Junkyard Find: 1998 Dodge Neon R/T

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1998 dodge neon r t

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.

The R/T was sort of an “ACR Lite” version of the Neon, with stiffer springs, better transmission gear ratios, and bigger brakes than the regular Neon. Not quite as serious as the ACR, but getting there. Since even Grandma’s base Neon was pretty quick (that is, if Grandma opted for the manual transmission), the R/T was quite the Civic-stomping machine. Every junkyard in the country is practically paved in base Neons (if you don’t count minivans, the Neon is about the most numerous Chrysler product in American junkyards these days), but the numbers are starting to decline slightly as these 10-to-15-year-old cars wear out. I’m sure I’ll see more of the R/T Neons in the near future.

Look out, this one has a K&N sticker on the air cleaner! What’s that, 50 more horsepower?

The 1990s were strange years when it came to upholstery on Chrysler products. This isn’t quite as weird as some of the fabric that went into the Sundance-based Plymouth Duster earlier in the decade, but it’s entertainingly dated.

The Neon’s image suffered from Chrysler’s cuteness-based ad campaigns (which is what led to the super-macho car names and Burly-Scudd-bustin-out-yer-teeth advertising imagery of Chrysler products of the following decade), and so the impressionable young dudes who would have enjoyed breaking parts in Neon R/Ts mostly broke parts in Civics and SE-Rs instead.

Judging from the number of Spec Neon veterans I see dominating 24 Hours of LeMons races, however, it appears that plenty of road-race freaks bought these things.

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  • Steven Galt Shipley Steven Galt Shipley on Nov 06, 2022

    Okay, I want to know where this R/T Neon is located at in the USA ?? I am looking for a driver's side door for a 1999 Plymouth Neon Espresso !! If anyone has a heads up on where I can find one or where this R/T is at, THANK YOU !!!!

  • Steven Galt Shipley Steven Galt Shipley on Nov 06, 2022

    Woops, that is a two door 1999 Plymouth Neon Espresso drivers side door !! Thank You !!!!

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
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