Venom Kills: 1994 Dodge Concept Muscle Car on a Neon Chassis?

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Gorgeous Dodge Venom Concept with 260 horsepower could have been a great competitor to the Ford Mustang.

The Dodge Venom Concept made its world debut at the 1994 Chicago Auto Show and to many Mopar lovers, this car represented two important ideas. First, Chrysler was capable of making a rear-wheel-drive muscle car on the Neon chassis. And second, they were serious enough about the possibility that they created a wicked concept car to show to the world.

Sadly, the Venom didn’t advance past the concept phase. However, the car spent two decades on display at the defunct Walter P. Chrysler Museum. Motor 1 recently did a article on this concept, so we decided to share our own first hand experience with the Venom at a special media event we attended in 2014 where we got to check out the 1994 Dodge muscle car concept in person. The pictures here show the car as it appeared in 2014, while the video above is stock Dodge footage from the King Rose Archives YouTube channel.

Venom Front 3/4

Details on the Venom

While you would never guess this by looking at it, the 1994 Dodge Venom Concept was built on the chassis of the Dodge Neon. The chassis was modified a great deal, extending the wheelbase and moving the drive wheels to the rear. The Neon’s four-cylinder engine was replaced with a 3.5-liter V6 that offered 245 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, with the power being sent the rear wheels by means of a six-speed manual transmission. This configuration made for a fairly quick coupe, dashing from a stop to 60 miles per hour in just 5.2 seconds.

Venom Rear

This concept utilized a front and rear double A-arm suspension setup, four-wheel disc brakes and 245-millimeter tires at all four corners, with 19-inch wheels up front and 20-inch rollers out back.

Venomin Rear 3/4

The Venom is basically a unique body on a modified, rear-drive Neon chassis with a modified Intrepid engine, and to Dodge lovers in the mid-90s, it was proof that the company was thinking about introducing a modern muscle car.

Venom Front

Sadly, the Venom didn’t come to production and Mopar fans wouldn’t get a proper modern muscle car until the Challenger arrived for the 2008 model year, but this bright yellow concept is a great piece of Mopar history and what could have been.

Photos for DodgeForum: Patrick Rall

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A lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years, Patrick Rall is highly experienced in the automotive world. He has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now auto journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

“Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500,” says Rall. “He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car: a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16. Meanwhile, I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

“Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group,” adds Rall. “While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

“Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

“My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

“Being based on Detroit, I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.”

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