Great Expectations: 1999 Plymouth Prowler

This 1999 Plymouth Prowler has just 6,100 miles from new and is a desirable later production example equipped with the more powerful 3.5L V6. Said to be a collector car stored carefully since new, the seller is asking $29,990, though bidding is currently well short of that number. Find it here on eBay  with about five days left in the auction and the reserve unmet. 

The Prowler was cause for much hand-wringing when new. Quite literally a concept car made for street use, it seemed like a rare moment when a major manufacturer gave enthusiasts exactly what they wanted. But the six-cylinder powerplant, hooked up to a standard automatic transmission with an Autostick as the closest thing to three-pedals, didn’t live up to the Prowler’s racy exterior, and response to the car always felt muted compared to the reactions it drew on the show floor.

In looking at this car close to 20 years later, I can see why enthusiasts may have been disappointed. Sure, the exterior is wild, but step inside the cockpit and it feels like you’re in a bread-and-butter Chrysler LH car of the same era. That’s what the motor was lifted from, and the transmission as well. An exotic body with un-exotic hardware is sure to disappoint customers, but collectors still flock to the Prowler as an eye-catching piece to any collection of notable vehicles. That is likely the destiny of a low mileage example such as this.

The Prowler will never be forgotten despite its short-lived presence in Chrysler showrooms, and it’s likely to still deliver lots of smiles as a car you can drive and draw a crowd wherever you go. Whether this one will fetch top dollar remains to be seen, but it’s nevertheless fun to think about the moment the boardroom execs greenlighted such an unusual vehicle.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Brian

    Might be worth the $30 k.

    But if you plan on driving it plan on replacing the tires. The run flats for the back are no longer available. Check the seams on the hood and trunk lid for bubbled paint (corrosion). Check the front shocks for leaks. Check the rubber on all the control arm links and sway bar links for tearing.

    On the power issue, one needs to remember 253 horse on a 2880 pound car. There was a time when a 10 to 1 power to weigh was what people strived for.

    The cars are quick and corner very well.

  2. Brian

    Oh, and on this comment on ebay ( BOTH Window regulators have been replaced. Make SURE any car you buy has had them replaced. Around $1300 per window if not done.) Don’t buy one if they have been replaced with the factory plastic crap. You will be doing it again!

    There is a company that makes a very good kit (all metal and not that difficult to install) that should last the life of the car.

  3. RJ

    My dad’s friend who has since passed away used to buy these lightly wrecked, fixed them and resold them. He did quality work, in fact he had be doing vehicle restoration for 50 years, but always had a hard time moving them once repaired. He loved Mopars, but I always wondered why he would put himself through fixing these and trying to move them for very little profit. In any case I wonder what folks will make of the time capsule Prowler holed up in Tulsa Oklahoma in a above ground crypt when it is opened in 2048. Hopefully it will fair better than Miss Belvedere.

  4. LAB3

    The Prowler and Chevy SSR both shared the same fate for equal but opposite problems. They both have top notch styling but as has already been mentioned, the Prowler falls short on performance, the SSR on the other hand really needed a lower priced “entry level” model. Had a Prowler been made available with a V8 hemi and the SSR with a six and maybe even a four, we might still be seeing them in the showroom today.

  5. Coventrycat

    Every one I see for sale hovers around what they listed for new – I remember 39k on the window stickers, but the dealers sold them for much more. Not much of an investment car looking at the numbers. Fun, for sure though.

    • Brian

      Depends when you bought.

      Bought mine new at the end of 2003. 25,000 to 30,000 seems to be the selling range currently. I could be within 8k selling as to what I paid.

      So I my case the car has held value better that most.

  6. AMXSTEVE

    Not to mention those engines were absolute crap. I had an Intrepid and a Town and Country mini van, both of them done at 70,000 miles. I see these being future hot rod projects.

    • Aaron Grimm

      They never installed this 3.5L in a Town and Country minivan. Maybe you are thinking of the 3.3L motor? It was available in both the Intrepids and the vans, But I remember those also being fairly reliable.

    • LAB3

      Never owned one of those vans but it seems to me I remember a lot of those running around blowing oil smoke out the tailpipe around that time.

  7. David Zornig

    Had the Chevy SSR been made a 4 seater with a more functional pick up bed, it would have fared much better.
    Similar to California style pick ups in the late `70’s.
    Perhaps the Prowler would have done better with a full back seat too.
    Making it more for family fun.
    At least Chrysler offered the matching color trailer for $5K.

  8. Brian

    One that was totaled last weekend, 89,000 mile car.

    • Dan

      It even makes a pretty cool looking wreck!

    • Howard A Member

      Sunny skies, dry roads,,,,smh,,

  9. moorevisual

    I’ve owned two of these, paid low 20’s for each. You can’t get anything that looks more exotic and gets more WOWs for the price. I’d love to have another some day. There’s also a great community of owners that love to meet and help out with tips and tricks.

    • Brian

      What sites were you on? I would think you would also know the owner of the one wrecked above.

      • moorevisual

        I don’t recall, it’s been several years since the last one I owned.

  10. Mlaw

    Yuppie hot rod,no thanks!

  11. DrinkinGasoline

    Those nasty front and rear “bumpers” have to go.
    They look like the sand/water filled bumpers at bridge abutments.
    Vertical Nerf bars for replacements.
    Run with scissors !

    • moorevisual

      the front bumpers are easily removed and there are several aftermarket cap covers, some with turn signals embedded, that cover the holes where the bumpers mount.

  12. Axeltrap

    Problem is they will never beat inflation. To many were saved in the hope of collectability. You would have to get 55k today to break even based on the CPI inflation calculator. https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

  13. XMA0891

    A Prowler could’ve been so much more than it ended up being. Mopar took the very last of what Plymouth had to hang its hat on, and copped-out on it. (I know it’s a different company) but the same thing was done with that scud-of-car The Dart. Instead of producing something to resurrect the brand, they brought to market a product that fast-tracked the marque’s demise.

  14. Ed Williams

    I recall that here in Reno at the Dealer’s Car Show when the SSR was first shown to the public some guy Bought a bright yellow one (The leader Color) and paid $70,000.00 for it! just to be the first one in town to have one. Boy! Did they ever see him coming!
    After that I used to see that SSR around town once and a while but haven’t seen it since way last year!

  15. RoselandPete

    I give Chrysler a lot of credit for coming out with a different design back then.

  16. Bradley Clark

    A striking automobile, unfortunately being FWD and a 6 was a death blow. If this car had been available with either a 5.7 HEMI or larger 392 cid, it may well have still been around today. With the surface area of the hood, a V-10 could very well have put the Viper in jeopardy. Stroking and blowing the great V-6 could make a nice runner, but with the FWD…probably not. The design was stunning. A feather in Chrysler’s cap. MUCH more presentable than the SSR. The SSR was, like,???

    • Brian

      Prowler IS NOT a front wheel drive vehicle!!

  17. Mike H. Mike H

    At least it’s not that garish purple colour that they came in. Seems that every second or third one of them I see is that dreadful colour.

    Yuck. This one looks good but I still wouldn’t own it.

  18. Fred W.

    Front bumpers are a horrible addition to an otherwise good looking car. Rear bumper, not so bad if painted body color.

  19. Howard A Member

    It always seemed to me, this was the answer to the question few people asked. Never ceases to amaze me, who in these boardrooms, gives the ok to these projects. Granted, it’s a cool car, probably fun to drive, but come on. Just shows how disconnected these bigwigs are, to what the masses actually want. I know, this was never intended “for the masses”, but you wonder why car companies are in trouble, they pissed away millions getting this going, instead of some alternative fuel and it was a flop.

    • Brian

      Prowler was (at least the story goes) an early exercise in the use of aluminum. Frame is all aluminum as are most of the body panels and tub.

      5 year run was all that was ever planned, which was done over 6 years by no 1998 prowler production.

      Built along side the viper, so while they did add a production line it wasn’t a new plant.

  20. Brian

    Prowler drive line

  21. Brian

    If it’s against the rules to link to another site please delete this. But it tells the story of how the prowler came to be.

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/car-design/a27637/the-secret-history-of-the-plymouth-prowler/

  22. SteveN

    can you shoe horn a V10 in there?

    • Noel

      Not sure about the V10, but there have been multiple car magazines that have done modern hemi conversions. Google on “growler” for one of them, but there have been others as well.

  23. Doug Potts

    For those of you saying the 3.5 V6 is junk, you obviously never drove one. I had a ’04 Intrepid SXT with the 3.5 HO. It was a quick car. Even a 96 Impala SS couldn’t out run it from a dead stop. I currently have a 2000 Concorde with the 3.2 (essentially the same engine) that has over 300,000 miles and still will cruise easily 80 and deliver 30 mpg. It’s the 2.7 engine that’s the junky engine and I never saw a Prowler offered with a 2.7

  24. bog

    Did Cunningham or Foose ever fool with one of these ? I could see it stripped down and made into an Altered roadster or “lakester”. No lights, no bumpers, painted black with proper flames on the front, and a blown SBC with chrome headers and side-pipes jutting through the side. Skinny tires up front, slicks on the back, both mounted on proper Halibrand mags. Stripped interior, roll hoop & a big capped steel tube for a push bar out back. Maybe a parachute. Stock…meh.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.