Junkyard Find: 1999 Dodge Neon Sport

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1999 dodge neon sport

When Chrysler went all macho with tough car names, it was partly an attempt to expunge the marketing memory of the cute and happy ads for the Neon. The Neon was much better than its wretched Shadow/Sundance predecessor, but still enough of a disposo-car that junkyards teem with them today. Mostly I walk right by discarded Neons (unless I see something unusual, like an Expresso or an R/T), but this ’99 Neon Sport has aftermarket performance gear to match its stickers and that’s interesting enough for this series.

This car is in pretty good shape and barely cracked 100,000 miles on the clock, so I’m guessing that its engine is toast. Cars like this tend to sit on the street or in an apartment-building guest parking spot (while the owner tries to scrape up cash for repairs) until towed away, and if they don’t run they don’t get bids at the auction that stands between them and The Crusher.

There are B&M Shifters and Sprint Suspension stickers on the side glass, and what appear to be aftermarket springs and shifter in the car. As we’ve seen, most cars with such stickers are just talking the talk.

This one, however, is walking the walk, a little. I thought about grabbing this shifter and making a few bucks, but I don’t have the patience to sell parts to flake-O eBay buyers right now. We can assume that someone scored this at the All You Can Carry For $59.99 Sale soon after I got these photos.

Is 1990s nostalgia here yet? Perhaps we’ll see a return of this “spatter-paint” style of car upholstery soon.

When the ’99 Neon makes a move, the rest of the world has a hard time catching up!

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  • Toy Maker Toy Maker on Sep 30, 2015

    My family bought a 96 sport sedan in forest green. 12 yr old me was eternally disappointed by the power windows that were only available for front doors and not the rear. SO CHEAP. The front power window button were as much of an after thought as you can get... it's just an extra bulge that got screwed onto the flat door panel. Compared to the integrated switches/door handles of the corollas and civics of yore, the neon felt like a practice car. When I was old enough to drive I did get a kick out of the torque steer, though.

  • Wantahertzdonut Wantahertzdonut on Oct 01, 2015

    These burned through their lifespan so fast; I havent seen one in operation in years. I don't know how these were sold so recently with a THREE speed automatic. I understood they liked eating brakes too. Some people lime to prop up the later SRT4, but I couldn't imagine a worse car to buy used. Between the poor reliability that came standard and knowing a car like that has been thumped on, I shudder at the thought of the daily maintainance.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?