Pick of the Week: George Foreman’s 1999 Plymouth Prowler
The 1990s were a fun, playful time at Chrysler. Consumer vehicles such as the spunky Neon and the all-new, entirely dynamic Dodge Ram were introduced for the mainstream, and niche vehicles like the Dodge Viper and the Plymouth Prowler were proof that of all the Detroit automakers, Chrysler was the most willing to take chances.
The original Viper was a brutal, bare-bones performance car that very nearly challenged its fans to take it on a trip, almost guaranteed to be something of an ordeal thanks to the searing heat generated by the big V-10 engine and the side exhausts, the Rube Goldberg-style soft top, and the ultra-firm suspension.
The Prowler—that was a different animal. Though it handled quite well, thanks mostly to its massive-for-the-era tires, and accelerated nicely, it was a cruiser, not a performance car. Unlike the first Vipers it had air conditioning and all the other conveniences you’d expect in a near-luxury car, and rather than a big engine, it had the corporate 3.5-liter, 253-horsepower V-6 matched to an unenthusiastic electronic four-speed automatic transmission.
Similar to the Viper, the Prowler was an acquired taste on longer trips; the suspension guaranteed a firm ride, the narrow footwells were tight for anyone with size 12 or larger shoes, and the clamshell trunk could handle some carefully-placed soft luggage and not a lot else.
But the profile of the hot-rod Prowler, penned in part by a young, up-and-coming designer named Chip Foose, made it the classic it deserves to be. Top-down motoring is fun in a Prowler, and the manual soft top worked much better than the Viper’s. A lot of off-the-shelf parts means maintaining a Prowler is easier than many comparable collectibles.
The Prowler presented here, offered on Hagerty Marketplace, is even more of a collector’s item than the typical example. It has been customized–very few Prowlers were—and benefits from celebrity ownership, passing through the hands first of basketball star Dennis Rodman, then ending up in the collection of boxing great George Foreman, who has an eye for the eclectic.
It was customized by Carlini Design, a Santa Ana, California, a shop better known for its motorcycles than cars. It is one of just 561 Prowlers built in 1999 that were painted the optional Prowler Yellow, a color that really makes the design snap. The interior is finished in black leather. The sound system is a seven-speaker Infinity stereo.
Likely you’ve noticed that the Foreman Prowler is done-up with a cheetah theme inside and out, with special paint trim up front that starts out in cheetah coloration before blending into flames from the front wheel to the rear of the door. Inside, cheetah-like upholstery trim extends even up to the roll bars.
In addition, the front bumper has been deleted, the turn signals were relocated, custom headlights and a custom front grille were added, and custom chrome suspension pieces have been fitted up front.
The Foreman Prowler appears to be in very good condition, with some mild oxidation of the wheels and grille strakes that has likely been caused by static storage, possibly exacerbated by a golf cart battery fire in Foreman’s storage facility. Regardless, a talented detailer should be able to address the issue.
This is a chance to score a genuine collector’s item, made more collectible by the customization. It’s available here on Hagerty Marketplace, with bidding ending Thursday, December 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET.