At first only offered in Prowler Purple the first year, the Plymouth Chrysler Prowler was originally created in the anticipation of a five-year run when production was begun in 1997. The Prowler showcases the innovation, technology and creativity within the Chrysler Company. First appearing as a concept car at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Plymouth Prowler was accepted quite dramatically by the viewing public. Due to this reception, the Chrysler Corp chose to unveil a production version of the Prowler at the 1996 North American International Auto Show.
A 'retro' –styled production vehicle built between 1997 and 2002, no model was available in 1998. The most unique design feature of the Prowler is the open, Indy-racer-style front wheels. Said the have been inspired after Chrysler engineers free reign to create whatever they wanted in a ‘hot rod' or ‘sportster' type of vehicle, the Prowler featured a powertrain from Chrysler's LH-cars that produced 214 hp..
Official production on the Prowler began in July of 1997 as a 1997 model at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. The Plymouth Prowler had a 3.5-liter 24-valve sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection with a 60-degree single overhead cam. The Prowler's all-aluminum V6 engine produced 253 horsepower at 6400 rpm and had 255 lb.-ft of torque at 3950 rpm. The Prowler also featured an electronic four-speed rear-wheel drive automatic transaxle with an AutoStickÂ® shifter. This shifter allowed the driver to shift gears by simply tapping the gear lever.
In 1997 a scale model Prowler was carved out of amethyst to commemorate the vehicle's launch and called the Gem Prowler. The largest cut piece of amethyst in the world, the Gem Power featured around 9600 karats of jewels in it.
The Prowler is visually a tribute to the rolling art of hot rods, while embodying some of the most advanced materials and technology. The Plymouth Prowler carried the distinction of being North America's most aluminum-intensive vehicle. The aluminum is chiefly focused in the chassis, and in many cases the components were adhesively-bonded. The body of the Prowler was produced in Shadyside, Ohio. The Prowler weighed 2832 lbs and achieved 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and had a top speed of 126 mph.
The most interesting accessory that was available for the Prowler was the Prowler trailer. Sold through selected dealerships, this tag-along trailer was designed to resemble the vehicles back end and featured many of the same styling characteristics of the car, complete with scaled down versions of the stock wheels and matching paint.
In 1999, the engine of the Prowler was replaced with a much more powerful 253 hp version of the engine. Located at the rear of the vehicle, the transmission is joined to the engine by a flexible driveshaft that rotates at engine speed, similar to the C5 Corvette and Alfa Romeo 75. Since the 1989 Plymouth Gran Fury, the Prowler was the first rear-wheel drive Plymouth.
More than 11,000 Prowlers have been built through November of 2001. Out of the total Prowlers built, 1,530 of them were purple, 1,576 were yellow, 1,573 were red, 1,911 were black and 151 were black/red two-tone, 1,342 were silver, 163 were silver/black two-tone, 1,039 were orange, 1,278 were Mulholland Blue and 616 units were Inca Gold.
For 1999 a total of 3,921 units were produced. In 2000 2,746 units, 3,142 units in 2001, and in 2002 a total of 1,436 units of the Prowler was sold. The Prowler continued as a Chrysler though the Plymouth brand was discontinued in January of 2000. The 2002 Chrysler Prowler goes for the manufacturers suggested price of $44,625, plus $775 for destination, while a matching Prowler trailer goes for $5,075. (At least 20% of all Prowlers are sold with a matching trailer.)
The final 300 Prowlers produced were sold in deep candy apple red, a color that would hopefully be instantly recognized in the hot rod community. The car actually sparkled in bright light due to a new paint technology in its pearl coat.
On February 15, 2002 the last Prowler was built at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. The ‘Conner Avenue Edition' Prowler was the first and only Prowler with High-Voltage Blue exterior body paint. The final model also included a Mopar® luggage trailer and hitch in the same High-Voltage Blue pain and signatures of the Prowler Team on the undercarriage. The ‘Conner Avenue Edition' Prowler sold for $175,000 at Christies Auction while the proceeds were donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for purposed of the auction. The model niche left by the Chrysler Prowler was later filled by the Chrysler Crossfire in 2004.By Jessica Donaldson