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.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.
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