Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

Stealths were rare and awesome for U.S. buyers in the 1990s, but they never really found a strong core enthusiast following. That’s why these two cars can be bought for either $3000 or $18,900, depending on your level of sanity
Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

Once upon a time in the US of A, “car guys” would get into fistfights over Mustang versus Camaro, but they were always united in their hatred for anything foreign. Enter Chrysler, who struck a deal with Mitsubishi in the 1970s to import their cars with Chrysler badges, and later joined forces to create cars like the Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse. Apparently enough die-hard “buy American” buyers would fall for the shtick to make it all worthwhile.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

And then in 1991 Chrysler wrapped the Mitsubishi 3000GT with some different sheet metal, stuck different badges on it and called it the Dodge Stealth. Unfortunately somebody decided the twin-turbo AWD version should be priced nearly as much as a Porsche 911, so those die-hard ‘Murican buyers generally couldn’t afford the Stealth. Those who could didn’t want to spend such money on a lowly Dodge, so they bought the identical 3000GT VR-4. Big surprise then that the Stealth only lasted for a few years and never really developed the same following the 3000GT enjoys, despite being the same car.

And that brings me to this week’s classifieds find, where I feature not one, but two Dodge Stealth R/Ts, in all their twin-turbo AWD glory. Why two? Because I love the Stealth, and think these ads showcase just how miscategorised and unappreciated this poor car was, and in many ways, still is today. And also because I want to show all you CTzens how not to try and sell a specialty high-performance vehicle.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

First up, we have a 1991 Stealth R/T twin turbo for sale in Pennsylvania for the very tempting price of $3000. Now this isn’t a terrible ad, but folks, if you have a rare performance machine with two turbos, all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and especially if it’s resale red, spend just a little bit of time to take a few decent photos, okay? Of the four photos accompanying this ad, three show some angle of the driver’s side exterior with one shot of what looks like a somewhat ricey interior.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

Aside from that, the description is okay, if a bit tired in the “OMG I bought a car and now I’m over my head” kind of way. It’s listed as a running/driving car without rust and showing just 81,000 original miles. Sounds good, but it’s also listed as needing “a tune up,” and the seller just doesn’t have time to work on it. Yeah, that’s the second biggest selling cop-out since needs minor work. If it just needs a tune up, give it a tune up and ask more for a properly running car.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

Of course, it almost certainly needs more than a tune up, since the seller also says it’s running rich, not hitting on all cylinders, and that it has bigger turbos and “a lot of engine work.” Anyone want to place bets that one or more cylinders are burnt to a crisp? But these cars can easily bring $10,000 in great shape, and I think the seller’s asking price of $3000 is very fair for a running/driving Stealth R/T turbo. It’s certainly under book value, so perhaps it’s worth a whirl.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

And now we jump to the other side of the Stealth price spectrum. This 1993 model is selling at a dealer in North Carolina for just $18,900, which could almost be justified for a low-mile, all-original twin-turbo Stealth. This one has done 182,000 miles, so it’s not exactly a low-mile survivor. But the dealer is quick to mention “over $68,000 of engine, transmission, and suspension work done.” Interesting, but does that warrant an asking price that’s thousands over current full retail value?

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

At least this time there are plenty of pictures to give buyers an idea of the car’s condition. I find the torn driver’s seat to be particularly interesting, because if I drop $68,000 to revamp a car I certainly wouldn’t bother dropping another grand to repair the seat. And if I’m a dealer trying to get an absolute premium price for a specialty vehicle, I absolutely wouldn’t spend a few bucks to fix the freaking seat. That’s sarcasm by the way.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

As for the engine/suspension/transmission work that cost as much as a good used Ferrari 360? The ad offers absolutely no information on any work done, not even a hint. But the engine photos do show a Biohazard battery cover and AEM sticker on a custom valve cover. I’m not questioning the validity of the statement; certainly that much cash would yield a huge list of mods, and listing them all would clutter an ad. But that is a very bold number to throw out there without one single detail to back it up.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

It’s even more conspicuous when the pictures show the car isn’t perfect by any means, from rips in both front seats to what looks like some grime under the hood, and possibly some warping in the dash (I can’t definitively tell on that bit). Obviously the dealer is attempting to make the ad tantalising so potential buyers will call, but for me they’ve done the exact opposite. There’s too much that just doesn’t seem right without giving me any reason to care about the $68,000 repair/upgrade bill.

Here Are Two Dodge Stealth R/T Turbos At The Extremes Of The Buying Spectrum

I like the Stealth. I think the twin-turbo R/Ts got a bad rap through the years because they just didn’t have a good target audience, and these two ads serve to showcase that. If I were Stealth shopping I’d be at least tempted to contact the seller on the first car, if for no other reason than to find out what he did wrong and see if it’s correctable. The second ad, well I’m just too turned off by the presentation to bother. $68,000 spent on a car with 182,000 miles that still shows some obvious flaws sounds more like a gimmick than a reason to call for more info. These cars are rare, but they aren’t that rare.


Cody's Car Conundrum

I love the Stealth myself. In fact I actually considered it as a first car XD.

01/03/2016 - 13:26 |
6 | 0

There awesome. I see a few where I am.

01/03/2016 - 13:32 |
6 | 0

Interesting… I just saw one for the first time today here in Manila, Philippines. I though it looked like an odd Mitsubishi 2000gt

01/03/2016 - 13:50 |
0 | 2
Garret Hollister

It’s because of their weak gearboxes, try to put any power through them and they explode. Granted people have found ways, but not to the extent of the Hondas and DSMs, replacing whole gearsets.

01/03/2016 - 14:03 |
0 | 0

That’s just bad misinformation. DSM transmissions are fairly weak, but 3S drivetrains are very heavily built and can hold a lot of hp and torque from the factory. There are cars running into the 9s on a stock transaxle.

01/03/2016 - 14:13 |
0 | 0

3/S do not have weak gearboxes, they are very VERY strong getrag made transmissions! DSM’s have notoriously weak transmissions (until you dog box them, but what other car can hold up to the abuse a dsm can dish out)!

01/04/2016 - 01:44 |
0 | 0
Michael Rempel

Dodge Stealth’s were available in Canada whereas the 3000GT stayed stateside, so those were imported to Canada. Stealth’s are more common here for that reason, but finding a clean twin turbo example isn’t very easy anywhere anymore without bringing on in from Japan.

The rarest model and most sought after is the ‘99 VR-4 as only 287 were made.

01/03/2016 - 14:15 |
4 | 0

They probably also would have sold more if they didn’t have that pointless mini spoiler over the rear window.

01/03/2016 - 14:33 |
0 | 0

I found a stealth rr turbo here in fl for 3 grand, gonna go for it.

01/03/2016 - 15:26 |
2 | 0

I owned a 91 3000GT VR-4. Great car to drive. Holds corners better than a lot of cars today. Only problem is the maintenance and the computer systems. The tech in the car was too far ahead of its time so the computers suck and fail. Also the general maintenance is a nightmare. To do anything under the hood requires you to remove just about everything. Not the mention the transmission will need rebuilt if it hasn’t ever been done. Great car but don’t buy one if you don’t have a DD.

01/03/2016 - 16:41 |
2 | 0
Kunal Desai

I would call the first guy to ask about the missing muffler tip. If that’s “thrown in” with the car, it makes it a steal, with an extra weekend task.

01/03/2016 - 16:48 |
0 | 0

That banana spoiler tho

01/03/2016 - 17:46 |
0 | 0


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