Complete Plymouth Prowler lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1999 Plymouth Prowler - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1999 - 2002 Plymouth Prowler CabrioletProwler1 Trim 253 Hp

The Plymouth Prowler is a two-door roadster with retro styling produced from 1997 to 2002.

Introduction and Design

Even now and then, automakers let the creative side of their design and engineering teams rein free. The Plymouth Prowler, also sold as a Chrysler Prowler, is one of the most recognizable examples of this freedom, and the result is an iconic part of the brand's history. Chrysler's Design Director, Thomas Gale, reported that his love for 1930s hot rods was one of the main drivers behind the vehicle, and it shows in many ways. The Prowler could be considered the top example of a major automaker releasing a hot-rod style vehicle straight from the factory floor. The famous Chip Foose of Foose Design completed a drawing that was reported to be another main influence to the Prowler's production and style. The most distinctive aspect of the Plymouth Prowler is the front-end styling. It uses a racer-style front wheel layout where the wheels are placed outside of the hood and body, allowing visibility into the inner workings including steering components such as the tie rods and end the backside of the wheels. Each front wheel featured separate wheel fenders to ensure debris wasn't flung all over. The style remains one of the most distinctive elements in the automotive world, even decades later and throughout many automotive trends. The roof was a low, convertible style with a rather tall rear trunk, giving it a forward-leaning look that matched many custom-built hot rods.

Plymouth Prowler Engine and Performance

Pop open the narrow, triangular shaped hood and you'll find a 3.5L Chrysler SOHC V6 engine from the LH-cars, producing a respectable 214 horsepower. In 1999, the engine was improved and then produced 253 horsepower. Some were disappointed that the hot-rod style Prowler didn't feature a V8 engine, but the V6 used was making similar horsepower to the Magnum V8s found in other Chrysler models, although the torque was significantly lower. The initial 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time was 7.2 seconds, but after the 1999 improvements, that dropped down to a rather respectable 5.9 seconds, decent for that era of vehicles. The Prowler was the first rear-wheel drive vehicle from Plymouth since the 1989 Gran Fury, and a 4-speed Autostick automatic transmission was paired to the engine. It was located at the rear of the vehicle, connected to the front engine via a torque tube that rotated at engine speed, rather than the conventional driveshaft that operates closer to the wheel revolution speed. By placing the transmission at the rear and the engine in the front, the vehicle had superior weight distribution. This layout is featured in other sport-focused vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Corvette C5 and Alfa Romeo 75.

Available Features and Options

Although much of the Plymouth Prowler was dedicated to making dreams become reality with little focus on practicality, it still included an array of features and options that allowed for luxury and comfort, making it possible to be used as a daily driver. It came with leather-trimmed bucket seats, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and an optional multi-disc CD player and premium sound system. To top it off, a specialized trailer option was available that was essentially an extra trunk shaped almost exactly like the rear end of the prowler. It was painted to match the vehicle color and was towed behind the vehicle, although the tow capability was extremely limited and not meant to tow anything other than this trunk accessory. The Plymouth Prowler was never meant to be a major sales figure, and sold less than 9,000 units over its entire single-generation production run. But it made a name for the brand and for Chrysler's design teams, plus it brought back the hot-rod look to life for many people who lived through the glory days of the automotive style. The vehicle was seen in special museums and car shows throughout the early 2000s, although its popularity has declined more recently. The Plymouth Prowler is a nice example of what can happen when a carmaker decides to have a little fun and bring in extra flare to the industry, merging styles of old with modern technology and equipment.