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If you were to make a list of fast cars, a lot of the entries would be obvious: Charger, Corvette, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche… Neon? It may not be the first thing to come to mind, but Charlie Lewis’s little Neon, ‘Chasillac’ (a portmanteau of Charlie’s own nickname and a friend’s comment that his car was the ‘Cadillac of Neons’), can put up times and speeds that would surprise a lot of its big brothers.
Of course Dodge Neons don’t just leave the factory ready to put high dollar performance cars to shame; it was a long road from economy car to unexpected screamer. Chasillac began its life in 2003 as little more than a daily driver, making the commute from home to work and back each day with minimal fuss, maximum reliability, and satisfactory gas mileage. Charlie didn’t have any grand plans for the car; just a mod or two here and there, really, just for fun. Nothing too complex, just something to spice up an otherwise not terribly exciting car a bit.
Of course, as any hands-on car guy knows, modding a car is like eating potato chips: It’s hard to stop at one. Appropriately, for such a budget minded base car as a Neon, Charlie did the majority of the work himself. Sure, it meant learning as he went, but it made for something to do during seven of Oregon’s notorious rainy seasons. Once it was all said and done, Charlie had done every bit of work on the car save the paint, window tinting, and the modifications to the exhaust system.