Junkyard Find: 2000 Dodge Stratus SE Manny, Moe, and Jack Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2000 dodge stratus se manny moe and jack edition

It takes something really special about a 21st-century junkyard car to make me willing to include it in this series. The ’04 Pontiac Sunfire we saw recently was the last of the GM J Bodies, which gave it historical significance. The Chrysler “ cloud cars” mostly just serve as crusher fodder… but this one is so amazingly horrible that I had no choice but to photograph it.

The New Car Scent Little Tree air freshener is nearly always an indicator of a car that suffered worse-than-usual abuse during its final months on the street. Hey, look— you can see the ’87 Dodge Raider Junkyard Find through the windshield!

This car is a 2000, but that snout just isn’t right. Aftermarket body kit?

Hell no, the adobe-style Bondo and wonkily-applied grille inserts tell the story: it’s a later— I’m guessing 2004 or 2005— Stratus nose grafted onto a 2000 model.

But wait, it gets better! On the driver’s side, we see that this car is a very rare (in fact, so rare that none were made) 2000 Stratus R/T. Quite an investment.

On the passenger side, it turns out that we’re really looking at an equally rare Stratus Sport. You can buy many varieties of “Sport” emblems, so it was quite a dilemma finding the one that looked most like the badges used on the Plymouth Neon Sport.

With something like this, once the “tuner” who did all the modifications passes the car on to the next owner, the Junkyard Clock starts ticking.

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  • Moparman426W Moparman426W on Jan 08, 2013

    The early engines had head gasket failures, but in late 99 a revised gasket was brought out, otherwise the engine was fine. The 2.4 was also neon derived, with a taller deck block and longer stroke being the only differences. 4cyl fwd cars are not my cup of tea, but I see cloud cars at mopar meets hopped up with neon speed parts. Absolutely nothing wrong with the transmissions, neither automatics or manuals. Any time a GM car is featured here you either owned it for years and 200 plus k miles, or you had a friend or relative that owned it for many years and 200k plus miles. You also had a friend, neighbor or relative that owned virtually every non-GM car featured on the site. If you had owned half the cars for half the amount of time that you claim, and had a friend or relative that owned half the other cars you claim, you would have to be at least 150 years old.

  • Chevysrock39 Chevysrock39 on Jan 11, 2013

    My roommate has an 05 Stratus 2.4 - I'ts not a terrible car, but its certainly not like my Volvo 940. It's always going back to the dealer for some minor fault. It feels super cheap inside, and the engine has a toyota-esque touchy throttle. It's almost as though 1/8 the pedal applies 1/2 the throttle, but then there's nothing else when you really want it. I found it deceptively dangerous the first time I went to overtake! The tranny always shifts around 3.5-4K if you are pulling away normally, and sounds like it is working up a storm.

    • Moparman426W Moparman426W on Jan 13, 2013

      I havn't paid any attention to the later model stratuses, but I would imagine that they would have a cheaper interior, since that was the Diamler era ay Chrysler. When these cars came out in the 90's the interior was pretty much on par with everything else in that class. If your tranny is shifting at 3-4k during normal takeoffs then it needs reflashed. Driving it that way will burn up the clutches in short order.

  • Cprescott It is ugly enough. But why? You refuse to build enough of your products for your consumers.
  • Cprescott Only if your income also gives you more votes.
  • MrIcky It's always nice to see a car guy put in charge of cars instead of an accountant. I wish him well and look forward to some entertaining reveals. I think he and Gilles may be the only industry people that I actually enjoy listening to.
  • Master Baiter It doesn't matter whether autonomous vehicles are better or worse drivers than humans. Companies with deep pockets will find themselves sued over incidents like this. Enough lawsuits and the whole business plan collapses. Cheaper to just put a human behind the wheel.
  • MaintenanceCosts How many dogs are wiped out by human drivers annually?Which type of driver wipes out more dogs per mile? Per trip?Without some context there's not much information here.