Monday, February 28, 2011

Car Of The Day: February 28, 2011

Today's car of the day is Hot Wheels' 2004 Dodge Neon drag car.

The Chrysler Neon (known in North America as the Dodge Neon and the Plymouth Neon) is a compact front wheel drive car introduced in January 1994 for the 1995 model year by Chrysler Corporation's Dodge and Plymouth brands. It was branded as a Chrysler model in Japan, Europe, and Australia (where it was the first car to be sold as a Chrysler since 1981) export markets, as well as briefly in Mexico, Canada, and Egypt. It replaced the Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance & Duster models and the Dodge & Plymouth Colt. The two-door model also replaced the Plymouth Laser in Plymouth's lineup. The Neon was offered in multiple versions and configurations over its production life, which ended on September 23, 2005.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Dodge Neon

This is the only small scale Neon I am aware of.  Pity that it bears so little resemblance to the real car.  Starting off, the second generation Neon wasn't available as a coupe (sedans only) so there's one strike against it already.  All of the drag racing add-ond ans the hole in the front fascia only hinder the casting further in my opinion.  I've never seen the real model this is based on, and it probably is faithful to the racer in question, but it leaves fans of stock automobiles out in the cold.  Much like the first generation Ford Probe (available only as a funny car from Hot Wheels and others) certain cars seem destined to go through life unrepresented in small scale despite being fairly popular with the right crowds at the right time.  The first generation Probe, Neon, and Beretta (Zylmex, Hot Wheels, and Muscle Machines all did hot rod/drag versions) jump to mind.

Sales of the second generation model started with model year 2000 and production ended with the 2005 model year. The second generation Neon was only available as a four-door sedan. In some global sales regions, including the U.S., the sole engine was the 2.0 L SOHC engine, the power output remaining at 132 hp (98 kW). An optional Magnum engine configuration (with an active intake manifold) that produced 150 hp (110 kW) was available. Both engines had a redline of 6762 rpm.
The second generation was more refined than the first generation car. It was advertised that the second generation Neon had over 1,000 refinements from the original generation. The first generation's frameless windows were replaced with a full-framed door. Other NVH refinements were implemented. The new interior and greater size increased weight. The DOHC ECC engine was no longer available.

In 2001, The R/T trim returned after a one-year hiatus. The R/T consisted of a new 150 hp (110 kW) SOHC Magnum 2.0 L Engine, 16 in (41 cm) wheels, spoiler, dual chrome exhaust tips, quicker steering box and stiffer springs. The 2001 and 2002 R/Ts had a flat, 'hammerhead' spoiler. From 2000-2003, the R/T was sold as a Chrysler in Europe. The Neon was offered with a Sport package for the 2001 model year only. It consisted of an R/T wing, R/T 16 in (41 cm) wheels, R/T springs, white instrument cluster and R/T steering box. It was an R/T visually except for the lack of dual exhaust, R/T lower mouldings, fog lamps and R/T exclusive front bumper. The Sport only came equipped with the base model's 132 hp (98 kW) engine and was available with an automatic transmission (unlike the manual-only R/T model). 2001 was the last year for the Plymouth Neon, and the Plymouth brand as well, the last Plymouth Neon (which also was the last Plymouth), a silver four-door sedan, rolled off the assembly line on June 28, 2001.

The former Dodge and Plymouth Neon were briefly sold under the Chrysler name in Canada from 2000–2002, until being renamed as Dodge SX 2.0 for 2003. In Europe, Australia, Mexico, and Asia, the car had always been sold as a Chrysler, as Dodge and Plymouth passenger cars were not marketed outside the U.S. and Canada at the time. Besides the 2.0 L engine, it used the same Tritec 1.6 L unit found in the MINI prior to 2007. The 1.6 L unit is a variation of the 2.0 L SOHC engine designed by Chrysler and built by Tritec.
Originally, the second generation Neon featured a five-speed manual transmission using the former ACR gear ratios to improve acceleration. However, this hurt gas mileage and made the car noisier on the highway, and eventually the original gear ratios were restored. A four-speed automatic was offered in the Neon for the 2002 model year, with gearing changed the following year.

The Neon's name was changed to SX 2.0 in Canada in 2003. In Australia and Canada, the Chrysler Neon was discontinued in 2002. In 2002, the front clip was changed to match the R/T and ACR front clip with the exception of missing a lower lip. The Neon was facelifted again for 2003 with large "crosseyed" headlights and crosshair grille. The ACR model was discontinued for 2003; the R/T model for 2004. The Chrysler Neon continued to be sold in Europe until 2004.

In Brazil, the Neon was marketed as a luxury mid-size sedan; for Mexico it was a competitor to the Ford Escort, and sold as a Chrysler with either the 1.6 or 2.0 L engine and European-style taillights (with separate amber indicator lights), except for the R/T model, which was a Dodge, with U.S.-style taillights.
For the Dutch market, the Neon proved more successful than the rest of the Continent. Trim levels were 2.0 LX and 2.0 SE. However, some grey import versions came in from Mexico.

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