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. (Read More…)
Gentlemen, there’s some automotive/emotional baggage that I need a resolution for.
I’m finally in a position to replace a Celica with something that will possibly see an HPDE, and the occasional autocross. I have $9000 to spend. Although the Celi drove beautifully, it wasn’t a viscerally thrilling car and I’d like to learn the dynamics of a rwd platform.
Self-service junkyards, which tend to price parts based on type rather than vehicle of origin, don’t tend to get many “factory hot rod” cars of semi-recent vintage. Such cars usually get snapped up by specialty yards or shops at the auctions where big self-serve yards get their stock, so I did a double-take when I found this very solid-looking ’98 Neon R/T at my local yard. (Read More…)
WardsAuto is a great source for industry news, but it’s pretty clearly not the best source for enthusiast news. Take, for example, a recent interview with Dodge SRT boss Ralph Gilles about the forthcoming compact Dodge and its possible SRT version:
“The Neon put the whole street-tuning scene on its ear with the factory turbo. We have to figure out how to get an entry-level SRT product to capture the next generation.”
The car to which Gilles refers will be a Dodge C-segment sedan derived from the same platform that shoulders the highly acclaimed European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta offered by alliance-partner Fiat…
While Gilles is adamant that a high-performance C-car would be a welcome addition for Chrysler, he stops short of saying it’s a done deal, noting internal plans still are being hammered out.
However, it’s unlikely the entry-level model would share the 470-hp 6.4L Hemi V-8 shared by its SRT brethren introduced at the event here. [emphasis added]
Say it aint so, Dodge! I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned it’s just not a true successor to the Neon SRT-4 unless it’s got a Hemi V8… damn Italians! Seriously though, how cool is it that Wards considers a V8-powered Fiat-based compact merely “unlikely” rather than “a surefire sign of the apocalypse”?
Alternative video after the jump…
Zero black flags, zero mechanical problems, and consistent quick laps around Gingerman Raceway’s track all weekend: the formula for the Skid Marks Racing Neon’s victory in Michigan on Sunday. (Read More…)
By the end of the day’s session at Gingerman Raceway, fewer than half the entrants’ cars were still moving under their own power. Hot weather and a punishing race course spelled doom for head gaskets, transmissions, brake calipers, and other critical components, while dehydration and fatigue led many drivers to make errors in judgment that sent them straight to the LeMons Supreme Court Penalty Box. A few teams are now poised to take advantage of the harsh attrition rate, both for the win on laps and the Index of Effluency trophy. (Read More…)
Sajeev and Steve,
My buddy is in college and needs a used set of wheels. After 2 years of depending upon Baltimore’s awful public transportation system and the generosity of friends, roommates, frat brothers, and total strangers for car rides, his school work is starting to suffer and he’s decided to buy a car. Unfortunately, his budget is about $2000. His living situation and total lack of mechanical skills rule out anything German, Swedish, or otherwise maintenance intensive.
His criteria for the car are reliable/durable, fuel efficient, and cheap to run. Working AC and heat would be a bonus, but he really only intends to drive the car about 15-20 minutes per day for school. He has absolutely no pretensions about the car’s badge, perceived coolness, sporty driving dynamics, etc., but he probably won’t spring for a total crapcan like a metro or echo. Also, he’s currently unemployed, and I don’t think he intends to find a job due to his course load.
The temperature dropped to freezing, the wind hit 50 MPH, and the rain turned to snow at the Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis 24 Hours of LeMons. Cars spun out in record numbers, and broken cars had to be repaired in frostbitten conditions that would have appalled the harshest Gulag commandant. The battle for the overall lead stayed close all day, with the lead changing hands at least a dozen times. (Read More…)
It was actually a “Dear John” letter! No surprise, since that’s my proper name, and that’s how I registered my SRT-4 six and a half long years ago.
My name is (blah blah), manager of (blah blah) Chrysler Jeep Dodge and I am contacting you today to inform you of a special offer available designed just for you. Over the last couple of weeks we have had several customers inquire about purchasing a reliable pre-owned Dodge Neon…
It is not an exaggeration to say that I laughed for a full thirty seconds.
I don’t normally do the “consumer awareness” stuff here on TTAC — we have plenty of very competent contributors for that — but I thought I would share a recent experience with all of you and perhaps save one or two of you a few bucks in doing so.
What did you do this morning? I spent $101.78 at the local Pick-N’-Pull, using a completely inadequate set of hand tools to remove the last twincam Neon head to be found in any Columbus, Ohio – area junkyard. I removed the power steering reservoir by beating it to pieces with a crankshaft damper from a Chrysler LHS. I imagine Adrian Newey is doing something similar right now on the Red Bull RB6.
The reason for this outrageous expenditure is simple: NASA (the race sanction, not the folks who no longer build rockets) has partially come to its senses. In previous years, the minimum weight for doublecam Neons was 2650 pounds, while the twincam Sentras and single-cam Neons were both 2450. Needless to say, our single-cam Neon has never successfully beaten a Sentra in a Performance Touring race unless it was raining (I’m the Jenson Button of club racing, including pre-trophy-ceremony makeouts) or the aforementioned Sentra has made a major mistake.
This year, two interesting things have happened. First, NASA dropped doublecams to 2550 and raised the Sentra to 2525. Now we have a fighting chance. Second, the fellow who owns the other half of my race team acquired his racing license last week. Finally, I have a teammate! So we need a new name, and I’m taking suggestions.
Thinking about a Dodge Neon racking up 500k miles is a bit like imagining Britney Spears celebrating a golden wedding anniversary. Dodge Neons just don’t come to mind when thinking about hi-mileage cars. But with a bit of dedication and understanding, cars with a rep seem to run forever for the right owner. Here’s a 1998 Dodge Neon R/T (no less) with 446,000 miles on it, and that was last July. And that’s with the original engine, no less, in case you were wondering. OK, there is a bit of a secret to the owners’ success: it’s their sixth Neon, so they’re familiar with all their hidden warts. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator Robstar writes:
My wife has a 2000 Neon we bought used with 125k. It just passed 50k miles in the 4 years we drove it. We have had no issues with this car so far, although the first owner (we are the third) replaced the tranny at 70k.
At about 35mph the engine starts making a loud “ooooooooo” sound (kind of like a deep throated turbo or a vacuum cleaner). There is no “windup” to this sound — it’s either on or off. It does not matter if you are accelerating hard or not. Since we do mostly highway driving, this sounds tends to blend into road noise once we are up to highway speeds. The engine is not short of oil (although it does need 1/2 qt every 1500 or so). We have driven the car for ~ 3k miles with no issues….but I’m getting nervous.
It’s heartbreaking. To see a major company that literally carried a healthy portion of America’s heartland go up in Euro-flames. I remember the beauty of it. The 1990′s minivans that completely obliterated their competition. LH sedans that were state of the art for their time. Cloud cars that had more power and road feel than their American brethren. Neons that were so good that even Toyota was jealous. Believe it or not, I still think the talent base of Chrysler is there. But to get it out…