A Tribute to the Rarest 3S, the

1996 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo

 

(best viewed in 1024 x 768)

 

My apologies to all the naturally aspirated 3S owners seeking information on their cars, this page is dedicated to the force fed breed.

 

You cannot tell a story about the 1996 Dodge Stealth R/T TT without first looking at the big picture.  So that is where we will start, a look at all twin turbo Stealths along with the 3000GT VR-4s that made it across the ocean.  Many thanks to Mike Reid who made these numbers available for mass consumption when he went public with them on the www.3si.org message board in February of 2001.  It was this information that piqued my interest in 1996 Stealths.  That and the fact that I joined Chrysler in 1996 with a desire to purchase either a new Stealth R/T TT or Dodge Viper.  However, $30,000 student loans put a damper on any thoughts of even trying to apply for a car loan; I'd have to wait.

 

Before moving onto 3S production numbers, I want to point out that a small fraction of the cars listed below may have never been offered for sale to the public since they were needed for crash testing, durability testing, development, etc. by Mitsubishi and Chrysler.

 

The Stealth was only sold in Canada ('91 - '95) and in the United States ('91 - '96).  The 3000GT VR-4 / GTO on the other hand couldn't be ordered in Canada but was ordered many times over in the U.S., Japan, Europe, and elsewhere.  So the numbers below reflect 100% of the Dodge Stealth R/T TTs made while the 3000GT VR-4 would be higher when factoring those sold outside the US.  In fact, the 3000GT VR-4 / GTO actually went into production overseas one year earlier (1990).

 

 

Keep in mind that the top selling cars and trucks sold in the US today number in the hundreds of thousands per year.  So regardless of year, our cars are rare, but with only one major redesign over its production run, there are enough cars with common parts to warrant strong aftermarket support.  The combined production numbers (~26,000) rank equal with the famed '86 - '87 Buick GN / GNX (intercooled turbo cars) and far exceed the MKIV Supra turbo (both of which have strong aftermarket support).

 

However, it is the little things that changed from year to year that make our cars unique from one another.  For instance, focusing in on just the 2nd generation twin turbo Stealths ('94 - '96) you find several differences as outlined below.

 

Disclaimer:  The VR-4, while similar, differs from the Stealth R/T TT in options and features by year, so don't use the following list to determine which options were on the VR-4 each year, this is for Stealth R/T TTs only.

 


 

Standard on all 2nd Generation Stealth R/T TTs:

Optional on all 2nd Generation Stealth R/T TTs:

1994 Stealth R/T TT (standard features unless denoted as option):

1) same phase 4 Wheel Steering (4WS, aka AWS - All Wheel Steering)

2) Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS)

3) automatic AC with graphics display

4) dual mode active exhaust

5) steering wheel mounted radio controls & power antenna

6) glass projector beam headlight covers

7) 17" rims (no option to upgrade to 18")

8) body color front emblem

9) auxiliary 12V power outlet (below radio / in front of shifter)

10) storage convenience straps (in hatch)

11) dark gray dash

12) black roof (exterior)

13) ECU/ECM diagnostics beyond OBDI but not yet OBDII compliant (hybrid)

14) common rear wing with 1st Gens

 

1995 Stealth R/T TT (standard features unless denoted as option):

1)-5) deleted (not even optional)

6) lexan projector beam headlight covers (replaces heavier glass cover)

7) 18" chromed 5 spoke rims are now optional for the first time (very common option)

8) I now have proof that some '95s received a highlighted front emblem (silver ram head against body color background)

        - not sure if it was a running change during the model year, perhaps only certain colors?

9-14) same as 94

 

Note: It has been rumored that a small number of 94s were "re-badged" as 95s, however this has not been substantiated with an actual VIN indicating a 95 has AWS, ECS, etc.  Based on the information I've collected, I highly doubt this rumor.

 

1996 Stealth R/T TT (standard features unless denoted as option):

1)-7) Same as 1995 with following changes:

8) all cars received highlighted front emblem (silver ram head against body color background)

9) & 10) deleted

11) black dash

12) body color roof (exterior)

13) OBDII compliant ECU/ECM

14) new rear spoiler (relatively large upward curvature at rear as opposed to small curve at front)

 


 

I like the fact that a lot of the extras were "weeded out" of the mix for the last two model years.  I personally feel the Stealth would have done better as an AWD twin turbo machine with none of the extra "gimmicks" found on the earlier cars.  The lighter weight and less complexity is simply more appealing to me.  They can almost be viewed as a large size DSM (Talon / Eclipse / Laser) with a lot more power and a lot better looks.  I wish my '92 Stealth, which has turned more into a race car, didn't have all the extras.  But then again, many people share the opposite viewpoint.

 

OK, lets get down to the details.  Basically, the first graph shows just how rare the 1996 Stealths are (57 total) and the features listed above show that it is unique to the previous model year cars making it easy to identify.  Factor in that the 57 cars are split between six different colors and you get some rare and unique cars.

 

I'd like to now share some history on each of the 57 Stealth R/T TTs built.  I must again thank Mike Reid who supplied me with the VIN numbers and DaimlerChrysler records for allowing me to collect and share this information.

 

 

 

Virtually any car on this list could be considered collectable if found and kept in good condition.  I wouldn't recommend buying a car as an investment since very few ever appreciate over time, but perhaps the '96s will depreciate at a slower rate.  And it is always hard to predict what will be hot down the road.  No one thought the late 60s and early 70s muscle cars would become so extremely collectable.  It is all a matter of supply and demand, if you are talking 1996 Stealths, the supply is very small.

 

Dealership sticker prices for the '96 R/T TTs range from $35,355 for the lone 25V car to the much more common 25Y sticker price of $39,967 (or more if equipped with CA emissions package).  Used, the cars are now selling in the $16,000 to $20,000 range if you can find one.  Only 23 different states were involved in the sale of a '96 R/T TTs.  You'd expect more than that until you realize what a monopoly Michigan had due in no small part to Chrysler Corporate leases and Chrysler Executive PEVs (Product Evaluation Vehicles) all of which were later sold to the public locally (MI) as used cars.  25 of the 57 '96 R/T TT cars were purchased new in Michigan.

 

In my quest to find a '96, I attempted to contact numerous owners with limited success.  However, all the leg work paid off when one particular owner from Essexville, MI replied to my inquiries.  A Dr. (vascular surgeon) and long time Stealth enthusiast (previously owned a 1st gen TT) had owned the car pictured below since ordering it in 1995.  The car served as his daily transportation to and from the hospital.  The short daily trips brought the odometer up to 40,900 miles.  While it wasn't the absolute most desirable '96 on my list, it was very close to the top and we were able to agree on a fair selling price.  As a result, I am now the happy owner of a silver '96 twin turbo, the first of 3 made.

 

To bring it back to "like new" condition, the rims & lug nuts need replacing (or straightened and re-chromed), a small dent removed, scratch in rear fascia needs to be touched up, and lots of detailing.

 

I must say that pictures don't do the metallic paint job justice, I didn't think I'd like a silver car until I saw it in person.  This particular silver (A26) was first used in '95 (on 16 TTs) and is different from the earlier silvers & grays used.  Others have said my car is closer to pewter in color than silver, regardless I'm very happy with it.

 

           

 

And an engine shot after cleaning; 100% original except for the battery.  All other serviceable items such as air filter, spark plugs, and even oil filters are OEM purchased pieces.  The camera's flash makes the silver almost look white.  I still need to clean, polish, and wax the strut towers and areas surrounding the engine bay for long term protection.

 

 

My purchase keeps all three silver '96 R/T TT cars in Michigan.  My car, VIN #1796, resides at my residence in Westland, MI.  VIN #2491 is with the 2nd owner in Southfield, MI (purchased from Chrysler design studio employee who also lived in MI) and VIN #4804 is with the original owner in Kalamazoo, MI.  So all three silver '96 turbo cars in existence are within a couple hours of each other (I feel a group pic coming on).

 

Perhaps the coolest thing about my '96 is that I'll be able to attend gatherings in a Stealth once again since my '92 has taken a liking to jack stands (not that it breaks down, I just like upgrading).

 

I am currently trying to put a registry together to track the 57 cars and the people who care for them.  Of interest, orchid pearl VIN #000007 has been retained by Chrysler for the Walter P. Chrysler museum (leaving only 3 orchid pearl cars sold to public).  Other '96 R/T TTs have already been sent to the junk yard, some have accumulated a lot of miles, while others remain in "like new" condition.

 

Here are a couple links of interest I put together pertaining to the 1996 R/T TT (most of them will be added as I gather the information and find time to organize and publish it):

  1. Break-down of all 2nd generation Stealth R/T TTs, sorted by color

  2. Scanned images of '96 Stealth dealership brochure (many thanks to Oskar Persson who sent me a brochure at no cost)

  3. My car's original window sticker (82kb)

  4. Pics of each of the six different '96 R/T TT colors

  5. '96 R/T TT public registry - List the known owners and their where-a-bouts if they don't object, (I currently know where 13 of the 57 cars reside including at least one of each color).

If anyone has any information they can share about any of the 57 cars, an email would be much appreciated.  Wow, this page ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated, I fear no one will read it all the way through.

 

mailto:twinturbo@comcast.net

 

 

since August 7th, 2002

 

Last Updated: 12/20/02 11:26 PM

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