Is there a modern equivalent to the custom street rod? I mean, it’d have to be a car that’s fast, stylish, technological, luxurious, and built with an astute attention to detail. It’d also have to be a car that’s exclusive, turns heads and has potential for major collectability. How about this super low-mileage Plymouth Prowler? With an all-aluminum V6, a modern 4-speed drivetrain, an aluminum-intensive frame, a hand-built body and a stylish leather interior, it’s every bit as meticulous as it is reliable. And since only 11K of these purpose-built halo cars were produced, you’d better believe it’s poised for a surge in popularity. If you’re looking for a showroom-fresh cruiser that, in addition to being cooler than an ice cube in an igloo, will provide years of reliable fun, this 2001 Prowler is your kind of car!
Envisioned by Chrysler engineers as a production technique testbed, and viewed by corporate marketing gurus as the last chance to revive the corporation’s legendary Plymouth division, this pristine drop top is one of only 689 Plymouth Prowlers painted Prowler Orange Metallic for the 2001 model year. Fastidiously maintained, and driven only 52 miles since its pigment hit the sunlight, the car’s finish is essentially brand new. Its hand-assembled body is exceptionally dynamic and absolutely nails the custom appearance Chrysler’s Connor Avenue brigade spent hours crafting. Its gaps are just as you would expect from a top-of-the-line halo car. And overall, this high profile roadster is an outstanding piece which features world-class build quality and laser-straight body lines. If you’ve never experienced one of these special cars, you’re really missing out; this bright Plymouth offers a confident and invigorating thrill ride!
Like all of Chrysler’s stylish 90s metal, this drop-top’s killer styling is brilliantly executed with smooth and taut proportions that rightfully place form over function. At the front of the car, contrasting black bumpers hang crystal clear parking lights just ahead of Indy-style wheels, composite projector beam headlamps and a 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 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 at the back of the car, a trunk-mounted center high mount stop lamp rides above two more black bumpers which, in typical street rod fashion, leave plenty of room to display the car’s 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, this Plymouth’s all-aluminum engine is showroom new in just about every possible way. Naturally, the mill has benefitted from basic maintenance but, beyond that, everything is essentially fresh out of the box. It certainly appears that the car has been properly maintained and driven often enough to keep everything in top operating condition. And not only does the smooth sixer fire up instantly, it also idles perfectly and moves this relatively lightweight roadster with real authority.
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 multi-link rear suspension. Dynamic Suspensions coil over shocks at all four corners combine with front and rear stabilizer bars and power rack and pinion steering to carve curves for lunch and eat potholes for dinner. Stops come courtesy of composite four wheel disc brakes which feature 11 inch rotors up front and 13 inch rotors out back. And all that advanced hardware results in a perfect 50/50 weight distribution which makes this roadster an absolute pleasure to drive. The engine growls a rowdy, throaty exhaust note through two fat pipes which exit just under the car’s rear bumpers. And, for a bit of flash, this Prowler spins 225/45R17 front and 295/40R20 rear Goodyear Eagle GS-Ds around stylish chrome wheels.
Inside this neo street rod you’ll find a fashionable leather interior that represents drop-top cruising at its finest. At the center of the cockpit, the driver and passenger benefit from plush bucket seats 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. 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 Orange Metallic instrument panel that’s a great tribute to vintage hot rods of all kinds. Beneath that bright dash, a short factory shifter controls Chrysler’s highly regarded AutoStick feature. Naturally, the windows, locks and mirrors are all power operated. And a superb 320-watt, seven speaker sound system comes standard with a six disc CD changer that’s located just behind the passenger seat.
The sale of this yet-to-be-titled roadster includes the car’s original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, a testing mileage statement from Plymouth, an original dealer invoice, an Infinity sound system CD, and an official valet key.
The bottom line: This is A LOT of bang for your buck! Low miles, great looks, excellent performance, and the kind of ownership experience most OEMs can’t touch. What more could you ask for? Not only is this Prowler fast, it’s also a very competent cruiser that features plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the warm summer sunshine. If you’re looking for a low-mileage drop-top that’s a tour de force of style and attitude, this Plymouth is your next car!