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The History of Dodge Neon

The History of Dodge Neon

My first car like many of you was a small compact car and if you lived in the era of fast and furious part 1 and the video game needed for speed underground you probably modified your car. For me it was a 1997 White Plymouth Neon, I couldn’t afford the Jeep Cherokee at the time. But I learned all of my DIY car Audio and electrical repair from this car. I loved that damn car and did so many amateur’s upgrades, until I rear ended a Ford Aerostar on 8 mile and totaled it.

The Plymouth/Dodge Neon History-

In 1991 The Neon was a prototype at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, Michigan. What isn’t mentioned is at the time the Dodge Shadow, Plymouth Duster and Chrysler Shadow. Which my father had at the time, the dodge shadow was by todays standards a car no one would want. The vehicle had zero features if you bought the base model, my father owned one and put an 8 track player in it. There was even roll up windows and no Air Conditioning, options carried into the new Neon.

The Dodge Shadow

What isn’t mentioned is at the time the Dodge Shadow, Plymouth Duster and Chrysler Shadow. The Shadow/Sundance employed a variant of the K-Car design which was Chryslers everything in the 1980s and then Cab Forward design in the 1990s.

The Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Neon is a front-engine, front-wheel drive compact that was introduced in January 1994 for model year 1995 by Chrysler Dodge and Plymouth divisions in two- and four-door body styles over two generations.

Marketed in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Egypt, Australia, and South America as a Chrysler, the Neon was offered in multiple versions and configurations over its production life, which ended after the 2005 model year.

The first generation Neon was introduced in January 1994 and manufactured until August 1999. It was available as a four-door and a two-door. Available engines were SOHC and DOHC versions of Chrysler’s 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine producing 132 hp (98 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 129 lb⋅ft (175 N⋅m) at 5,000 rpm or 150 hp (110 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 133 lb⋅ft (180 N⋅m) at 5,600 rpm, respectively; transaxle options were a 3-speed Torqueflite automatic or a five-speed manual.

Equipment Available in Neons-

Neons had unconventional option availability, including the lack of power windows in the rear doors. Certain color base-model Neons, including red and black, had bumper covers molded in color rather than painted. These covers, while textured and not as glossy as paint, absorbed scuffs and scrapes with less visible damage. The mid-level Highline models in 1995 and 1996 used wheel covers with a bubble design. Initially, Neons were available in many bold colors including Nitro yellow-green, Lapis Blue, Aqua, and Magenta. Paint color choices became more subdued by the 1998-1999 model years, as the majority of buyers opted for more conventional tones.

Plymouth Neon Models

Plymouth Neon: 1995–1999

  • base – 1995-1995 – Standard features included thirteen-inch (13″) steel wheels with wheel covers, AM/FM stereo with 4 speakers, dual front SRS airbags, 2.0L Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) engine, five-speed manual transmission.
  • Highline – 1994–1999- Added to Base air conditioning, side molding, daytime lights, remote trunk release, painted bumper.
  • Sport – 1994–1996- Added to Highline color-keyed wheel covers, AM/FM stereo with a cassette player, equalizer, CD changer controls, and 6 speakers.
  • Expresso – 1995–1999- Added to Highline power front windows an AM/FM stereo with cassette player.
  • EX – 1997–1999
  • ACR – 1995–1999- Stood for American Club Racer, added alloy wheels to Base.

Style – 1997–1999

Dodge Neon Models

Dodge Neon: 1995–1999

  • base – 1995-1995- Standard features included thirteen-inch (13″) steel wheels with wheel covers, AM/FM stereo with 4 speakers, dual front SRS airbags, 2.0L Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) engine, five-speed manual transmission.
  • Highline – 1995–1999- Added to Base air conditioning.
  • Sport – 1995–1999- Added to Highline color-keyed wheel covers, AM/FM stereo with a cassette player including an equalizer, CD changer controls, and 6 speakers.
  • EX– 1997–1999
  • ACR – 1995–1999- Stood for American Club Racer, added alloy wheels to Base.
  • R/T – 1998–1999- Added to Highline white hood and trunk “Rally” stripes, white-painted alloy wheels, AM/FM stereo with a cassette player including an equalizer, CD changer controls, and 6 speakers, as well as a rear spoiler.

Fast and Furious and Need For Speed Met The Neon

In 2000 every teenager and people in their early 20s life changed when the movie Fast and Furious debuted. Which led to websites like cardomain.com and sounddomain.com becoming early social media. This is where people shared their mods and did technical write ups on how to modify your car. A new tide of optimism swept over this country as everyone was adding subs into their cars.

The 2000s Model Dodge Neon Looked Sick

Yes people put suicide doors on Dodge Neon’s.

Then there was the theory you can make a Dodge Neon faster by modifying it. Number one thing used… Bolt on a cold-air intake. Colder, denser air helps your Dodge Neon run faster. Unfortunately, factory-installed settings and parts restrict airflow. A cold-air intake increases the diameter of the air intake to increase airflow, while reducing air resistance. Plus K& N air filters became all the rage.

The neon would change from the first design to the more modern 2000s era Chrysler design series, now its not change was only in the headlights and grille for 2003/04 right before its end. the SXT model was designed as a fake SRT 4 it looked fast but it had a stock motor, again this was part of the popularity of Need For Speed Underground and The Fast and Furious.

The Dodge Neon SRT-4

Yes before Dodge put the hemi in everything and SRT meant fast muscle looking cars from the past, there was the SRT 4 aka a Dodge Neon that came from the factory with a turbo charger installed. The 153-mph Dodge Neon SRT-4 sedan is the fastest performance car you can buy for under $21,000. In fact, it’s one of the fastest cars sold for any amount, and is the quickest Dodge next to that automaker’s awesome 500-horsepower Viper sports car. It is said that in terms of maximum Horse Power a SRT 4 can have 450hp or so with stock internals. 500hp has been done, but isn’t suggested for a long term solution. what psi a turbo can run at is dependent on so many factors (fuel set up, tune, turbo size, etc.) that it’s basically impossible to answer that general of a question.

Reviews of the SRT 4 Neon stated that “Overall the vehicle is very reliable and lasts long time. Very reliable but not very strong, do not trust on highways. Great for gas as it is 4 cylinder but it is not very powerful. Simple but does not have many problems as it is very good car to drive.”

In 2021 There are still SRT 4s on the road today. It seems to last long term much like many Chrysler products of this era like Jeep Cherokees both XJ and Grand Cherokee.

The Dodge Neon SRT-4 is a sport compact car manufactured by Dodge from 2003 to 2005. A turbocharged variant of the Neon, the car was developed by DaimlerChrysler’s in house PVO tuner group. PVO was officially renamed SRT in 2004. The “4” in the SRT-4’s name denotes the number of cylinders of the engine. 

Dodge SRT-4

Manufacturer’s specification when the SRT-4 was released was 230 hp (170 kW). However, several independent tests have produced results indicating 230-238 whp and 250-262 lb-ft. This would indicate that the SRT-4 produces more power than the manufacturer claims. The flywheel power is estimated to be 255-265 hp(190-198 kW) and 260-270 lb-ft torque(352-366 N·m)

The End of The Neon and birth of Caliber

The reason it’s not sold in the U.S. … well, actually there are several reasons it’s not sold in the U.S. First of all, FCA ceased Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart production here in the States a few years ago in response to sales levels, factory availability and the age of the two sedans themselves. The Neon was replaced in the spring of 2006 with the 2007 Dodge Caliber, which is based on the shared Chrysler/Mitsubishi Motors GS platform. Like the Neon, the Caliber had an SRT-4 variant, but like the standard Caliber, it used a completely different engine.

However the Dodge Neon lives on in our hearts, here are some tribute photos stock and modified to celebrate the Neon.

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