Thursday, February 12, 2015

5k: Holy Shift: Plymouth Voyager Sport Van SE Turbo, 300 horsepower

Have the last two turbo minivans left you wanting more? The Dodge Caravan Shelby clone, with its rad graphics, and SRT-4 swapped Voyager, with 300 horsepower, both fell short in the gear-change department. Now, you can pulverize latent childhood insecurities by running a 13-second quarter mile in the first car you puked in, while feeding your control complex by shifting gears all by yourself. Find this 1989 Plymouth Voyager Sport Van with 2.5-liter turbo/5-speed for sale here on eBay in New Baden, IL for $5,000 reserve-not-met with one day to go via eBay.

The engine is the rare 2.5-liter turbocharged SOHC four-cylinder unit. All stock, it made 150 horsepower and shifted through a 3-speed auto or 5-speed stick. The previous owner found the automatic's limit... by blowing it up. The seller replaced it with a fortified automatic, and promptly found its limit, also by blowing it up. Finally a Getrag-designed 5-speed sourced from 1987-1989 turbocharged K-cars was found, built, and employed for the last 3,000 miles with no issues. So far. It handles 300 horsepower from a balanced and blueprinted engine with forged pistons and a crap-ton of boost.

With double the stock output and a whopping 125 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats removed, is this the ultimate hot hatch? It's probably noisier and rougher than a modern hot hatch, with every shift announced by the aftermarket BOV's screech and every combustion event amplified through a 3-inch exhaust. Polyurethane bushings and mounts will complicate Junior's back-seat Etch A Sketch progress. That's life, kid.

With no pictures of the inside, we can only assume how many Pop Rocks and other discarded remnants of child raising (like an errant Highlights magazine or Mr. Potatohead-themed Happy Meal toy) are back there. Yet we have plenty of shots of the outside, which is as uninteresting as mom jeans. It's a van equally at home on the dragstrip as it is in the roller rink parking lot, or your most repressed childhood memories. Would you please have a seat on the chaise?

See another turbocharged oddity that lets you shift for yourself? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. Torque steer monster! I love it. I'd go for this in a hot minute, despite the ugly interior. There's plenty of community support online, too. I missed your past turbo'ed Chrysler minivan posts on DT, so I'll go check those out. I read an article interviewing Ralph Gillies a couple of years ago. In the article, he talked about trying to get a sporty minivan through management. He had a little luck, with the Dodge Caravan R/T. I don't recall this being the exact article, but it's got the same content.



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  3. That's right! I used to be like a lot enthusiasts and hated torque steer. So I totally get that. But I don't know why, but I've begun to kind of like it. I wouldn't go out of my way to find a car with it, but it does make things a bit more interesting. In the end, I'm all for more driver interaction with a vehicle. And if the design forces you to (within reason) can that be a bad thing?

  4. I liked torque steer too........until I owned a Saab Viggen. Here's a typical stoplight gran prix in that car: "ok, rev to 2k, slip the clutch, floor it and OMIGOD WHY IS THE CAR TRYING TO PUT ME IN THE DITCH??? Ok, whew, you got this FTB, just keep a firm grip and show her who's boss, now quick shift to 2nd and back on the gas and OMIGOD THE WHEEL SLIP FROM GOING TO 2ND GEAR MADE THE STEERING EVEN LIGHTER AND IT'S AIMING FOR THE DITCH AGAIN!!!!!!"

    Rinse and repeat, 10-20 times a day. It was like dating a's fun, but you just get worn out after a certain point.

  5. FTB, I completely agree with you. The Viggen was the only stock FWD to ever really scare the living bejeesus out of me. Thanks for stirring up the memory - you're completely accurate. Still, it was a great car. Flawed in a fun way. I only got close to buying a Saab once, but didn't. Bought my V70 instead. That was the right choice for me.


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