The ’97 Plymouth Prowler was Chrysler’s first stand-alone model since the ’69 Barracuda. And it teased a theory: Would Americans buy a factory hot rod? The concept debuted in ’93 along with the Dodge Viper, as Chrysler was introducing its “cab-forward LH sedan models. When the production Prowler hit the streets in ’97, its classic hotrod styling hid some highly advanced aluminum-intensive construction, including adhesive bonding techniques similar to those used in the extremely lightweight Lotus Elise. In ’99, power was bumper up to 253hp. Enough to bring 0-60 times down to a respectable 5.9 seconds.
Chrysler engineers were given free rein to design whatever they wanted in a “hot rod” or “sportster” type vehicle. Thomas C. Gale, Chrysler’s design and international director “love for 1930s-era hot rods inspired Chrysler’s latest design triumph, the retro-styled Plymouth ProwlerGale, “who has a hotted up 1932 Ford in his garage, … the rod-inspired Plymouth Prowler as the company’s follow-up show-stopper to the Dodge Viper.An early influence is credited to a Chrysler-sponsored project at the Art Center College of Design that resulted in a thesis by Douglas “Chip” Foose that included drawings of a retro-roadster. Foose “designed it as a coupe for Chrysler to begin with but modified it to a roadster version.”
One of the most striking design features of the Prowler are the open, Indy racer-style front wheels. The Prowler featured a powertrain from Chrysler’s LH-cars, a 24-valve, 3.5 L Chrysler SOHC V6 engine producing 214 hp at 5850 rpm. For the 1999 model year, the engine was replaced with a more powerful, aluminum-block, 253hp at 6400 rpm version of the engine. Both engines were coupled to a four-speed Autosticksemi-automatic transmission. The transmission was located at the rear of the vehicle and joined to the engine by a torque tube that rotated at engine speed, an arrangement similar to that used by the C5 Corvette, Porsche 944, and Alfa Romeo 75, and helped to facilitate a desirable 50-50 front-rear weight distribution. The Prowler was the first rear-wheel drive Plymouth since the 1989 Plymouth Gran Fury and would stand as the last Plymouth model with that layout. While criticized for having only a V6 engine, Chrysler’s High Output 3.5 had a horsepower rating similar to (or higher than) the company’s Magnum V8s of that era. While not making nearly as much torque as a V8, Prowler’s light weight helped to achieve rapid off-the-line acceleration.
This local example is in excellent condition throughout with only 16,750 miles! It’s fully equipped and is optioned with chrome wheels.