The Prowler, approved for concept in July 1992, was a showstopper in January 1993 when it made its debut at the North American International AutoShow in Detroit. In September 1994, top management officially approved the Prowler for production and it was in 1997 that the first production version of the Prowler rolled off the line at Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit.

The Prowler salutes the great American hot rod tradition, but deliberately does so in a thoroughly contemporary manner. From the get-go, it was decided that the Prowler would be a rolling celebration of new technology and materials.

Prowlers were sold as five distinct model years-1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 (there was no 1998 model year). Nearly 11,000 Prowlers have been built in its production history, in 12 exterior colors starting with purples and ending with this final High Voltage Blue "Conner Avenue Edition."

Many Prowlers have been pinstriped by hand at the assembly plant by Mr. Rudy Kutey, a well-known and highly regarded Detroit pinstriping artist, nicknamed "Dr. Ru." The Prowler shown here, the very last Prowler to roll off the assembly line, received special "Dr. Ru" detailing treatment and the underside was signed by many of the men and women who work at Conner Avenue Assembly.

This Prowler is fitted with a number of one-of-a-kind features. Its paintwork has never appeared on another Prowler. A Mopar luggage trailer, also painted High Voltage Blue, is included, as well as a Prowler "time capsule" filled with period memorabilia. A special edition bright dipped anodized aluminum frame creates a mirror-like show car underbody appearance, and the body-color shifter bezel and hood badge are also unique to the last Prowler.

Just as the first Prowler began its life at the most prestigious auto shows in the world, DaimlerChrysler Corporation and the Chrysler Brand felt it was fitting to pay tribute to the model's end of production by auctioning off the last Prowler to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The money will be used to help end the effects of this devastating disease.

SCM Analysis


This car sold for $200,000, including buyer’s premium, at Christie’s sale held at Rockefeller Center in New York City, May 18, 2002.

Two hundred large for a Prowler? Can it be? Are they all worth more now? Well, yes and no. Yes, it can be, because it did happen. And no, they are not all worth more now.

The first and last of a series often command a premium, although not always for the same reasons. The first Prowler available for sale to the public, although not necessarily the first Prowler built, sold at a Kruse International auction in August of 1997 for $141,000. Its high price was due primarily to the “got to be first, don’t care what it costs” guys duking it out with their lines of credit. If offered again today, it is doubtful that car would bring half that amount.

When the last of a car series turns up, the collector car world also takes notice. Sometimes the last of a series will be given as a gift to a factory museum, or to a top executive who was instrumental to the success of the car.

Chrysler made sure the world knew this was the last Prowler built, and that it was going to be available to the public. Setting it and its trailer apart are the unique color, a “time capsule” of Prowler trash and trinkets, the signatures of the assembly team, and a bright, dipped frame.

But $200,000 for a car that could be duplicated for less than one quarter of that price? I would guess that a large part of the price was due to the charitable tie-in, just as we saw a special “Louis Vuitton” edition PT Cruiser bring more than $100,000 when auctioned for a charitable cause two years ago. In both cases, the difference between the “true market value” of the car (you can rest assured that an appraisal by one of my steely-eyed compatriots has already been ordered up), and the amount paid, end up being a tax-deductible contribution. Hence both buyer and charity benefit.

Market prices for regular Prowlers won’t be affected one bit by this sale, just as the purchase of the “KISS” Prowler for $140,400 in 2001 didn’t change things. Regular Prowlers have been in a gentle downward slide for the past couple of years, and prices are fairly predictable, staying in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, depending on miles and condition.

But aside from value, we should take a moment to commend Chrysler, and the now departed Plymouth, for creating the Prowler in the first place. It was a bold statement by a company that was truly firing on all cylinders, translating concept cars to reality in record time, with a galvanized work force from CEO to assembly-line worker all passionately committed to the Chrysler way of doing things.

No other manufacturer in recent memory has had the courage to build such an audacious car, and the automotive world is the richer for their efforts.

Times are different now for Chrysler, and we can only hope that not too deep in the design studios, the replacement for the Prowler lurks, nearly ready to be unveiled. Another concept car coming to life would be exciting for the automotive community, and invigorating for the folks at Chrysler.-Dave Kinney and Keith Martin

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