Homologated by the SCCA, the ACR (for American Club Racer edition) was available as a coupe or sedan. Stripped down of creature comforts like air conditioning or a stereo, the ACR was literally a race car you could buy in the showroom. All you needed was to bolt in a roll bar and harness and you were ready to go.Available as a Dodge or Plymouth (the Neons sold under either banner were essentially identical save for a few special editions here and there), the sedan featured the 132hp SOHC 2.0-liter mill and the coupe completed its laps with the 150hp DOHC engine under its hood. All were powered by a unique five-speed transmission with closer-spaced ratios than the standard cars.
Other speed equipment included fatter anti-roll bars front and rear, adjustable shocks and a four-wheel disc brake package that made do without the anti-lock system normally included with the option. With faster ratio steering and less sound-deadening material, the stripped-down Neon proved a hit with SCCA racers. Even without A/C, the ACR models got the cooled Neon?s larger radiator to better cope with the stress of driving flat-out on the track.
Articles were produced by the Japanese Press about how the Neon was going to usurp Japanese models because of their high horsepower, high content (standard features) and extremely low price. At a time when the Corolla produced all of 115 horsepower, the Neon produced 130 horsepower and was extremely lightweight. These cars were FAST, not just fast for their price range but FAST.