Dawn the days of fast and furious want-to-be kids and their obsession with the Turbo. Late 90s, and most of the 2000s, were awesome times! The young people in America had access to some pretty fast little cars! I accredit a lot of this to the Fast and Furious franchise. Everyone seemed to be obsessed with Toretto’s RX7, O’Conner’s Eclipse, and of course the original 10 second car, that orange Toyota Supra.

Chrysler was right in the middle of this. In the 1990 the partnership of DSM came about. DSM stands for Diamond Star Motors. DSM is a partnership of Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and another Chrysler brand, for a short time, Eagle. Diamond Star christened this partnership because of course, the Mitsubishi logo is made of Diamonds and the old tired-and-true Chrysler logo, the famed Pentastar. So, there you have it; Diamonds and PentaStars.  

With DSM some great cars came about. We had the Dodge Stealth and Mitsubishi 3000GT, Avenger and Eclipse, Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon. Some truly awesome cars. What powered many of these cars was the 4G63. Yeah, better known to the Tuner Cult as the Evo motor, as the legendary 4G63T first appeared in the Lancer Evolution I, II, and III.

After these died off, it left Chrysler wanting to make their own Turbo 4’s, for the entry level performance car market. What they did was nothing short of legendary. Dawn the SRT-4’s. Chrysler took what was supposed to be a fun, economical, 4-door, and made one a fire breathing V8 hunting monster. In 2005, it was THE FASTEST car you could go into a dealership and buy new, ANYWHERE in the world, for under $20,000.

  

The Neon SRT-4 was the very first car to ever sport those three iconic letters on the deck lid; S-R-T. The little Neons had huge 2.4 liter turbo charged 4 cylinders engines. Talk about the heart of a warrior. With a huge front mounted intercooler up in the wind, the 2.4 power plants churned out 215 horse power and 245 foot pounds of torque. Yeah, out of a Front Wheel Drive sedan. This may not seem like a lot but in 2003 the only vehicle Dodge had that was faster to the 0-60 mark was the Viper. Yes, a FRICKIN’ VIPER. Starting to get the idea now about the power? And I’d say you’re sitting there thinking 215 ponies? There’s no way. Well, you may be correct. In true Chrysler fashion, it has been long rumored that the SRT4 Neon is well under rated from the factory on actual Power output. As the actual SRT website puts it “The car represented homemade apple pie among the imports”. And it truly was. Faster than most in the ¼ mile dash, and in the same breath, could out turn and brake them on the track! What was initially supposed to only sale about 2,500 a year ended up selling around 25,000 in the short 3-year production span. . . . .  Brings a tear to my eye, too.

In 2008 Chrysler wanted to get back into the sporty-four category. Their idea? The Dodge Caliber SRT-4! A little hatchback that was truly something special, just launched in the worst of times. The car was not like the previous SRT-4, in fact it wasn’t even car like. It was a hatchback. The fact that the Caliber’s came from a Jeep Compass/Patriot put people off. But none the less, leave it to the SRT boys to make it badass! They took a stock caliber, gave it massive 20” wheels, aggressive styling, and gave it a power plant second to none. The SRT-4 Calibers came with 285 horse power factory and 265 foot-pounds of torque. Just like before, most of the time these car are put on dyno’s, many sources say they make 285hp AT THE WHEELS. So, what you Hotroder’s already know, yes, the car most likely makes over the 3 mark, at the crank. A lot of the reviews from trusted automotive journalists, say it’s more muscle car in a small Hot-hatch body, than it a 4 cylinder tuner car. The cars would flat haul!

 

 What is heart breaking, is the cars never had a chance to really get into the market. In 2009 the bottom fell out of the automotive market, and manufactures were throwing things over board at a rampant pace, trying not to sink. The SRT engineers spent countless hours and a lot of design to make the car a solid performer. It was just in production 2 short years and while I can never seem to find an exact production make from a source that I believe would be 100% credible, most stay within the range of just 2,000 being sold in the 2 years.

So, there we have it. This is the where the SRT4 story, and Chrysler turbo-4, come to an end. What’s next? I’m anxious to know, too. The entire market seems to be shifting to the turbo market for more efficiency. I guess, we’ll have to wait and see, and hope with everything in us, that the Dart SRT comes quick and it’s everything they promised and more. All I know: it has HUGE shoes to fill with Neon SRT4 production numbers, and SRT4 Caliber power out-puts.

Thank you so much for reading!!!!!!

-@AstidySRT

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