(click the photos to enlarge, its worth it!)
There are some common assumptions that I hear all the time that something is too slow or you can never make one of those work. Now I get that some cars just aren’t feasible to make cool or fast, they’re just not engineered for it. But as I keep diving deeper and deeper into the car enthusiast world I am starting to go back on that statement, you can make it work, just don’t listen to the haters. One car I always thought would never work is the Dodge Neon, they look strange, the back end is always in drag mode and they aren’t something you see done well. So when I saw Dante’s Daily Driven 2004 SRT4, I ate my own words and said to myself, why AREN’T more people running these?
Dante has owned this car for just over 4 years, he bought the car with a blown motor and swapped his working one into it and hasn’t looked back. One of the main reasons for this is that the SRT4 engine comes with forged internals from the dealer, that’s something pretty rare to find on a production car even by today’s standards. This means with the right set up (at the same time being quite feasible) you can put a lot of damn power though those front wheels. Currently, his car makes 380 WHP and FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY POUND FEET OF TORQUE at 28psi; this means it can throw punches on cars such as GTRs, Corvettes and AMGs which he has done on countless occasions. Those kinds of cars are pushing 80, 90, even 100K after freight and taxes. Find me a list of cars that have that kind of torque at the wheels for less than 150K, I can guarantee you that it will be pretty small.
With all that torque the Neon has seen a few transmissions over the years, but with a fresh rebuild over the winter it’s never been better. I got to take a ride in this and its one I will never forget. Rolling out on third gear, when it hit boost it left skids on the road and in my pants. With all that twist the little 4 banger puts out, it just keeps pulling all the way through the rev range all while the screamer pipe does a number on your ear drums, I was in love. Everybody says FWD doesn’t work and isn’t fun, well it is fun, it’s a ton of fun so shut up.
When I was talking to one of my friends and trying to explaining this animal to him he said “So what, it’s a F***** Neon”, I kind of stood there and thought to myself I used to be the same way, listening to the classic stereotypes. I ate my own words the first time I got a ride in it and you would too. Dante has owned this for a long time and probably has heard that same statement countless times, but does he care? Not at all, because he knows, if you want to get in the ring to box, you better bring some weighted gloves.