News : 150 ‘new’ Chrysler Neons unearthed

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Antony Ingram

IF all the recent Lancia talk has you hankering after a new Chysler, the how about this for something a little different? It seems 150 1997 Neons have been discovered in Singapore and the are now up for sale at a very honest £875 each. The large stock of essentially brand new Neons is being sold in Singapore by Arete Trading Pte Ltd.

We’ve no idea how they’ve come to acquire such a large stock of 14-year old cars in a variety of different colors, but they’ve clearly been there a while judging by their dusty grave. Not much is revealed about the cars in the advert, only that they do each have a spare wheel but don’t have a stereo system.

[Source: Motor Authority]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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38 Comments

  1. The Neon has to up there with the likes of the KIA Magentis, Dodge Caliber and Seat Cordoba…. cars that make you look poor, silly and clinically unsound in mind.

    Let’s hope that awful trash stays in Singapore.

  2. I expect they have D shaped tyres by now. Still people have saved Allegros and Marina’s in a worse state so who knows what lunatics are out there!

    In the states it at least made sense as by US standards a small car with a small engine. I never understood why they bothered importing them into the Europe. Basically it was a dull looking Mondeo sized car with a mediocre fuel economy. If the engines aren’t seized then they might make decent donor lumps for BMW minis. Oddly BMW chose to import the same mediocre fuel economy into the first gen minis!

  3. That’s a fascinating story, if a tad bizarre in the discovery after so many years. I’d like to know more myself, but we’ll probably never really know!

  4. Always had a bit of a soft spot for the Neon as it was a fairly basic but honest little saloon car.

    A grand or 2 to get one running would make an absolute bargain for somebody who isn’t a badge snob.

    Perhaps they could import them into Europe and badge them as Lancia Dedras? …… 🙂

  5. Lots of parts available for these things over here in the States, And you could make them into SRT models with a few grand and some hard work. Would be worth it to have a small sedan capable of up to 300 hp. But I think the majority will be used as cheap second cars… just like the original.

  6. It’s fashionable to slag the Neon off – and was when it was new, but for what it’s worth they are a great car in context.

    In the US, they were cheap, spacious and economical by comparison with alternatives – and a big leap forward from the K-cars they replaced.

    Handling is great on them (even in the UK; many miles covered on twisty Borders roads in one), they’re solid and planted on the road. The auto box, upside-down steering wheel and gruff engine let them down by European standards, but again – they were almost half the price in the US.

    I really, really liked the one I had.

    Chrysler’s reputation is perhaps unfairly marred here. I had a 300M when I was in Canada, the LH-platform range-topper (depending on your idea of range topper, of course, the 300M being a shortcut and be-grilled model beside the LHS/Concord and Intrepid). It needed too much revving for my taste, with a 24V Mitsubishi V6, but was very comfortable, well put together and it wasn’t just my impression of the handling that was good – Car & Driver got a better speed out of the wide, flat FWD 300M on their slalom test than they did a contemporary A6 Quattro.

    Of course, none of this excuses the Sebring. NOTHING can ever excuse the Sebring.

  7. @ Robert Leitch – good idea – the rallyists could get them going in Singapore and then drive them back to Blighty overland. What a challenge that would be!

  8. I’ve always found them an honest and engaging little car. To drive they were great for the money and they always sold reasonably well. Crucially, they were very reliable in my experience.

  9. Neons were cheap & cheerful here in the states. -I didn’t ever hear of an SRT MkI though, I thought that was only an option for the MkII.

    Even the SRT however, was quick in a straight line, but woeful when presented with any sort of curve.

    The BIGGEST issue with the MkI though, was it’s absolutely DISASTROUS crash-test performance. Drivers legs & knees were crushed and mangled in medium-speed offset front end collisions. Simply nowhere near in the same league as typical European offerings, even at the very bottom end of the price scale.

  10. “The BIGGEST issue with the MkI though, was it’s absolutely DISASTROUS crash-test performance. Drivers legs & knees were crushed and mangled in medium-speed offset front end collisions”

    The above section from KEITHS comment makes me feel that this injury would in fact be preferable to owning a raggy faded dog nob red Neon complete with coat hanger aerial!

  11. … Awesome! I love this kinda thing… Using scrap yards you could get one of these back on the road for a grand, easily.. And as long as you take care re-commissioning it & gave it a polish & Wax, this would be one hell of a cheap new(ish) car… All depends on how they’ve been stored I guess in regards to rot, and of course.. MICE!

  12. My friends and I toured California in a Plymouth badged Neon for two weeks in the Summer of ’98. It was picked up from Dollar rent a car at Las Vegas airport and we did about 2000 miles in it. Not a bad car but underpowered with the auto box and had woeful fuel economy. At that time, we paid only $1 per US gallon at some service station so it didn’t matter to much! A car that brings back memories of a great road trip.

  13. There never was an SRT variant in the MK I Neon. Instead, the performance variants were the Expresso and the ACR. These were fitted with the joint venture (with Mitsubishi) A420 engine that also saw use in the Eclipse and in the “cloud cars” in a 2.4 litre variant. I actually wonder if these cars have the A420 under the bonnet as the listing shows them as having the 2 litre engine.

    As for the Neon itself, I can remember them having a reputation for excellent handling but also one of the worst interiors I had ever seen. Everything was hard plastic except for the seats and I am certain that if it were possible, Chrysler would have done it.

  14. Definitely a banger rally in the making… Neons to the Neon (lights of the Blackpool Illuminations) or something… Would be a great drive back to the UK.

  15. Jim-Bob: The Neon R/T was the equivalent to the SRT – stripes, 2 door body, 150bhp. Wish they’d sold 2 door Neons over here, as I would have owned one in an instant.

  16. I’ve only ever been in one Neon and it rattled like it was going out of style. The owner swore he was happy with it.

    For some reason whenever I’m in the US the hire cars I get always seem to be Chryslers or Dodges. Most recently I’ve had a great lump of a thing called a Dodge Durango which, rather strangely, attracted many admiring glances. For most of last year I had a Dodge Charger which was a pretty good cruiser. It had a 3.5 litre six cylinder engine which cost all of £36 to fill up. £36!

  17. “For some reason whenever I’m in the US the hire cars I get always seem to be Chryslers or Dodges.”

    Probably just depends on the supply contract the hire firm have.
    Here for example europcar have a deal with GM, so you’ll always get an opel/vauxhall if you hire from them. Hertz have nearly all Fords i think.

  18. Just a thought, they could probably sell these crappy old Neons for more if they stuck some Lancia badges on them. There are apparently a few people on this site who’d be interested if it had a Lancia badge. (sarcastic)

  19. The Neon from memory came with a no cost option 3 speed slush box when new and was popular with the older gentleman looking for a cheap car.

    Never had much time for them and it always amazed me how tiny and awful they looked in the US.

  20. I think I got 25 mpg from the 300M I hired in Detroit.
    But the 22mpg Holden Statesman (306bhp stretched Omega) that I hired in Dubai was 100 times more fun, even if the boot was often in a separate district to the bonnet! It had a little light that came on at 75 mph – apparently ;o)

  21. Mmmm Chrysler Neons. The sort of car driven by people who used beigh slacks and crepe soled beige slip-ons as a fashion statement. It would be better for the motoring world if they were all recycled immediately.

  22. I remember these cars in the UK, I think the Singapore order was cancelled and a ship load were redirected to the UK and sold as ‘SE’ or something similar, they could be identified by the bonnet bulge on the front. I had 2, only because the first one broke down after 12 hours of ownership and they never could fix them, the best thing for these cars… a match and some petrol!

  23. OK so the Neon is nothing special and now looking dated, but £875 for a brand new car, that’s a pretty good deal. Better than some battered old Golf with a smelly interior.

  24. £875 for a brand new car is a giveaway when you consider that cars in Singapore attract 100% sales tax. Fancy a new Ford Ka 1.2 Zetec? Yours for a cool £47,000!

  25. My dad had what I guess would be a mk2 then, 53 plate, it appealed to him as it was quite cheap nearly new. It was a 2.0 auto, 4 speed as I remember, old design of engine I guess was it was quite noisy once you got past 75-80, HORRIFIC on fuel and inside it just looked like they’d tried to make it look luxurious and failed miserably. Outside though it was relatively pleasing in the eye tbf

  26. Reading the above comments, I reckon for that money, aronline should buy one and drive it back from Singapore, good drive story right there I reckon

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