The Plymouth Pronto concept car was billed as “an affordable five-door four-passenger sedan with an instantly recognizable personality” when unveiled in 1997. "Pronto - as a concept car - is another clever response to Plymouth's calling for unique, affordable transportation," said John E. Herlitz, Chrysler Corporation's Vice President of Product Design. "Before setting out to create Pronto, we gathered guidelines and specs for designing traditional four-passenger sedans. Once we studied all of this information, we threw it out and built a new vehicle from the ground up for our next generation."
The engine was the Rover/Chrysler 1.6 liter putting out 115 hp at 5,600 rpm (113 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm), connected to a five-speed manual.
Pronto differentiated itself from traditional four-passenger sedans because of its tall architecture, spacious interior, roll-back fabric roof, and distinctive stand-alone bumpers. Its tall architecture seated passengers higher within the vehicle and gave them more of a "command-of-the-road feeling." Additional interior space was achieved by moving the windshield forward and utilizing minimal front and rear overhang. And Pronto's roll-back fabric roof and stand-alone bumpers would be hard to find on today's sedans.
"We studied driving habits of future first-time car buyers and learned that they're interested in a vehicle unlike any other on the road today," said K. Neil Walling, Chrysler's Design Director. "They don't want a vehicle that looks like their father's. They want a car that was built just for them, a vehicle with a fun, distinctive personality. "
While Pronto has its own identity and personality, it will be instantly-recognizable because of its distinctive Prowler-like face. "Much in the same fashion that we seasoned the Dodge brand with Viper cues, we will seek opportunities to season the Plymouth brand with Prowler cues," said Walling.
Besides breaking away from traditional sedan proportion and styling, Pronto also experiments with new technology. While the actual concept car model is constructed of traditional automotive materials, the intent is to explore the use of all-composite plastic with molded-in color to form its body. Body panels would be made of Acrylonitrile/Styrene/Acrylate IASA) plastic and have a single molded-in color which would simplify assembly and eliminate the painting process. The exterior would also feature stand-alone, blow-molded front and rear bumpers which, along with plastic trim, offer two molded-in color options that are compatible with interior trim.
Pronto had a spacious interior, roll-back fabric roof, and
distinctive stand-alone bumpers. Its tall architecture seats passengers
higher within the vehicle and gives them more of a command-of-the-road
feeling. Styling was "New Plymouth:" "Much in the same fashion that we
seasoned the Dodge brand with Viper cues, we will seek opportunities to
season the Plymouth brand with Prowler cues," said Chrysler VP Walling.
(This would lead to the PT Cruiser.)
Body panels would be made of Acrylonitrile/Styrene/Acrylate (ASA)
plastic and have a single molded-in color which would simplify assembly
and eliminate the painting process. The exterior would also feature
stand-alone, blow-molded front and rear bumpers which, along with
plastic trim, offer two molded-in color options compatible with
In 1993, the Plymouth Prowler debuted. In January 1996, Chrysler announced that the Plymouth Prowler would be put into production the following year. This seemed to indicate that a new plan to revive Plymouth had been approved, as well. (Chris Theodore said in an interview with Allpar’s Marc Rozman: “Prowler was supposed to be the spark to rekindle interest in Plymouth, and PT Cruiser was then to fall on as a Plymouth. ... Then we were going to do a whole line.”)
Overall Length: - 167.2 (4247)
Overall Width: - 68.4 (1737)
Overall Height - 58.5 (1486)
Wheelbase: - 104 (2642)
Front Track: - 59.1 (1501)
Rear Track: - 59.1 (1501)
Wheels: Cast Aluminum;
Front - 18 x 7.0,
Rear - 19 x 7.5
Front - 205/55R18, Rear - 215/55R19
Doug Hetrick put us wise to this one -- could the Plymouth Pronto have been Lancia's inspiration for the Ypsilon?
See our main concept cars page. | Plymouth Pronto Spyder concept car (1998)
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.
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