Junkyard Find: 1999 Dodge Neon Sport

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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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.

  • Lou_BC I've been considering a 2nd set of tires and wheels. I got stuck in some gooie mud that turned my Duratrac's to slicks. I personally would stick to known brands and avoid Chinesium knock-offs.
  • Carson D How do you maximize profits when you lost $60K on every vehicle you produce? I guess not producing any more vehicles would be a start.
  • Carguy949 You point out that Rivian and Tesla lack hybrids to “bring home the bacon”, but I would clarify that Tesla currently makes a profit while Rivian doesn’t.
  • Cprescott I'm sure this won't matter to the millions of deceived Honduh owners who think the company that once prided itself on quality has somehow slipped in the real world. Same for Toyoduhs. Resting on our Laurel's - Oh, what a feeling!
  • Jrhurren I had this happen numerous times with my former Accord. It usually occurred when on a slow right curve in the road. Somehow the system would get confused and think the opposite lane (oncoming traffic) was an impending head-on collision.