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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

This is the last Plymouth ever made, and it could be yours | Hagerty Media

Plymouth, the value-priced brand in the Chrysler family tree since 1928, died an unceremonious death back in 2001. That's because Chrysler (well, DaimlerChrysler in those days) offered no final farewell worthy of the brand's domineering Superbirds, jaw-dropping Prowlers, or even the unexpected Q-ship that was the V-6-powered Sundance Duster.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/this-is-the-last-plymouth-ever-made-and-it-could-be-yours/
70 REPLIES 70
MoparJeff
Pit Crew

Wow, fun, practical, economical, inexpensive, simple, and even 'cute' (remember the 'say hi to Neon introduction advertising campaign?)... all the things that you can't get in many, if any, new cars! Neons were everything from cheap basic first cars to ACR racers. It's sad that the US companies have all exited this market.
Reinhold_Weege
Advanced Driver

I recall that mistaken day. It probably goes without saying, but the Prowler was to be a halo car, that would do for Plymouth what the Viper had done for Dodge... Revamp their image and allow little pieces of that DNA to filter down to more mass-market offerings. While early sketches for the Voyager minivan showed more "step" between the hood/fenders as well as a similar-to-Prowler grille, the Plymouth Truck (aka Plymouth Pronto, aka PT Cruiser) was supposed to be the first real manifestation of this strategy. What a shot in the arm that would have been to the brand; while preventing Chrysler from being associated with recycled-pop-bottles for interior bits.

However, Stuttgart wasn't interested in this strategy and figured the former Plymouth customer "vill just buy zee marked-down Cryzler!"... Which they didn't. Sales figures from the era show that volume was simply lost.
TG
Instructor

I remember seeing a letter from DaimlerChrysler to the US EPA essentially demanding that the US conform to German emissions regulations so they don't have to build two platforms or they would sell off Chrysler. I'm guessing we said no and the rest is history
83scamp
Pit Crew

I consider myself pretty luck to be a fortunate Plymouth owner. A vehicle also built at Belvedere. I've owned my 1983 Plymouth Scamp for 32 years now. I very much enjoy taking it to car shows, and hearing all the comments.
Nice to see that somebody appreciates a car like this. A Neon isn't considered collectable, but neither was my Scamp back in the day...
Rider79
Instructor

Cool! I have had two 1983 Scamps (red 4-speed regular, and gray 5-speed GT), and still own the GT; the red Scamp met its end with an 8-point buck (who also met his end). They are a lot of fun to drive! And, if I recall correctly, less than 2500 Scamps in total were built...?

Oddly enough, I was also fortunate enough to have driven two 5-speed Rampages, including the 2.2 model.
leobrady
New Driver

Bought a Scamp near Columbus in 04, drove to Wichita and we picked up a Rampage. Drove both to LA. Shipped to Guam. Found nos supercharger for Scamp. Motor blew on test drive of supercharger install. Found abandoned Daytona and took engine. Still runs with good pep!
mfp4073
Intermediate Driver

I bought a rampage car/truck new. It would surely get a crowd today at a show. It was black with a red stripe. Manual gear shift. kinda clunky with synchronization issues, but i loved it. The small stuff is coming back with a vengeance. Keep seeing more at shows and will see more this year with the world starting to turn again. awesome on your scamps!
mfp4073
Intermediate Driver

This is the kind of thing I look for at shows. Some of the smaller forgotten cars have become more rare than the ones in the vast crowd of the usual show cars that we have come to expect. I would enjoy your scamp and i think the neon is almost there. I would bid on it!
CitationMan
Instructor

Kudos to Mr. Davis. Compare this to the last Pontiac made. A white G6 sedan sold as part of a fleet sale. No final assembly line ceremony from GM.
Flashman
Instructor

The Neon was highly underrated. I never owned one but my brother did. He bought it used for his 100-kilometer-commute and it was always faithful and fun all-weather transportation. Subsequently, it survived all three of his teenage-driver children, including time spent as a pizza delivery vehicle. It eventually succumbed to rust with over 300K kilometers on the clock.
RallyeRalph
Intermediate Driver

This Plymouth Rocks !!
OldFordMan
Detailer

I still see a few Neons banging around in traffic. NONE I see look THIS good!
Tomwas
Intermediate Driver

I'll take that lovely salmon colored 53 convertible in the backgroud...
Runner
New Driver

I can't help but notice the gap around the hood and fenders/grill. Did someone forget to completely close the hood or is there a fitment problem? I'm betting on a partially open hood.
MattK
Detailer

I noticed that too. Didn't look good for the photo.
gfviperman
Intermediate Driver

looks to be the hood not fully shut ...
TrentSteeves
Hagerty Employee

the hood isn't fully latched

sclin10
Detailer

Why on earth didn't somebody shut the dang hood?
Gary666
New Driver

I had a 1998 Plymouth Neon and when she finally went I had 640826 klms on it! No major repairs only regular maintenance! She was pretty rough at the end, I came home one day and my son had hitched a small disc to it and was plowing a small field with it with my daughter sitting on an old lazy boy chair they had strapped to the top of the disc! That car was remarkable!
noah300g
Intermediate Driver

Just awful and sad. A once proud name, and the last one isn't even an SRT-4 version? Think I'd rather have a K-car or minivan.
Cornbinder
Intermediate Driver

For ever Plymouth that even hinted at "performance" or "enthusiast-minded", there were 10,000 that were made for folks who just wanted a new car to get from point A to point B at an entry level price point - be it full-sized or compact. It was created in 1928 as the low budget Chrysler brand, and basically stayed that way. Seems VERY appropriate that it's a plain Jane model that was the last out the door.
merlebalke
Detailer

We leased a Neon for my wife as it was only $100 per month. Nothing special about the car, just another appliance with a cute advertising campaign. Very forgettable experience. All I remember was a white two door.
OldCarMan
Instructor

Hey!
Remember TWO door cars? Taken over by ugly, old-man taxis as "hip"!

I remember there was a higher -up exec that had been trying to kill Plymouth since the mid-'80s. Well he finally got his wish, lost sales volume and a good portion of the market to the carpetbagger stupidity from europe!
Rider79
Instructor

And now, the "old man taxis" are being replaced by four-door pickups, SUV's, and crossovers.
topside
Detailer

I believe this is the same Darrell Davis who compiled the most thorough & authoritative history of the Max Wedge cars: if the VIN isn't on his list, the car wasn't born a Maxie. Needless to say, a huge boon to the hobby.
As for the car, the Neons were great little cars, in spite of the abuse perpetrated on them; my '93 Breeze, similar car, is about to turn 300,000, with only normal care. It's ridiculous and tragic that a brand known for their muscle cars, racing dominance, and yet affordable transportation would be driven into extinction by those who led the company that made them.
TrentSteeves
Hagerty Employee

You are 100% correct Topside, it is THAT Darrell Davis! Ive gotten to know Darrell through email and Social Media over the past few years after owning a 1961 Polara D500 Ram Induction car that was talked about in Darrell's book on the 61 Dodge D500's. He had a post on Facebook a few weeks ago that he was going to be sending the Neon to auction shortly... that is what sparked this article! 

CT-car-guy
Pit Crew

I helped install assembly robots and other automation in the Belvidere plant in 1978. The whole plant was completely refitted to build the Plymouth Horizon, and Dodge Omni. These were also great, fun, inexpensive, front wheel drive cars. I liked them so much, my first new car was a 1980 Plymouth Horizon TC3 (the fast-back version of the Horizon). My dad's first new car was a 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan. I now own a 1941 Plymouth Business Coupe.
dchappy
Pit Crew

I liked Plymouth a great deal. My first was. 1937 4dr, then a 1941, then a 1950 SW, then a 1951, then a 69 SW. That 1954 Convert in the background is a Winner. I didn’t look forward to adjusting Tappets on the flat heads though.
TG
Instructor

My first car was almost a TC3. Stepdad used to buy cheap cars, run them till they dropped, and park them out back for a year or two before junking them. The TC3 had a broken shifter that he swore up and down his buddy was going to weld back together and wouldn't let me have it. It eventually got junked. Next up was a 78 Fleetwood Brougham which I wore him down and finally got... and got running. Been a GM man ever since. Could have been a Mopar man...
OldRoad
Instructor

My Dad drove my Mom and my infant self home from the hospital in a 51 Plymouth. My very first ride.
TA76
Intermediate Driver

Truly the biggest question is "Why?"
Truax
Pit Crew

You are so right!
I own a 1976 TA!
(I assume you do)
Rider79
Instructor

Why what?
Patrician
Intermediate Driver

Chrysler has been in decline since 1957 when the bean counters took the helm. When in that year the Plymouth was a hot selling car and the body dies were only geared up for 500,000 cars. Plymouth had orders for 100,000's more cars than the dies could handle without stamping the sheet metal too thin. When the engineers told the bean counters this is how management handled the problem. Any engineer that held that view was fired. Within a few years 1957 to 1959 Plymouth owners were sitting with piles of rust in their driveways. Did they learn their lesson? They did the same exact thing with the Aspen and Volare. Except consumers and the government changed. They had to replace millions of fenders free of charge. Some other Chrysler highlights were peeling paint in the late 60's and early 70's. Darts and Valiants were aquariums on rainy days they leaked so bad. Moving up to modern times a 3.6 engine that stretches connecting rod bolts, wipes out lifters and camshafts and suffers from two stage oil pump failure. My friend is a 30 year Chrysler Jeep salesman. He tells me the new hemi has to be warmed up before delivery so the customer won't hear the lifters tapping after it sits for a week on the lot. As a 50 year mechanic Chrysler vehicles lack quality.
OldCarMan
Instructor

So go troll a GM or Ford site. Better yet, troll a Toyota or Hyundai one!
While you are at it, ignore ALL of the other OEM bad decisions.
They had far more volume and sold more mistakes!
Reinhold_Weege
Advanced Driver

Every automotive comment thread on the internet, if it gets enough hits, will bring out the same crazy people who have just finished telling a story about oil companies murdering the guy who invented a 200 mpg carburetor.
Rider79
Instructor

That carb idea was silly, anyway; all one needed was a Burmese Gas Snake to get great MPG.
Patrician
Intermediate Driver

I don't remember Ford going through a government bail out once let alone twice.
gfviperman
Intermediate Driver

Chrysler paid those loans back, in full, ahead of schedule both times!!!
OldRoad
Instructor

Your right FOMOCO has always been fiscally responsible thanks to a treasury of world wide investments. Best thing Ford ever did was going global. They were able to bail themselves out of ruin because of their global holdings.
OldRoad
Instructor

I don't think Patrician is snickering while pouring salt on corporate wounds. Maybe he is just disappointed.
Ibjoec
Pit Crew

Sign me up for the auction. I’ll be on.
DMDeLuka
Pit Crew

No!
MARK400
Intermediate Driver

Pontiac, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Mercury.....dear God how depressing it came to an end.
stevecobb45
Detailer

Piece of history? Maybe so but I'd have to call it something else.
roadio55
Intermediate Driver

The opening mentions the Duster (Sundance) as an alternative last Plymouth. That would not be possible as the Shadow/Sundance was replaced by the Neon twins. I know because I leased a new 1994 Duster on Superbowl Sunday 1995. That model was no longer in production and the Neon was on the showroom floor. The dashboard said Sundance. The Duster name only appeared on the side decals. I tried to trade it for a Neon in 1997 but couldn't afford the lease buyout. Before I sold it in 2009 I had to replace the driver's door hinge as it had rusted out.
Sajeev
Community Manager


@roadio55 wrote:
The opening mentions the Duster (Sundance) as an alternative last Plymouth. That would not be possible as the Shadow/Sundance was replaced by the Neon twins. 

Not quite, I was looking for a "final farewell worthy" of Plymouths of the past. No need to remake something from the past, and honestly the 5-speed Neon is close to the Sundance Duster...it just needed significantly more power than the base model, a spoiler, firmer suspension, etc. and it'd be something special. 

ed
Detailer

Hope they close the hood before taking it to auction.
Truax
Pit Crew

I see nothing special about this Neon. It’s not even the last Neon. They were still being produced as Dodges. Davis should’ve bought the last “Plymouth” Prowler. Even though they were continued (like the Neon) as a Chrysler.
I’m sure someone with a thing for Neons or Plymouths will shell out for it but, why?