The Neon sold in respectable numbers during its 1995-2005 production run, most Detroit cars in high-turnover self-serve wrecking yards are 12-15 years old, and so you’ll see many, many Neons in such yards these days. Most of the time, Neons are just junkyard background noise to me as I look for interesting cars to photograph for this series; I’ll shoot a rare Neon R/T, but that’s about it. Still, something about the dot-com-boom optimism of the Expresso trim level catches my attention, so I paused to document this ’96 in its final parking spot.
These cars were cheap and had a bit more power than their similarly priced imported competitors, but they never built up much of a popular reputation for longevity.
There was a time when 16-valve four-cylinder engines were exotic, as were 5-speeds and fuel injection.
This car has the automatic, though. Note the cheerful party-style seat fabric.
Because I spend a lot of time watching low-budget race cars clank around road courses, I think of the Neon as a very good cheap racer— quicker and more reliable than most Japanese LeMons cars, and of course there’s that incredible junkyard parts selection. Here’s in-car video from one of those Neons in action.
It’s a pretty hot little number!
Neon-style cuteness was definitely out in the minds of car marketers of the 21st century, and so the Neon’s successor got ads like this. Stupid little fairy!