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Neon: January 1994-September 23 2005


Hi! Most of my traffic comes through this here page, and I hope you enjoy your stay. Please consider coming in the front door ; there's a lot more to see; really! :) Thanks...

I bought my 1995 Plymouth Neon on January 26, 1996 and don't regret a minute of it. It's been a great car for me; the most trouble-free one I've owned. In my opinion the first generation Neon was the best buy out there in the econocar segment. The second generation Neon is only available in Sedan form; the Coupe has been discontinued :( The Coupe had been produced in the Toluca, Mexico plant; it made way for the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the companies runaway success story. Check out my PT Cruiser page. The PT has become a new addition for us, and the Neon was the trade bait. He was a great little car, and did everything we asked for 9.5 years. Thanks lil guy!

Mr. Neon: With us 1/26/96 - 6/24/05, 163,380 miles of smiles.

In case you're wondering, this will remain an active site for Neon happenings, only the Neon updates won't continue (obviously).

Page Contents
Neon History
My Neon
More Neon(Including Neon Links)
General Auto Links (99% Mopar related)
Previous Transportation

The Neon Through the Years, 1995-2005


Hi! The Neon was introduced in early 1994 as a 1995 model. Initially only the Sedan was offered, with the Coupe available in August 1994. Base (sedan only), Highline, and Sport models were offered, as was the ACR(American Club Racer) sub-model. The ACR is the package used by autocross and SCCA competitors; a no-frills racecar with out the weight-adding extras such as power accesories. A/C is available as is a stereo but many ACR's come without these goodies. For the '95 model run the ACR was based off the Base Sedan and Highline Coupe as there was no Base Coupe yet. The biggest upgrade for ACR's (available throughout the First Generations' run; starting midway through the inagural year) is the ANC interior, with extra supportive seats. Engine choices on the Neon were a 132 hp SOHC 2.0l 4, and a DOHC variant of the same engine introduced later in the model year making 150 hp. Initially the SOHC actually produced a bit more than the rated level, but was under rated so as to not take away from the newly introduced DOHC. A small chrome Pentastar was to be found on the passenger side, forward of the front door; just as in Mopars of old. As the model year went on the car was refined; the HVAC knobs were changed; giving them indicator lights instead of the former white inserts, which were unlighted. Power (front only - the car never received them in the rear) windows were added. A new rear view mirror with integrated map lights became part of the Light Package. Unfortunately, Chrysler chose to not differentiate between Plymouth and Dodge Neons; initially there wasn't even a brand badge on the trunk; just the hood badge. Plymouth didn't even have a real badge; just a Pentastar with 'Plymouth' in the ring surrounding the star. If you look *really* close, you might be able to read it (there's a picture of this below). Dodge received the Rams head logo on the hood.


1996 brought a new steering wheel, hood logo for Plymouth, and camshaft for the SOHC engine. Also the SOHC received a new air intake; the air inlet relocating to the front of the engine bay vs. the rear. This reduced NVH levels but at a cost of some power (the cam was smoother but not as agressive; the air intake caused incoming air to pass over the manifold); bringing the engine more in line with its 132 hp rating. A Base Coupe was introduced, and the ACR was based off this model. The former gray bumpers on the Base model were dropped; giving the Base body colored bumper fascias. A power sunroof was available, but due to production glitches few were produced. The Expresso package made it's debut, with Expresso graphics and increased options list. Plymouth models received the Sailboat logo on the hood in place of the previous badge. The chrome Pentastar forward of the passenger side front door disappears.


Some interior trim adjustments this year. The Coupe gained cloth inserts on the door panels. The Recirc feature was modified to prevent Defrost from being selected while Recirc was set to interior air only. The backround for the HVAC controls was refined. The trim pieces for the interior door handles and foglight/rear defrost panel became a darker color for added contrast. The sedan gained map pockets on the front doors. Finally, the brand name gained a spot on the trunk, at the spot where the 'Neon' name was. That badge moved to the other side of the trunk lid. This year saw a revision in the suspension set up. ACR's received adjustable Koni struts, replacing the original Arvins. The original stand alone Sport model was blended into the Highline, and inherited that models' suspension. the original Sport SDE suspension setup (front/rear anti roll bars and specific tuning) was dropped. I believe this was in preperation for the 1998 model year.


This year saw a new model; the R/T. The R/T came with the SDE suspension, DOHC engine and five speed manual. It was a fully optioned out package offered exclusively by Dodge. For all intents, the R/T was an ACR, plus all the power and comfort goodies and minus the Koni struts. Plymouth had an exclusive package option as well; the Style package, which included all the options, including power sunroof. The Base model was dropped. The airbags were changed to the Next Generation type; with reduced force upon activation. A new Multi-Layered Steel head gasket was phased in to address for good the infamous head gasket issue.


The last year of the first generation Neon. A new ABS system was introduced; improving feel. 1999 was a very short run, especially for the Sedan. The redesigned 2000 is due to be released in early 1999 in Sedan form. The 1999 Coupe is the end of the line for the Neon two door; none is planned for the new model.


The new Neon, platform PL2000. Many changes in the new model, which are detailed on my Second Gen neon page . A test drive report is included.


In '01, Plymouth loses the Neon mid year when the entire brand is phased out permanently. A Neon is the last Plymouth made. The coupe is still gone, likely never to return. On the plus side, the R/T and ACR return, powered by a 150 hp version of the 2.0 SOHC, called Magnum. Torque is up to 135 lb. ft. from the original 130; fuel economy is unchanged. True to form Chrysler seems intent on confusing people with names; here it's trim lines. The 'base' Neon is the SE. The midlevel is the ES. Then we have the more familiar R/T and ACR. The SE and ES are powered by the carryover 132 hp 2.0. Both include wheel upgrade options, SE 14" to 15"; ES 15" to 16". The R/T and ACR come with 16" wheels. Leather will be optional on the ES and R/T. It's unknown if the car will get power windows in the rear. More info on the 2001 Neon is found at Allpar.


The old three speed auto is gone, replaced by Chryslers four speed unit. A slight facelift of the front end brings a new grille. Also, an SXT model fills the void left by the loss of the Expresso theme:Lots of content for a small price.


For 2003 the Neon received its most significant facelift ever. A new front clip strengthened the familial look with other Dodges, while the rear clip was tweaked a little, altering the look at the point where the trunklid meets the rear bumper. The taillights were also altered, though it's hard to pick it out until they're activated as they look similar to the 00-02 models. The gearing on the 4spd auto is markedly improved. 
The SRT-4 hits big with its 215 horsepower; however at the cost of the ACR, which is dropped.

2004 saw a new computer for the SRT-4 which helped to up power to 230 hp/250 lb ft of torque. It also received a new limited slip differential. Electric Blue paint was added. The other models received a new paint  color: Midnight Blue.
As the Neon reaches the end of it's life, some final  tweaks are made. The SXT version gains the fascia of the SRT as an optional "SRT Design Package, available in Orange Blast, Flame Red, Bright Silver and Black Orange Blast  and Mineral Gray are new colors. The SRT itself carries on, sharing with the 'SRT Design' package the availability of the 'Kicker' audio package. The 'Kicker' is a powerful factory package that really pumps the sound out.  The SE continues as the 'base' car.  It seems the ACR will return as an SRT-4 package in a very limited run. 2005  sees the end of the adventure begun when the first production Neon rolled off of the assembly line in 1994.  "Neon" was the first Chrysler built subcompact to have it's name survive a redesign. When the Neon bows out, the name will have been in production 12 years, almost equaling the 1978-1990 run of the Plymouth Horizon/Dodge Omni (though that model changed very little indeed) The car was a profitable one for Chrysler, even as the model survived the extinction of Plymouth by Dodge sharing the name.  The Neon will be replaced by a five door hatch crossover: the  Dodge Caliber. The Final Neon was a white SXT, and rolled off the assembly line at Belvidere on Friday,  September 23, 2005. Goodbye...

My Neon (top)

Neon of the Month for April 1999 on Neons.org

My former Neon is a PLYMOUTH! 

Periodic Updates Here I detailed the then-current state of my Neon and the history behind it.

My Neon was a 1995 Plymouth Highline Coupe with a 132hp SOHC 4 cylinder engine, manufactured 21 December 1994; one of 1,020 made (that info courtesy of Jonathan Altschul and Greg Smith of Chrysler). Mr. Neon is loaded with almost every option available at time of production minus the roof rack and rear child seat (aftermarket items noted):
Standard Features
  • Four wheel ABS (BRJ System)
  • SDC Touring Suspension
  • Power mirrors
  • Power locks
  • A/C
  • Full console
  • Fancy Neon floor mats
  • Full intstrument cluster w/tach
  • lluminated visor mirrors
  • Remote Trunk release
  • Six speaker stereo cassette (No longer in car)
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic transmiss
  • 'Spring-open' trunk
  • Mopar Trunk cargo tray
  • Mopar AM/FM/CD/Cassette stereo
  • DOHC muffler
  • Leather Steering Wheel cover
  • Carbon Fiber Dash Kit

The pictures:
Inside | Outside | Deer Incident

More Neon (top)
Here's where the Neon all started:
The finished product looks remarkably like this concept, don't ya think?
Neon Cop
Neon as Cop Car!

Neon Links
Here are a few Neon related Links...more to come.... suggestions welcome.

Furious Neons

95 Neon

General Auto Links (top)
Previous Transportation (top)
Webrings (top)


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