I have the wonderful honor of owning a 1992 Dodge Stealth R/T (non-turbo DOHC), and I absolutely love it. Let me tell you this car is SWEET!!! The car is now more than 14 years old, and people still say, “Wow... What kind of car is that? Is it a 2000”. They look at me with some envy & jealousy, and think I’m rich, even though the car isn’t worth over $5000 (LOL). I get thumbs up and compliments all the time. One time even from a guy driving a Lamborghini Gallardo!
One thing you should know if you are a newbie, is to NEVER buy one in bad shape in hopes of doing a "fix up". The parts are too expensive for these cars, and they require more and more care as they get older. If you are a backyard mechanic, you might could pull it off fixing one up, but if not steer clear and get a Toyota or Honda (you will thank me for this advice).
Newbies should also know there are many different varieties of these cars, and they are very cheap on used car market (between $1500-$4500). Most common people don't even know what a Stealth is anymore. It is a historical vehicle to most people who have no history of cars and models made. They were built from 1991-1996. The car is actually built by Mitsubishi, and is a sister to the 3000GT, but Dodge designed their own exterior for their version with different front end and rear end fascias, and other subtle details.
The 3000GT was built from 1991-1999. 91-93 models have the flip up headlights, then in 1994 up they switched to MODERN STYLE projector lense sealed headlights. These models are harder-to-find cheap, but occasionally you can find a 1994-1996 for $4500 or less.
In 1997-up, all 3000GTs have a hoop spoiler, and in 1999 the changed the projector headlights and the front end. The 1999 3000GT frond end is the most sought after conversion most older owners, trying to update the styling of the older model cars. Interiors in all of them are the exact same.
In my humble opinion, the Stealth is quite the better looking of the two in 91-93 era. Engines range from basic 161 hp SOHC V6 Stealth, to your DOHC 222 hp V6 Stealth ES & RT, and your 300 hp Twin Turbo DOHC V6 all wheel drive, all wheel steering Stealth R/T. I have one the RARE DOHC non-turbo R/T model. Same body as the R/T turbo, but no twin turbos.
The Twin Turbo is a BEAST even in non-modified form. The Twin Turbo is a real exotic car in performance. If you want ultimate speed, get one, but finding it cheap probably won't happen. Expect to pay at least $7000-$15000 for a good one with some records. Occasionally I have seen $4000 ones, but they NEED A TON OF WORK!!! Go there at your own risk!!
For the average speed demon on a budget who still values looks and performance, the Stealth is impossible to beat. While most people in the used car market are looking for 3000GT's, not many think of looking for Stealths, which is the same car. So you can find values on Stealths of the same year as 3000GT's that sell for thousands less. People don't know Stealths any more, so they are hidden values in the market! Nothing looks as new or contemporary for so little.
The car is a rocket on the highway. I can outrun pretty much anything, and the car cruises at 100mph like it is going 60mph. The non-turbo engine effortlessly makes 222HP, which is enough to provoke the car into illegal speeds dangerously quickly. Most of the time you won't need to go past 100mph, so the car has plenty of pickup up to 140mph. If you are a lead foot you will get a ticket!!! Get a good radar detector, or use good judgement and don't speed. I am warning you it is addicting because it is so powerful and smooth in the triple digits. If you are a 0-45mph stoplight racer, get a 5-speed and it will be quick, but you can still get out-gunned by other cars. DOHC cars are faster on the highway than from 0-45mph stoplight racing.
The handling of the Stealth is great. It has a grip on the road that no other car in its class can match. I've owned quite a few cars, new and used, and the Stealth handles better than all of them. I like to consider myself a high-performance driver, and after many miles of mainly 2-lane blacktop driving, I have YET to push this car beyond its handling limits. Most drivers will run out of courage before the Stealth runs out of grip.
This vehicle is wonderful to drive, and a fun exhilarating experience. I think that if you ever have the glorious opportunity to drive, or more wonderful, own one of these cars, you will understand the love and compassion you will develop for it. You can become a member of www.3Si.org and you can meet other owners who have the same passion for the car, and can help you troubleshoot and make repairs on the car.
Regular maintenance goes a long way with this car. I've had to replace the engine, but that isn't bad for a 15-year-old car that I bought for a couple thousand with no maintenance records whatsoever. Other than that, my Stealth has been mostly trouble-free. Car has never left me stranded somewhere. If ever there was problem, I always had warning beforehand. Most of the problems are from age and normal wear and tear that would occur on any machine of this vintage. When you add up the costs involved, it's still cheaper to have this car than to buy something new.
Warning when going to the DEALERSHIP – Dodge seems to act like this car never existed. They don’t seem to like to work on these cars, so I always go to the Mitsubishi dealership, and the last 3000GT was made in 1999, so they still receive me openly and friendly and can fix things.
The one and only high-cost maintenance procedure that ABSOLUTELY must be observed is timing belt replacement. This will run (on average) $300-$600, and is recommended every 50,000 - 60,000 miles. This is of critical important for a high-revving Japanese engine like the 3.0 V6. If your timing belt goes, it's good-bye engine. It's an interference design, so if your timing belt goes, you get to buy a new engine ($1695-$2200). The tires wear out quickly, especially on the back wheels, which are cambered outward. So keep this mind if you are on a budget.
I love the hatchback cargo space. Put down the back seats and look at all the room you have! I’ve successfully hauled a large items with no problems, something most other sport cars can't do. The Stealth is a WONDERFUL used-car bargain, rear seats are next to useless for passengers unless you sit catty-cornered, or it is a small child in the back.
I've had this car for 8 years and 23,000 miles (the odometer now reads 127,000). It's still going strong, it still pulls, and it can still outrun 90% of everything else on the road. I only have to yield to Porsche 911's, C6 Corvettes etc. Only the fastest of the NEW cars on the road, which is not that many. Most cost over $50,000 or more, and are brand new.
Overall, the car is the most beautiful sports car you can get on the market for so cheap and actually enjoy. The styling is on par with an exotic, and the closest to exotic car styling like that of a Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Aston Martin etc. Styling, however, even this long after it's been discontinued, is still one of the hottest to ever come out of Japan. The key is in the wide body design. All you have to do to update it is add Real Xenon HID lights - you can get conversion kits on eBay ($165-$250) and 19 inch or 20 inch wheels, and it makes the car look that much more like a concept car. If you are not flashy as me, just get light weight rims in 18 inch size and lower the springs by 2" inches. Car will look much NEWER and more exotic/high end looking with the bigger rims. 1990's style 16 inch rims look dated now, and need to be updated.
If you want to enrich the performance of a DOHC car or Turbo, go to these two web sites: http://www.dynamicracing.com/ DYNAMIC RACING and also http://www.3sx.com/store/comersus_index.asp 3SX PERFORMANCE AUTOMOTIVE. Both offer lots of 3000GT and Stealth performance parts and body kit restyling fronts. 3SX even has a 99 Style front bumper that will fit any 1991-1999 Stealth or 3000GT without having to get $550 (each) 1999 Headlight units to do a conversion. You get the look of 1999 3000GT with your original lights. That is cool!! Check it out and live the DREAM!