By on January 13, 2016

2001 Chrysler Prowler

I’ve a little confession to make: I’m not really a big fan of hot rods. Some of that may be my age, as I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, when imported sports cars were generally a preferred means of automotive expression.

Alternatively, the overall “People of Walmart” vibe I get when attending any sort of hot rod event has, by juxtaposition, possibly soured the entire genre for me.

So, count me among those who didn’t drool over the Prowler when it was released in 1997. An overstyled modern interpretation of a ’32 Ford roadster, powered by a Chrysler V-6? In the immortal words of Lisa Simpson, meh.

The years may have changed me a bit, though, as well as an appreciation of the high-tech aluminum chassis that was years ahead of its time. This 2001 Chrysler Prowler doesn’t look too bad to my eyes.

The deep blue paint makes the car as subtle as any Prowler can ever be, though I kinda dig the purple that was all over the first run of cars. These ’99 and newer cars had the benefit of a more powerful V6, with 253 horsepower rather than 214, and thus were significantly quicker.

The interior is, frankly, sad. It’s at once familiar to anyone who has driven a ’90s-era Mopar, and to anyone who has skimmed an aftermarket performance parts catalog. Take a look at that tiny Autometer tachometer haphazardly placed atop the steering column. That’s a factory piece, not added on. The five gauge cluster centered on the dash is equally cheesy looking. I understand that parts-bin engineering is required for low-volume cars, but this is sad.

It’s not like I could ever use a Prowler daily driver as the transaxle is located in its rear making luggage space minimal at best. Have any other OEMs ever offered matching trailers to expand the trunk?

As much as I want to hate the dated styling, indifferent interior, and poor usability, I can’t truly hate the Prowler. It seems to be holding value, as this one for $21,000 seems to be near the bottom of the market. Good ones trade for over $30,000.

Incidentally, the always-reliable Wikipedia page for the Prowler mentions that the bonded-aluminum body was produced in Shadyside, Ohio, then shipped to Conner Avenue in Detroit for final assembly. Several other sites around the web have blindly repeated the Wiki. Allpar, a great reference otherwise for Mopar history, mentions nothing of Shadyside, a small town along the Ohio River not far from my wife’s hometown.

Does anyone have more details about this?

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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121 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 2001 Chrysler Prowler...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    It has always been my understanding that Chip Foos penned the Prowler for Chryco back in the day. Which to me is pretty significant as I can’t think of any other manufacturer who has used a hot rodder to design a new production vehicle.

    I can’t help with where the car was built, my apologies.

    • 0 avatar
      LXbuilder

      Chip Foss had nothing to do with this as any Chrysler fan knows, this was a time when the auto industry legend Tom Gale and his charges were penning ALL the ground breaking styles of the 90s. Think cab forward LH,the first “big rig” Rams, Viper……

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Kevin Verduyn penned what could be considered Prowler Genesis in Pacifica.

      • 0 avatar

        Chip Foose designed a car in college called the Hemisfear as part of a Chrysler sponsored graduation project. Hemisfear at the time was a scale model and was featured on the cover of Hot Rod magazine. It is generally considered to be the inspiration for the Prowler and comparing the two it’s pretty obvious that they are connected in some way.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I agree. The design is very similar and his was done concurrently with what Verduyn was working on. You can see the influence in both designs in the final Prowler.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There is a Chrysler book about the Prowler and they credit the design to a team in the Chrysler Pacifica design studio. Foose’s Hemisphere concept drawings and model were done at the same time and looks more like the final Prowler. Foose’s design definitely had some influence over the design. He was a student at the Art Center College for design at the time though.

      The bodies were made in Ohio by Mayflower Vehicles Systems and assembled by hand at Chrysler’s Connor Ave Assembly in Detroit.

      • 0 avatar
        lemko

        Is that the same Conner Avenue Assembly plant once used by Packard?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          No. It was opened in the 60s to make Champion Sparkplugs. Chrysler bought it in the 90s to make the Viper and Prowler.

          It’s possible that the Champion Spark Plug factory was on the same site as the Packard/Briggs Body building.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I’m not sure where that Briggs plant was that they used to build Packard bodies until 1959 was. It was small from what I’ve read and they ended it after Packard closed shop. I think they used a stamping facility on Conner, too.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I can’t find much information about it. The Packard plant on E Grand is so legendary that no one talks about anything else. I’ll have to ask my dad. He grew up on Conner and his house is now I-94.

            Otherwise, I may have to take a trip to the Wayne State Library and Detroit Public Library to find more information.

            Maybe Ronnie knows?

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            The only standing original Briggs facility left is on Mack. I think it was a stamping plant and closed in 1979. I’ve driven past it a few times.

            I’m willing to bet the site of the Conner ave assy plant is where that Packard / Briggs body shop was. I can’t even find pictures of it online.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Mack Engine is where most of the Briggs Mack facility was, right?

            And yes, the Connor Ave Briggs/Packard plant was had the body shop. They made Packard bodies there for years.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Briggs/Chyrsler/Packard plant on Conner seems to have been on Conner between Jefferson and Mack. So right across from where Jefferson North is now. It was originally built for making aircraft parts during WWII.

            http://www.connercreekgreenway.org/history/auto-history/

            Maybe it’s where the UAW or Social Security buildings are now.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I think I was referencing the original Briggs body plant on 6500 Mack. That was where they moved from to I think the Conner ave plant that was demolished in 1959.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh ok. There is so much automotive history over there. It’s difficult to imagine how many jobs were in the Conner Creek area at one time.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’d get a kick out of a Prowler parked next to a Chevy SSR. One failed piece of retro next to another.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      Come to Houston- on the north side of the city there’s a dealer whose used car trade is exclusively Prowlers and SSRs. Must be a BIG fan of those cars, and knows a niche when he sees one.

      • 0 avatar
        wbwarren

        Oh boy. I know exactly which dealer you’re talking about. North Freeway Hyundai, right?

        I always try and sneak a glance when I’m on 45 passing by to see what ridiculous collection they have. I do believe it’s whittled down some; as when I first moved to houston (before their new location on the NB side) they advertised “The biggest selection of SSR’s in the Nation!”

        They also have an odd selection of cars for a Hyundai dealer – visiting their site they have a Pre Owned C4 Corvette, ’51 Chevy Pickup, Rolls Royce Phantom, and Lotus Evora – to name a few. Think maybe it’s the owner’s way to skirt some financial questions about buying stuff for a personal collection?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Prowlers, PT Cruisers, Chevy HHRs & “modern” VW Beetles with flower vases on dashboards, oh my.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I want a 6.0 6MT SSR. I WANT ONE. I’ll park it next to the Marauder. At least they both rock respected small block V8s.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    People love to hate these. But can you imagine what would happen if one of the major manufactures produced something like this today? We would raise them onto a pedestal for doing something different and exciting. Of course, we still wouldn’t buy it. But just imagine the shake-up in the market.

    At the time, hi-boys and lowboys were all the rage. It would be like Nissan building a modern version of the Datsun 510 today… oh right, they did and left us hanging. You have to give credit to Chrysler for daring to do something like this, regardless of your opinion of the execution.

    • 0 avatar
      LXbuilder

      This thing is still the most daring risk any American (or anyone else for that matter)auto company ever took. I always thought it sad they couldn’t equip it with a proper V8, but the relatively light weight, low CG and fat rubber makes a Prowler a surprisingly nimble and fun little ride.

      While I generally agree with Chris Tonn’s view on the interior, it wasn’t that bad when compared to some GM and Ford stuff back then. And the tach was supposed to look like an add on, it was a nod to what “real hot rods” have.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The interior is bad compared to anything from the time period. BAD. This cost $44,000 way back then.

        • 0 avatar
          Coopdeville

          +1

          See if you can spot the shared parts with this Plymouth Breeze interior!

          https://sco.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Breeze#/media/File:Plymouth_breeze_interior.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It has all of the parts.

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            Don’t go attacking the Plymouth Breeze. The cab-forward design in that configuration gave mid-size room, full size ride (thanks big old wheelbase), compact price. The interior was functional, but even I will admit it doesn’t belong in a $44k (according to a few comments up) car.

            If they could have somehow mixed the Charger’s drivetrain and the Breeze’s room vs. weight (<3000lbs), it would be the ideal car (no, I don't believe the Breeze or any other 90s car can meet today's safety requirements with anything less than a ton of extra steel).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good ideas or designs aside my understanding is the Cloud cars were garbage in finished form. I’m prepared to be wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        How was the Prowler more daring than the Viper (whether the original or the 2013 revival)?

      • 0 avatar
        Occam

        Do you really think its more daring than whole new Saturn division? Or the Aluminum F150? Or the jellybean Taurus?

        It always seemed like it was intended to be niche product, an attention getter, but making a huge change to a bread and butter product or growing a new division that is in direct competition to, and a direct challenge to the business model of the other divisions both seem like more daring risks.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Good point, Occam.

          What did the Prowler do to contribute to saving Plymouth? What if Chrysler had devoted all the engineering and other talent it spent on the Prowler towards simply improving the quality of its products, rather than chasing purple squirrels?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “What did the Prowler do to contribute to saving Plymouth?”

            It saved Plymouth from having an LH car version with different bumpers and lights called the Plymouth Belvedere.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It wasn’t the most daring risk that any automaker ever took. An 11,000 unit roadster built by Mayflower and on a niche line in Detroit is not a daring risk.

        Also, the 3.5L was better for this product than the V8s Chrysler had at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I’ve never driven one. I do remember as a kid that this car always caught my eye.

      Now it’s disparaged for the interior, low power, and flimsiness. Just me paraphrasing every article I’ve read.

      I certainly would struggle to place this car in the top 10 of biggest risks an American car company ever took. It was a niche car, as mentioned above. Low production numbers, it was just a retro attempt. I do give them credit for doing it, but in the end, I just don’t think they did it right. I just can’t imagine seriously considering one now, but that’s just me.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Surely there’s a more interesting and better made Lotus or Aston Martin you could get for $21k.

    This is $21k, has 40k miles and water in the headlamps already. The build quality on these things is shocking, and they’re not good for anything. Also, you’re about 30 years too young to own one.

    The upside? In purple it’ll match your 95 Impala SS, and you can park them together in your large garage and not drive them.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I’m from the same era and have felt exactly the same way about this car for most of my life. I grew up respecting integras, e30’s, gti’s, or conversely, rough pickups. This thing though, it’s been growing on me as well.

    First of all, approving the prowler required some melon sized balls. I did not understand that when I was younger. Secondly, with that aluminum chassis and exposed front suspension I now see that Chrysler put far more engineering work into the car than they needed to or was probably advisable. That combined with price also allows me to forgive more of the interior flaws. Third, I actually got to ride in one a year or two ago and it didn’t suck at all. I enjoyed it in much the same way I enjoyed the 67 Excalibur I was in this summer. Rude, crude, fast, a unique view out and in, just completely full of drama.

    There should be a category for cars like this. Something like “hindsight autos”. We should write apology notes to the people behind these vehicles as they come to light.

  • avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    Has the photo been doctored to make the hood look longer? There seems to be enough room now for a V-8. The “original” looks stumpier in person. Hot rods were never and will never be successfully mass produced.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Prowler is an interesting syling and engineering exercise, but they really dropped the ball on the powertrain.

    Which is a really weird departure for Mopar becuase they’ve been putting big power in their stuff since the 50s.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know this first hand but I’ve been told that the Prowler was designed from the start around the V6 due to fleet cafe fuel mileage standards.

      If that’s true then we can include the govment in the blame game for the weak powertrain.

      You gotta admit that the Prowler is an exotic looking automobile, and, when placed in that context, it’s probably the cheapest to maintain. No $15k service needed for the Prowler. Maybe that’s the real genius of it.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        CAFE? really? On an 11K unit niche product? Your source needs a math lesson.

        • 0 avatar

          You gotta remember that CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) is an overall fleet number, not a single vehicle number. The average fuel consumption of all their vehicles might not have left any room for big power. The Viper’s fuel mileage sure didn’t help in that respect. They offered the v10 in the Ram pickup back then too as well as the gas guzzler 5.9L Magnum.

          It sure doesn’t cost much to maintain the driveline they selected.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            In the case of the pickups, though, the V10 was only offered on 3/4- and 1-ton models, which were exempt. Not so with the 5.9, of course.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “If that’s true then we can include the govment in the blame game for the weak powertrain.”

        That’s one way to look at it but cars from other marques built around the same time used high power options.

        -Dodge Viper—> 400+ hp
        -C4 ZR1 Vette—> 375 hp
        -C5 Z06 Vette—> 400 hp
        -E39 M5—–> 400 hp
        -E55 AMG—-> 350 hp

        I think Chrysler was targeting more boulevard cruiser than powerful retro muscle car.

        I also don’t think CAFE would have much of an impact in a niche car such as the Prowler.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Chrysler was trying to show off its then somewhat new 3.5L DOHC technology in a unique package. I don’t think this was aimed at the “Got a Hemi in it” crowd. I’m guessing this was green-lighted before the Daimler buyout, excuse me “merger”, because the whole project just seemed like an excuse to blow money on an aesthetic few cared about at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            The 3.5L was SOHC, not DOHC. First generation was an iron block with aluminum heads with an aluminum intake manifold (with dual throttle bodies), second generation was an aluminum block and heads single throttle body.

            2.7L was DOHC.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Well, the only V8s Chrysler had when it went into production was the Magnum from the truck line. And those made at most 245hp and were pretty large requiring a redesign or bulges in the front bodywork.
      You probably don’t want the Viper engine in a Prowler for mostly self-preservation reasons.
      Once in production adding the 4.7 Jeep engine would have required major structural changes for a slow selling car never intended to have it.
      By the time the 5.7 came out, the Prowler was dead.
      So you have to figure that just getting the design of the car greenlit was miraculous. I don’t think they would have been able to get it through if they were also going to build a new engine for it – being the only RWD car in the lineup other than the Viper.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I was thinking use forced-induction on the V6.

        • 0 avatar
          Land Ark

          Ah, most people who complain about the engine think it’s blasphemy to not have a V8 in a “hot rod.”

          I don’t think a supercharger (since no one in the US was using turbos in the late 90s) would have help the perception for most people who complain about it. But that would have been a nice addition to it. Although I don’t think I would trust the Mopar transmissions at the time to hold over 275hp, so we’re right back to square one.

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            Chrysler had a lot of experience with turbos in the 80s and 90s. With the GLHs and then the Daytonas. Plus they had partnered with Mitsubishi and did the Stealth (which was more Mitsu than Dodge, but they had experience).

            But ya, their biggest downfall was their transmissions IMHO. Of course, a manual would have resolved that quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The V8s they had at the time had less power than the 3.5L.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I wonder which transmission is in this? Probably not a good one, it’s why almost none of their cars from the time period are around today. Like the Concorde and 300M and Intrepid, etc.

        Now and then I consider just how many Intrepids they sold (SO MANY), and how rare they are to see today, whether that’s because of mostly 2.7 or mostly transmission, I’m not sure.

        I still think the gen 1 LHS is really a looker.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It’s the transmission from the LH cars.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Those were ended by He Who Shall Not Be Named, not the transaxle in most cases.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Funny you should mention the LH cars, as last month I adopted an ’04 Concorde from my parents, who had it since 2007. (Dealer offered them $250 on trade, at which point they offered it to me as a winter beater/airport car.)

          Although I’m not going to try to claim that it’s some kind of automotive masterpiece – the interior looks cheap, the steering shaft may as well be connected to pudding for all the steering feel it gives, the A/C quit years ago in typical Chrysler fashion, and I struggle to come up with any non-truck-based vehicle that is as long – this thing has been surprisingly trouble-free.

          At 150k miles, the powertrain is still rock solid. Although the 4 speed feels dated, the 3.5 hustles it along deceptively quickly on the highway, and you’re still in third accelerating like a freight train when the ECU shuts down the fun at 110. There’s definitely more engine than high speed chassis tuning here.

          What pleasantly surprises me the most, though, is that there’s no visible rust to speak of after 12+ years in the Montreal area salt brine.

          The 3.5’s virtues in a grandpa-mobile aside, I always thought it sad that the hot-rod Prowler was saddled with such a pedestrian engine and a lame slushbox to go with its loud styling.

          That said, 2,800 lbs for this thing is lighter than I expected, and it’s probably a fun view over the hood, watching the exposed wheels steer. I’d definitely give one a spin, given the chance.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I had a Concorde with the 3.2L and it was a fine engine. More than adequate, especially for the time. I enjoyed how much space the car had on the inside.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m surprised about the non-rust aspect as well. I recall seeing lots of LH cars as they aged with rust around the wells, and also failing clearcoat.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          I saw a Concorde on the road yesterday, and it reminded me why Chrysler was a non-entity for so long.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I didn’t say they should have used a truck V8.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well that’s the V8 Chrysler had in 1996.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            My criticism is not that it didn’t use a V8 though.

            My criticism is that it only made between 214 and 252 horsepower which gave it at best the accelerative prowess of an L98 Corvette.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Supercharger would have been better.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            They used a hotter version of the 3.5, so why not a hotter version of the truck V8? And yes it will fit. I’ve seen 6.1 Hemis fit in Prowlers, no body mods.

            But you can’t simply look at hp figures on paper, V6 vs V8. It doesn’t compute. V6s have peaky power.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They did not. The EGG had about the same HP in every application. 247-253.

            The LA engines also weigh about a moon more than the Chrysler aluminum SOHC V6.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’re also looking up truck engines as they sit, tuned for towing. So what’s the actual weight difference? Most pushrod V8s are surprisingly light, compared to DOHC V6s.

            Worth the *weight* if you as most enthusiasts. With the engine set so far back (rear transaxle), it would still end up close to 50/50 weight distribution.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Chrysler V6 was SOHC. EGE/EGG made sense in this application. They needed to do it cheap, and LH parts were the best way to do it. The later EGG engine gave them better power than available V8s at a better price.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            A SOHC adds insult to injury. It should’ve had at least an SRT Neon 4 cylinder or the turbo 4 from the PT Cruiser. I don’t know if those were around at the time, but gawd damn.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If Chrysler put their DOHC V6 in the Prowler, they’d all be gone.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I think most of you forget how lackluster the performance of the average car was in the late 90’s. This Prowler would do 0-60 in under 6 seconds and run the 1/4 in the 14s. That was pretty damned quick for the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Considering the $40,000 price tag at the time, which was to say a new LS1 Corvette, and considering the crate motored toys which a retro hotrod’s target market tended to have in their garages already, it was exactly slow.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Hot rodders have always built things more radical than available from the factory. You can jam an LS engine and a turbocharger in a Fox body Mustang and lay waste to a Hellcat, but that doesn’t change the fact that the HC is a fast car.

            The Prowler wasn’t as fast as a Corvette, or even a Camaro. About as fast as a Mustang. Much faster than average at the time. Not exactly slow.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Contemporary Mustang GTs were as fast as the Prowler, but SVT Mustangs were low 4 second cars, 0-60, and mid 12s in the quarter mile. For far less cash. And no slouch in the turns. IRS suspension too, if that’s what you’re into.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            Mustang svt Cobras weren’t anywhere close to low 4’s in the 12’s back in 1996

            e Romeo engine,[90] as it was called, produced 305 hp (227 kW) and 300 lb·ft (410 N·m) of torque,[91] enabling the new Cobra to go 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and do the quarter mile in 13.99 seconds at 101.6 mph.[92] However, Car and Driver magazine was able to hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and the quarter mile in 14.00 seconds at 102 mph during a comparison test in their December 1995 issue.[93] The 1996 Cobra engine redlined at 6,800 rpm,

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            @DenverMike. IRC and 4 second times for the SVT Cobra wasn’t until MY03-04, prior to that, you had the donkey cart suspension and non-supercharged V8. Even the much desired MY00-01 Cobra R didn’t have IRS.

            @formula m, in MY95 you had the last iteration 302 small block pumping out 255HP and 305t before simple mods brings the total to 300 and 420. However, if you were Jay Leno, you could’ve purchased the incredibly rare MY95 Cobra R with 5.8 big block, racing suspension and reduced weight that only came in white. It was capable of hitting the 4 seond mark and was considered an amazing American track star for it’s day.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Any way you slice it, the Prowler’s engine was a complete letdown and should’ve had a 6-speed manual too. And at that price? It might have moved OK down the road, but it’s still and insult to potential buyers and enthusiast.

            The Concept had to have involved a V8, or what the hell? The Intrepid’s V6 isn’t what anyone would dream of. Did I mention the price?

  • avatar
    Occam

    Wait, wasn’t this the last new Plymouth? Did they rechristen it a Chrysler at some point?

    It always seemed like the Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Pacifica were peas in a pod. I wouldn’t be surprised if the PT and Pacifica were intended to be the new design language for Plymouth, but had to be absorbed into the Chrysler lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It was a Chrysler in 2001 and 2002.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      wasn’t this the last new Plymouth?

      Yes.

      Did they rechristen it a Chrysler at some point?

      Yes. By 2001, the only car left on the Plymouth name was the Neon. Originally it seems the Prowler was using an old timey Plymouth shield logo. Then when it went over to Chrysler, they just made the bit inside the shield a swirly shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Dunno about Pacifica, but yes, PT Cruiser was originally intended for the Plymouth badge.
      I think it was called Plymouth Pronto in the concept stage.

  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    Though much older than most here, I always preferred foreign cars – even the largely abominable ones of the Fifties. I’ve built two rods for variety, though. I always respected the Prowler just for having been made. To me, they look okay on the street (Part of their times) and most any open top car is fun.

    Would I buy one? No. If someone gave me one, would I keep it? Yes.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I must be in the minority in that I think this car has gotten considerably worse with age. I thought it was amazing when my best friend’s dad got one in his dealership in 1997ish (it was black). Every time I look at it, though, I see something else that was badly compromised for the sake of looking “cool”.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice piece.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The real question is which is better – this or a Crossfire? The answer proves how worthless a Prowler really is. I’d rather have a Delorean, because while its a terrible car at least its ironic, while the Prowler is so bad its silly.

    The Prowler is about as close to a factory kit car as you can get. Random OEM parts put into an insane looking body that appears to made from plastic that was just snapped together in a shed. Its truly amazingly they built this thing at all, it goes against pretty much every rule the major automakers follow. While the Viper is crazy, its halo / super car crazy, like the Ford GT. The Prowler apparently was just made for fun because it was never fast, nor scary, or even good looking really. It is very cartoon-y in its nature, like what some kid might draw if you asked what a “future” hot rod might look like, honestly it looks like something Hot Wheels would make.

    The Chevy SSR is similar. However other retro looking vehicles like the PT Cruiser and HHR were just bodies on top of totally usable, kind-of normal/boring vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Well the Crossfire has one strike against it due to the Mercedes V6. 6 cyl and 12 spark plugs, I’ve seen in the forums that some Crossfire owners keep crank position sensors on hand at all times because they go out so frequently on Crossfires.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Why not a swap?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That $hit ain’t worth it on a Crossfire.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The MY07 Coupe still fetches 8K. I’m not sure what you would swap to or how it would work with a fuel system etc but I’d be intrigued by an attempt.

            05/01/14 FRDKBURG Lease $7,100 24,378 Avg BLACK 6G 6 No
            06/23/14 NC Regular $7,500 24,644 Avg BLACK 6G 6 No
            05/28/14 NJ Regular $8,600 48,115 Avg BLK 6G M No
            02/27/14 ATLANTA Regular $8,700 53,184 Avg BLACK 6G 6 No
            01/23/14 NORTHSTR Lease $7,800 58,675 Avg BLACK 6G 6 No
            11/13/14 ORLANDO Regular $7,900 63,973 Avg BLACK 6G 6 No

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Just buy a Corvette instead.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not bespoke enough for me.

            Ok evidently at least one Hemi swap does exist. Whether this is worth doing I can’t say, but I loves me the fact the swap was done.

            Comment in the YT thread:

            If you want to use a SRT8 Hemi, you’ll have to replace/modify the complete car wiring / electronics.

            If you’ll use a MB M113 5.0, or 5.5 N/A you’ll have to replace the engine, tranny, ECU, modify the engine wiring of the M113 V8 and do a software adaption – which is not easy, because of the BCU and immobilizer system. The first conversion took 1.5 years. Swapping was done in 2 days Rest for electronics and software. Also you need a bigger radiator and 2 or more fans are highly recommended. You should also modify the fan software so that they start at lower temps. Else overheating can be a problem. Better brakes and springs and dampers are highly recommended, because of the higher weight.

            If you want to use a M113 5.5K, than you’ll have to modify the complete drivetrain.

            You can combine a M113 5.0 with a MT and a moified clutch. But there will be some software issues.

            So most of the issues you’ll have are software issues. I know only 3 people around the world that can handle them and make the conversion like a stock car (no errors, no indicator lights). So if you’re an electronic guy maybe you can solve it. But without insider knowlegde it will be very very hard.

            So where to start? Electronics and software programming. Star DAS, Xentry, Star Scan, Vediamo, ECU and immobilizer programming.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You mean it isn’t $hitty enough for you?

            How about a Solstice or Sky instead? Or are those not $hitty enough either?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Last night from three computers I was going to throw away I built a functional Thinkpad R61. I was able to source a used 16GB SSD for literally $6.95 on Ebay and am looking for a IDE drive adapter now for a conventional hard drive for file backups in preparing when the SSD will eventually die (they all do). The Thinkpad *61 series is unique in you can install a hacked BIOS called the Middleton BIOS which allows you to install new wireless cards, unlocks SATA II, and pre-activates Win7. I am doing all of this in order to meet the IT needs of a customer whose budget is near zero (at the moment) and requires a W7 computer for the time being until I can migrate their electronic systems to a Linux solution (the physical longevity of the XP systems is in doubt). Intel Dual Cores with decent memory and SSD HDDs kinda fly even in Windows, the SSD is the best upgrade you can do on a SATA enabled PC.

            Taking existing products and improving them on the cheap with existing parts or solutions is what I do. I hack, therefore I am. Mechanics who do the same are no different, and I admire them. I’m the sort of fool who will pay for a Jaguar engine swap instead of just buying a used Mustang/Camaro etc. Because it can be done it, I want it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My point is that you should do engine swaps on something that is classy or good looking instead of on a DiamlerChrysler abomination that looks like it’s a dog taking a poo.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I can understand such a mindset, and unless you’re gifted a donor car its probably not worth doing at all. Yet I am so impressed someone was able to figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Obligatory:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCwn1NTK-50

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Coming from the 350Z guy? The 350Z with door handles and an interior so flimsy I’m shocked it doesn’t melt into a pool of garbage in the summer sun. Hell that’d probably look better.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’ve seen a couple of these with that front bumper removed, I always wondered how that would hold up.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Apparently these are worth a lot more if they have the matching trailer accessory.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    This article pretty much echoes my feelings as well. I think a year or two ago, I saw one of these on the street and thought to myself, “Wow, that looks a lot better than when I remember it getting ragged on in the car rags.”

    Looked into prices, then thought to myself, “Nah….”

    I remember reading Prowler vs Panoz Roadster comparos. Now the latter is definitely something I’d plunk down cash for.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I think the Tim & Eric Show sketch featuring a Prowler owner was spot-on in its depiction of who owns and drives these cars. There’s nothing more to say about it.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The PT Cruiser should have been a sports car. It’s got the front engine and rear transaxle layout of senior Ferraris, Corvettes, the good cars Porsche used to make, and Alfa-Romeo GTV6s. It has a bespoke aluminum chassis. It’s got the pushrod front suspension of a contemporary Reynard Indycar. There’s got to be a way to combine these features to make something that laughs at Mustangs, but a tribute to ’32 Fords ain’t it. If the car was ultimately going to be limited by its cartoon tire sizes and a narrow cockpit, why did they have to waste what had the potential to be the best chassis ever built for an American car?

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I can applaud them for doing something different, but these really were junk. I had a friend with one, couldn’t believe how crappy they were considering the price. Like a Fisher Price toy.

    Who’s call was it to put a V6 in there? That’s really what killed the entire concept of a modern hot rod. Whatever CAFE fine would have been incurred Chrysler should have just paid it and put a 5.9 liter V8 in there. It was a halo car anyway, I’m sure it could have been done with the low volume.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    Not something I’d buy, but I’m glad they made it.

  • avatar
    zososoto

    I actually condone that they put the V6 in it. I’ve’ driven the 3.2 and the 3.5 in the FWD Dodge Intrepids and they pull that sedan very well. They needed something they could pair with the compact transaxle that they had, and the V6 fit the bill. Obviously, everyone would have preferred the V8 for the sake of heritage and engine sound, but the V6 was probably the right choice for the project.

    Your inner child screams no but it’s true.

  • avatar
    irieite

    Chassis was too long and it needed a manual transmission to really hit most of the marks.

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