Say hello to the Prangler.
There’s a crazy shadow world at automakers that very few people get to experience. It goes way beyond the camouflage-covered prototypes we feature here, but occasionally we're privy to the glorious mysteries that are test mules. Case-in-point is the Prangler, and no that’s not a misspelling. It’s the bizarre fusion of a Jeep Wrangler and a Plymouth Prowler that was an actual thing from Chrysler back in the 1990s.
The Prangler story pops up online from time to time, with The Drive giving us a recent reminder of just how strange this test mule really was. Time hasn’t been very kind to many Chrysler products from the 1990s, but back in the day the automaker’s design language could do no wrong and crazy concepts like the two-seat Prowler were fast-tracked to production. As such, Pranglers (yes, there were more than one) were built to move the testing process along while also disguising the Prowler’s production sheet metal.
Gallery: Plymouth Prowler Prangler Test Mule
As the very old video at the top of the article shows, the Prangler was basically a Prowler with the greenhouse of a Jeep Wrangler. The wheelbase is Prowler, the powertrain is Prowler, but instead of jammed into the confines of a roofless roadster, test drivers and engineers had the benefit of a fully-enclosed cockpit for both comfort and storage of testing gear. The Prowler did have a proper soft top and windows, but as the photos below clearly show, it wasn’t exactly roomy.
A handful of Pranglers were built for testing purposes, and rumors say one still exists but like all urban legends, nobody has proof to support the claim. Chalk it up to other 1990s and early 2000s Detroit test mule legends we’ve heard about, like Chrysler minivans with Viper powertrains and V8-powered Ford Five Hundred sedans.