For sheer impact, though, nothing could match the 1997 Prowler, the most-exciting Plymouth in a generation. It was unlike anything ever offered by a mainstream automaker, being a modern reincarnation of the iconic American hot rod.
Like the Dodge Viper before it, Prowler began as a concept, premiering at the 1993 Detroit Auto Show amid rabid pleas to "Build it!" Once more, Chrysler president Bob Lutz gave his full endorsement to a fairly outrageous automobile aimed squarely at car buffs like himself.
Again sharing his enthusiasm were design chief Tom Gale, long an active hot rod hobbyist, and Advanced Design director Neil Walling, who oversaw the concept's development from an idea suggested by a staffer at the company's California design outpost, Chrysler Pacifica.
Though hardly the sort of car expected of a "value brand," Prowler promised to do for Plymouth what Viper had for Dodge -- namely, get people talking and change their minds. Indeed, Chrysler viewed its two-seat retro roadster has having just the right "shock value" for resuscitating Plymouth's moribund image and low "brand awareness" among consumers.