SP Rides: Prowlin’ the Streets


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By Michael Kitchens

Owner: Michael Hinkle
Age: 43
Occupation: Navy
Hobbies: Family Time, Stand-up Paddling, Cars
Engine: 253HP EGJ V6
Exterior: Front Bumper Delete, Chrom-Grill by Gary E.,Turn Signal Relocation Kit by Tom Mills, Louvered Hood
Interior: Color-matched Instrument Panel, OEM Tachometer/Shift Light
Wheels, Tires and Brakes: 17 inch and 20 inch Intro Smoothies with Granada Touring HPs in 225/45R17s in the front and Toyo Proxes STIIs in 295/40R20s

To say that Michael Hinkle is a lover of all things with wheels is a bit of an understatement. His first introduction to wheeled machinery was at an early age in West Virginia, where he rode up a hill on the side of a tractor. He quickly came to love cars and has had a long and varied history of picking whatever rides fit his fancy.

Mike is currently in the Navy, and it seems that anything that piques his interest is a possible purchase. His first car was a 1974 Pon-tiac Firebird, and since then he’s owned such standouts as a 10th anniversary edition RX7, a Mustang SVO, a Lexus SC400, a Cadillac Es-calade, a 1974 International Scout, a ’99 Corvette and even a VW Bus!

He also has a fascination with bikes, owning many Harleys as well as a stunning 2008 Springer CVO.

“I never know what I’m going to get next,” says Mike.

When it comes to unique vehicles, there are not many cars like the Plymouth Prowler. Based on a concept car, this old-school throwback to the hot rod days was produced in limited numbers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Featuring a 253HP V6 engine mated to a rear-wheel drive chassis that only weighs 2,800 pounds, the car pops off remarkable performance numbers.

Originally searching for a Dodge Viper, Mike came across his 2000 Plymouth Prowler while on Craigslist. Enamored by its unique shape, he picked it up as a daily driver while in the Navy to use during his time here in Hawaii.

This particular Prowler has been highly modified with choice parts.

The entire front makeover includes a bumper delete as well as a turn signal relocation kit by Tom Mills. A juicy chrome grill by Gary E. takes the front fascia to new levels of chrome bliss, while a louvered hood, also by Gary, adds even more aggressiveness to the overall look.

The original chassis front-end set wasn’t very sturdy, so Mike’s car has been retrofitted with a more dependable set by Chrysler. Mated to the renewed suspension is a set of custom, one-off wheels called Intro Smoothies, which are fitted at 17 inches in the front and 2 inches at the rear. Smooth is definitely the word, as these forged billet wheels throw off a polished finish you can check your face in. They’re fitted with Granada Touring HPs in 225/45R17s in the front, and Toyo Proxes STIIs in 295/40R20s for the rears.

In addition to all the custom work on the Prowler, both the exterior and interior have been lavished with a gorgeous two-tone paint job featuring burn orange and black. The paint job is absolutely stunning, and it reminds Mike of his love for Harleys.

With the top down, this is the perfect car for cruising downtown Waikiki as well as the rest of Oahu. Mike takes his wife and family for rides regularly, and they break necks while doing so. And although only 11,702 Prowlers have been produced, Mike believes in driving it whenever and wherever he pleases.

“If you enjoy cars … get the one you want. Don’t park them in your garage, and just drive ‘em,” says Mike.