How Fast Was the Dodge Stealth?
In the early 1990s, the Chrysler-Mitsubishi partnership produced one of the greatest performance car collaborations: the Dodge Stealth and Mitsubishi 3000GT. The Stealth was an American-styled model made in Japan. In base form, it was an attractive sports coupe. But when loaded with a 300-hp twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive, it became a Godzilla, stomping other contemporary sports cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan 300ZX, and Toyota Supra. So, how fast was the Dodge Stealth?
By ’90s standards, the car was blazing quick. Even today, the Dodge Stealth remains impressively fast despite delivering performance stats that can’t match modern supercars.
A short history of the Stealth
Launched in 1990, the Dodge Stealth shared its interior and mechanical bits with the Mitsubishi 3000GT. That means it didn’t have the Dodge Viper’s ground-pounding V10 or even a V8. But the 3.0-liter V6 was up to the task. It ranged in output from a mild 160 hp to a potent 320 hp of the twin-turbo, 24-valve, dual-overhead-cam variant.
Customers could walk into a Dodge showroom and order a Stealth in one of four trim levels: the base model, the mid-level ES, the performance-oriented R/T, and the range-topping R/T Turbo. The car made an immediate impact, bolstering Dodge’s sales and performance reputation. Sales topped 18,000 units in the first year of production, and the Stealth became the official car of the Indianapolis 500 in 1991.
However, sales quickly fell, plunging to just over 3,000 units in 1995. By then, Chrysler had decided to discontinue the Dodge Stealth, and production ended after the 1996 model year.
The Dodge Stealth was fast for its era
So, how fast was the Dodge Stealth? With all-wheel drive, the twin-turbo V6 pushed the Stealth from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. It ran a 13.6-second quarter-mile with a 98 mph trap speed and topped out at over 155 mph. Those numbers are middling today, but they were impressive in 1990.
Compared to its contemporaries, the Stealth made more power than a base Corvette and held its own against the Vette and the Porsche 911 Carrera 4, Lotus Esprit Turbo, and Nissan 300ZX Turbo. Dodge was quick to tout the car’s performance and the price — a steal compared to some of those competitors.
In a 1991 comparison between the Dodge Stealth and Nissan 300ZX, Car and Driver said both were “as powerful as they look — fast enough to dispense with anything but the world’s costliest supercars.” The two offered similar performance and recorded identical lap times, but C/D noted, “The Stealth achieved the same result with less grace and more sheer guts.” In the end, the 300ZX won, but the Stealth was “a most worthy challenger — fast, versatile, and stunning to look at. At a base price of $29,595, the Stealth is an undeniable value. Its showing at the test track speaks for itself.”
Aerodynamics and all-wheel drive made the Dodge Stealth fast
In its competition with the Nissan 300ZX, the Dodge Stealth had one negative going against it: weight. Tipping the scales at 3,700 pounds, it was not light on its feet. But its combination of AWD and slippery aerodynamics made up for that drawback.
AWD was a rarity in sports cars 30 years ago. The Porsche 911 offered it as an option, and the layout put the Audi Quattro on the map. But the Dodge Stealth was the first sports car to provide that technology in a mainstream domestic sports car.
But if AWD didn’t make the Stealth a bargain, budget exotic car, the aerodynamics sealed the deal. It boasted a 0.33 drag coefficient, less than the Ferrari F40 and comparable to the Lamborghini Murcielago and Ferrari 458 Italia. Plus, it had active aero features, including front and rear spoilers extending at speeds above 50 mph and retracting below 40 mph. An active suspension lowered the car by 1.5 inches, and its active exhaust opened up for better breathing and an angry exhaust note.
On its own merits, the Dodge Stealth was an exceptional performance car at a bargain price. It could hang with the best vehicles of 1991 and still put up a good fight today. But while its contemporaries like the Nissan 300ZX, Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, and Acura NSX remain revered, the Stealth has been quietly forgotten. However, if Dodge did a remake, there would be a line out the showroom door.