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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Prowler Causes a Road Stir

DETROIT -- Chrysler Corp.'s new Plymouth Prowler went on sale here Friday, with buyers lining up to spend $39,000 for the little retro roadster.

A separate, towable cargo trailer already in production is in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.

The Prowler has generated considerable interest worldwide since it was unveiled at the Detroit auto show early this year.

While it will not be available abroad any time soon, Chrysler executives said the hand-built car would likely find its way to Japan and Europe in the near future -- even though there are no current plans to adapt it to meet foreign standards.

John Hinckley, manager of the assembly plant in Detroit that makes the vehicle, said he expected individual buyers to import the slick-looking roadster.

All 1997 Prowlers are a deep plum shade, referred to as "Prowler Purple," reflecting a color growing in popularity on some trendier American vehicles.

The first Prowlers come with an iron block and analuminum V-6 engine that produces 214 horsepower. An all-new, totally aluminum 3.5 liter engine for 1999 will boost that to about 250 horsepower.

Although the vehicle is expected to compete with other import "exotic" specialty cars, such as the costlier Porsche Boxster and Mercedes SLK roadsters, Chrysler spokesman Chris Preuss said there were significant differences. "We are not trying to peg it with any other sports coupes," he said. "It is very unique."

Targeted customers are just about anyone who is a car buff, with the only limitation being the price, said Preuss.

Preuss said Chrysler had no current plans to adapt the Prowler to meet European or Japanese federal standards.