So you’ve decided you deserve a new toy and you’ve begun the search for a cool car. But not just any cool car, something that’s special, something that’ll turn heads, and something that makes you smile every time you hit Main Street. A classic would certainly fit the bill, but you want a rig that’s going to contribute to your well-being instead of stressing you out over parking lots and acting like an angry teenager when it gets cold. How about this low-mileage Plymouth Prowler? With a modern 3.5 liter V6, it’s every bit as powerful as it is reliable. With a plush leather interior, it’s a good travel companion to ANY destination. With its slick red body, it’ll turn heads day and night. And with its accessory trailer, you can drive your roadster and haul things too! If you’re looking for a fun cruiser that’ll provide years of good times and virtually guaranteed collectability, this cat’s got it all!
Originally penned by Chrysler engineers who were given free rein to create whatever they wanted in a hot rod or sportster type vehicle, this pristine Plymouth drop top is one of only 1,383 Prowler Red roadsters built for the 1999 model year. Today, after years invested in keeping its basecoat/clearcoat shiny and clean, the car’s finish looks virtually brand new; and judging by its mirror-like reflections, has likely never seen a winter or been outside a well-built garage for more than an occasional weekend road trip. Since all Prowlers were completely hand assembled at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan, these roadsters typically show above average build quality and stellar paint finishes. And this one, with its tight gaps, solid closing doors and top that seals up tighter than any ’32 Ford roadster ever could, looks and feels better than most classics twice its asking price!
Like the old school street rods that inspired it, the Prowler swaps chrome ornamentation and flowery trim for an all-business appearance which wraps a custom look around OEM quality. Up front, contrasting gray bumpers hang crystal clear parking lights in front of Indy racer style front wheels, composite aerodynamic projector beam headlights and a smooth, heritage-inspired grille. Above that grille, a body-matched Plymouth emblem is centered on a pointed hood which leads your eye to pristine factory glass that’s complete with an integrated windshield antenna. Behind that windshield antenna, a black cloth top hangs a glass rear window between aerodynamic, body-matched mirrors and flared rocker panels which do a great job of mimicking classic running boards. Behind those running boards, rolled rear fenders feature smooth-fitting tail lights that are straight out of the hot rodder’s handbook. And a trunk mounted center high mount stop lamp rides above two red-accented bumpers which, in typical street rod fashion, leave plenty of room for the car’s Mopar hitch and pristine stainless exhaust.
When the Prowler finally hit the streets, many purists were upset that a V6 was the only powertrain option. What those purists failed to realize was: 1) with 253 horsepower and 250 lb./ft. of torque, this car’s 3.5 liter 24 valve SOHC V6 was making virtually the same power as Chrysler’s Magnum V8s at the time and 2) when combined with the car’s lightweight chassis and low center of gravity, it made some very impressive performance numbers. Mechanically, the all-aluminum engine is showroom new in just about every possible way. I’m sure it’s benefitted from a few oil changes; but beyond that, everything is essentially fresh out of the box. And it certainly appears that the car has been properly maintained and driven often enough to keep everything in top operating condition. The smooth engine fires up instantly, idles perfectly and moves this relatively lightweight Prowler with real authority. Besides, on a car with only 6,552 miles, are there really any questions? That’s barely even break-in mileage!
Behind that buff V6, a 42LE 4-speed automatic transaxle, which features an ‘Autostick’ gear change setting, is more of a toy than a functional performance improvement. But it fits the Prowler’s persona perfectly; and far more of today’s “real” hot rods are built with automatics than stick shifts. So who can blame Chrysler for doing their homework and giving the public what it wants? That road ready drivetrain is held off the ground by an aluminum intensive chassis which is equipped with an independent double A-arm front suspension and an independent multilink rear suspension. Koni coil over shocks at all four corners, and front and rear stabilizer bars out back combine with power rack and pinion steering to carve curves for lunch and eat potholes for dinner. And stops come courtesy of composite four wheel disc brakes which feature 11 inch rotors up front and 13 inch vented rotors out back. All that advanced hardware results in a perfect 50/50 weight distribution which makes this roadster an absolute pleasure to drive. The engine produces a rowdy, throaty exhaust note through two fat chrome pipes which exit at the back of the car. And for a bit of flash, this Prowler spins 225/45 front and 295/40 rear Goodyear Eagle GS-D radials around chrome-plated alloy wheels which measure 17 inches up front and 20 inches in the rear.
Slide inside this hunkered down roadster and you’ll find an Ebony leather interior that successfully doubles as both a comfortable cruise spot and a stylish, retro-inspired show piece. At the center of the cockpit, the driver and passenger benefit from plush leather buckets that are stitched around monochromatic Prowler logos. In front of the driver, an Auto Meter tachometer is perched top-dead-center on a tilt steering column that props redundant audio buttons opposite cruise control buttons via a factory steering wheel. And at the front of the car a center-mounted 150 MPH speedometer and four small accessory gauges, the voltmeter and oil pressure gauge to the left and the fuel and temperature gauges to the right, ride inside a Prowler Red instrument panel that’s a great tribute to vintage hot rods of all kinds. Naturally, the windows, locks and mirrors are all power operated; and the superb 320-watt, seven speaker sound system comes standard with a six disc CD changer that’s located just behind the passenger seat. Beneath that mondo sound system, a short factory shifter controls Chrysler’s highly regarded Autostick feature. And between the car’s tall trunk and factory trailer, which is included with the sale, you should have no problem traveling in style AND lodging in style!
There’s no doubt Prowlers are cool. Their lines, their attitude and the sheer improbability they even got built is enough to make them a case study in automotive ingenuity. We get excited every time we see one and we’re still amazed that a large car company actually had the nerve to put something like this in showrooms. Even 10 years after the last one rolled off Chrysler’s assembly line, these cars still draw a crowd wherever they go. What’s better: they’re ALREADY starting to gain value in the coveted collector market. If you missed your chance to pick up one of these modern Mopar showpieces when they were new, don''t get caught waiting for the right one to come along again because they’re only going to get more expensive!