Tangible changes are few for DaimlerChryslers limited-production roadster, which looks like a street rod from the 1950s, but is modified from a 1930s roadster. Adjustable shock absorbers have been added, and colors are different this year. A new Black Tie Edition featured black-over-silver paint, while Orange was announced as a new color choice for 2001. Silver-hued Prowlers remained on sale, but Red, Yellow, Black and Purple were no longer offered. By February 2001, the only available color choice was Midnight Blue, but other hues were expected in the near future. -->
A major change came at the start of 2001 as the Plymouth brand name finally disappeared. Prowlers had been badged as Plymouths ever since production began in July 1997. But from now on, the Prowler will be considered a Chrysler product.
The Prowler first appeared as a concept car at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. An overwhelmingly favorable response from the press and public prompted Chrysler to seriously consider manufacturing such a vehicle. Built alongside the Dodge Viper at a Detroit facility, the mostly aluminum rear-wheel-drive two-seater uses a V-6 engine borrowed from the Chrysler 300M and LHS.
During 2000, a total of 2,631 Prowlers were sold an increase over 1999. Even if those numbers are modest, Prowlers continue to attract customers at dealerships; naturally, this is a major reason for the Prowlers continued existence. Keeping the production volume low also enhances the cars value and collectible desire. When the demise of the Plymouth name was announced in November 1999, people assumed that Prowler production would end in 2001. But for now, the retro rod lives on a while longer.
Nothing on the market looks anything like a rakish Prowler, which helped establish the trend toward retro-styled vehicles. Despite its factory hot rod personality with minimalist fenders and a jutting-forward prow, the two-seater is built strictly with modern technology. Aluminum is used for the Prowlers frame and most of its body panels, while plastic compounds are employed for the front fenders and rear panels. Prowlers come with a manually folding top and glass rear window that is fitted with a defogger. Chrome alloy wheels hold 225/45HR17 front and 295/40HR20 rear extended-mobility tires. Prowlers have just a sliver of trunk space, but owners who have luggage to carry can obtain a matching trailer.
Two occupants get leather-upholstered bucket seats, and the driver has to consult a gauge cluster located in the center of the dashboard. In a nod to custom cars of the past, the engine tachometer is mounted not on the dashboard but atop the steering column.
Standard Prowler equipment includes air conditioning, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, cruise control, a six-way manual drivers seat with height adjustment, remote keyless entry, an Infinity cassette stereo with six-CD changer, a theft-deterrent system, tire-pressure monitor, and power windows, locks and mirrors.
Under the Hood
As in the Chrysler 300M and LHS, the Prowlers 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 253 horsepower. The rear-mounted four-speed-automatic transmission incorporates Chryslers AutoStick system, which includes a separate gate for manual gear changes that the driver uses by tipping the shift lever to the left or right.
Dual front airbags and four-wheel disc brakes are standard, but antilock brakes, traction control and side-impact airbags are not available.
Unless you enjoy attention, dont even dream of driving much less buying a Prowler. Even though the retro-roadster has been around for several years, it still draws stares when rolling down the road. Nothing else looks like the Prowler, and nothing feels the same when youre behind the wheel.
Performance from the V-6 engine is energetic but accompanied by considerable noise and a jarring ride. Another caution: leave the luggage behind, unless the Prowler is accompanied by one of those matching trailers. Even a thick briefcase can be tough to stow. Prowlers arent likely to be driven in everyday humdrum commutes. But when the sun is out and the weekend is nigh, backing this retro-roadster out of the garage is a recipe for sheer fun on the road.