, with a little help from plastic for rear body panels and front mudguards, and the Prowler was assembled by hand.

Retro it may have been, but the trimmings were modern — disc brakes, run-flat tyres (there was no room for a spare), Autostick transmission that permitted manual gear changes, adjustable steering wheel, cruise control, electric windows, central locking, air conditioning and CD player. However, the Prowler did have an old-fashioned instrument pod with a full complement of gauges and a tachometer on the steering column.

Nearly 12,000 Prowlers were built, and they still have an avid following amongst besotted owners who like to drive on the wild side. There might have been more on the street, but the Plymouth marque vanished in 2001, so the last of the Prowlers bore a Chrysler badge — and the model was discontinued because Chrysler had the Crossfire ready and waiting to fill the specialist performance niche

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

USA

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1997 (until 2002)

ENGINE:

3.5 I (215 cid) V6

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.7 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

In 1998 a brand new Prowler was entombed within a time capsule in Tulsa’s Centennial Park, sealed inside a plastic container – the mausoleum will be opened in 2048 and the car will be returned to Chrysler (if Chrysler still exists).

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