So I've got this crazy idea. An idea of taking a couple of really shitty Chrysler vehicles and putting them together to make a pretty insane project.
Back in 2007 Chrysler introduced the Jeep Compass, to the ire of Jeep enthusiasts and delight of rental car companies everywhere:
Using the same platform and many of the same parts, they also introduced the completely sucky Dodge Caliber, which the rental fleets liked even better:
2007 also saw the Jeep Patriot released on the same platform, but that one isn't relevant to this discussion.
The Caliber had a slightly more interesting variant, the SRT4, with a 285hp turbocharged 2.4l:
...but it was available in FWD only.
An oft-forgotten variant of the Compass is the Compass Rallye. It was a cosmetic upgrade only, but actually looked pretty damn good:
And yes, it was available in AWD with a manual. All the Compass and Patriot models were, as was the nonturbo Caliber.
So here's my idea...
Buy a wrecked Caliber SRT4, which there are plenty of...
Buy a manual transmission AWD Compass, which are starting to get pretty cheap and will get into "fuck it, why not?" territory in a few years...
Preferably a Rallye, but if I can't find one I could always install the Rallye pieces from a wrecked one.
Then swap the Caliber SRT engine into the Compass and make a kickass little rally project. I've already thought the Compass would be a total blast to rally, having driven one with a manual trans in all kinds of conditions. It's very easy to handle and you can slide the ass around without much effort, but still keep it under control without much fuss. The only problem is they're sloooooow. Almost 300hp on tap would help that. Of course all that power would probably destroy the transmission, but with as dime a dozen as these things are becoming I could just keep a couple spares on hand and swap them when they break.
What say you, Oppo?