Saturday, January 3, 2015

6k: Lucy in the Sky with Differential: 1997 Neon ACR ITA racer

At the intersection of the track and track lines, of PSA and TA, is where you'll find this SCCA-prepped Neon ACR. Being built to Improved Touring spec means relatively few alterations between street and track (the engine is mostly untouched), keeping this within parameters of sanity for daily driving while sending a message to all the impressionable youth out there. We D.A.R.E. you to find a more appealing turn-key street-legal racer. Find this 1997 Dodge Neon ACR for sale in Tampa Bay, FL for $6,000 via craigslist.

Individual Touring mandates certain safety requirements such as a roll cage and five-point harness, and permits new suspension, wheels, tires, and exhaust. Here, you get a crack-free factory dash without radio or airbags. The slightly forgiving Corbeau seats won't ease the impact to your spine from the 600lb/700lb front/rear Eibach springs. Although that padding on the roll bars should have a slightly lower chance of re-enacting Humpty Dumpty with your skull.

The engine is Dodge's 2.0-liter DOHC four-pot unit from the first-generation Neon, originally rated at 150 horsepower. With stainless-steel exhaust and aftermarket engine management, a few extra ponies are at your disposal for lighting up the front tires of the 2,300-pound car. But good luck attempting to spin the brand new racing slicks currently mounted.

Put bluntly, the Dodge Neon is the ideal slow car to drive fast. It's an instant autocross joy, especially in ACR guise. If you're jonesing for a start to your racing career in 2015, buy used. This one comes with all the racing paraphernalia, including log book, transponder, cool suit compatibility, and a ton of extra tires and drivetrain parts. So you wanna try it out? Come on, kid. Everyone's doing it.

See another car that would make you the hero or heroine of the race track? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. So are the Scientologists selling a racecar?

    Just noticing the mention in the magazine picture and the seller in Clearwater Florida

  2. Looks like it's a from a LRH-affiliated publication...

    I've wanted to buy a beater neon and LeMonize it, since it seems the sohc cannot be killed. This one is waaaaay too nice for that horrible end.

  3. Wow, what a nice easy track-day car. I have not researched trackable Neons, but I assume you can make them handle as well as any FWD. Just add a tow hitch for the tire trailer, and you are good to go. Looks like a very clean build.

    I would have to remove the graphics to feel comfortable driving it to/from the track, but I assume those are a wrap. Break out the hair dryer and few cold ones.

  4. I hope it goes to someone in Colorado.

    This is a good deal to get started into racing. hmmmm

  5. I think if you are campaigning an anti-drug car your logo should have "say no" as large as drugs.

    I'll I see is smoke and in large lettering Drugs. Oh, and the number 13 is commonly used for the 13th letter in the alphabet, code for marijuana.
    I think I could get sponsored by a medicinal clinic with a few changes to the car.
    Seriously though Neons are awesome track cars. I got to drive one around Laguna Seca and it kicked ass.

    1. The livery does seem a bit ironic, don't it?

  6. I have 98 sohc neon built (almost) for circle track racing. I'm just in need of an engine. I was building one slowly but our shop went up in smoke on the 20 of December and my engine and everything else was in there. Google Peggy's cove road shop fire.for more info.

  7. These were great fun on the street too. I had a 96. While mine wasn't race prepped, they came from the factory well set up although the price of parts was frightening. After market helped bring the front Koni adjustable struts down from $950 to $375 each. A custom bent exhaust was 1/3 the cost of replacement.

    The stock 150 hp model had a rev limiter to keep revs and top speed down, but the ACR had a top end of 136 mph.

    The standard Neon handled like a pig, but the ACR handled like it was on rails. Well, except for the wide tires on snow...


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