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Can a Neon still win rallies?

by Bill Cawthon on

What can you do with a 15-year-old Dodge Neon? Win races, for one thing — just like people did with new Neons.

Just this month, Chris Greenhouse and Brian Johnson drove their 2001 Dodge Neon SRT4 to victory in the two-wheel-drive class in Québec’s Rally Défi.  With around twenty competitive timed stages,  spanning several towns in the Laurentians and the MRC Papineau, this internationally renowned event is part of the Canadian Rally Championship (CRC) and the North American Rally Cup (NARC).


Chris Greenhouse began as a co-driver in 2005, and switched to primary driving in 2006. He has tallied a remarkable 28 class wins at both the national and regional levels, is a five-time Central Region Group 2 champion, and won the Group 2 Regional Cup Championship in 2009.

Greenhouse recalled, “I was watching TV years ago, I saw cars the size of shoeboxes doing 100 mph down a road the size of a driveway. I said to myself that I just had to find out more about this. I then became a co-driver at 2005 Sno*Drift.”

In 2011, he scored three podium finishes in the Rally America 2WD class, including a stunning, come-from-behind victory at STPR.

“We were in a Group 2 Neon and although we were still running regionals…we scored a third, second and a first in three different national entries.” His most frightening moment was in the Lake Superior Performance rally, when “We did a 360-degree, high-speed spin on Brockway Mountain. But we didn’t hit anything!”

Greenhouse upgraded to an ex-factory Dodge Neon SRT4 in 2012, and continues with his goal of winning the 2WD National Championship.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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