When I found out we were getting a Dodge Neon for a project buildup, my first response was, "Why would we want to alter a Neon? Those things kick butt right out of the showroom!"
To reaffirm my feelings regarding Chrysler's smallest performance car, I took our bright red coupe for a quick spin shortly after it arrived. With the optional 150hp engine, five-speed tranny, and 14-inch cast-aluminum wheels wearing Goodyear tires, it was pretty obvious that improving this pocket rocket's fun factor would take more than just swapping the springs and slapping on an aftermarket muffler.
Right out of the crate, these cars are capable of 0-60 in 8 seconds flat, .87 g's on the skidpad, and 30-plus mpg. That's a tough combination to beat. Fortunately for us, the Neon can be improved with the right mix of aftermarket add-ons.
In the coming months we'll be installing a killer tire and wheel combination. We'll also be making suspension and engine mods as well as adding a body kit, interior upgrades, bigger brakes, and external graphics. We're hoping to create a serious Super Street machine capable of holding its own on dragstrips and SCCA tracks. We're still working out the specifics, so if you have suggestions about Project Super Neon (please, no Hemi installs), we'd like to hear them. Send your ideas to: Super Street, Project Super Neon, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515.