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Plymouth Prowler

The Plymouth Prowler, later the Chrysler Prowler, is a retro-styled production sports car manufactured and marketed from 1997 to 2002 by DaimlerChrysler, based on the 1993 concept car of the same name.

The Prowler was offered in a single generation in a front-engine, rear-drive, rear-transmission configuration—with an overall production of 11,702.


Chrysler engineers were given free rein to design whatever they wanted in a "hot rod" or "sportster" type vehicle. Chrysler's design and international director Thomas C. Gale said his "love for 1930s-era hot rods inspired Chrysler's latest design triumph, the retro-styled Plymouth Prowler." Gale, who has a hotted up 1932 Ford in his garage, approved the hotrod-inspired Plymouth Prowler as the company's follow-up show-stopper to the Dodge Viper. An early influence is credited to a Chrysler-sponsored project at the Art Center College of Design. This resulted in a thesis by Douglas "Chip" Foose, which included drawings of a retro-roadster. Foose "designed it as a coupe for Chrysler to begin with but modified it to a roadster version."

One of the most striking design features of the Prowler is the open, Indy racer-style front wheels. The Prowler featured a powertrain from Chrysler's LH-cars, a 24-valve, 3.5 L Chrysler SOHC V6 engine producing 214 hp (160 kW; 217 PS) at 5850 rpm. For the 1999 model year, the engine was replaced with a more powerful, aluminum block, 253 hp (189 kW; 257 PS) at 6400 rpm version of the engine. Both engines were coupled to a four-speed Autostick semi-automatic transmission. The transmission was located at the rear of the vehicle and joined to the engine by a torque tube that rotated at engine speed, an arrangement similar to that used by the C5 Corvette, Porsche 944, and Alfa Romeo 75, and helped to facilitate a desirable 50-50 front-rear weight distribution. The Prowler was the first rear-wheel drive Plymouth since the 1989 discontinuation of the Plymouth Gran Fury and would stand as the last Plymouth model with that layout. While criticized for having only a V6 engine, Chrysler's High Output 3.5 had a horsepower rating similar to (or higher than) the company's Magnum V8s of that era. While not making nearly as much torque as a V8, the Prowler's light weight helped to achieve rapid off-the-line acceleration.

The car prominently featured aluminum construction, in many cases adhesively bonded, chiefly in the chassis. The body was produced in Shadyside, Ohio, and the car was assembled by hand at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant (CAAP) in Detroit, Michigan.


Unlike the Dodge Viper, the Prowler was equipped with many features that allowed it to be used as a daily driver. These features included keyless entry, power windows, and door locks, dual airbags, leather-trimmed bucket seats, air conditioning with manual controls, an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player (a multi-disc CD changer was an available option as well) and a high-fidelity sound system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio system controls mounted on the rear of the wheel, a color-keyed instrument panel bezel painted to match the exterior color of the Prowler (a similar feature found on the Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was also originally intended to be sold as a Plymouth), digital odometer and full instrumentation, and, on later models, a speed-sensitive volume control activated via a switch mounted on the Prowler's instrument panel.


  • 1997 model
    • 0-60 mph (0–97 km/h): 7.2 seconds
    • Top speed: 118 mph (190 km/h) electronically limited
  • 1999–2002 model
    • 0-60 mph (0–97 km/h): 5.9 seconds
    • Top speed: 126 mph (203 km/h) electronically limited


The Plymouth Prowler was produced for 1997 and then for the 1999 and 2000 model years. After the Plymouth brand was discontinued in 2001, the Prowler was marketed as a Chrysler Prowler for the 2001 and 2002 model years. However, DaimlerChrysler continued to market the Prowler as a Plymouth in Canada for the 2000 model year; the Prowler was the last Plymouth sold in Canada.

The last Prowler was built on February 15, 2002, and the model niche was later filled by the Chrysler Crossfire in 2004.


Across the two production runs, the Prowler was available in 12 colors.

  • Prowler purple metallic (only color available in 1997)
  • Prowler yellow clear coat
  • Prowler black clearcoat
  • Prowler red clearcoat
  • Prowler bright silver metallic
  • Woodward Edition (two-tone black/red)
  • Black Tie Edition (two-tone black/silver)
  • Prowler orange pearl coat
  • Midnight blue pearl coat – Mulholland Edition
  • Inca gold pearl coat
  • Deep candy red pearl coat
  • High voltage blue pearl coat – Conner Avenue Edition (only one produced, auctioned at Christie's)

Other features

  • Wheels front: 17" × 7"
  • Wheels rear: 20" × 10"
  • Tires front: 225/45 HR17
  • Tires rear: 295/40 HR20
  • Brakes front/rear: composite 11" vented disc / 13" vented disc
  • Towing capacity: 1,000 lbs (braked trailer)


The original manufacturer's suggested retail price (in US$) for each model year for the Prowler:

  • 1997 – $38,300
  • 1999 – $39,300
  • 2000 – $43,000
  • 2001 – $44,225
  • 2002 – $44,625

Due to limited trunk space, a $5,000 Prowler trailer option was available from Chrysler dealers. These trailers resembled the back end of a Prowler and had 15-inch versions of the five-spoke wheels found on the car. They could be ordered to match a car's factory color. The cars were equipped with a trailer hitch to accommodate the trailer option; however, a warning was affixed to the hitch indicating that it was not to be used to tow any other trailer such as for a boat, camper, etc. Doing so would void the factory warranty.


In 1998, a Plymouth Prowler was sealed in a mausoleum as a time capsule in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While similar in concept to the buried 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that formerly resided near the courthouse, the buried Prowler was sealed in Centennial Park in an above-ground vault and sealed within a plastic box instead of plastic sheets that covered the Belvedere. Experts believe the Prowler has a better chance of looking how it did when it was sealed when the time capsule is opened in 2048 when it will be returned to Chrysler.

In 1999, at the Specialty Equipment Market Association's annual car show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Chrysler unveiled the Plymouth Howler concept. Inspired by hot rod trucks, and based on the Prowler, the Howler featured a small, truck-like bed with a tailgate and hard tonneau cover. Under the hood, an adapted version of Jeep's new 4.7L PowerTech V8 engine replaced the production model's 3.5L V6. A BorgWarner five-speed manual replaced the production four-speed automatic.

Chrysler Corporation hosted a tenth-anniversary celebration on August 16, 2007, at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan, to commemorate the production of the Plymouth Prowler in 1997.


External links

  • Media related to Plymouth Prowler at Wikimedia Commons
  • Media related to Chrysler Prowler at Wikimedia Commons


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