DaimlerChrysler's Howler Prowls Greater Los Angeles Auto Show
7 January 2000DaimlerChrysler's Howler Prowls Greater Los Angeles Auto Show
A Performance Roadster Pickup Interpretation of Prowler LOS ANGELES, Jan. 6 -- Paying homage to the rolling art of hot rods, DaimlerChrysler showcased yet another concept vehicle at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show today -- the Howler. As a performance roadster pickup version of the Prowler, the Howler boasts a V-8 engine with 250 horsepower and 300 poundfeet of torque. Howler is the result of two internal projects. DaimlerChrysler's designer Christopher Schuttera, who graduated just two years ago from the University of Cincinnati, had a vision based on a modern version of classic forms. His creation incorporated a pickup bed into the clean, pure Prowler design. At the same time, Jon Rundels, Senior Manager of Concept and Specialty Vehicles, was looking for ways to meld the Prowler platform with the all-new 4.7-liter V-8 engine and a Borg-Warner T5 manual transmission. "Here we had two enthusiast projects going on in our own Auburn Hills studios that you would expect to see in an automotive specialty shop here in California," said Tom Gale, DaimlerChrysler Corporation's Executive Vice President for Product Development and Design. "With its reputation of exhibiting ground-breaking automotive designs, the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show is a perfect venue to display the Howler," noted Gale. "Successfully transforming a sophisticated hot rod into a functional pickup is quite an engineering feat that show spectators here will appreciate." Howler is an unprecedented combination of outrageous yet practical design and powerful performance. Technically, Rundels' team changed the engine from the standard V-6 to the PowerTech V-8, replaced the rear transaxle with an engine-mounted five-speed manual transmission with 10.5 inch clutch and a Dana 44 rear differential, and fabricated custom drive- and half-shafts. A pedal package with clutch was borrowed from the Neon to replace the standard two pedal package. Removing the rear transaxle provided the opportunity to reposition and enlarge the fuel tank. "This in turn allowed us to open up the rear of the car and create space for a trunk while leaving the front end, doors, top and interior untouched," added Schuttera. "The result is a show vehicle that remains true to the heritage of the home-built hot rod." Howler's performance figures include a sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 129 mph.