The Prowler Story
There are lots of concept cars put on display every year. You see them at auto shows, in automotive publications, and in corporate design centers.
In 1993, Prowler was one of them, first introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where it immediately captured the imagination of automotive enthusiasts worldwide.
Since then, it's generated even more interest. And it's done so through its transformation from dream machine to production vehicle. One that is now available to the general public in a form remarkably similar to the original concept.
This is the story of how it happened, and the people who made it happen.
The words "hot rod-style retro car" appear on a 3x5 card in a free association exercise called "Idea Fair" at Chrysler's Pacifica Design Center in Carlsbad, California.
In discussions led by Pacifica chief Tom Tremont, decisions are made about which of the 250 ideas are realistic, and which concepts hold the most promise for the future. The retro-style hot rod makes the cut as a 1/4 scale model in a paste-up diorama.
Top brass from back east visit. Then Chrysler President Bob Lutz sees a sketch of the retro rod on design manager Kevin Verduyn's office wall. He likes it, counsels "more attitude."
Bob Lutz brings a wide range of industry experience to his duties — as well as a passion for brawny performance related to Chrysler's rich heritage. He owns a '55 300, and a Hemi-powered Cunningham C-3. His support was pivotal to Prowler.
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Pacifica's Tremont begins referring to the retro rod as "Prowler."
Now-Executive VP Tom Gale, then director of styling for all of Chrysler, is at first bothered by the idea of "retro." "Great design is timeless," he soon reasons, "and becomes contemporary with modern surfaces, materials, engineering and the techniques of innovative manufacturing." (Gale's own Chrysler-powered '33 highboy is shown at the '97 Oakland Roadster Show.)
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As a full-size clay model evolves, it is felt that an "A" line should be added for interest and texture along the top of the Prowler. The rear is "bobbed" by Tim Anness, a Chrysler designer "on rotation" at Pacifica.
Approval for Prowler to become a concept car is signalled; its public debut is scheduled for the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, six months away.
No greater sacrifice. Gale surrenders a "one-yard deep" purple paint he'd been eyeing for his own roadster. In production it becomes a full-body, color-keyed surface. The antichip primer's purple, too; so even if you chip it you'll see purple.
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Prowler proves to be the stopper at the Detroit show. This salute to hot rodding strikes chords in onlookers' hearts that sound a lot like rock n' roll.
Bob Lutz requests a 90-day study to determine production feasibility of Prowler concept. A small team of engineers and designers raid the corporate parts bin to build this contemporary street rod the old-fashioned way.
Prowler makes its first appearance at Pomona, California in a genuine hot rod show, the "Goodguys" Spring Nationals. It sparks a surprising number of suggestions from dyed-in-the-wool rodders who can't leave well enough alone. Some make a whole lot of sense.
Dealers enthusiastically endorse production possibility for Prowler at the Chrysler Plymouth Dealer Council meeting in Detroit.
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Prowler returns for a second appearance at the Detroit International Auto Show. It's the same concept car as the year before. It receives the same overwhelming universal enthusiastic response.
Engineering starts the build (from scratch) of Prowler 1. Many sheets of aluminum begin to be bent in Chrysler's metal shop, and power train people cobble together components in cramped quarters.
Importantly, a philosophy of working in partnership with suppliers begins to be codified by Executive VP of Procurement Tom Stallkamp. It is to play a large role in Prowler's development, and of itself is recognized as another of Chrysler's most significant programs of the '90s.
A separate facility is established to pull together Chrysler workers and six competing interior suppliers to function as a single cohesive group led by Chrysler Engineering. It's a whole new way of working together.
Prowler fully reflects Chrysler's Extended Enterprise concept. Alcoa, Alumax, and Duralcon begin Tiers One, Two and Three supplier roles in metallurgy to providers of structures, processes, and parts for Prowler's assembly.
With pointed commentary from rodders who are seeing Prowler in magazines and at shows, no focus groups or formal marketing research will ever be conducted during the car's evolution. The group expected to be Prowler's severest critic becomes instead its strongest booster — and Dutch uncle.
Chairman Bob Eaton, Executive VP of Vehicle Engineering Francois Castaing, and Lutz, along with other top execs, take their first drives in a Prowler at the Chelsea, Michigan Proving Grounds. Chairman Bob Eaton takes his first drive at the Chrysler Technical Center evaluation road saying "I want to take it home". There are smiles and everybody's talking at the same time.
It's a green flag. It's on! Stamped approval. Though the public announcement won't be made until the 1996 Detroit Show, the automotive underground burbles in anticipation, and the grins are contagious.
Well into Phase Two of Production Approval — vehicle and process engineering, and the establishment of cost targets — the Platform Team has already cleared its first hurdle, resolution of all functional objectives, including everything from Safety to Performance to Emissions.
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Prowler is a hit at the Detroit Autorama, arguably one of the three most prestigious hot rod shows yearly, the others being the hallowed Oakland Roadster Show, and the exclusive jewel box sponsored by the L.A. Roadsters car club.
Prowler 2 begins rolling evaluations at Mesa, Arizona Proving Grounds.
Development continues as a strange hybrid still perambulates the Chelsea Proving Grounds. It's called "Prangler," and it combines the frame, running gear, and power train of the Prowler reduced to near invisibility by the camouflage of a "channeled" Jeep Wrangler's body.
The Conner Avenue Assembly plant is named as "skunkworks" for Chrysler's niche market vehicles. If given the go-ahead, Prowler will be bolted together here, alongside Viper RT/10 Roadster and Viper GTS Coupe.
First extended over-the-highway road test takes Prowler 2 from Arizona to Colorado and back.
A second road trip takes a Phase 1 prototype pulling a U-Haul trailer from Arizona into Colorado and back, climbing Pikes Peak, and up to 14,260 feet at Mount Evans, finally traversing Death Valley. No boil-overs, short circuits, lost tempers.
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Eaton and Lutz, in a trailer-towing production-approved Prowler, cruise onstage to a fourth consecutive Detroit show. They're wearing Jake and Elwood shades, and they deliver plenty of attitude as the Chairman says, "it's for real; and you either get it or you don't."
A third extended cruise across America with two Prowlers from Auburn Hills, Michigan, to Phoenix, takes in 2,150 miles.
Road Trip to Parkersburg, West Virginia, is the second time there are two Prowlers to stop traffic on the interstates.
Prowler runs with the very best in HOT ROD magazine's "Power Tour," which crosses the country to a dragstrip in Norwalk, Ohio from the Peterson Automotive Museum in L.A. It shares the road with Boyd Coddington's '96 Oakland Roadster Show-winning Deuce — and '96 car of the year. Dan Jacob's chopped '39 coupe, driven by builder Tony Trepanier.
Trailer-towing marathon takes in 5,000 miles, from Detroit to Chicago, New Orleans, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and back to Detroit.
First "P zero" of 18 hand-built Prowlers at Conner Avenue is completed. The exercise is part of the assembly line shakedown, and parts approval process.
Two near-to-production prototypes are used by various enthusiast magazines for initial driving impressions.
Prowler runs with a thousand rods in Detroit's famous annual "Dream Cruise" on Woodward.
Marty Levine, who ramrodded the intros of two Vipers, is named General Manager of Chrysler-Plymouth, succeeding Ray Fisher, who with predecessor Steve Torok fiercely protected both Prowler and Plymouth. Levine is a no-nonsense up-from-the-ranks car guy who rides on HOT ROD magazine "Power Tours" and spends 12-hour days on Woodward Avenue for the "Dream Cruise."
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Prowler joins the ranks of production cars, however limited, as new Chrysler concept cars are introduced at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. Prowler still draws the crowds, however, and some spectators still can't believe it's going to be available at selected Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships nationally.
The last of 16 "pilot line" (C1) Prowlers is completed, and the assembly process receives final approval. Targeted production rate is set for 20 Prowlers per day in one eight-hour shift.
The extended development "family" gathers at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant to mark production of the first volume (V1) Prowler.
A total of 457 Prowlers were built (all Purple). 343 for the US and 53 for Canada plus 61 Pilot Prowlers for a total of 457. Only 396 were available for sale. Most Engineering Pilot Prowlers are destroyed by Chrysler. All of these were Purple with Silver wheels. The engine was the 3.5 liter V6 cast iron engine rated at 214 HP.
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The 1999 model year Prowler debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show with an all aluminum 3.5 liter 24 valve V6 that produces 253 HP. 99 model year production begins in January with Purple with Silver wheels.
A new gleaming old Hot Rod color (Yellow) was the 2nd color added to the Prowler pallet and production begins of the Yellow Prowler with Silver wheels.
A small production run of Purple are built during the Yellow run.
Another production run of Purple begins in July.
Chrome wheels are introduced into production. 308 Purple Prowlers are built with Chrome wheels (253 for US and 55 for Canada). Chrome wheels will now be standard on all future Prowlers. In addition, a chrome wheel option is now available for the Prowler trailer.
Prowler Black is 3rd color added to Prowler pallet and Black production begins. Black is the second color produced with all wheels being Chrome.
Black Howler version of the Prowler built at Metal Crafters in California with a 4.7 liter V8, manual transmission and pickup box rear end.
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Colors are the main story as Prowler roars forward to the year 2000 ...
The fourth Prowler color (Prowler Red) is introduced into production and chrome wheels are standard. During February, 19 Yellow Prowlers are built with Chrome wheels and another five Purple Prowlers are built with Chrome wheels.
The Prowler exhaust manifold on the 3.5 liter engine is changed to the LH (Intrepid, Concorde, 300M) design. A rear license plate stabilizer (two rubber mounts) is added to production to eliminate the bounce in license plate. The stabilizer mounting hole is 5mm.
The 1999 model year production ends with a Red Prowler. There are a total 3,921 Prowlers built for model year 1999 (from January 1998 through July 1999). Of the 3,921, 3,670 were for US sales, 230 for Canada sales and 21 Pilot Prowlers for total of 3,921. The color breakdown was 1,134 Purple (1,008 US, 126 Canada), 605 Yellow (561 US, 23 Canada and 21 Pilots), 799 Black (779 US, 20 Canada), 1,383 Red (1,322 US, 61 Canada).
2000 model year Prowler production begins with the color of Red. There are a few key model year changes to the Prowler. The suspension shocks & springs are changed to a new design for smoother ride. Low friction ball joints were added to the upper lateral links on the rear suspension. The run flat tires (20" rear and 17" front) are redesigned with a softer side wall for smoother ride and new recommended tire pressure of 28 psi for all four tires. A new auto dimming rear view mirror with mini trip odometer and temperature gauge is introduced. A new radio with speed sensitive volume control to automatically increase or decrease the audio level with change in speed. The bumpers are repainted from Gray to Black. The alternator is changed to a new design with declutching pulley to eliminate the serpentine drive belt rattle that occurs as the belt tension decays (relaxes) as the 3.5L does not have an automatic belt tensioner. Chrome wheels are now standard
The fifth color (Silver) is introduced for the Prowler and Silver production begins and hits dealers as the first new color for 2000.
The Woodward Edition (one of the Pilot Cars) was introduced at SEMA, with Dr. Ru pinstriping a car on the stage. Also appearing at SEMA is the Howler, Paxton Prowler and SoCal Prowler.
Daimler Chrysler press release:
"WOODWARD EDITION' PROWLER WILL CRUISE INTO DEALERSHIPS IN 2000
Las Vegas, Nov 2, 1999 - DaimlerChrysler paid homage to the hot rod and one of the Motor City's most historic cruisin' avenues, Woodward Avenue, today when the company unveiled its 'Woodward Edition' two-tone Plymouth Prowler at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas.
"For the first time, we will offer a two tone paint scheme for Prowler that has a classic look," said Tom Gale, DaimlerChrysler Corporation's Executive Vice President for Product Development and Design. "We will paint the top of the vehicle Prowler Black and the lower portion Prowler Red. And to give our two-seat roadster even more of a hand-crafted touch, a bright red pinstripe will be hand-painted around the upper beltline of each Prowler."
The bright red pinstripe will be painted onto the head-turning roadsters by Detroit native Rudy Kutey, better known as "Doctor Ru" in the automotive design and hot rod communities. Kutey is from Southfield, Mich. and has 31 years of specialized experience in striping, lettering and antique car restoration. Kutey will apply the pinstripe at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant where Prowler is manufactured.
Production for the 'Woodward Edition' Prowler begins in January 2000 and will be limited to 150 cars. The limited edition two-seat roadster will arrive in dealerships by February 2000. In addition, a special edition matching two-tone Prowler trailer will be offered.
Prowler was first offered only in Prowler Purple. In March of 1998, Prowler Yellow was added to the color palette followed by black in November of the same year. In December of 1998, Prowler Red was added, followed by Prowler Silver in October of 1999. Prowler Purple and Prowler Yellow color options were discontinued in August of 1999.
Prowler first appeared as a concept car at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Along with Dodge Viper and most recently, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Prowler represents one of DaimlerChrysler's "concept-to-reality" cars that blend stunning design with technological innovation.
Favorable response to the concept version of the Prowler prompted the company to go forward with production. A production version was unveiled at the 1996 North American International Auto Show. Production for Prowler began in July of 1997. Prowler is manufactured alongside the Dodge Viper at DaimlerChrysler's Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit."
Rumor has it new colors will be introduced for the new millenium, Sparkle Orange, Blue and Black-Tie Special Limited Edition.
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The new "Woodward Edition" Prowler is introduced and production of the first two-tone Prowler begins. The Woodward is a combination of Prowler Black and Red (Black hood & rear deck lid) with Red lower panels. There is a hand painted Red pinstripe by Dr. Ru around the lower portion of the Black top. There are only 151 "Woodward Edition" Prowlers produced and each one is numbered & signed by Dr. Ru. The signature & number are in the pin stripe just above the rear license bracket. There were two pilot two-tone Red & Black Prowlers produced in October 1999. A "Woodward Edition" Red and Black Prowler trailer is also introduced but the trailer does not have a pin stripe. This is the sixth color combination for the Prowler.
Another run of Red is started.
Another run of Yellow is started.
Prowler 2000 model year production ends with Silver and a total of 2,746 Prowlers being produced. The color breakdown was 572 Yellow (526 US, 46 Canada), 1,112 Black (1,041 US, 71 Canada), 193 Red (190 US, 3 pilot), 711 Silver (661 US, 38 Canada, 12 pilot), 153 Woodward (151 US, 2 pilot), 5 Two Tones (5 pilots) for a total of 2,746 Prowlers.
There is a change in manufacturer of the shocks made for the Prowler. The Koni (grey) shocks are replaced with Dynamic Suspension (black) shocks. The new shocks went into production at the start of the 2001 model year. There were some late 2000 models that also received the new shocks when the Koni supply ran out. The new Dynamic Suspension shocks are painted black including the spring retainers. The old Koni shocks were painted gray with aluminum spring retainers.
Chrysler announces that the Plymouth Prowler Production will end in January, 2001 and the Chrysler Prowler production will begin in January, 2001. Basically, just a brand name change.
Prowler Model year 2001 begins production with Silver. The "Black Tie" special edition Prowler is introduced during the Woodward Dream Cruise at the "Black Tee" party hosted by Chrysler at the new Walter P. Chrysler museum in Ponitac, MI. The "Black Tie" is Silver and Black. The hood and rear deck lid are Black and the lower panels are Silver. There is a hand painted Silver pin stripe around the lower portion of the Black by Dr. Ru. There are 163 "Black Tie" editions produced (151 for US and 12 for Canada). Each of these are numbered and signed by Dr. Ru in the pin stripe just above the rear license plate. This is the seventh color combination for the Prowler. Prowler Orange is announced as the eighth new color for the Prowler.
Daimler Chrysler press release:
"CHRYSLER TO KICK OFF WOODWARD CRUISE IN STYLE BY UNVEILING "BLACK TIE EDITION" PROWLER
Auburn Hills, Mich., Aug 18, 2000 - Chrysler's been playing in Prowler's paint palette again and will show off its new 2001 silver/black two-tone "Black Tie Edition" Prowler at the Woodward Cruise this Saturday, Aug. 19. If you're cruisin' Woodward Avenue, be sure to check out the new Prowler on display at Woodward and 13 Mile Road.
"We've blended a classic hot rod black with a high-tech bright silver metallic to create a two-tone paint scheme that gives Prowler more of a classic, formal look for fellow hot rod enthusiasts," said Tom Gale, DaimlerChrysler's Executive Vice President of Product Development and Design and General Manager of Passenger Car Operations. "The top of the car is painted Prowler Black and the lower portion is painted Prowler Silver. And to give our two-seat roadster even more of a hand-crafted touch, a bright silver pinstripe is hand-painted around the upper beltline."
The "Black Tie Edition" Prowler will be unveiled to employees and media at 9 p.m. Friday, August 18 at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Mich. Jim Holden, President and Chief Executive Officer of DaimlerChrysler corporation, will host the company's first pre-cruise charity party to benefit the Children's Miracle Network and Beaumont Hospital Pediatrics. After the unveiling, the Prowler will be moved to Woodward and 13 Mile Rd. and put on display for Saturday's Woodward Cruise-goers Production for the "Black Tie Edition" Prowler begins this month as a 2001 model and will be limited to 162 cars. The limited edition two-seat roadster will arrive in dealerships by early September. In addition, a special edition matching two-tone Prowler trailer will be offered.
When the Plymouth brand is discontinued after the 2001 model year, Prowler will continue to be manufactured and sold through North American Chrysler-Jeep® dealerships. Beginning in January 2001, it will be branded a Chrysler vehicle."
Prowler Orange begins a run of production. A new Torque Converter with different design is added to production.
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The Plymouth Brand Prowler ends Production with a total of 8,527 Prowlers being built (7,929 US, 488 Canada, 110 pilots). The last Plymouth Prowler is Orange and owned by Mike Krehel who invited the CAAP workers to sign their names around the undercarriage and other areas not visible (like behind the door panels). The breakdown by color can be found in the "Facts And Stats" section. The Prowler production continues under the Chrysler brand name.
The first Chrysler Prowler produced is Midnight Blue. This is the ninth color in the Prowler collection and is announced as the Mulholland Edition, named after the famous street in Los Angeles. The Mulholland Edition is a dark Blue with a light Blue pin stripe and new Blue convertible top. The pin stripe is hand painted by Dr. Ru., however these are not numbered. The only changes are the hood emblem which now says Chrysler and a blank left rear bumper (was engraved with the Plymouth name). The right rear bumper still has the engraved Prowler name.
The hood ornament (emblem) was changed to Chrysler. All Chrysler emblems are Black irrespective of the color of the Chrysler Prowler. Under the Plymouth Prowler brand each hood emblem matched the color of the Prowler, except for Purple Prowlers that featured a Blue background
One Black Chrysler Prowler is built for a retiring Daimler Chrysler Executive.
More Orange and Silver Prowler runs are made.
More Orange Prowler runs are made.
More Silver Prowler runs are made and a significant milestone is reached. The 10,000th Prowler built at CAAP rolls off the line at 10:00 am on Tuesday, June 26th. This car is a Chrysler Orange Prowler. There are two TV stations and one radio station along with several reporters to record the event.
Daimler Chrysler press release:
"Chrysler Marks Fifth Anniversary of Prowler ; 10 Thousandth Roadster to Cruise Out of Conner
Auburn Hills, Mich., Jun 26, 2001 - Five years ago, Chrysler surprised the world when it let the cat out of the bag and introduced Prowler, one of the most intriguing concept-to-reality roadsters ever to cruise the streets of North America. This morning, the automaker will build its 10 thousandth Prowler at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
"Without question, Prowler continues to capture the imagination of passionate automotive enthusiasts and street rodders throughout North America, " said Tom Marinelli, Vice President, Chrysler/Jeep® Global Brand Center, DaimlerChrysler Corp. "Prowler represents the creative, innovative spirit of our brand, our company and our employees. Prowler sends a clear message that at every turn, Chrysler will continue to crank out head-turning designs like PT Cruiser that people will aspire to."
Originally intended for limited production after its introduction in 1997, Prowler further solidified the Chrysler Group's design philosophy of polarization or "love it - hate it" design, which was established in 1992 with the introduction of Dodge Viper, Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde and followed-up by the newly-designed brawny, over-the-road Dodge Ram unveiled in 1993.
"Whether we're designing a car, truck or minivan, we want to create vehicles that people love or hate because the people who love them buy them," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President, Design, DaimlerChrysler. "We don't want to finish second on anyone's new car wish list."
"While PT Cruiser is clearly the new icon for the Chrysler brand, Prowler continues to fill a special niche as an exclusive, factory-built street rod," said Marinelli. "In fact, our success with Prowler helped pave the way for us to develop the PT Cruiser -- another emotional Chrysler design that makes custom car style available to a much broader customer base at an affordable price starting at $16,500." To help meet the overwhelming demand for PT Cruiser, Chrysler recently announced its second production increase for the PT Cruiser. By the fall of 2002, Chrysler will build PT Cruisers at the rate of 310,000 vehicles per year, up from the current capacity of 180,000 vehicles per year.
"We were able to successfully transmit some of Prowler's DNA into PT Cruiser," said Marinelli. "And we don't plan to stop there." Prowler is the modern, high-technology tribute to the American hot rod. Prowler is the only series-produced street rod available in North America. Its retro styling makes it instantly recognizable. An all-aluminum four-wheel independent suspension and aluminum/sheet molded composite (SMC) body keep Prowler at the forefront of automotive technology. Prowler's light weight, excellent weight distribution, 3.5-liter high-output aluminum V-6 engine and AutoStick® four-speed automatic transaxle give it plenty to brag about on the street. A leather interior and 320-watt, seven-speaker Infinity® audio system make Prowler the perfect boulevard cruiser.
Prowler also embodies some of the most advanced technology and materials and has the distinction of being North America's most aluminum-intensive vehicle. It was only a few years ago that the idea of mass producing a factory hot rod seemed too radical a concept for any major automaker to undertake. Since then, however, the roadster has cruised into the hearts and garages of passionate automotive enthusiasts throughout North America.
Prowler first appeared as a concept car at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Favorable response prompted Chrysler to unveil a production version of Prowler at the 1996 North American International Auto Show. Official production for Prowler began in 1997 as a 1997 model. Prowler is manufactured by hand at Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit and is built alongside the Dodge Viper.
Every day, Chrysler builds 14 Prowlers by hand at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
Prowler has a colorful history. Prowler was first offered only in Prowler Purple but Chrysler designers continued to play in the palette. Of the 10,000 Prowlers built, 1,912 were black,1,573 were red, 1,530 were purple, 1,278 were blue ("Mulholland Edition), 1,249 were silver,1,156 were yellow, 986 were orange, 163 were silver/black two-tone ("Black Tie Edition"), and 153 were black/red two-tone ("Woodward Edition").
The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for a 2001 Chrysler Prowler is $44,625 plus $775 for destination. A matching Prowler trailer is $5,075. approximately 20 percent are sold with the trailer. Prowler has the highest aluminum content of any North American production vehicle.
Demographics of a Prowler buyer: nearly 100 percent male, 84 percent are married, median age of 53, median income of $200,000, and 48 percent are business owners/proprietors."
Prowler 2001 model year production ends with a total of 3,137 Prowlers being produced (1403 Plymouths, 1,734 Chrysler). Of the 1,403 Plymouths, 545 were Silver, 163 "Black Tie" and 695 Orange. Of the 1,734 Chrysler, 1,281 were Midnight Blue, 1 Black, 346 Orange, 106 Silver. The breakdown by color for US, Canada and Pilots are in the "Facts And Stats" section.
Prowler model year 2002 begins with Silver. The run flat tire sensors in each tire and the receiver are changed to match newer technology used in other Chrysler products.
The tenth new Prowler color (Inca Gold) begins production in August. Inca Gold is the first new color for 2002 and Deep Candy Apple Red is announced as the next new (eleventh) color for the Prowler. The Inca Gold Prowler comes with a double pin stripe (Gold & Yellow) hand painted by Dr. Ru. This is the first of special edition Prowler hand painted by Dr. Ru to have a double pin strip.
First Chrysler Yellow Prowlers are built.
Daimler Chrysler decides to end production of the Prowler on February 15, 2002.
Daimler Chrysler press release:
"Chrysler Prowler Will Cruise Into Sunset In 2002 ; Last 300 Prowlers to Be Painted Deep Candy Red.
Auburn Hills, Mich., Dec 19, 2001 - It's last call for Prowlers in 2002. First offered only in Prowler Purple, Chrysler will offer its final run of 300 Prowlers in Deep Candy Red.
"Our last Prowlers will be painted Deep Candy Red, a color that will be instantly recognizable in the hot rod community," said Tom Marinelli, Vice President, Chrysler/Jeep® Global Brand Center. "The color will feature a new paint technology in its pearl coat that will actually make the car sparkle in bright light."
Prowler represents yet another great chapter in Chrysler's storied history of bringing concept cars to reality. The two-seat roadster easily ranks alongside Dodge Viper, Chrysler PT Cruiser and the all-new 2004 Chrysler Crossfire, which will be revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show in early 2002.
"We anticipated a five-year run for Prowler when we started production in 1997," said Marinelli. "Like Dodge Viper and Chrysler PT Cruiser, Prowler showcases the innovation, technology and creativity within this company. While we're discontinuing Prowler production, I can assure you that we've got even more head-turning vehicles in our pipeline."
Prowler first appeared as a concept car at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Favorable response prompted the former Chrysler Corporation to unveil a production version of Plymouth Prowler at the 1996 North American International Auto Show. Official production for Plymouth Prowler began in July, 1997 as a 1997 model at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. With the discontinuation of the Plymouth brand in January of 2000, Prowler continued as a Chrysler. The last Prowler will be manufactured in February of 2002.
Prowler features a 3.5-liter 24-valve sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection, 60-degree single overhead cam, all-aluminum V-6 engine that produces 253 horsepower at 6400 rpm, and 255 lb.-ft. of torque at 3950 rpm. In addition, Prowler's electronic four-speed rear-wheel drive automatic transaxle features an AutoStick® shifter, which allows the driver to shift gears by simply tapping the gear lever.
Visually, Prowler pays tribute to the rolling art of hot rods. Prowler also embodies some of the most advanced technology and materials, and has the distinction of being North America's most aluminum-intensive vehicle. To date, Prowler has cruised into the hearts and garages of more than 11,000 passionate automotive enthusiasts throughout North America.
Prowler Facts and Figures
The manufacturer's suggested retail price for 2002 Chrysler Prowler is $44,625, plus $775 for destination. A matching Prowler trailer is $5,075. Approximately 20 percent of all Prowlers are sold with a matching trailer.
Through November of 2001, more than 11,000 Prowlers have been produced. Of total Prowlers produced, 1,530 were purple, 1,576 were yellow, 1,911 were black, 1,573 were red, 151 were black/red two-tone ("Woodward Edition"), 1,342 were silver, 163 were silver/black two-tone ("Black Tie Edition"), 1,039 were orange, 1,278 were Mulholland Blue and 616 were Inca Gold.
Demographics for a Prowler owner: nearly 90 percent male, 70 percent are married, median age of 52 with a median income of $190,000."
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Deep Candy Red Prowlers are built.
During January a group of Prowler Owners attend the North American Auto Show In Detroit and get the chance to visit CAAP on Friday, January 18th. Plans for a final CAAP visit (which started in December) are finalized for a final POA visit on Friday, February 8th to CAAP and the POA starts collecting donations for the gifts that are being planned for the plant workers.
In late January the DC Prowler team discusses building a special Prowler for the last car. Hi Voltage blue exterior, taupe colored seats and anodized frame. The suggestions keep coming and the following unique parts are added: blue convertible top, body color shift bezel, taupe stitching on shift knob, taupe door panel inserts, body color radiator support, body color hood braces, blue Chrysler hood badge, Mopar Prowler trailer hitch, Prowler trailer, time capsule with memorabilia, Dr Ru personalization and named 'Conner Avenue Edition'.
POA visits CAAP for the Prowler builders' appreciation day. Over 100 POA members attend the CAAP appreciation day on Friday, February 8th.
February 15th 2002
CAAP Tribute by CJ Longstreth (quoted from article on POA April 6th 2002)
"It doesn't seem like the CAAP Tribute was two months ago. Time has certainly gone by fast! Things have been pretty hectic since that day and it seems that the faster I go, the behinder I get! Way too much on my plate, methinks!!
The final bills have been paid, thank you notes have gone out and I'd now like to take some time to share some things with you about the CAAP Tribute Day that I've not had the time to do. I promise I will try not to be too long-winded (which probably won't happen), eloquent or send any subliminal messages!!
First, I would like to thank all of you who took time out of your busy schedules to come to Detroit and participate in this most gratifying day. I only wish that everyone could have made it. For those who couldn't we knew you were there in spirit. I want to thank those gentlemen that assisted me in handing out the commemorative plaques and cds. Thank you also, to all the Prowler owners who took the time to shake hands with all of the craftspeople and express their best wishes and thanks to them. You have no idea what that meant to them. Thank you to all of you who donated toward the gifts, as they were very much appreciated.
CAAP Tribute Day - February 8, 2002
It was a very emotional day for all involved - the craftspeople, the staff, the UAW reps, the DC corporate staff and the Prowler owners (over 80 of them). There were grave concerns and reservations from the Plant staff as to how this was going to be handled by us. To be honest, they were not sure they wanted to do this, right up to the last minute. The main concern was how the craftspeople were going to react. None of them were told what was really planned, as it was supposed to be sort of a surprise. They knew we were going to be there, but not why. A great many of them had already been given their lay-off notices and others knew theirs were coming.
Since it was my responsibility to be the host speaker (which I am not good at), I agonized all week about what I was going to say to these people to accurately convey how we all felt and why we were there to honor them without upsetting them and have it be a reminder that a lot of them were losing their jobs. Fortunately for me, there were many other people who took the opportunity to speak, also. Cindy, the Plant Manager, Sylvia, the UAW reps, several staff members of the plant, several corporate people from DC, Bob Tate from the Museum and Mike Krehel. By the time it came to me, everyone had pretty much summed it up. The reason we were there was not to celebrate the end of production of the Prowler, but to thank those craftspeople who worked so hard to produce the best car that has ever been built!!! We wanted them to know how much we appreciated their loyalty and devotion to building such a great vehicle and how lucky we felt to be able to own a Prowler. When it was my turn to speak, I still had not written down anything I thought I should say. So, I just said it from my heart. I thanked them for always being friendly and courteous and accommodating every time we were there to visit. Having spent so much time at the plant, I was always made to feel like I was one of their family......and that is what they considered themselves......a family.....and I thank them for making me a part of that, which was something I would never forget. They considered me their friend and I appreciated that more than they will ever know. Unfortunately, I got pretty emotional and sort of lost it a bit......well maybe more than a bit, so I cut if off right then! However, I wasn't the only teary-eyed one there.... They were asked to form a line to come up to receive their gifts and as they were working their way to the front, the Prowler owners who were standing on the perimeter of the room, took the opportunity to shake hands, say thank you, give and take hugs and exchange smiles and best wishes. The craftspeople were very surprised and very appreciative of their gifts. They really loved them. They had smiles on their faces and friendship in their hearts. There were quite a few of them (men and women) who chided me for making them cry!! But they said it with a big smile on their face.
After the "tribute" the plant provided a very nice lunch for the craftspeople and the Prowler owners. The plant also procured a Candy Red decklid for all who attended this CAAP Tribute day, including us, the craftspeople, DC people, UAW people, etc. This decklid will not ever be signed again and it will be on permanent display at the plant.
In case you weren't aware, it was the craftspeople who actually conducted the tours when we were there. At first, under the circumstances, Cindy (the Plant Manager) did not feel like she wanted to ask them to do it that day. However, Cindy was so pleased with the outcome of the day, that she changed her mind about giving us a plant tour. I'd been begging her to change her mind, Mike Krehel was gently pushing, but she told me later that the thing that actually made her change her mind was the fact that several of the craftspeople came to her and said that everyone wanted to give us a tour. So, she agreed on the tour, which made all the Prowler owners very happy. Most of them had never been there before. They got to see the Candy Reds being built which was the last of the Prowlers to go down that line.
The Prowler owners had the opportunity to visit the CAAP store and, I might add, I was told we set an all-time record for sales that day. We actually wore Sylvia and Joyce out!!!
I am proud to say that we accomplished what we had set out to do and everyone involved was grateful for such a wonderful day. I don't think that anyone that was there will ever forget it. Thank you........I am very proud of all of you. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Mike and Judy Krehel for their support, assistance and contributions with planning this special event. A very special thanks goes to my son Brian (who was home on leave) and to my husband Bob.....if it wasn't for the two of them, I would never have gotten all 288 of those bases drilled and 288 Prowlers screwed onto them!!! Poor Brian never dreamed he'd being screwing Prowler plaques together when he came home...lol.....but who, in his 29 year old infinite wisdom said.....we're having quality family time together!! Thanks, guys......you are the best!
The Final Week
It was gratifying to have been part of the Prowler Owners CAAP Tribute Day, but the experience was not over yet. I was lucky enough to have been able to pick up my new Candy Red from the plant the day before the tribute. Mike and Judy Krehel flew back into town on Monday to be a part of the birth of their Candy Cat!! We were able to spend the entire week at the plant watching their car and the very last Cat (the blue one) being built. While Mike and Judy were very busy going through labor....I was able to spend time visiting with the plant craftspeople on a one on one basis. In all the other times I was there, I was able to walk around and say hello, but not really sit down and talk to these people in-depth. Obviously, they were working and it was not appropriate to disturb them. This week was different, however.
We were pretty much given free reign to be about the plant (following all rules, however). I talked at great length with a lot of the workers. The difficult part was watching people leave. As the last cars finished at each station, many of those people left immediately, as their job was finished for good. Lots of emotion that week. By the end of the week when the last Prowler came off that line, we had become closer and even better friends than before. I heard a lot of stories about how much they loved working at that plant. They loved that car as much as we did and they agreed that there would never be anything like it again. I was even told that there were several of them who own a Prowler! I heard a great many funny stories about the friendships they had there and the antics they played on each other. These people were truly a family. I talked to one young man who was very worried. He was being laid off and was concerned about finding another job....he has a wife and a 2-year old daughter to take care of. He told me later in the week that they had just been told that DC and worked out a deal with the UAW that would allow them to continue to receive a paycheck while doing some special assignments - he was very much relieved.
I want to share with you, some of the things that these people told me about the CAAP Tribute day. They were honest in telling me that they were very leery of what we had in store for them and not particularly happy about the whole thing. However, they told me that they were very surprised, very touched and very appreciative of the whole experience. A great many of them said that NO ONE had ever done anything like that for them, not even corporate. One lady told me that it was a long time coming.....not by us, but by anyone. One man told me that he'd worked for Chrysler for 25 years in various facilities, but never had he seen anything like that done for the craftspeople. Never had a group of owners paid tribute to the craftspeople that built the cars they drive. Many of them told me of the special places in their home that they are now displaying their Prowler plaques. They were also very thrilled with the cd and seeing (in many cases) themselves on the cd. They also said it was cool to see the people that bought the Prowlers and how they had modified their cars. One young man told me that during the tribute, he wanted to get up and say something to us, but he lost his nerve and then was sorry he didn't. Many said that they were truly touched by the fact that the Prowler owners shook their hands and thanked them for their part in building the cars. They all said that we were thanking them for building them so we could buy them. They say that if it wasn't for us buying them, they wouldn't have had the opportunity to build them and work at such a great job! So, I guess we all won! It was great being with them all week and they said to me that they thought it was great that Mike, Judy and I were able to be there right to the end. There was sadness, emotional swings, laughs and hugs. It was an experience that I'll never forget.
At the end of the day on Friday, they invited us to a get-together at a local bar and grille. Mike and Judy and I went and ended up staying for several hours. By the time we were finished wrapping up our business at the plant, we were a bit late in getting there. We were quite taken aback when we walked in.......they all stood up and applauded!! We had a lot of fun with them and they were surprised to find out that I grew up less than a block away from there!! They asked us to take a group picture, which we did and everything ended on a more upbeat note.
One of the other things that many of the workers said to me during the week was that between the CAAP tribute day and our representation of the Prowler owners during the week, we made the final week much easier for them and they really appreciated it.
In closing, I just want to say that I am proud to be a Prowler owner. I am also proud of this group of Prowler owners who came together because of a common interest, but have stayed together and continued to grow because of friendship and comraderie. Thank you again, to all of you who came to participate and all of you who couldn't, but cheered us on from afar!"
Prowler production stops.
The final Deep Candy Red Prowler is built and the proud owner is Mike & Judy Krehel. Mike and Judy were there during the final week of production and witnessed the building of their Prowler. Mike actually got to assist in some of the building process. Most every worker signed the car on or near the body parts that they worked on. Mike, is the owner of the very last Plymouth Prowler built & now is the proud owner of the very last Deep Candy Red Chrysler Prowler built (also considered the last Prowler built for retail sale).
Here are some comments from Mike Krehel while visiting CAAP during this last week of Prowler production:
"Judy and I returned back to Detroit to celebrate the birthing of the very last candy red Prowler. The Lamaze classes were tough, but I got through them. ha,ha,ha Our tub hit the assembly line this morning with much fanfare from the plant employees. It's chassis will arrive early this morning and mate up with the tub Thursday afternoon.
On February 15th, 2002 at 12:57 PM EST The last Prowler rolled off the line as production ended here at CAAP. We took hundreds of pictures and nearly two hours of videos following the cars through the production line. It's probably going to take several days to put together a complete gallery, but we'll have it up soon!
Once again, Thank you to all the wonderful men and women at CAAP that built the worlds most awesome production hotrod and so graciously allowed us to share the past three days with them!
While Production has ended, the enthusiasm for the Prowler continues. The final fate of the very last Prowler "Hi Voltage Blue" is still undecided. The DC team is having discussions on how to sell the final Prowler with all proceeds going to a charity. The only questions are which charity and will it be a Raffle or an Auction?
May 18th 2002
Daimler Chrysler press Release:
"Last Chrysler Prowler to be Auctioned at Christie's Auction House on May 18 in New York City.
DaimlerChrysler Corporate Fund to Donate Prowler for Auction. Proceeds from Sale to go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Before Auction, Fans View Head-turning Vehicle at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum.
Auburn Hills, Mich., May 1, 2002 - The last Chrysler Prowler to roll off the assembly line is leaving the hot rod stage in style. On May 18, the last and most unique Prowler ever built - complete with a time capsule that contains rare Prowler memorabilia including signed, original styling sketches and other unique Prowler items - will be auctioned at Christie's Auction House in Manhattan, N.Y. The DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund, the company's philanthropic arm, is donating the 2002 model year Prowler to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) for purposes of the auction. The NMSS will receive all proceeds from the auction of the Prowler.
Before making its final bow in the Big Apple, however, the last Chrysler Prowler will be on display at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Mich., from May 1-7. (The Museum is closed Mondays. For museum hours call 888-456-1924. The web address for the Chrysler Museum is www.daimlerchrysler.com/museum).
Before the auction, the Prowler will be on display at Rockefeller Center May 15, 16 and 17. "The Prowler is one of the milestones in our company's unrivaled record of bringing concept cars to reality," said Tom Marinelli, Vice President, Chrysler/Jeep® Division Global Brand Center. "Just like the Dodge Viper, the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Chrysler Crossfire, the Prowler evokes a strong, passionate emotional response.
"As an exclusive, factory-built street rod, the Prowler filled a special niche, attracting a diverse group of enthusiasts. The last one deserves a special good-bye, and an auction at Christie's is the perfect send-off. The fact that proceeds will go to the NMSS means that the legacy of the Prowler will have new meaning," said Marinelli.
The final "Conner Avenue Edition" Prowler was built at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit on Feb. 15, 2002. In addition to being the first and only Prowler with High-Voltage Blue exterior body paint, its other unique features include:
A Mopar® luggage trailer and hitch in the same High-Voltage Blue paint, signatures of the Prowler Team on the vehicle's undercarriage, a blue "Stayfast" soft top by Hartz, bright anodized frame, unique body-color hood badge, body color upper radiator crossmember assembly, detailed and signed by renowned striping artist Mr. Rudy Kutey, better known as "Dr. Ru", unique body color shifter and instrument panel bezels, taupe leather seats with matrix grain inserts, agate door trim panels with unique taupe inserts, and custom-wrapped shifter knob.
Prowler first appeared as a concept car at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Favorable response prompted the former Chrysler corporation to unveil a production version of Plymouth Prowler at the 1996 North American International Auto Show. Official production for Plymouth Prowler began in June, 1997 as a 1997 model at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant. With the discontinuation of the Plymouth brand in January of 2000, Prowler continued as a Chrysler.
During its production run, Prowler cruised into the hearts and garages of more than 11,000 passionate automotive enthusiasts throughout North America.
Prowler features a 3.5-liter 24-valve sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection, 60-degree single overhead cam, all-aluminum V-6 engine that produces 253 horsepower at 6400 rpm, and 255 lb.-ft. of torque at 3950 rpm. In addition, Prowler's electronic four-speed rear-wheel drive automatic transaxle features an AutoStick® shifter, which allows the driver to shift gears by simply tapping the gear lever."
Last Prowler off the line, Hi Voltage Blue 'Conner Avenue Edition' auctioned at Christie's auction house in New York City for $175,000. Mike Krehel wins the bidding and the big winner is the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Here are a few pictures of the Hi Voltage Blue "Conner Avenue Edition" after it's delivery to Houston, Texas.
More pictures of the HV Blue Prowler
While the Prowler production has ended, the fun has just begun. The Prowler Owner Association which was started in June 2000 has grown to over 3,000 members in the first three years and you can visit the web site at Prowleronline.com. The web site is for Prowler owners or people who just have an interest in the Prowler & share a common enthusiasm for this legacy to Hot Rodding... 30 years from now, readers will look back and think how lucky and fortunate these early owners were to own and be part of this era of automotive history.
The final Prowler Production number was 11,703. This includes all cars produced for sale in the United States or Canada and pilot cars. The detailed final production of Prowlers is in the "Facts And Stats" section of the POA. There you can review the Total production and the breakdown by Year, Color, Brand (either Plymouth or Chrysler), Country (either US or Canada) & pilot cars.
Now, it's time to go Prowlin' ...
To the top
Keep Smilin' and Wavin' ...
The memories will last forever ...
A very special thank you goes out to Laddie Roussel and Jerry Scholten for their help in compiling and documenting the Prowler Story!
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