Today’s Dodge Dart looks a lot like the old Dodge Neon, but is an Alfa Romeo under the skin. Our Nice Price or Crack Pipe Dodge is the real Neon deal, and it’s not an AR but an ACR. Will that and a newer SRT motor make this old coupe seem worth getting under your skin?
With its turbocharger and overall classy appearance, yesterday’s 1989 VW GTI 16V wasn’t just a hot hatch, it was on FIRE. Not only that but over 85% of you anointed it with a Nice Price win at either its with BBS or without BBS prices. Me, I’d go with BBS, but hold the chicken.
There’s nothing chicken about this 1999 Dodge Neon ACR two-door, not with its added SRT mill out of a 2004 car. The Neon was at one time Mopar’s cheap seats performance platform, and it was a pretty damn good one too if you didn’t mind every thing being a little raw-edged and unapologetically crude.
Of course when you’re going as quick as a hot Neon could go you might not be considering just how it’s accomplishing the task, you’re just blowing the doors off the other, more civilized, competition.
The ACR offered a good update to the base Neon platform, adding adjustable Koni shocks, 4-wheel disc brakes, fatter anti-sway bars and a standard DOHC 2-litre motor. This ACR goes that one better with the adoption of a 2.4-litre SRT (she’s married to Ferris Bueller!) four rocking a turbo and claimed by the factory to be good for 230-bhp.
That’s said to have been dropped into the ’99 Neon two years and 15,000 miles ago. The engine is backed up by an T350HD five-speed and has an ACT performance clutch keeping the matrimony harmonious.
The ad shows a pic of the clutch and flywheel prior to assembly, as well as a big-ass radiator, and a pair of SRT seats that may or may not come with the car. A bit of full disclosure, I’ve done time in Dodge’s SRT seats and while they look the part in my experience they are not the most comfortable nor supportive thrones out there. Further disclosure, I once owned a ’95 Neon that cracked its block while under 100K so I’m sitting out judgement on this one owing to bad personal experience. The rest of you however, party on.
There’s no doubting that the original production Neon was a cheeky-looking little car, especially in its four-door form. Not quite so much as its symmetrically-drawn show car predecessor, but pretty close. The two door was a little funkier looking, but with two fewer doors and smaller body openings, it’s certainly going to have more torsional rigidity and less weight to haul around.
This one, in metallic blue, is claimed to be good but not perfect. The headlights looks clear and the plastic bumpers still seem to be the same color as the rest of the car, so it’s still in the fight. The interior, regardless of which seats come with the car, also looks to be serviceable, and there’s an A-pillar mounted gauge because who doesn’t love one of those?
With its ACR underpinnings and SRT mill, this Neon is both a perfect sleeper and a throwback to when Dodge was making crazy performance available to folks like you and me. You may pine for a Hellcat, but both your wallet and your insurance agent - and probably your mom - would all be happier with you rocking something like this.
The Dart is presently something like this, but despite the years in between it’s still not quite the car that the Neon was in terms of horses or performance. Plus a new Dart SRT will set you back six times what this hot Neon will.
What this one goes for is an asking price of $4,200, which is exactly what yesterday’s BBS-equipped VW was asking. That’s an interesting comparison of vehicular options at the same asking, and now it’s time for you to decide whether this Neon is a good one at that amount.
What do you say, is this SRT-imbued ACR worth $4,200? Or, is this one Neon priced to turn the lights out?
H/T to cbxsix for the hookup!
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.