There are sleeper cars out there, and then there’s this inconspicuous Dodge Neon. It might look like an ordinary econobox but it’s hiding a juicy secret underneath the hood. Malcolm T. Ward turned the compact sedan into an absolute rocket able to hit an impressive 200.9 mph at the Texas Mile. That’s a mind-blowing 323.3 km/h. This is a 1998 Neon but with the engine, transmission, and other bits sourced from a 2004 SRT-4 rescued from a salvage yard.
The turbocharged 2.4-liter engine originally made 215 hp for the 2003MY before being bumped to 230 hp for the following two model years. Those were the official outputs at the crank, but subsequent dyno tests revealed the four-pot actually delivered a similar amount of power to the wheels. This second-generation Neon has been massively modified to push out more than thrice the power. It can run on VP C85 racing fuel to produce a whopping 700 hp at the wheels.
Dodge Neon hits 200.9 mph at the Texas Mile
Malcom has come a long way since he first attended the Texas Mile back in 2012 with a different Neon. That one had a nearly stock engine featuring a few bolt-ons that helped him initially reach 169 mph. Aerodynamic changes bumped the car to 179 mph and he eventually reached 190 mph in 2019 with a new engine. The performance encouraged him to try and smash the 200-mph barrier, but it didn’t go as planned at the Texas Mile event organized in October 2020 when he blew a head gasket.
As for this blue Neon, it belonged to his stepson and had a puny 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine making 150 hp. That SRT-4 we mentioned earlier was purchased in 2010, and its innards were used to create this monster sedan. It didn’t hit the magical 200-mph mark on the first run as it took five attempts: 176.2 mph, 175.6 mph, 185.6 mph, 196.7 mph, and then it reached 200.9 mph. During the fastest run, the Dodge Neon was doing 128.8 mph at the quarter-mile mark and 159.7 at the half-mile mark.
Seeing a Dodge Neon hitting supercar levels of speed reminds us of another equally humble compact sedan but of European origins. In 2011, a 600-horsepower Skoda Octavia RS managed to reach 227 mph (366 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats. A couple of years ago, the speedy saloon was fully restored by the Czech automaker, as featured below.
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