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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years already with this car. Purchased in May 2006, drove for the first time November 2006 (more on that later). Okay, so a little more than 10 years. I meant to post this up earlier, I have some time now :grin:

I bought my SRT-4 sight unseen, unless you count the internet. I was in Iraq in 2005/2006. I wanted an Electric Blue pearlcoat SRT-4, and looked all over. It was May 2006 though, and that color was the feature 2004 color. I wasn't a big fan of the Orange Blast (sorry those of you who have them, just not my thing heh heh), and finding a blue was turning into an impossible process.

The local dealer had some interesting SRT-4's though, 2005 Commemorative Edition. I looked them up, found the info on here interestingly enough. HemiDakota had a thread discussing them. I called the dealer, he said they had three of them, 69, 70, and 71. He said he'd find the one with the lowest miles for me, but once he said they all had under 12 miles, I said "I'll take #69 ", you know, because that pervert inside of us always has to spring forth from time to time >:)

My buddy picked the car up, and put it in storage. I remember sitting in Iraq reading about what all the guys on this forum were up to, studying, taking notes about upgrades, what addon parts to buy. October 2006, had about a month left in Iraq, so I ordered BWoody HBrace and traction bars, and an Aeroforce Interceptor gauge. I can remember wondering if I was more excited to come home and see my wife...

...or my car. I can't really answer that question to this day haha.

November 2006, finally home, headed to my buddies place. Backing the car out of the storage facility... jamming the brakes hard and catching my breath when I looked in the rear view mirror...

Oh shit, that's just that f'ing wing!!! WHEW!!! (that took about a week to get used to back there, not going to lie).



In his garage, drilling, under 60 miles on the vehicle and already putting parts on it. The traction bars and HBrace installed, gauge set up in the car. Taking it out later that night to head for home.

Same night, my first stoplight pull!!! Sorry Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, you never really had a chance :grin:

Driving cross country to California, wife was still stationed at Camp Pendleton...

On that trip, my first photobucket picture:



Among others:





Spent three months in San Diego. Discovered that every idiot Marine out there seemed to own a Toyota or Nissan pickup truck, and all they ever wanted to do was street race... and lose. Found out about Fontana, went up there several times. Met up with the Southern Cal San Diego SRT-4 crowd at one of the meets, great time! Then found out she was getting out, headed back early with a car load of stuff to Nebraska





Nebraska weather was considerably different than California weather in January



Discovered that KDW2 tires + snow = potential death... stopped driving in the snow.

Started the Commemorative Edition Register page here:



Moved into a small apartment, moved into a bigger apartment six months later. Moved into a house one year later. Realized I couldn't keep daily driving the SRT in the winter if I wanted it to stay nice, so got another Neon.



Installed factory cruise control on my SRT-4. Figure there are probably less than maybe a dozen people who have ever done it?



Found out that purchasing an SRT new allows you to attend the SRT Drive experience. Drove to Jolliet Illinois to participate in that event, had a blast :clap:



On the way back, imagined that I ran the car to 155 mph against a Pontiac Grand Prix GXP on the interstate in Iowa, because of course, if I really did that, putting that here could potentially get me into some hot water ;) This situation is the only time I "imagined" the car going that fast in all the time I have owned it.

Got personalized plates. Drove up to Cleveland Ohio to the SRT-4 Nationals, met ERabbit and a bunch of other great guys. Ran the car completely out of gas and coasted to a stop in the gas station parking lot, had to push the car to the pump to fuel it:





Got my personalized plates, then picked up a Mopar Borla exhaust and waste gate assembly cheap from a guy going through a divorce:



Went through a divorce myself :frown: Kept the car! :clap:



Moved away for my job. Moved back a couple of years later. Drove up and took part in the Woodward Cruise in Detroit:





Realized while I was there... there are starting to be fewer and fewer of us left, only saw 2 other SRT-4's the entire time, out of more than 40,000 cars.

Attending countless Mopar events in the Midwest





70k miles, replaced the shifter/tranny bushings.



Also replaced the transmission fluid...

For the first time (I KNOW I KNOW, WTF ARE YOU DOING RT???)



I could talk about a host of other things, the other cars I've owned, from the pickup, to her Buick, to the Cruz, now to the Ecodiesel. The SRT-4 however has been amazing. I've beaten up on cars I didn't think I could. I've been beaten by cars that surprised me, the Honda Civic turbo guy who bought me lunch just so he could talk about cars. The state patrolman who pulled me over doing 130 mph but couldn't ticket me because "I couldn't get a radar lock on you, you were going too fast". The skunk that bonked his head on my oil pan, then let loose with his cologne all along the underside of the car (the only time I've ever gone to the car wash at 3 in the morning, and it STILL STUNK FOR 3 MONTHS AFTER!).

She has been incredibly reliable, check engine light on once, only once, after installing the Mopar exhaust, to let me know "uh, hey man, no downside O2 sensor reading" (because this set up doesn't have it). Cleared it, never came back, never seen another one. I don't want to hear from you Chevy guys... my Cruz was in the shop EIGHT times, check engine light came on God knows how many times, and that was my daily and didn't get driven near as hard as the SRT. Up and down the track, did a 13.9 once (just once, sadness) rodding the piss out of her, but just goes to show, you keep track of engine oil, coolant, don't do stupid mods, this car can go on, and on, and on....

Everything has been so fun. Yes she shifts hard, yes the interior is literally stepping back into last century. Yes people ask me "Dude, you have CD's in here???". Yes, I have the last BF Goodrich KDW2 tires that were available for this car (from 3 different places all around the USA), because I guess I like originality more than performance (I'm sure stowaway would confirm that about the stock tires haha).

So this is today:



10 years, 75,351 miles, lived in 7 different places, 5 daily driver vehicles, a wife, 2 kids, a divorce, this car and I have been through a lot. I still come across old posts from other forums from back in the day, laughing it up that Dodge would even consider making this vehicle. "A turbo neon? haha that will blow up before it is even a year old" "Won't touch my WRX, hell it won't even beat a honda". It brings a warm fuzzy feeling. I've watched so many people come and go here at the forums but I cherish all the information I've gained, the crazy fights we had here, the friendships I've made, and even though there aren't near as many people, I hope the forum continues to go on. After all, I have a stage 3 package that I need to install, and I may need some more information. It's only been sitting in the box for SIX YEARS now.

I will buy other cars, maybe even other SRT's, certainly other daily drivers, but I will never sell this car. I've grown to "love the hate" that it gets, I don't expect it to ever be worth anything, but it is worth its weight in gold to me, and that is honestly all that matters.

So here is a big cheers to these cars, and to all of us who own them now, have owned them in the past, and who purchase them in the future, may they continue to make your heart race, and bring a smile to your face.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
As I sit here tonite, on an very icy day in the midwest, drinking vodka and orange juice, with permission to come in two hours late tomorrow morning, I want to tell you all a little story. This story involves 1320 feet. This 1320 feet is in a place called Fontana.

So I had never been at a track. Perusing the forums here one day in the San Diego area, a bunch of people were headed to a track in Fontana. So I loaded up at 5:30 in the morning and headed up from Oceanside. I had been in Oceanside for maybe a 2 weeks at that time, and I had never lived in any area that had toll roads. Hell I'd only owned my SRT for 6 months, 5 of which I spent in Iraq. So I'd been driving it for about a month at this point.

So on my way up I come across, yep, a toll road. Worse yet, it's not even 6 a.m. (track opened at 7 for inspections) so there is nobody in the booths. Apparently you carry either EPass thingamabobs, or you can pay cash. Oh, but not bills, you need like FOUR FUCKING DOLLARS IN CHANGE. Who the HELL carries that much change? Not this guy, not ever. I mean, maybe if you found a strip club that accepts quarters (and if you do, you better damn well tell me where). No wait, don't tell me, I can't imagine how horrible the women would look...

So I didn't have money, I flirted with driving down the road the opposite direction and removing my plates, then I realized I was already likely on camera? I held my wallet up in the air, pulled bills out, and did a "what do I do?" hands in the air, shoulder shrug, then got in my car, and took off down the toll road. I seriously thought I would:

A) have spikes come up out of the road and blow all my tires, or
B) about 10 cop cars roaring up behind me like some sort of OJ Simpson pursuit, with me on the evening news in handcuffs

Did I mention I'd never been on a toll road? If that's not obvious by now...

So thankfully none of that happened, and I found the track easily. This of course again, 2006, there were probably about 10 SRT-4's there, I mean, let's be honest, San Diego had more SRT-4's at one time than illegal mexicans. So I had a lot of people to visit with. I ended up in the inspection line behind a complete POS Honda civic, loaded with hispanics, and the driver kept revving to like 8k rpm over and popping and smoking every time he moved ahead 5 feet in line. Then they'd look back at me and laugh.

It was then I realized why. One of the inspection guys walked to the back of his car, looked at my car, then tossed the guy and his car out. There were like 5 people in that stupid little Honda and they all jumped out and started arguing with him. I was perplexed and got out, walked to the front of my car....

This fucking asshole had been blasting the front of my car with oil the entire time, completely coated the entire nose, it looked like I had a liquid bra on my car. I started yelling at the guy, then two of them came towards me yelling, not even the driver. Thankfully they had security there and they were told either get out of go to jail. So they all hopped back in their car, revving loudly (like that was anything new?) and screeching out of the lot.

I would have probably smiled at them being kicked out, but at that point I was too busy pulling cleaning materials out of my vehicle and trying to get about a half gallon of oil off of my car. Unfortunately I couldn't finish cleaning, the inspector apologized and told me he had some questions, and then upon passing the inspection I had to get inside.

And again, love our community, 3 or 4 other SRT-4 guys helped me clean my car up, including some with some really amazing products, much better than my paper towels and windex haha.

So then it was a waiting game, I didn't want to head up right away, I had questions, so I watched and inquired. The first thing I noticed were two huge diesel 4WD pickups lining up, and thinking to myself "What a bunch of dumb bastards, wasting everyone's time in those trucks..."

And then they proceeded to run 12.1 and 12.3 respectively, putting out enough black smoke to cause protests from Santa Barbara to Berkley... and I stood there with the "O" face, partly out of being ultra impressed, and how stupid I felt about not knowing how propane injection and 60 lbs of boost work with a 3 ton vehicle.

So finally, got my nerve up and got in line. I had no idea who I'd be lined up with, there were like 30 pairs of cars waiting, and the closer I got I had it narrowed down to another Honda, an RX-7 that appeared to be heavily suped up, and a dark red Mustang GT (2003'ish).

The RX-7 pulled over, apparently wanting to run against someone specific, and it ended up as the Mustang GT and I moving ahead...

Now, I don't know how anyone elses first time is at the track, but I seriously think my heart was racing wayyyy faster than the first time I had sex (although I was a LOT more drunk that night, but that is another story). Moving ahead to the mark, seemed like time was standing still and moving way fast at the same time.

Then suddenly, the light was moving down and hitting green and I was letting out on the clutch and hammering down, peeling out in first, then bam down into second, I had the jump on that mustang and damn sure was going to take him, he had a bad launch, and I had him...

...and I looked down, and the shift knob was in my hand...

*@(*#$(*U(@(*#&U$(&*(&!!!!

I tried to drop it and shift to third but it was too late, I had redlined RPMS, which on a stock SRT4 means, if you are racing, you are now falling way back. I ran like a 15, YAH ME!!!

I pulled back around to where all the SRT4's were sitting, and they were like "WTF was that???" and I held up the shift knob to a host of maniacal laughter... followed by a bunch of "You haven't superglued or screwed that shit down yet???". (that night I had the superglue, and it held, for about 2 years, flew off again, but that's another story).

I think I did about 6 runs that day, it was so busy. Interestingly enough, that SAME mustang showed up on the street right beside me at the light just after I left the track, and ended up asking me wtf happened "You had me right at the strart, did you blow your motor" and I explained, to more laughter. Then at the light we went, to about 50 mph, and I had him pretty good that time, but wasn't going to go all out, neither was he.

That was my first track experience, and it was worth every minute. I honestly hope that everyone who owns one of these cars gets an opportunity to do this. I have to explain to people who ask why I have this car, "Do you like roller coasters? Do you like downhill skiing? Do you like mountain biking steel trails?" If the answer is no no no, they'll never understand. If the answer is yes to any of those questions, there you have it, you can't explain the heart pumping adrenaline experience. Hell I've had times lining up where my back physically hurt from excitement, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Like I said, sex never got me that excited, and I was pretty damned frisky in college... so it wasn't for lack of activity (At this point I'd try to convince you all I'm a virgin but that wouldn't fly, too old, and have kids).

Oh, and about 6 months later (long after I'd moved back to the midwest) I found a letter from some government agency in California, for failure to pay that toll. Yah, that toll never did get paid. Fuck that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I did look at the SRT-8 Cherokee to replace my Cruze, but I really wanted a pickup. I have the SRT-4 now parked most of the time, especially this time of year.

I do have fond memories of the car as my daily driver for 2 years. I find myself so protective of the car now haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I too installed the factory cruise control. Everything works properly (except coast) with my S1 flashed stock ECU.
Cruise was never intended to work, I forget the story of how someone found out that it did. The stock ECU and Stage 1 would support it. Stage 2 and 3 ECU will not because the section of the computer that runs cruise control was replaced with the "toys". Nobody has working "coast" though, but seriously, you are in an SRT-4, who slows down? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Also the fact that engineers talking with everyone here and helping out where they could. I have never seen any forum where the designers were so open to help and also take feedback from the members here. And to be at the National events with them as well was amazing.
I am sad now that the current leadership at Chrysler has discarded the small car group entirely, especially for the fact that the SRT-4 was dead before it ever even literally got off the paper. I know a lot of people here were all stoked about the GLHS name, but I was not. That to me was a cop out by Chrysler to remove the 4 cylinder from the SRT lineup, which was garbage.

Then of course to add insult to injury they entirely canned the Dart. Now if they come out with a great replacement, as seems to be the rumor (on an alpha chassis), then I'll stand somewhat correct, but I hate when they drop something before they have a replacement. I often wish the Dart would have been the replacement for the Neon, or perhaps just have kept the Neon name in a new platform, like most companies do with their car lines.

It is frustrating to be Mopar at heart and watch the company bouncing around through several ownership periods with differing views of what route the "ship" so to speak is going to take. It is very difficult to maintain any sort of continuity or even a belief in the company amongst even the most hardcore employees/fans in such an uncertain future.

It's bittersweet really, watching these amazing Hellcat vehicles, and now an even more ridiculous Demon version, it is awesome, but are they going to sell 25,000 of those vehicles, even combined, like this little beast of ours did? I understand that the halo like that helps to sell the V6 and lower level hemi versions (still hard for me to think of the SRT-8 anything as the "little brother"), but I can't help but think that the lack of an SRT version of the Dart hurt the car in the long run, not as much as the quality issues but still...

Anyways, I'm rambling negatively, so my apologies. If anyone feels differently, you can chime in, I have thick skin. I am just worried that Dodge might be sliding so hard it may not recover. True car fans wouldn't want to see any of the Big 3 in the USA fail, I sure don't want to see it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
I still think the Dart looks amazing. It's kind of funny how much attention my SRT4 gets from Dart owners. It is also humorous when a Rallye version rolls up alongside and receives a 0-40 mph two car length spanking without even having to get on it much.

I don't think the "HOLY *@#$ those ARE fast" comment ever gets old, and it happens more as time goes by because, at least around here, you just don't see many SRT-4 anymore.

I actually enjoy visiting with people who follow me into a gas station or store parking lot just to talk for a couple minutes about the car. I think I've mellowed more about it as I've gotten older. Used to freak me out haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
Cruise control made a huge difference for me.

On the way back from California in 2006, I did three 10+ hour stretches 3 days straight, by the third day it felt like there were spikes poking into the bottom of my right foot and my right ass cheek (odd yes).

I did about half of my install one weekend, then I think I didn't get around to the actual throttle body adapting until about a month later. I used a brand new Mopar kit for a 2003-05 Dodge Neon. Upon completion of the install, the car ran at about 3500 rpm, and I was freaking ticked off. I had been working on it for about 6 hours already that day and wanted it done.

My Dad kind of chuckled (which didn't help my attitude at all) and asked "Are the cables binding up?" referring to the throttle and cruise control cables. I responded NO angrily, and he walked up, shut the car down, pulled the throttle body cam up, spun the cruise cable out, and restarted the car. 900 rpm, normal.

Turns out distance from the cruise control canister to the throttle body is different in the standard Neon than in the SRT-4, so I had to cut about an inch out of the plastic tube that the cable ran through in order to keep it from binding up. After that, put the cruise cable back into the throttle body cam, and she ran normal, 900 rpm.

My dad's only comment "In diagnosing a problem with any project, always start with the easiest possible fix, saves a LOT of time".

It's something I've remembered ever since.

Of course, it probably helped that about 10 years before, while working on a 1988 Lebaron GTC (turbo) convertible, we spent hours dropping the fuel tank to replace the fuel pump, then the fuel filter, only to find out afterwards (when the car did not start) that it was the map sensor, which of course sits on top of the engine, with two screws and two vacuum hoses. That took less than 60 seconds to fix.

Lesson learned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Mine is sitting in the garage, hasn't moved since November. Had to charge the battery the other day, it was dead lol.

NEVER buy a Walmart charger, never again! Tried two of them, so called "smart chargers", they won't charge the battery if it doesn't have a residual charge. WHO BUYS A BATTERY CHARGER FOR A BATTERY THAT IS NOT DEAD??? UGH!!

But, I digress... in my rambling thread in Gen Discussion, I am detailing my work on a 2002 Neon. Probably should have dumped that car at the local U Pull It for 350 bucks, but, I decided to go for it, change the engine out, and get that old girl on the road. If for no other reason at this point than it is teaching me a TON about the SRT-4.

Hopefully I'll get this 2002 sold then I can focus some more on my SRT-4. Although, my father wants an engine put into his 2002 long bed 2500 2wheel drive cummins ram haha. Maybe I'll push the SRT-4 back another 6 weeks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
Original owner here. Got my 05 in september 04 and stiiill running strong and taking names. 88kmiles

Car wouldnt be running this good for ao long if it wasnt for the forums.

*RTshadow your my join date buddy!*
Haha, pretty close, you were 22 June, I was 01 June. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, other times a hundred years :)

Wouldn't change a thing... loving life!
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 · (Edited)
Another Thank You SRT-4: 15 Years Of Fun!!!

Has it really been 15 years already? She's sitting at about 83,000 miles now. We are still living in the same house, it is a cozy quaint residence. Not sure I'll ever move.

Committed to keeping the car looking good.
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^repainting an area under the hood back in early 2017, where the cruise control cables had rubbed the paint away. You can see this was before I finished my garage (bare concrete walls)
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More car shows, here we are at the 2017 HIPO Mopar Show, the biggest one in Nebraska, I try to attend it every year. Won my first trophy ever, 3rd place overall SRT, not too shabby at a show with more than 300 cars, all Mopars.
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Redid the garage, so my ole' girl has a warm comfy place to spend her time :)
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Won the 2017 Halloween show, and a nice size trophy (after the weather went from 50 to dark and 20 degrees with blustery north winds, and we were the only car that stayed. We were eating inside the restaurant and came out to receive a trophy hahaha)

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Then the bad, in late 2017 on the interstate, transmission let go, had to limp home. "Fixed it" a year later, October 2018, 100 miles later: catastrophic failure, far worse :( Actually attended ONE car show between DEC 2017 and MAY 2021, during that 100 mile stretch, in the town I grew up in.
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I could see my Trail of Shame for almost 3 months after this, it is truly hard to believe how long hydraulic fluid (which is what trans fluid actually is) lasts compared to engine oil LOL
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Decided to finally fix the 2002 Neon SXT I had picked up in 2008 (yes, nearly 10 years before). Ended up spending about 3,000 on it, got it to what it looked like on the right, then drove it for a year and sold it for 2,999 dollars in 2019. It wasn't about the money, it was just fun to bring her back. And that 3000 dollars went to something much needed... (still waited another nearly 2 years to get it)
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Got my new transmission in May 2021, got her installed, along with all new OEM struts all around and prothane bushings. 2 mile drive, had to pull the transmission back out again, pan was all loose (long story) and dumped oil into the bell housing, ruining my 500 dollar clutch. (100 miles including earlier, 5 dollars a mile, not bad right lol).

So let's see, transmission out, transmission in, transmission out, transmission in, transmission out, transmission in... I'm starting to get the hang of this haha. A month or so later, shift selector breaks, FWD sends me a forged AGP selector for no charge overnight, installed, good to hook!

(Continued)
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 · (Edited)
(we are apparently limited to 10 photos per post, oh well)

June 2021 - Headed for Mopars in the park
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First time going to this event, first event in 3 years, first Mopar event in 4 years. I begin to realize that Neons are disappearing... quick :( There ended up being 5 total SRT-4s that went to the show, these three, an IMMACULATE electric blue low-mile SRT-4, even on the original set of tires, and another one that showed up the next day after I left (my son wasn't having it, after two days, temps in the high 90's, a third day was really going to be too much in that heat)

It was the first heat wave of 2021, and it showed. Lots of cars on the side of the highways and interstates on the way home, along with truck tires in pieces all over. I unfortunately smacked a chunk of tire that the pickup in front of me straddled:
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Thankfully sounded and (initially) looked worse than it was, a little buffing compound and some touch up paint and you can't really see it at all.

Upon arriving home, had a slow leak in my rear passenger KDW2 tire. This was my third, and last set of the OEM tire, as they had been discontinued by BF Goodrich. Worse yet, BF Goodrich was not (and may still not be) making the G Force Sport Comp 2 that I was looking to get. I was hoping to get another year out of them, but upon looking at the one that was leaking, yikes, I was lucky to have made it to Minnesota and back haha.
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So instead I got some FRENCH tires, the Continental Extreme Contact Sport. They are actually a touch softer, seems like a little more give in the sidewall. Maybe I'm getting older, because I actually appreciate the smoother ride, opposed to the jarring "get to know EVERY crack and bump" from the OEM tires. Besides, with the new struts and poly bushings, you barely notice a difference in handling, if anything there is a more controlled response with less oversteer, better grip makes up for less stiff sidewalls allowing the car to carve corners in a more controlled manner than before. But I digress... weren't we talking about 15 years in the car? Pfft these tires have only been on the car for about 3 months.

As the summer progressed, of course:
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More car shows. I'd have to call this my Summer of Car Shows. And strangely, with a lot more admiration and fond appreciation than ever before. This positive response has led to trophy after trophy, five or six this summer, but that's not the best part. "Wow I haven't seen one of these in years" or "Oh my gosh, my mom had a Neon, but this is one of the fast ones"... the comments and conversations have been great, and really make all the cleaning, upkeep, maintenance, and care worthwhile. I rarely ever see another Neon, and obviously even fewer SRT4, that does at times get me down...



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So here we are, October 2021. Less than 10k miles over 5 years, but that's a bit of an anomaly. Yes the T850 bit the dust, and another one is now installed, so I've felt the pain of issues with my car, but as anyone with an older sports car will tell you... Welcome to the Club! No, the Stage 3 is still not installed, yes the parts are still packed in the two boxes in the garage up on the shelf. No you can't buy them from me LOL. Yes, I'll install them. Someday, someday...

My ecodiesel Ram is now paid off, my only bill is my house. I got a promotion and a nice bump in pay, although a monster bump in stress and responsibility too. Back in a line unit, a combat line unit, Cavalry, lots of young Soldiers to take care of, 10% of whom will cause 90% of my problems, world in turmoil, Covid, Biden, Trump, Global Warming... bla bla bla...

I get inside, and settle in, the problems of the world disappear, as I shut the door I wrap my fingers around the steering wheel, that familiar feel, closing my eyes, inhaling deeply, she still smells the way she did so long ago. I push in the clutch, and turn the key, she starts immediately, lightly bumping the rpms above 1000 then settling back down, the burbling of the catless Mopar exhaust, with that rich smell, tapping the accelerator to hear that same "snap crackle pop" that I fell in love with so long ago in 2004, when the very first SRT-4 I ever saw, solar yellow, came roaring past our apartment complex.

Older, not as innocent now, a lot more wise... I'm still never going to sell her. We'll see you here in five more years!!!
 

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