I really don’t want to call this the biggest let down in sports car history…but then again I probably do. While you’re all garbling down warm turkey, delicious stuffing and oomphs of pumpkin pie; take a moment to reflect back on the best-looking car from the pre- and post- millenium. The Plymouth Prowler is gorgeous, there’s no arguing in that. Nothing from the 1990s and early 2000s screamed “hot rod” like the Prowler. If you didn’t crank your head every time one passed by, get your eyes checked. Massive back wheels, visible steering and suspension components up front, dual exhaust and a stubby sharp nose flanked by two Angry-bird like headlamps. A tall hood and bold rear fender flares set it off even more. I’d also argue that the interior looked retro too and miles ahead of other Chrysler interiors during the time. I was seven years old when this car was introduced, and I was hooked. It looked terrifyingly fast and fun. The word we’re focusing on folks though, is “looked.”
Now I don’t want to turn this post into pessimist rant about the Prowler because as soon as I hit the jackpot, a red one is taking up residence in my garage. The biggest problem with the Prowler was the lack of a promising powertrain. Under the hood was a weak, 214 horsepower (later beefed up to about 253hp) 3.5-liter V-6 that was commonly found in depressing cars like the Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde. Remember those bloaty plastic-filled disasters? Yes the Prowler had an aluminum chassis, was rear-wheel drive and had an almost perfect 50/50 weight balance; but who wants to use the standard “SlapShift” 4-speed automatic to really get your blood running? No one. From personal experience with this transmission, yeah slapping it to the right while saying “kapowwww” might have been fun, but it took longer to upshift than it will for those gazillion calories you just flooded your stomach with to burn off. Better hit the gym.
How to make this car cool and give it a bit more street cred? Simple. Swap out the grandpa engine and transmission, replace it with a monstrous 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 and a six-speed manual transmission from a new Dodge Challenger. It doesn’t hurt to dream right? Maybe the red wine is catching up to me.
Happy Thanksgiving all. ~Robby