Tag: Neon

By on August 27, 2021

When it launched in 1994, the original Dodge Neon was a different kind of car – and not just because it looked fun and friendly while the outgoing Shadow it replaced was trying very hard to look sporty by the end.

It was different because of its ads, which were simple and non-threatening. The car was kept simple inside, too. A 2.0-liter engine was standard (available in 132 horsepower with a SOHC head or 150 hp with DOHC), and could be had with a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. You could get power front windows, but rear windows were crank-only. What’s more, the cars were genuinely fun to drive in almost any trim level, leading our very own Matthew Guy to label it as one of the best, unheralded performance cars of its day.

Which, I mean, that’s great and all. But what if Chrysler had made a different call with the Neon powertrain? What if we could go back in time again, Sam Beckett-style, and fill the space under the Neon’s hood with the 175 hp turbocharged engine from the Dodge Omni GLH-S, would that car have ended up as an “unheralded” performance car, or one of the all-time classic sport compacts?

Let’s talk it through.

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By on July 29, 2021

The Buy/Drive/Burn series has taken on a late Nineties theme lately: Our last two entries represented midsize sedans from 1997. Based upon a suggestion in the comments, we return once more to the period. On offer today are three very basic American compact coupes from 1998.

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By on January 11, 2021

2001 Plymouth Neon in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Quite a few hallowed (and not-so-hallowed) Detroit brands got axed forever during the decade of the 2000s (whatever we’re calling it now— the Noughts? the Oh-Ohs?), and the one that went to the slaughterhouse first was Plymouth. Starting in 1928 (not-so-coincidentally, just a couple of years after the birth of Pontiac), Americans and Canadians could buy low-priced Plymouths with the same running gear as the costlier Dodges and Chryslers, and life was good. Then the outlines of the brand became increasingly blurred as the 20th Century waned until finally just one Plymouth was left: the Neon. Last week, we saw one of the very last Pontiacs ever made, so we’ll follow that up with one of the final Plymouths. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2018

 

There are plenty of performance cars from the pages of history whose greatness has been recognized — Integra Type R, Focus RS, anything with GTI appended to its name. A few, however, have slipped through the cracks.

Time is kind to some cars, with their stock rising only long after they’ve gone out of production, but a few never get the recognition they deserve. I’ve got two examples right here … and they’re both from Detroit.

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By on September 28, 2015

00 - 1999 Dodge Neon in Colorado wrecking yard - photo by Murilee MartinWhen 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. (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2014

transmission. Shutterstock user Scharfsinn

TTAC Commentator anti121hero writes:

Hello Sajeev! Very long time reader, but first time I’ve ever reached out. To start, I happen to be a huge RWD ford fan, (I’m actually helping my best friend put together his 94 mark viii). Now with your interest gained… (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2013

01 - 1996 Plymouth Neon Expresso Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Neon sold in respectable numbers during its 1995-2005 production run, most Detroit cars in high-turnover self-serve wrecking yards are 12-15 years old, and so you’ll see many, many Neons in such yards these days. Most of the time, Neons are just junkyard background noise to me as I look for interesting cars to photograph for this series; I’ll shoot a rare Neon R/T, but that’s about it. Still, something about the dot-com-boom optimism of the Expresso trim level catches my attention, so I paused to document this ’96 in its final parking spot. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2012

The Lord Needs No Restraint

 

Gentlemen, there’s some automotive/emotional baggage that I need a resolution for.

I’m finally in a position to replace a Celica with something that will possibly see an HPDE, and the occasional autocross. I have $9000 to spend. Although the Celi drove beautifully, it wasn’t a viscerally thrilling car and I’d like to learn the dynamics of a rwd platform.

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By on February 25, 2012

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. (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2011

WardsAuto is a great source for industry news, but it’s pretty clearly not the best source for enthusiast news. Take, for example, a recent interview with Dodge SRT boss Ralph Gilles about the forthcoming compact Dodge and its possible SRT version:

“The Neon put the whole street-tuning scene on its ear with the factory turbo. We have to figure out how to get an entry-level SRT product to capture the next generation.”

The car to which Gilles refers will be a Dodge C-segment sedan derived from the same platform that shoulders the highly acclaimed European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta offered by alliance-partner Fiat…

While Gilles is adamant that a high-performance C-car would be a welcome addition for Chrysler, he stops short of saying it’s a done deal, noting internal plans still are being hammered out.

However, it’s unlikely the entry-level model would share the 470-hp 6.4L Hemi V-8 shared by its SRT brethren introduced at the event here. [emphasis added]

Say it aint so, Dodge! I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned it’s just not a true successor to the Neon SRT-4 unless it’s got a Hemi V8… damn Italians! Seriously though, how cool is it that Wards considers a V8-powered Fiat-based compact merely “unlikely” rather than “a surefire sign of the apocalypse”?
Alternative video after the jump…
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By on July 18, 2011


Zero black flags, zero mechanical problems, and consistent quick laps around Gingerman Raceway’s track all weekend: the formula for the Skid Marks Racing Neon’s victory in Michigan on Sunday. (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2011


By the end of the day’s session at Gingerman Raceway, fewer than half the entrants’ cars were still moving under their own power. Hot weather and a punishing race course spelled doom for head gaskets, transmissions, brake calipers, and other critical components, while dehydration and fatigue led many drivers to make errors in judgment that sent them straight to the LeMons Supreme Court Penalty Box. A few teams are now poised to take advantage of the harsh attrition rate, both for the win on laps and the Index of Effluency trophy. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2011
Animal...housed?

Animal...housed?

Brenden writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

My buddy is in college and needs a used set of wheels.  After 2 years of depending upon Baltimore’s awful public transportation system and the generosity of friends, roommates, frat brothers, and total strangers for car rides, his school work is starting to suffer and he’s decided to buy a car.  Unfortunately, his budget is about $2000.  His living situation and total lack of mechanical skills rule out anything German, Swedish, or otherwise maintenance intensive.

His criteria for the car are reliable/durable, fuel efficient, and cheap to run.  Working AC and heat would be a bonus, but he really only intends to drive the car about 15-20 minutes per day for school.  He has absolutely no pretensions about the car’s badge, perceived coolness, sporty driving dynamics, etc., but he probably won’t spring for a total crapcan like a metro or echo. Also, he’s currently unemployed, and I don’t think he intends to find a job due to his course load.
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By on April 16, 2011


The temperature dropped to freezing, the wind hit 50 MPH, and the rain turned to snow at the Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis 24 Hours of LeMons. Cars spun out in record numbers, and broken cars had to be repaired in frostbitten conditions that would have appalled the harshest Gulag commandant. The battle for the overall lead stayed close all day, with the lead changing hands at least a dozen times. (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2010

It was actually a “Dear John” letter! No surprise, since that’s my proper name, and that’s how I registered my SRT-4 six and a half long years ago.

Dear John,

My name is (blah blah), manager of (blah blah) Chrysler Jeep Dodge and I am contacting you today to inform you of a special offer available designed just for you. Over the last couple of weeks we have had several customers inquire about purchasing a reliable pre-owned Dodge Neon…

It is not an exaggeration to say that I laughed for a full thirty seconds.

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