We’re going to take some time to look back and reminisce about cars and events in MP’s history.
A project vehicle that is long gone from the form that you see here was a real personal favorite and popular around the office. The 98 Dodge Neon Sport coupe was a no frills car with no options but equipped with the popular DOHC/5-speed combo. This car made the trip up to Neon 2002 along with the first Nitro Yellow Green project car. A nice sight out on the mid-western freeways, two first gens, NYG and Intense Blue, lasered northward for the place they were assembled, Belvidere, IL. The blue car had an exhaust that was rage-inducing for people driving behind it, although equipped with a catalytic convertor and resonator. The word loud does not cover the deafening tone, needless to say it stayed behind the lead NYG car for the trip.
The Sport was a basic bolt-on car with no internal improvements to the engine but wanting some more power and a little more to show at the Neon meet, a Nitrous Express kit was installed before leaving. The basic ten pound EFI kit was given a Gen-X upgrade and the bottle was upgraded to the carbon composite 12 pounder. Beyond installing the basic kit, the Gen-X package showers you with some nice accessories to improve safety and performance of the kit. The composite bottle, is well, just pretty sweet and the cost prohibitive nature makes for an exclusive showing in any trunk.
The racing venue that year was Great Lakes Drag Way and among the racers was fellow Texas resident Noah, a first gen super-enthusiast with a taste for perfection. A really clean cut chap, Noah did everything to the 9’s, automotive hobbies being no exception. His 96 base model Neon had been so tailored the suspension was now beyond ACR spec and the engine was now breathing through one of HRC’s turbo kits. Noah did his best Uncle Sam impersonation and looked at our Blue car saying, “I want you!”. After letting the bottle heater do it’s job we lined up the cars, Turbo vs Nitrous, and edged out the sweater vest sporting Noah in the car’s only drag strip performance on the bottle.
First gen Neons are where the majority of the enthusiasts who visit our site came from and where most of our staff drew it’s beginnings. With Belvidere Assembly’s Neon days over and age becoming an increasing issue, finding a good example of a “best-gen” 95-99 car is getting more and more difficult. The car was given up in favor of the Neon SRT-4 when it was released and although now parted out and in close to stock form, it is missed.