Wednesday, December 24, 2014

1k: K For Krap: 1985 Plymouth Reliant

I know you were hoping for the USS Reliant assigned to Project Genesis in 2285, the one that would go on to re-discover Khan in the Star Trek movie with the earworm - sorry, not that one. Or at least a Robin Reliant would have been interesting, but no, they were on hiatus from 81 to 89.  Here on craiglist is just a plain old 1985 Plymouth Reliant, albeit with just 55k miles, for a measly $1250.  Tip and intro by Kaibeezy,


The Plymouth Reliant was called the Reliant-K because it was based on the K-car platform, which meant it was poorly assembled, ugly, slow, et cetera.  What about a 55k mile version offered for pennies?  Still horrible?


The Reliant was the first of the so called K-cars to be built by Chrysler and was followed soon after by the Dodge Aries and Chrysler Lebaron.  This K is powered by a 2.2 liter inline-4 cylinder engine that puts out 94 horsepower and delivers 0-60 mph in a leisurely 13 seconds or so with the automatic transmission.


See another low mile cheap winter beater? tips@dailyturismo.com

14 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. i have alerted our pals over at the K-car Club - www.chryslerkcar.com

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  3. Had one of these as a rental in 1985 and took it up pacific coast hwy. it was quite enjoyable to drive, fun actually. People shouldn't knock it til they try it.

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    2. I remember these very well, it was the Box Props of cars. Always seemed to me that Chrysler just took the Aspen/Volare proportions and scaled everything down 7-8%, so it all looked right from ten feet but the minute you went to get in you felt like some '80s Alice that just stepped down an automotive rabbit (not Rabbit) hole - the door openings, the seats, the controls, everything was just a little too small, a little too close,

      They worked okay mechanically for their time, but the materials and build quality were about what you'd expect from malaise-era Detroit. Mopar sold easily 10x as many of these things in the US as BMW did E30s, but I see ten E30s every day and maybe one or two of these a week.

      Maybe this car will find the right buyer, but it's not something I'd have paid $1250 for in 1985 much less now.

      Need a feature on The Cars That Disappeared - the Tempos, the Contours, the Rabbits, FWD X-cars and A-cars, the cars that sold in huge volumes in the '80s and '90s that have flat disappeared from the roads.

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    3. Case in point: the Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique. Built in fair numbers in the late '90s. There is exactly one listed on eBay right now.

      There are two first-generation Chrysler Cirrus/Dodge Stratus/Plymouth Breeze examples floating in the bay right now, a better design than the Contour though even less well assembled.

      The problem is that these are still fairly complex cars, with fuel injection and ABS and all the modern conveniences, and they're as expensive to fix as, say, an E39 BMW 528i, and not even as durable. Plus, Ford parts availability sucks a protruding anatomical feature.

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  4. If there were parts cars everywhere for 80's cars, like there was 15 years ago, this would be more appealing.

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  5. Other than the financial gain for Chrysler, the Plymouth Reliant (and K platform in general) begs the question, “Was there anything good about it?” From an enthusiast’s perspective, it seems difficult to draw a positive conclusion, until you get to the (successor) Dodge Spirit R/T. In 1991, many automotive writers compared it favorably to the contemporary BMW M5, at an approximately $42,000 discount. That’s something, all things considered. And as much as I personally don’t like Chryslers in general (that’s my cross to bear), I have to give the company credit for producing such a mass-produced (albeit in arguably relatively limited numbers at 93,000+) model variant. Without this car, I wonder if there’d be cars like the Charger SRT Hellcat offered for sale. Maybe, or maybe not. But I think there’s a lineage there that can’t be ignored.

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    1. The most direct competition for the Spirit R/T was the Taurus SHO of similar vintage. The Spirit body was a vast improvement over the preceding K-Cars, though the first-gen Taurus was still better. Both had material-quality deficiencies relative to, say, the Nissan Maxima.

      Both Ford and Mopar brought in the pros from Dover to give them engines with character - in Ford's case of course the entire engine was a new development from Yamaha sharing some dimensions but nothing else with the Vulcan V6, while the Dodge motor got a Lotus reworking (including a cylinder head that tended to crack around its core plugs, I doubt by now any originals have survived.)

      Both were hampered significantly by their open-diff FWD drivetrain and in the Ford's case the somewhat cranky and fragile MTX-IV transaxle. Both have Quaife or equivalent diffs available that will greatly augment the fun factor if one's inclined to spend the money.

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    2. I am in agreement with what you wrote, MrKWong. Which is why the Spirit R/T deserves a DT writeup.

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    3. I agree. The Spirit R/T is actually a likable car and worth preserving.

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    4. And to a lesser extent, another car that I had the pleasure to own; the 1987 Shelby Lancer. Though far less powerful than the Spirit R/T, only 800 were made and are also worth preserving. The Shelby Lancer has been featured here on DT a couple of times, and it's worth noting (once again) that the 87 was actually assembled by Shelby in California, while the 88-89 was assembled by Dodge. Of course, the Shelby name makes the vehicle worth more, which is why you'd want that one. Even if, in this case, it only equals a small amount of street cred.

      This was previously detailed by DT and the conversation of whether or not this is or ever will be a "collectible" wages on. My personal opinion is that, no, they will never be for a variety of reasons. What they are is a surefire way for an enthusiastic gearhead to get an interesting, rare car that they can work on and drive without appearing to be rich or obnoxious. Mine was a lot of fun and very useful. The added benefit that nobody knew what it was or what it could do was appealing to me, plus no crook would look at it twice!

      If you like a sleeper, this one is a keeper.

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