Selection of Prowler Products!"
1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler: Highlights
Styled like a roadster of the 1930s, but redone in
the mode of the '50s, the Prowler looked like no other modern car on the road.
Motorcycle-type front fenders, for instance, moved along with the front
wheels. Like the Viper before it, Prowler had been a show car--but one later
made ready for the street. Appearances aside, the Prowler's technology was
strictly up-to-date. About 900 pounds of aluminum were used--in the hood,
front side panels, doors, rear deck, frame, bumpers, front-suspension
wishbones, and seat frames. Plastic was used for rear body panels, rocker
panels, and front fenders. Borrowed from Chrysler's LH sedans, the 3.5-liter
V6 engine produced 214 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive helped impart a more
traditional hot rod feel. Prowler's sole transmission was a rear-mounted
automatic unit with Chrysler's Autostick manual-shift feature, which permitted
manual gear selection when desired. Antilock brakes and traction control were
not available, though brakes were all-disc. Front tires were 225/45VR17 size,
while the back end held massive 295/40VR20 rubber. Both tires had run-flat
capability--essential because there was no room for a spare tire. The retro
theme continued into the interior, which featured a full complement of gauges
at the center of the dashboard, in an elliptical pod. That pod matched the
body color--which was purple-only in the Prowler's first season. A tachometer
was mounted atop the steering column, simulating the look of aftermarket speed
equipment. Standard equipment included air conditioning, a tilt steering
wheel, cruise control, 6-disc CD changer, and a defroster for the convertible
top's glass rear window. Power windows, locks, and mirrors also were standard.
1998 Plymouth Prowler:
No '98 models were issued, but Prowler would be back for 1999.
1999 Plymouth Prowler:
Reintroduced in spring of 1998 as a '99 model, Prowler had a new V6 engine
that produced 253 horsepower--39 more than in 1997. That engine came from the
Chrysler 300M and LHS. As before, the sole transmission was a rear-mounted
automatic unit with Chrysler's Autostick manual-shift feature. Antilock brakes
and traction control remained unavailable. In addition to the original purple
body color, the revived Prowler came in yellow, black, or red. Chrome wheels
were newly optional, too.
2000 Plymouth Prowler:
Suspension revisions were the major changes this year, along with new body
colors. Springs were softened and shock absorbers recalibrated, in an attempt
to improve ride and handling. Silver joined the body-color list, replacing
yellow and purple. A new chrome bezel and leather boot went on the gearshift,
and an automatic-dimming mirror contained an integral compass and trip
2001 Plymouth Prowler:
Adjustable shock absorbers and new colors are the only changes for this
limited production model. Production ceased at the end of the year.
2002 Plymouth Prowler:
Inca Gold replaced Mulholland Blue midyear as an option to orange or silver.
The last Prowler was put together on February 15, 2002.
1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler
Antilock brakes not available
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1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler Trouble Spots
conditioner: A growling noise from the A/C is
probably due to the A/C line rubbing on the air-filter housing. A revised
line must be installed. (1997-99)
Dashboard lights: The low-tire-pressure
warning may blink intermittently. If the pressure is not actually low, the
sensor(s) will be replaced. (1997-99)
Dashboard lights: Low tire-pressure warning
light might indicate a faulty sensor/transmitter. (1997-99)
gauge: If fuel tank does not fill completely
or is slow to fill, and updated filler neck and hose are available.
pump: When refueling, the pump nozzle may
keep clicking off and/or the tank may stop accepting fuel when it is only
half-full due to a problem with the filler neck. A revised neck is
starting: Reprogramming the power train
control module could aid cold start idle quality. (1997)
leak: In colder weather, oil may be forced
out of the differential case vent. (1997-00)
Vehicle noise: A fluttering or vibrating
noise from the center dash vents means the HVAC mode door needs to be
recalibrated which is done by removing the battery cable, turning the
blower switch to high, and reconnecting the battery cable. (1999-2000)
NHTSA Recall History
Some welds that affect vehicle control and
crashworthiness may have been omitted in six areas of the frame; loss of
control can occur.
Some vehicles may have defective lower
control arm ball joints, resulting in possible loss of steering control.
Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
Brake-indicator-lamp circuit does not contain the required ground circuit
to illuminate the lamp in the event of a brake system hydraulic
Some aluminum castings used in manufacture of frame may have missed the
required heat treatment; some of these frames could fracture under vehicle
Some of the owner's manuals for these
vehicles are missing instructions for properly attaching a child restraint
system's tether strap to the tether anchorage.
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|Overall Length, in.
|Overall Width, in.
|Overall Height, in.
|Curb Weight, lbs.
|Cargo Volume, cu. ft.
|Fuel Capacity, gals.
|Front Head Room, in.
|Max. Front Leg Room, in.
Specifications Key: NA = not available; "--" =
measurement does not exist.
Power train Options and Availability
A 214-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine propelled
the original Prowler. When it returned for 1999 after a year's absence, a
stronger (253-horsepower) version of the 3.5-liter V6 went beneath the
hood. All Prowlers have a rear-mounted 4-speed automatic transmission with
Chrysler's Autostick manual-shift provision.
3.5 / 215
4-speed automatic: 22/32
4-speed automatic: 17.2
3.5 / 215
4-speed automatic: 19/30
4-speed automatic: 22.1
Engine Key: l/cu. in. = liters/cubic inches;
ohv = overhead valve; ohc = overhead camshaft; dohc = dual overhead
camshaft; I = inline cylinders; H = horizontally opposed cylinders; V =
cylinders in a V configuration; W = cylinders in a W configuration; rpm =
revolutions per minute; CVT = continuously variable (automatic)
transmission; NA = not available; "--" = measurement does not exist.
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2001 Plymouth Prowler
A car on parade in its own
by Denise McCluggage
Base Price (MSRP) $44,625
As Tested (MSRP) $45,400
The Prowler could only have been created in
an atmosphere where car guys called the shots - car guys who could look
back with personal affection on the early American hot rods and at the
same time look forward to technological advances in the manufacture of the
Chrysler executive Bob Lutz and Tom Gale,
then head of design - car guys extraordinaire (and both now gone from
Chrysler) - were uniquely situated in the early '90s to unite those
seemingly disparate visions into a sincere homage to the hot rod and at
the same time create a test-bed of non-traditional materials. (The Prowler
is the most aluminum-intensive car built and puts magnesium, urethane and
polymers to work as well.) Lutz and Gale could say, "build it." And they
One model is made - a two-seat, manual-top
convertible with rear-wheel drive and automatic transmission with
First came the concept car that turned
slowly under spotlights at the 1993 Detroit auto show, stunning every
journalist into statue rigidity - mouth agape, eyes misting. Then three
years later the car emerged in its eggplant hue with its eggplant-shaped
rear hip line - curvaceous and enorm with 20-inch rear wheels -
contrasting in delightful incongruity to the airily light front end with
motorcycle fenders capping 17-inch wheels and a brash bumper that admits
it wouldn't be there on a real hot rod (but looks fine obeying street
rules). This is the car that was to be a halo car for Plymouth - an
image-enhancer like the Viper was to Dodge. Unfortunately, Cheshire-cat
like, the grin outlasted the body. With Plymouth gone the Prowler is now a
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Image-enhancement is still the car's strong
suit - the image of the driver. Prowler remains as eye grabbing as ever.
Shouts of "I love your car" trail it through restaurant parking lots. It
evokes thumbs up and smiles from every age group, every gender. (Though it
skews heavily male among purchasers.) The Prowler evokes the emotions and
entertains the eye at every angle. Its enduring appeal depends on the fact
that it is not just a bright idea and a smart design but that it is well
executed. Detail is attended to, fit and finish are admirable. Sleekly
sophisticated with its flattened wedge shape, voluptuous curves and unique
color schemes, the Prowler is nonetheless a most affable machine. Indeed,
if you didn't climb into its lap first it might climb into yours.
Colors! In some ways Chrysler is more like
the Franklin Mint than a carmaker with this car. Collectability is a real
consideration, and the choice and timing of color options is a teaser to
craving. The first year's purple (I called it "aubergine") led to a
singing yellow in mid 1999. Then came a lipstick red and a black. (And
two-tone red and black for a special Woodward Dream Cruise edition.) For
2000 silver was the new color. That was joined around Halloween with a
deep orange, sort of like a Jack O'Lantern flashed with candle fire (the
color of our test car). Also new for 2001 is a two-tone black and silver
metallic called Black Tie Edition, as entertaining as a lounge magician. A
special Mulholland Drive edition is a deep sapphire Pearlcoat blue with
light blue hand striping and a dark blue top. Sounds edible, doesn't it?
True collectors, of course, want one of each.
The top is made of a substantive padded
cloth. It fits solidly and looks good when up, and it goes down with
relative ease (aided by a few expletives), storing out of sight behind the
rear deck lid. The rear window is real glass with defogger. The side
windows are power with one-touch down.
The leather-trimmed bucket seats are
handsome things both in appearance and in use, providing good driving
support and cruising comfort. The dash is another Chrysler design
statement, a body-colored stretched lozenge-shaped cluster with
centralized instruments. Never mind, the important thing is the little
round tachometer apparently after-thought-mounted smack in front of the
driver's nose on the steering column. It reminds us of hot rods with tachs
from the J.C. Whitney's catalog.
Prowler has all sorts of comforts that few
real rods have: remote keyless entry, air conditioning, 320-watt stereo
with six-CD changer, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel,
power locks, windows and mirrors, even a cup-holder (singular).
Outward visibility suffers notably. Hot-rod
like, the sides of the car rise high, engendering that
three-year-old-in-a-bathtub syndrome. The top in place achieves a
cocoon-like visual isolation. But even with the top down it is impossible
to know exactly where the right-side front tire is. This is more a problem
in parking lots than on the road, but care is suggested to avoid damaging
or being damaged. (Also be cautious in edging up to low concrete parking
space markers lest an unpleasant underside scraping results.) Fortunately
for locating other objects in the world the side mirrors are amply sized.
(Hint: adjust them so that they take in some of that great swell of the
rear fender. This is for aesthetic considerations only.)
The Prowler will teach you to travel light
- and flat and soft-sided. The great rear haunches are for transaxle,
tires, gas tank and top storage - not your gear. Some garment bags might
fit in the shallow area remaining, and a truly skinny brief case behind a
seat, but if you carry more than what you wear opt for the small rounded
color-matched trailer. It's cute. Fortunately, the center console has a
little stuffing space.
People much above the national average in
size may find the Prowler's cockpit (and the term is apt) cramped. Seat
travel is limited. Certainly anyone who can play above the rim will not
find a home in the Prowler. My 6-foot, seven-inch ergonomic tester could
sit in the car only with the top stowed. He could drive - sort of -
peering over the windshield, knees akimbo around the steering wheel at
full tilt. It's not easy to watch an overgrown man cry.
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The first-year Prowler drew some carping
for being a mere V6. (Many of the Prowler's components are modified LH
bits, including the transaxle transplanted to the rear - nice for
balance.) Real rods have V8s, detractors said, but the Prowler power was
The current 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 offers
253 horsepower at 6400 rpm (and a well-placed 255 pounds-feet of torque at
3950). That power has to whup only 2838 pounds off the line. So wimpy it
Sound, which is what noise is called when
it's agreeable, is important in the Prowler: the big rear tires on the
road surface, the top-down wind whipping by, the rise and fall of the
engine's contralto drone sounding like mammoth bees approaching in
intimidating numbers. Don't expect the shriek or fabric rip of a V12 or
even the rumble of a V8, but the sound this V6 makes is music. You could
dance to it.
Other things to dance to aren't the stuff
of traditional hot rods: independent suspension fore and aft and
four-wheel disc brakes. With no room for spares, the Prowler is shod with
run-flat tires; a cluster light warns when tire pressures are low.
The fun of driving the Prowler is not just
in being noticed. The independent suspension is wise to the ways of
holding the road. Take a nice sweeping bend and accelerate through it
feeling the Gs mount, the tires grip. Play open-wheel race driver watching
the front tires work. Zip-zapping through tighter turns and chicane-like
corners produces a smile.
Some have decried the automatic
transmission in the Prowler. I shrug. This is an excellent four-speed
automatic and it has AutoStick, Chrysler's semi-manual shifter. I actually
prefer its side-to-side selection motion (rather than fore and aft). The
driver can casually backhand it to achieve a gear change. Or hug it inward
when it's time to gather the forces for a brisk canter up the green
hillside, meandering amidst the trees.
Any no-compromise car will have notable
shortcomings. Like most convertibles, which lack a hard top and the
rigidity it adds, cowl shake is more than evident. Roughen up the road
surface and there's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. Still, the 2001
Prowler rides notably smoother on proper pavement than the rather nervous
original Prowler (which I nonetheless happily piloted from Santa Fe to
Monterey and suffered not at all).
The Prowler's brakes are not sterling
performers. Discs are all around, but no ABS is available. (Remember your
threshold-braking techniques!) The front brakes grabbed now and again,
particularly at crawling paces and not consistently. Braking hard from
speed takes more territory than you might anticipate so drive accordingly.
And the headlights are not up to the best available today. Anyway, the
Prowler is a sunshine car. Go forth in daylight and prosper.
In short, the Prowler is delightful. It can
parade and it can party. It looks like a real hot rod, but boasts all the
creature comforts of modern automobiles. It's fun to drive.
It is to DaimlerChrysler's credit that real
hot rodders generally like and admire the Prowler. They recognize it as
the tribute to their cars that it was meant to be.
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1999 Chrysler Howler Concept
DaimlerChrysler unveiled the Howler show car at the
Specialty Equipment Market Association's (SEMA) annual
show in Las Vegas in 1999. With the 250 bhp, 300 lb.-ft.
V-8 Howler, the Company shows off a performance roadster
pickup interpretation of Prowler, which pays homage to the
rolling art of hot rods.
Howler is the result of two internal projects. In
DaimlerChrysler's Advanced Packaging studio, designer
Christopher Schuttera, who graduated just two years ago
from the University of Cincinnati, created his vision
based on a modern version of classic forms incorporating a
pickup bed into the clean, pure Prowler design.
At the same time, Jon Rundels, Concept and Specialty
Vehicle Executive, was looking for ways to meld the
Prowler platform with the all-new Jeep® PowerTech V-8
engine and a Borg-Warner T5 manual transmission.
"Here we had two enthusiast projects going on in our own
Auburn Hills studios that you would expect to see in an
automotive specialty shop," said Tom Gale, DaimlerChrysler
Corporation's Executive Vice President for Product
Development and Design. "What better occasion than the
SEMA show -- which is all about customization and
conversion -- to link these projects and create another
stunning show car."
Howler is an unprecedented combination of outrageous yet
practical design and powerful performance. Technically,
Rundels" team changed the engine from the standard V-6 to
the PowerTech V-8, replaced the rear transaxle with an
engine-mounted five-speed manual transmission with 10.5
inch clutch and a Dana 44 rear differential, and
fabricated a custom driveshaft and half-shafts. A pedal
package with clutch was borrowed from the Neon to replace
the standard two pedal package. Removing the rear
transaxle provided the opportunity to reposition the fuel
"This in turn allowed us to open up the rear of the car
and create space for a trunk while leaving the front end,
doors, top and interior untouched," added Schuttera. "The
result is a show car that remains true to the heritage of
the home-built hot rod, yet offers true everyday
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INFORMATION Page 6
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