Sunday, December 27, 2015

K-Carmageddon Survivor: 1988 Dodge Aries LE Wagon

The K-car was an instant sales success for Chrysler when first introduced, and by the end of the third year of production over a million Ks had been sold in Chrysler LeBaron, Dodge 400/Aries, and Plymouth Reliant flavors.  Although marketed as having European flair, the K was distinctly American in execution, with a small overhead cam equipped 4-banger mated to the front wheels and a solid beam axle out back. The Aries/Reliant/LeBaron/400 was tuned for American roads and featured a comfortable ride uncommon with 2500 lb compact cars from the same era, just don't expect anything sporty from the K and you'll be fine.  Find this 1988 Dodge Aries Wagon here on eBay bidding for $1,975 located in Norwalk, CT with 1 day to go.


Today's K-car is no ordinary K-car, it is a "rare" 88 Aries Wagon --- okay, there is nothing really rare about an Aries in any flavor, they were stamped out like Altoids tins and the only thing rare about this car is the fact that it isn't in a junk yard.  Actually, you don't find many K-cars in salvage yards these days since most have long ago been melted down to be turned into refrigerator magnets and Altoids tins...so maybe it is rare.


Tell you what's rare -- the color of the interior is a nice shade of rare prime rib...delicious.  Not so delicious is the 2.2 liter fuel injected (new for 1988...I think) for 93 horsepower and 122 ft-lbs of torque.  With the automatic gearbox it might hit 60 mph if you are willing to wait about 13 seconds.



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16 comments:

  1. 1) Our neighbors had one of these. It was in the exact opposite condition. When they started it up with a cold engine it sounded like a Foley artist from the movies was demonstrating all the different sounds he could make that didn't sound like a car engine. Buddy Rich drum solo, bar fight, Hound of the Baskervilles etc. But that thing always started and ran for like 15 years. Later they upgraded to the Ricardo Montalban Chrysler Cordoba with the Corinthian leather

    http://www.vintagecartalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/badgeonleather.jpg

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  2. Never thought I'd live long enough to think these words: That is a really nice K-Car!

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  3. i'll go with prime rib for the interior - exterior also needs an anatomical name - i'm going with "lunula"

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    1. Hmm...it's a little to gold to accurately depict the typical color of lunulae. Otoh, it's almost the exact shade most kidney stones come in.

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    2. monitor color settings may vary - will defer to your expertise - what's the Latin name for kidney stones?

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    3. Latin name I forgot as soon as I turned in my test paper. We call them nephroliths. The condition of having kidney stones is nephrolithiasis. They seem quite unpleasant, like driving a K unpleasant.

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  4. This is the season for miracles, apparently.

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  5. A K car is the perfect metaphor for the Reagan years' right down to the velour interior.

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    Replies
    1. The Reagan years look pretty good compared to the current regime and the 8 years before that.

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    2. those Reagan years are what got us here! Anyway I use to sell a bunch of these in the 90's and early in this century; K cars were great cheap used cars, parts were cheap, they're easy to work on, and fairly durable for what the cost me and what I could sell 'em for. A car like this in similar condition could be had for a few hundred bucks wholesale and sold for around a thousand bucks retail around '95 to '03 and everybody would be happy

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  6. Although these were never my thing, I must take off my hat to whoever preserved this car so well for so long. And the fact that it is a wagon almost makes it "OK by me".

    Let's not forget that many K-Cars also live on in the form of utility trailer axles. There was a time when virtually every K-Car in a junkyard had had its read axle removed for that purpose.

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  7. Thank goodness or maybe not that it has bucket seats the bench in these would make you cry for a Chiropracter we had them @ work and that seat was a true killer.

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    Replies
    1. The K-Car was the Box Props of cars.

      Rather than clever design to take space out of the places humans don't occupy, like Saabs and VW Rabbit/Golf (and even the 411/412 family) and the competitive GM FWD X-body and their own Omni/Horizon Golf-alike, Chrysler went the opposite route with the K-car.

      Someone decided the K-car had to have big-car proportions, so they shrank everything. The dash, the seats, the doors and door openings, almost everything about the car has had 3% or so knocked off its size to give it the profile of a Dodge Aspen.

      When you first saw one, first drove one, it'd take a little while to realize you've been gamed.

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    3. That's pretty astute, mrk. They always looked...off...to me but never could put my finger on why. Your explanation is spot on and explains their proportions very well.

      Damn, you're good.

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