Chrysler builds its final Prowler

Street rod known to sell for more than $150,000

May 23, 2002|By SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Say goodbye to the Prowler.

DaimlerChrysler has built the last one of these factory-built street rods and has donated the car - which came off the assembly line in Detroit on Feb. 15 - to an auction to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Although the original model carried a sticker price of $40,000, some dealers were getting more than $150,000 for the cars because they were in short supply and big demand.

Today, used-car dealers say pre-owned Prowlers are hard to sell, and some of the cars have sat on lots for months awaiting new buyers.

That's partly because of the car's gross impracticality. There is room for only two people inside; it's almost impossible to get into and out of unless the top is down; and there is no trunk.

Over the years since its introduction in 1993, there have been complaints from some people that the Prowler's V-6 engine wasn't powerful enough for a street rod such as this, and some manufacturers have built similar vehicles with much more power - such as the Panoz Roadster from Georgia, which looks a lot like a Prowler but carries a 4.6-liter Ford Mustang V-8 engine.

Chrysler expected to produce about 5,000 Prowlers each year at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the Prowlers were hand-built along with Dodge Viper sports cars. But production problems kept the company from achieving that goal, and over the nearly five-year production run, only about 11,000 were built.

The Prowler was originally badged as a Plymouth, but after the Plymouth brand was eliminated at the end of the 2000 model year, Prowlers were switched to the Chrysler nameplate.

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