Thursday, January 21, 2016

Production Hot Rod: Plymouth Prowler

I only worked in the automobile industry as a consultant providing market-related data.  So I have no idea whether unusual concept cars that graduate to production status were really intended to be production vehicles or if they went into production because of demand by auto show patrons waving checkbooks and credit cars.  Legend has it that the latter is the case.

And so it seems to have been for Chrysler Corporation's Plymouth Prowler, first displayed in 1993 and produced in 1997 and 1999-2002 (Wikipedia entry here).

In essence, the Prowler was a professionally styled take on classic hot rods that were based on 1932-34 Ford V8 roadsters.  One reason for that source of inspiration was that Chrysler styling chief Tom Gale (1943 - ) and some others on his staff as well a few people in upper management were hot rod fans. I didn't notice a decent reference to Gale via Google; for what it's worth, his Wikipedia entry is here.

Even the concept car version of the Prowler had to compromise hot rod details to accommodate current regulations required of street-legal autos.  Most noticeable are the large bumpers -- something many 'rods dispensed with.

All things considered, the Prowler was an interesting and successful design for a frivolous vehicle.  Nevertheless, I find it a bit surprising that nearly 12,000 were actually built and sold.


Sales photo of a 1932 Ford V8 roadster-based hot rod.

The Plymouth Prowler.

Side view showing raked look.

The trunk and related detailing is similar to that of 1935 Ford coupes and roadsters.

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