At a recent Texas Mile event, an unassuming Dodge Neon did what most would consider unthinkable: it reached a staggering 200.9 mph in a standing mile drag race. This event is notorious for speed enthusiasts aiming to achieve the highest top speed in just one mile. The performance was astonishing, especially when compared to the Dodge Challenger Redeye, a more powerful relative, which topped out at 177 mph in a similar challenge. But this Neon isn't your everyday car.
Malcolm T. Ward, the proud owner of this Neon, shared its transformation journey. Originally a 1998 model powered by a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine producing a modest 150 horsepower, the car underwent a significant overhaul. Ward procured a 2.4-liter turbocharged motor from a 2004 SRT-4, which he found in a salvage yard back in 2010. This motor, in its factory state, was capable of 230 hp. However, Malcolm had more ambitious plans. By the time he was done tweaking and tuning, the Neon boasted an astonishing 700 hp, rivaling its Dodge Challenger Hellcat counterparts. Achieving such a feat required meticulous modifications and the switch to VP C85 racing fuel. While Ward remained reserved about all the specifics of his build, the result speaks volumes about his craftsmanship.
Though the Neon's triumphant 200.9 mph run is noteworthy, it wasn't achieved without challenges. Initial runs saw the car hitting speeds between 176 to 196 mph. It was only after increasing the boost that the Neon crossed the coveted 200 mph threshold.
Malcolm is no stranger to the Texas Mile. In 2012, he raced a relatively untouched Neon, managing an impressive 169 mph. By 2019, with some aerodynamic alterations and a new engine, the car touched 190 mph. Ward aimed for the 200 mph milestone in October 2020, but a head gasket failure thwarted his plans.
The Texas Mile event, often considered the next step beyond the traditional quarter-mile drag, offers vehicles the platform to truly test their limits. And while it's a joy to witness supercars flexing their muscles, there's a distinct pleasure in observing an everyday Dodge Neon, transformed with passion and ingenuity, stealing the show from its pricier competitors.