Dodge's contribution to the FWD World
Dodge, famous for making powerful V8 muscle cars, also has had a fair-share of FWD joys. Here I am, counting down five of those!
Since the rise of the motoring industry, Chrysler has played a key role in its evolution. Moreover, they were arguably the first to bring the term 'pony car' to the dictionary. Their cars usually utilized the then common rear-wheel-drive layout while the front-wheel-drive was mostly reserved for commuter cars like the Civic. However, during their existence, Dodge has created some brilliant FWD sports cars that I will list down below:
While all of Detroit was busy trying out their heritage-names like Camaro and Mustang on rather 'aerodynamic' and 'sporty' bodies, the Japanese already excelled at this. Chrysler, to gain an edge over the rest, reached out to Mitsubishi and stealthily arranged a rebadged sports coupe called Dodge Stealth. Essentially a Mitsubishi GTO/3000GT, Stealth was a marvellous FWD/AWD car that was approved for its brutal acceleration, handling and modern techs. Equipped with the same 3.0 6G72 V6 across the line-up, it produced substantial numbers, especially in twin-turbo avatar. Now that it has gained the status of a classic, Stealth and GTO/3000GT remain worthy candidates if you are looking to buy some of the most brutal powerhouses around that can do well around corners.
Dodge Neon/Caliber SRT-4
Dodge Neon SRT-4
I admit the previous entry was not the best possible introduction to the American car world, but this one right here – it is American. The 'SRT-4' badge first belonged to the Neon compact sedan and later to the Caliber compact hatchback. Both the turbocharged I4 cars, tuned to produce respectable 0-100 km/h times like 5.3 s and 6.5 s, were the brainchildren of Chrysler's SRT department. Neon taking inspiration from the Japanese sports sedans like the Sentra SE-R and Caliber, from hot hatches like Mazdaspeed 3, were some of the best FWD cars around that could give you quality time both on tracks and on drag strips. If you wish to buy one, do not shy away since Neon SRT-4 is available $2500 onwards while Caliber SRT-4, $3505 onwards.
Dodge Caliber SRT-4
Dodge Daytona Shelby Z
Daytona started its life in 1983 as yet another compact sports car inspired by the Japanese. For the first few years, Daytona, Plymouth Laser, Eagle Talon and Mitsubishi Eclipse did not have many remarkable features. However, Carroll Shelby's intervention 1987 onwards was what made this car a force to reckon with. The new pop-up headlight-bearing FWD car used the same 2.2 I4 but tuned and turbocharged by Shelby to produce 174 bhp and 271 Nm. With a 0-100 km/h time of 7.2 s, it was an awesome car you could have fun in the 1980s. In 2020 however, it might still hold some viability as you can still buy one of these for above $4500.
Dodge Shelby Omni/Charger GLH
Dodge Charger Shelby
Many carmakers use suffixes like 'GT', 'RS' and 'Sport' for the performance versions of their regular models. However, Carroll Shelby used arguably the best one of all: GLH (Goes Like Hell). That label honestly suits his creations, the Omni and Charger GLH. For the time hatchbacks meant sluggish commuters, Omni GLH was a breath of fresh air with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.5 s or lower depending on the exact modification. Mainly competing with the Golf GTI of the time, Omni also gave birth to the fifth generation Charger, which was essentially a coupe version of the former. Shelby obviously did not spare this lightweight coupe and transformed it into the astonishing Shelby Charger GLHS producing 289 bhp and 371 Nm. However, if you want one of these modern classics for yourself, be ready to spend $10,000 or above for the Omni. Meanwhile, the Shelby Charger seems available $13000 onwards. Furthermore, you need to take into account how rare these cars are.
Dodge Omni Shelby GLH
Dodge Shelby Shadow CSX
Dodge Shelby Shadow CLX
Replacing the Omni and Charger, came the Dodge Shadow – another boring commuter whose fun factor lay in Shelby's hands. Sporting three different engine options, Shelby chose the trusted 2.2 I4 that was shared with Charger. Available as CSX, CSX-T and CSX-VNT, the latter was the ultimate version. The computer-controlled ECU in the VNT avoided turbo lag, providing 278 Nm almost constantly above 2100 rpm. The modest power figure of 175 bhp did not stop this car from being extremely quick on the road. Meanwhile, the tuned suspension setup was perfect for quick corners. These days, finding any CSX or even the stock Shadow for that matter is difficult, granted for the short production span. One example I could find was listed at $11,900.