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Grace
Hagerty Employee

The manual V-8 Prowler that Plymouth should’ve built just sold for serious scratch

What if Plymouth had built the Prowler as fully-realized, no-compromises retro hot rod? Probably not a question that a lot of people are asking these days. While the Prowler was a fantastic-looking modern take on the classic hot rod, it was in the eyes of some a rather disappointing execution of what it could've been. The car's 3.5-liter V-6 engine and automatic transmission are frequent targets of such criticism, elements that no self-respecting hot rod builder would tolerate. But what if Plymouth had included a V-8 and manual?

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/auctions/the-manual-v-8-prowler-that-plymouth-shouldve-built-just-sold...

37 REPLIES 37
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

I'd certainly like to drive a car that combines a Reynard Indycar pushrod front suspension, an aluminum chassis, an LS7 V8 and a G50 transaxle. 

CC
Passenger

I'm 6'1" and when the Prowlers were in the showrooms I tried to sit in one. No way could I sit down and I'm not overweight!! No legroom! I'm guessing maybe 5'10" might be the height limit. I was thinking of putting a 340 Mopar LA engine in one.

Turbo-Terry
Passenger

Nice car until you look under the hood,  a Chevy engine in a Plymouth (Vomiting Sorry)! It's just a glossy Rat Rod now.  Now with a HEMI it's better but still don't like the Porsche rear transaxle with 2" ground clearance.  Are you sure the RoadKill boys didn't build it.???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A Chevy powered Plymouth, (Vomiting-Sorry) !  It is now just a glossy rat rod.  Now with a HEMI and a Viper rear axle you have a real HotRod worth buying.  P.S.  Are you sure the Roadkill boys didn't build it??? 

sylgroeschl
Passenger

To bad the color sceme is so ugly?

Shredder65
New Driver

You're right. It should have a Hemi in there. And that rear end is going to get destroyed over the first bump. 

 

gfviperman
Intermediate Driver

No HEMI!!!!

FORGETABOUTIT!!!!

Alico87
Intermediate Driver

Prowlers are awesome cars that were poorly thought out. They could have been successful without a V8 if they had at least put some effort into making a decently powerful V6 for the space and a nice 6 speed manual. I love this swap, but by 2006 they could have kept it in the family with a modern  5.7 or 6.1 Hemi from a Challenger and it would make for a much more timeless modified collectable. (Think big block Camaro and you get my thought) 

OldCarMan
Instructor

Can you think of ANY other OEM company that had the balls to build a modern, production, fender-less rod? There a was a lot of effort put into this. 20-20 hindsight 20 years later, adds nothing here.

RobertLLR
Intermediate Driver

Yeah, Plymouth should have built a Prowler with a Chevy engine...right...

JimR
Instructor

👍 Yep, LS7 and Porsche transaxle FTW! Just like the real hotrods of old. At least someone did it. 
What Plymouth/Chrysler shouldn’t have built was the poser car that they did. 

Medicineman
New Driver

During a pity party following cancer surgery I bought my dream car-a 2000 Plymouth Prowler. It was the most amazing car I’ve ever owned and talk about a real head turner!

It drew a ton of attention at car shows and won quite a few trophies. The only improvement I would have made would have been a V-8 manual tranny. I keep it 7 years, put 18,000 miles on it and sold it for a $4,000 profit. I’ve never owned a car to beat that. 

Rockem
Intermediate Driver

If wishs were fishs the brooks would full.They sure missed there chance to sell a whopper.

OldCarMan
Instructor

Yeah, they only sold 11,000 when it was going to be limited to 5,000!

sharkguy48
Intermediate Driver

Picture of car's rear end.  The differencial looks to be about 3" or 4" above the ground.  Don't think that is going to make it in the real world.  All that work and it will end up getting bashed.  And, most importantly, why a GM engine and a Porsche trans?  Talk about more money than common sense.  Oh well; it's only $73,500.

MisterTorgue
Intermediate Driver

For those complaining about the lack of a Hemi, I think the title was "should've built" not "Could've built" in my humble opinion, the LS7 is a far superior engine to the Gen 3 Hemi

OldCarMan
Instructor

A chevy is never superior... 🙂

Gary4
Passenger

If you looked at pictures of this Prowler on Bring a Trailer, it showed cost of this build at $289,000. Might be why Plymouth didn't do it. The V6 in Prowler had more HP  then V8's in 1997. Prowler is not a race car, but moves pretty good only weighing 2800 lbs and handles like a Indy car. I heard they used a Chevy motor is this because, Dodge would not sell them a Hemi at the time. Yes I own a Prowler, super fun to drive, more looks and people talking to you then any other car I've owned. 

 

Papa-tony
Intermediate Driver

BLASPHEME! 

 

I'm even a Chevy fan but I'd never do that.  If anything, this car deserved a 6.whatever Hemi and they can be found as easily as any LT-whatever Chevy.

Dartguy
Passenger

I've seen this done with a Gen 3 HEMI and that's the way to make a Plymouth product!

OldCarMan
Instructor

A Chevy in a Plymouth? I think not! A few Mopar V8s have been built, but at the time, it wasn't packaged for a V8. The V6 and associated stuff maxed out available space. A modern Hellcat Hemi would have made far more sense and cost less, too. 

Duramaxriley
Pit Crew

Chip Foose's Howler is what should have been built, since he did the original concept in Design School

bobo
New Driver

I saw one a few years ago at Syracuse NY and the owner had put a 5.7 hemi in it and it looked factory!!!

carguyjim
Detailer

Nice but that monochromatic black interior would be right at home in a Saturn Sky or similar... The steering wheel is a large blob... The paint scheme is very flattering...

Cripes
Passenger

Never understand an LS transplant into a non-GM ride. Particularly in this case with so many Mopar choices. 

merlebalke
Detailer

Very nice and the LS7 is a great engine, so a great choice.

4wheel2wheel
Pit Crew

I was working at a Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, Jeep, Eagle dealer from 2000 to 2002 when the Prowler was introduced. We had one example in the floor plan inventory and I got a real good look at it. Always felt that Daimler Chrysler dropped the ball on the Prowler, especially since the Viper was already in production. A small block V8, manual gearbox, some serious stiffening of the "A" pillar to cowl mounting and doors that actually opened all the way would have done proper justice to the design.

Besides, what did Mercedes Benz know about the American Hot Rod culture anyway!

BobDobalina
Passenger

Imagine the look on the people's faces complaining about the Chevy-Porsche drivetrain when they realize the Prowler design is loosely based on a '32 Ford.

Lakeboy
New Driver

Surprised that this car has not been more popular for rebuilding similiar to this one. The original was a dog. Even a modest engine update w 4/5 speed trans, would make any Of these car very desirable.

gec
Pit Crew

I owned a 2000 for 8 years and spent the last 3 trying to figure out how to get rid of it without taking a bath.  These cars are all show and no go.  Sure, they turn lots of heads, but driving one is an exercise in futility.  Getting in and out is close to impossible (doors don't open wide enough), they ride like a go cart, have lousy brakes and no power north of 55mph.  Mine came with electrical issues from new, a defective speaker in the door, poor fit of the clam shell trunk lid and a few other examples of Chrysler's nonexistant "quality control."  Worse, they deteriorate just sitting in the garage; mine developed leaks from the tranny/rear end for no reason.  It only had 8,500 miles on it when I finally traded it for something else.  My advice: stay away from these dogs and buy a real car.  Looks are not enough (good advice when getting married too).

JimR
Instructor

I’m fine with the LS. Just like the original hotrods whose builders weren’t limited by brands or nameplates. A guess is that it mated better with the chosen gearing. 
The transaxle does sit pretty low but appears in-line with the wheels, so speed bumps shouldn’t be an issue. Still, that’s a lot of money exposed to road debris and slow animals. 
Even Lutz reportedly said some people wouldn’t “get it” during the Prowler’s unveiling. A preemptive attempt to explain it’s classic poser condition. It was the automotive equivalent of someone claiming to be a rancher with a fancy cowboy hat...and no cows. 

MMinHavasu
Passenger

It is a sacrilege to use a Chevy engine in Mopar anything.

MisterTorgue
Intermediate Driver

Sooo... any Plymouth/Dodge street rod with a small block chevy is sacrilige... got it! Just don't tell the Ford guys or they'll get mad about all those swapped 32 Fords.
Jim
Pit Crew

Plymouth missed the mark big time with the Prowler by not even installing a manual transmission - coulda  woulda  shoulda    sigh . . . . . .

jsmarsh
New Driver

I worked at a Chrysler tier 1 supplier when the prowler was in design.  Collective disgust was palatable when the word got out about the drivetrain.  Some of the engineers tore the Prowler pictures off their walls.

JimR
Instructor

Chrysler built the ultimate poser car so a bunch of jort-wearing gray hairs (my demographic but not clothing style) could feel “sporty”. It had an anemic V6, and available only with a auto. It’s all-show and no-go performance was only marginally better than the turbo PT cruiser, including the skid pad IIRC. As for build quality, well there wasn’t any. And any new tech associated with its construction appears to have been pioneered not by Chrysler but by its suppliers. All this is why so many are snickering at it nearly 30 years later. In the old forum I likened it to quintessential silicone trophy wife. If that’s what makes you happy, fine. But for most of us the lack real conversation gets old and you’re left with just makeup on the pillow. 
That said, while the Prowler was a missed opportunity, I think Chrysler learned its lesson. The Challenger and all of its variants and descendants do not get snickered at. 

Jensen20266
Passenger

I don’t know why Chrysler fell in love with that anemic power plant. The Copperhead was an awesome concept car that looked to be headed for production...until the power plant choice was, you guessed it, the 3.5 V-6...massive disappointment and an end to the project...

spoom
Technician

So funny that Bob Lutz would say that some people just wouldn't get it, considering he's one of those people. As for the power plant that was put in this one, what were they thinking? If they wanted to be approved by "traditional" hot rodders, they obviously should have put a flathead Ford in it. 🤣😂🤣