Going stealth

1988 Dodge Intrepid conceptBy 1988 Dodge was on the precipice of a design and performance renaissance but even the concept version of the Viper was still a year away.

It appears Dodge wasn’t content to wait, and sent a warning shot that they were going to be a force to be reckoned with.

A hint of things to come
The 1988 Dodge Intrepid concept was developed by Chrysler design; its styling is largely credited to John Sodano. During the early stages of development, the car was reportedly code named “Big Shot.” Two renderings from that period are shown below. Click on the images to enlarge them.

1988 Dodge Intrepid concept early "Big Shot" rendering1988 Dodge Intrepid concept early "Big Shot" rendering

These were likely rendered sometime closer to the mid rather than late 1980s. Rather impressive, don’t you think?

Below, is the final rendering. There is a lot that should look familiar here and not just because Dodge built a full size, running version of the Intrepid concept.

1988 Dodge Intrepid concept final rendering

1988 Dodge Intrepid concept constructionReportedly based on the Dodge Daytona chassis, the Intrepid concept had a 95.4-inch wheelbase and measured 177 inches overall. Vertically, it only measured 45.6 inches but was a capacious 76 inches side-to-side.

The concept’s two-dimensional renderings were converted into three with sheet metal by Metalcrafters, out of Newport Beach, California. It appears, after having performed a quick internet search, that the company is still in business today.

1988 Dodge Intrepid concept interiorMost people are familiar with the Intrepid name, as it was used starting in 1993 by Dodge for a production model. However, that was a four-door and this has two. Further, the production model had two rows of seats, this concept seats two.

More important than the name making it to production is the fact that a production car, named Stealth, came out in 1991 and employed many of the Intrepid concept’s styling elements. (And, in my opinion, improved upon them.) I do have material for a future Stealth/3000GT Design Notes post, so I’m going to stay on topic here. Below is a picture of the Intrepid concept.

1988 Dodge Intrepid concept
The engine in this concept is housed midship, meaning behind the passenger compartment. Those NACA ducts on the sides are functional and route cooling air to the engine compartment. Power is routed through a five-speed manual transmission.

Under that exotic-looking rear deck lid is Dodge’s 2.2-liter Turbo III, a 16-valve, intercooled four cylinder. While that motor produces a respectable 225 horsepower and 225 pound feet of torque, it’s not quite Corvette territory; the car it was rumored to possibly target if produced.

The rims are 16 inches up front and 17 inches in the rear and their design, incidentally, made production on the ES and R/T (non-turbo) Stealth models. The tires are 205/55 and 245/50, respectively.

1988 Dodge Intrepid conceptThese following pictures are of the concept car as it appeared in 1988 at the Chicago Auto Show. Behind the Intrepid display, I noticed Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Plymouth stands in the background; none of those brands are in business anymore. Tragic.

Up front, the concept uses pop-up-style headlights but that doesn’t prevent the driver from being able to flash the lights at slower motorists during the day. There’s a small clear lens below the moveable parts which allows light out while reducing wear and tear on the little headlamp motors.

The design was reportedly derived from a Stealth fighter. I can see it, particularly in its all-glass canopy. The flat black paint used on the rear deck lid makes another visual connection.

Overall, I really like it. Maybe I’m a little biased though. I did like the Stealth so much that I owned a pearl white R/T (non turbo) and still drool when I see them on the road.

1988 Dodge Intrepid concept Chicago Auto Show1988 Dodge Intrepid concept Chicago Auto Show

Photo credit: Chrysler Group LLC