By on August 19, 2013

09 - 1977 Plymouth Volare Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe successor to the incredibly successful Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant was the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré. These simple rear-wheel-drive cars sold fairly well, but for every Aspen or Volaré I see in high-turnover wrecking yards today, I find ten Darts and Valiants. Part of that reason is a short production run, part is (arguably) lower build quality, but I’m guessing the main reason is that Americans just didn’t love the F-body Chryslers the way they did the A-body. When a Valiant got sick (which wasn’t often), it got fixed; when a Volaré came down with some expensive problem, it got crushed. Now these things are almost nonexistent, but here’s a very rare Volaré Premier wagon I spotted in a California yard a few months back.
12 - 1977 Plymouth Volare Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStrange to think that there was once a time in which station wagons outnumbered SUVs and minivans for family-hauling use, and even stranger to recall that small station wagons were once fairly good sellers.
10 - 1977 Plymouth Volare Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSlant Six power, not much to go wrong here. Still, this car with the Slant Six was quite sluggish. If only Chrysler had installed the Hemi-6 in this car, Things Would Have Been Different.


So sensible!

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59 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1977 Plymouth Volaré Premier Station Wagon...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’ve always liked the font they used for Volare. It looks so fun and Italian – but doesn’t match the premium-liquor-style serious font they used for PREMIER.

    It looks similar enough to the Valiant, so I can only assume people had much better options by the time the A-body was done.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    Amazing that the “Premier” didn’t even come with an FM radio.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      This vehicle in particular is a pretty “base” Premier. When these were new, a neighbor of mine had one and it was very nice. It had a pearlescent metallic brown paint job, a better type of upholstery, rally-type wheels with trim rings, and power everything (my only disappointment was that the tailgate window did not roll down). Can’t remember if the stereo had 8-track or cassette. Anyway, it served my neighbor well, and it’s sad that many of these Aspens/Volares weren’t well put together as they were nice cars when they worked.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      My ’75 Valiant Brougham only had the single speaker AM radio. (It did, however, come with the vinyl top.)

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    After 36 years the upholstery still looks new. Chrysler must have used some incredibly durable vinyl back then.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I love vinyl and this is why. It lasts forever. Can you imagine what those seats would look like if they were cloth after 35 years?

      I think it was a big mistake when automakers dumped it en masse for cloth/mouse fur in the 80’s.

      • 0 avatar

        We had a ’78 Aspen with this exact interior when I was a kid. On a 100 degree day while wearing shorts, I’d much rather have the mouse fur. Those seats got stupidly hot. Especially since this was before factory tinted windows was a thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          Amen to that, madanthony. My wife’s wagon has those stupid MBTex imitation leather vinyl seats and they’re hellish. My car has real leather and it doesn’t get anywhere near as hot.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      That Corinthian Leather was amazing stuff…

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Too bad ;

    This one looks pretty good .

    Who told them it was O.K. to pen the hood with the _FORKLIFT_?! sometime I hate the Junk Yard yard apes .

    Fake wood and mediocre build quality ~ what could be more American in the 1970’s ? =8-) .

    I miss Station Wagons *SO* much .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      RE: forklifting the hood:
      The guys vampiring all of the fluids out of the car probably didn’t understand that the hood latch was under the hood -not in the passenger compartment.

      I too hate those nimrods when they punch hols in the oil and transmission pans to drain the fluids rather than using the actual DRAIN BOLT. Some of us need replacement oil pans!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    A Volare with a Pentastar if someone was so inclined?

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    If you combine development, production, and recall costs, I wonder how much money Chrysler lost on the Aspen/Volaré series?

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      I bet they broke even finally. They sold a lot of them and they later became the M-bodies, a fleet mainstay. Plus the powertrains were all off-the-shelf, no costs there.

      Problem is, in the mid-1970s Chrysler needed a hit, not a whiff.

  • avatar
    OneidaSteve

    This brings back memories. in 1979 (i think) my extended family took a caravan road trip across the country, and one of the vehicles was the less-than-2 years old Volare Wagon that my aunt had. I remember, vividly, sitting in the sand on the side of the road in choking heat staring at that stylized Volare emblem. Imagine a car a couple years breaking down repeatedly on a single long trip? what a POS that poor car was, for no reason other than terrible assembly quality.

    Years down the road my first car was a 10 year old 1982 Chrysler Newport with the same slant six/auto. Bulletproof, slow, dependable. What the Volare could have been….

    Anyhow after that long road trip my aunt took a loss and traded the Volare Wagon in for a 6 cyl Fairmont wagon. 100x better car, ran great until it rusted out.

    Everyone in my family now drives toyotas…and they wonder why.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Having owned a brown ’63 Dart wagon (no stick – push buttons), I lamented the loss of the wagon in the Dart/Valiant’s later years. The Aspen/Volare wagons were better looking, by far, though LeBaron wagons were best looking. By now, the compact-sorta-midsize wagon is like the small truck: a niche nobody wants to fill, for various reasons.

  • avatar
    probert

    The aspen/volare s had a huge problem with rust and ended up triggering the federal rust through laws. For that we have to thank them.

    I would also like to say that the first cuv with fake wood paneling will get my money. This oversight is is a travesty that should be addressed STAT (which is way faster than ASAP).

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I’m going to fore-go the story on this because I feel like I’m out of my element on something.

    These are well known as being THE POS of the time. Why? It’s such an unbelievably basic vehicle.

    -The carb sucks and it stalls. Why not put the old version on, or a different one? Could nobody figure this out? Was a new carb the equivalent expense of replacing the engine, and prohibitive? This goes for many other cars of the period. I don’t get it.

    -The fenders rotted. Just the fronts? Get new ones. They must’ve been cheap. I don’t get it.

    -Terrible handling. Did nobody test drive cars back then? I don’t get it.

    -Emissions gear ruined it. Had nobody figured out how to circumvent these things by then (Californy exempt)? I don’t get it.

    OK, so it was a lemon when it was brand new. That is unforgivable. I just don’t understand how people back then bought $4500 (After all the dealer rip off stuff was tacked on) cars every 3 years, and thought that was a better option than fixing some trivial stuff. Maybe I’m taking it way out of context, because a POS these days means a double-whammy of engine and trans failure, main subframes rusting out onto the street, expensive electronics failing, high labor times for digging out a water pump, as well as the many additional modern day systems and options that frequently break.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      The carb was part of the emissions system, so swapping it out or modifying it meant you no longer passed smog, which would be a big problem in some states. I don’t know of any professional mechanics that will tamper with an emissions system, I believe the penalties are fairly severe. Engine bays of this era were rat’s nests of vacuum hoses. Sure, you could mess with it on your own, but plan on spending big bucks if you ever needed to pass smog.

      As for why people bought these, they weren’t that much worse than most of the competition…sadly.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      They sorted out many of the problems eventually. Of course that was after they’d sold well over a million of them to people that learned to think twice about buying another Chrysler product.

      I liked the way the Volare looked when it came out, particularly the wagon. Unfortunately, they managed to achieve infamy for their quality issues at a time when few US made cars were cause for national pride. Were it not for the Citation following only a few years later, the Volare would have gone down as one of the bigger automotive disaster stories. Chrysler replaced one of the best American cars ever with one of the worst. It wasn’t bad styling that undid the Volare, or a radical new engine that didn’t work. It was just awful quality, marketing injecting themselves into engineering, and government regulations that saw the American Camry turn into the UAW 2000 TC.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        I agree—my parents had a light brownish-color 79 wagon with the Slant 6 (H.O. 110hp) version—one thing you could never say about it was that it “failed to start” or left anybody stranded. It was loud, uncomfortable, probably got terrible gas mileage, and it seemed like the exhaust system would rot out ANNUALY, but it just never died.

        So, if what he says is true about the carb being bad, they must have fixed it by the 79 model, because this was the car that often went to rescue my Dad in his “fuel injected” 77 Rabbit all the time—which would freeze and not start often in the winter.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I’m pretty certain this one is a 110hp version too. Look at the intake manifold- it’s a 2bbl. The 1bbl version was 95hp @3600rpm (later 90hp with the catalytic converter) but the “Super Six” (hey, that’s what it said on the filter lid) was good for a whopping 110 and supposedly better mileage (slightly).

          • 0 avatar
            blppt

            Yeah, I vividly remember the blue sticker on the top of the circular air cleaner container saying “Super Six” on my parents Volare wagon.

            Also remember that they replaced the cheapo stock (bias-ply?) tires with a set of larger radials, but never corrected the speedometer, so 47mph was the speed I remember my parents driving all the time (I guess it was 55+ in reality?)

            Oh, and the stock radio was AM-only, but my Uncle and Grandpa hooked up one of those outboard FM-converter boxes under the dash to get quality FM sound out of that one speaker on the right side of the dash, LOL.

            When my parents sold the wagon for a 88 Reliant sedan, its 4 speaker sound system seemed like a Mark Levinson special that first day we drove it home from Salerno in Peekskill/Cortlandt Manor. I even remember the song— “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith— that was playing on the radio— a bass heavy song that sounded AMAZING coming out of those paper 5x7s in the back.

            Strange the things we can vividly recall in the far past, eh?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “government regulations that saw the American Camry turn into the UAW 2000 TC.”

        This right here is the biggest piece missing from the conventional Big 3 failure history lessons we hear over and over again. With the sudden implementation of strict emissions and fuel economy regulations, these companies had the figurative rugs pulled from beneath them.

        The biggest reason quality suffered in the 1970’s was because development dollars had to be funnelled into things like catalysts, EGR and lean burn systems, not to mention developping completely new bodies and platforms in an effort to thin vehicles out to meet fuel economy rules.

        Chrysler, with the fewest resources of the Big 3, was hardest hit when the perfect storm of regulation hit and cars like the Volare were the result.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The regulations weren’t bad, they were necessary. I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, when standing on a corner of a busy street meant inhaling copious amounts of gas and oil fumes. I actually thought that’s how cars were supposed to smell!

          The regulations cleaned the air, but they demanded that technology be invented to achieve the result. That was compounded by other regulations preventing auto makers from combining forces for a uniform smog system.

          That last point cost motorists $billions, with each maker having patented/proprietary systems, and mechanics overloaded and overcharging customers while trying to make that multitude of systems work with unique parts and settings for each make, model, and drive train.

          If clean air was so important a goal – and it was – it should have been a cooperative effort.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The heavy handed, top down blanket approach was bad, and it forced the creation of bad cars. CAFE was a particular example of unnecessary regulation, however.

            I have no issues with clean air, or pollution controls equipment per se, but CAFE is a real stinker.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          This is something many on this site will not come to grips with concerning Detroit cars of this era. It wasn’t all the manufacturers fault that these cars were crappy during the 70’s and early 80’s. The government and it’s incessant meddling brought these companies to there knees well before they had time too develop proper emission equipment, lighter bodied cars and frames, better bumper designs and increased mileage figures. Much of this nonsense was just there typical knee jerk reacting to then current affairs that were going on at the time like recession and lowered dollar value is today.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      True these are mostly unloved and rust did most of these in. However there was one particular model that was actually pretty good:

      The ‘A38′ Aspen/ Volare. The police package ones. They’re pretty rare nowadays, but back then you could get the HO 360 4 barrel V8 in it with a Torqueflight transmission, heavy duty suspension, heavy duty cooling system, heavy duty electrical system and big brakes. When equipped as such, they weren’t much slower then their big block brother; the 440 Monaco and Fury. Even though they had emissions equipment, those Mopars performed quite well. If you ever find one, it makes for one hell of a ‘Q’ ship.They’re still out there.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I don’t think they had much emissions equipment relative to what was sold to the public in passenger cars at the time. I seem to recall that the ’78 L’il Red Express Truck had the same engine spec.

        A neighbor of mine stole one from the Albemarle county taxpayers. He had friends in the police force, and they sent a relatively fresh one to auction for him. They put a dead battery in it too, so he got it for the opening bid of $400. It was one of the faster cars in the high school parking lot, circa 1982. Sounded great with the air cleaner lid flipped.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Sounded great with the air cleaner lid flipped.”

          I remember running my Monte Carlo SS like that to hear that QuadraJet howl. I miss the high school parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The build quality and driveability stuff was simply Chrysler being too undercapitalized to get things done correctly.

      As for emissions in general, IIRC it was Michael Karesh who said that Detroit tasked mechanical engineers with a chemical engineering problem. On top of that, I believe that the domestic’s engineering ranks by that time were a generation of glorified benchwarmers who had never faced a serious engineering challenge, since the domestics had been building the same sorts of cars for 30+ years. When those challenges did arrive, they were wholly unequal to the task.

  • avatar
    April

    My High School Driver’s Ed car was a new 1978 Plymouth Volare coupe. White with blue stripes and blue interior. Nice color combination. Compared to the competition (Nova and Maverick) the car looked sharp/almost sporty (well, the 2 door models did). Anyway, I recall it had ice cold air conditioning and a decent radio. Came in handy when driving around with a full load of kids/inexperienced drivers during summer break.

    Tough car.

  • avatar
    wmba

    These things weighed a ton compared to the Dart/Valiant, and had WTF were they thinking transverse torsion bars at the front. Whoever thought that was a good idea at the time should have lost his job. Round these parts nobody could keep them in alignment/even both sides.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    I love those old cast iron RV-2 air conditioning compressors, must have weight over 40 pounds and looked like a harley engine. Never really understood why chrysler didn’t go to some variation of the cylindrical style compressor you find on pretty much every other car, even back then.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      And they shook like a Harley when they kicked in; the first time a drove a car with a rotary A/C compressor, I could not get over how quiet it was.

      We had two Volares on our family; including the station wagon. Both cars gave good service, my father loved Chryslers during their dark period, and we seemed to have good luck with every one we owned; perhaps because my dad babied them.

      Don’t understand the handling issue; our police department drove these as squad cars; and they had one in particular they used for driver training; I remember it skidding and spinning around the parking lot of the local football stadium.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The Chowder Boat! Brings back memories – one of my friends in high school’s parents had one of these, black with fake bark. One Christmas, they were heading over hill and dale to Grandma’s house with a big pot of fish chowder in the back. Which spilled. GALLONS of fish chowder poured down into the under areas of the cargo deck. Needless to say, that car had a certain, uh, aroma, come a hot summer day forever more. That next summer it was handed down to the two sons and the folks bought something newer. And it was forever known in my high school as the Chowder Boat. One of several “plywood pleasure palaces” owned by students.

    That car was also infamous for my friend charging down the access road to the student parking lot the next winter. Said road had a near hairpin turn that was in the shade, and on this day covered in ice. The Chowder Boat went sailing straight on up and over the 6’+ snow bank and into the bushes on the other side. Took one of the town snowplows to drag the beast out, none the worse for wear. A very sturdy car indeed!

  • avatar

    The Dodge version of this car was the car that took me home from the hospital – a 1978 Aspen wagon, white with woodgrain and the same brown vinyl interior (which was miserable in the summer). It also took my family from NJ to Florida, towing a UHaul trailer (my dad hated flying). My parents kept it until 1986, when they traded it in for, of all things, a 1986 Renault Alliance. The Aspen was mechanically solid to 100k, when it started stalling, but it had malaise-era build quality – my dad said he could reach through the panel gap between the doors and unlock it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The only thing going for these cars was the slant 6 and the price. The 75 Dart was much better than these cars. Bodies were sub par and the interiors were low rent. The Nova was a better choice. It is no wonder why Chrysler went bankrupt. Chrysler did become much better under the leadership of Lee Iacocca. The minivan was one of the saviors of Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      I’ve always wondered how things might have panned out at Chrysler if Iacocca had made the leap from Ford about ten years earlier, say, about the time Semon E. ‘Bunkie’ Knudson came over from GM to Ford.

      If Bunkie had worked out at Ford, pushing Iacocca aside, and Iacocca went to work for Chrysler prior to 1970, would Chrysler’s engineering prowess have taken the hit that it did?

      Yeah, Iacocca saved Chrysler, but it was by desperation moves where he simply turned Chrysler into a more efficient, Ford-like operation. He didn’t do it by restoring Chrysler’s traditional role of having the best engineered vehicles of the Big Three.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      The K-Cars, starting with the Aries and Reliant; saved Chrysler at first. It overnight tranformed the company from a maker of giant, heavy, aged, gas guzzling cars to a maker of small, economical cars that could still seat six. Building the minivans off of it was a stroke of genius. The 2.2L engines built for the K-Cars was easy to work on and a reliable motor; not a bad successor to the slant six.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        The most annoying feature of the 2.2 was the way the ignition wires fit through slots into the distributor cap, becoming the inner contacts. Every tuneup involved a new set of wires.

  • avatar
    Exfordtech

    Used to just remove the wire and reinsert with the other side facing the rotor to get more mileage out of the wires if they were ok otherwise.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    An aunt had a new Volare wagon , IIRC a 1976 . My uncle was the type to work on his cars and keep them for a good while . I think they traded a Ford Custom 500 , like a 1965 model on the Volare . I remember being impressed with the roominess in a relatively compact car , and I always was partial to wagons . The car sucked – a number of early problems . When the aunt was driving on the highway the hood latch failed and the hood flew up , becoming bent in the process , and the aunt, unable to see out of it , drove it into a ditch , further banging it up . They got rid of it , don’t think it was over a year or two old , the first and last Chrysler product they ever bought . Chrysler really blew it with these pieces of junk and while some of its competitors might have sucked just as bad at least the X-car had the excuse that it was a blank-slate type of car . The Volare / Aspen really weren’t that different from the cars they replaced . Personally I think Chrysler should have been allowed to fail in the Carter era , since obviously they didn’t learn their lesson ,either their dumbass management or the U.A.W. A ride in any pre -bailout Dodge Caliber or Jeep Liberty with their unbelievably cheesy interior and lousy build quality should prove that .

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Iacocca at least paid the government loan back early so I have no problem with Chrysler’s earlier bailout. The economy in 1979 thru the early 80’s was not very good and for the sake of preserving jobs the Chrysler bailout was justified. Iacocca was fired by Henry Ford II because Iacocca wanted to become chairman at Ford and Henry wanted to retain control. Iacocca had a generous retirement package and didn’t need to work, he took a $1 a year salary plus stock options to headup Chrysler. Iacocca mostly wanted to get back at Ford, but doing well was the best revenge which he did at Chrysler. He was the right leader at the right time for Chrysler and if it were anyone other than Iacocca they might not have gotten the government loan and they might not have succeeded. After looking at these junkyard finds with this car and the 75 Dart it is not hard to see that Chrysler was on its last legs. The Nova and the Maverick, though not great cars were just much better. By 77 Honda and Toyota had a foothold in the US and the Big Three could not compete pricewise and quality with the newly released 77 Honda Accord, Civics or Toyotas. The Arab Oil Embargo really established the Japanese auto market because people were buying more fuel efficient cars and there were shortages of VWs and even Vegas and Pintos (those were much less quality than the Japanese). The American auto industry had such lackluster products that it was not hard for the Japanese to establish themselves in American. The American auto industry did this to themselves and had to rebuild themselves. Hopefully Detroit has learned and that we never have to go through another GM or Chrysler bailout. Chrysler is doing well under Fiat ownership but the verdict is still out on GM, but their prospects look much better. My 73 Chevelle was a much better car than these Chrysler cars even though it had a cheap body, the drivetrain was good and it was much more reliable.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    My first car was a 1976 Volare woody wagon with the (rare) 318 V-8. Dad bought it for me from his company at the end of the lease term for $1. Yes, one dollar. It had 110,000-ish miles on it, and the rust was already starting on the front fender around the radio antenna.

    It had an awful stall/hesitation just off idle that only seemed to show up when I was trying to merge into traffic or dart across a busy intersection, but it would do 107 mph flat out, floating like an out-of-control butterfly all the way.

    It wasn’t a bad car for the era, and part of me still misses it and the stuff I did in/with it….

  • avatar
    autojim

    My next-door neighbors when I was growing up traded a forest green metallic Dodge Demon 340 (probably a ’70 or ’71) for a forest green metallic with SimuWood Volare Premier Wagon. It had the usual 318/Torqueflyte combo, and something about that car was never quite right.

    When the paint on all the horizontal body panels, the door window frames, and the A-pillars started deteriorating rapidly, they learned why: the hood and the entire roof had been replaced and the A-pillars significantly re-jiggled. Significant portions ofThe car had basically been crushed in a transporter or train incident before it got to the dealer, who quickly repaired it and SOLD IT AS NEW. Remarkably, it was straight and the structural work was fairly sound, but the door alignments were off and the paintwork was rushed and sub-par.

    The neighbor, being a skilled amateur bodyman, wound up refinishing the car himself. I believe this incident was one more nail in the coffin for that particular dealership (which held, at one point, Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge-AMC-Jeep-Fiat-Volvo-MG-Triumph-whathaveyou franchises), whose principal, a 2nd-generation dealer in Tulsa, found himself in all manner of legal hot water over the coming years.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @autojim–I would rather have the Dodge Demon. I bet your neighbor felt the same. If you had that Dodge Demon today in mint condition it would be worth a fair amount.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Volare! Oh no!
    Junked car yea! No no no no!
    When new you were up in the clouds
    Surrounded by admiring crowds
    You basked in the glow of the bright auto show
    And buyers all eager to sign
    But you left them confused and all disillusioned
    As Chrysler fell further and further behind
    With Corinthian Leather its only big seller
    A bailout it had to find

    Volare! Oh no!
    Junked car yea! No no no no!
    Your memory makes my heart sting
    Your engine’s perplexing loud pings
    And your rusty rear quarters
    Bad front control arms
    And gasoline leaking behind!

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    In 1994 I bought a 1980 Volare Premier wagon from a tow company for $500. I drove it for a couple years without too much drama. The vinyl seats were awful in the Las Vegas summers, though.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    These huge POSs followed three years later by the GM X POSs…I can see that being the pivotal moment in history where we gave up on the domestic auto industry….

  • avatar
    Allan850glt

    These and the Aspen were very popular in our middle-class suburban Buffalo neighborhood back in the early ’80s (as far back as I can remember). Our family had a couple. My aunt had a ’76 Aspen Wagon that she intentionally killed (used to luxo-boats, coming from a richer family) and my uncle rewarded her handy work by bringing home a rust-spotted yellow ’78 LTD Wagon, much to her dismay (lol). She didn’t have the Aspen long and I was young. What I do remember, it was an Aspen Custom, burgundy in and out. 318. Nicer upgraded vinyl interior. That and she hated it. My grandmother also had one, she traded her mint ’71 Dart Swinger on a low mileage base ’77 Aspen in ’82? Same burgundy, white cheapo pleather. NO AIR. FM mono radio. PS/PB and the 225 Slant “super six” 2bbl with auto. Had the lame rear defogger-blower which is useless in the winter. The front fenders rotted away almost instantaneously however the dealer was good about replacement. It was actually a good car. More than ample power with the “super six” option and economical for its size. Rode well and looked far more modern than the Swinger. She and my mom both drove the Aspen due to my parent’s “winter car woes” and not wanting to ruin Mom’s Camaro. Eventually Mom grew up and got rid of the Camaro and somehow the Aspen became ours. It served us well, even starting on the coldest of Buffalo winter days..even days when the carbs froze on Dad’s ’86 Accord. The Aspen started rusting again, quarters this time. That and it started looking dated so later in ’86 mom got herself a new Taurus LX Wagon which with its styling, digital dash, power amenities and front drive traction, made the Aspen take place as back-up car until ’88 when it was given to one of my cousins. He was an ungrateful wretch and sold it to replace it with an awful ’77 Regal. That little Aspen provided us with six years of faithful service. I hear horror stories about them, but we never had any such bad luck. Sort of an ugly sucker but a tough little car and actually kind of fun. Compared to the Taurus it was tough as nails, lasting our family ’til the eleven year mark whereas the Taurus was toast before seven years (although 198,000 miles). Who knows how long it still drove around WNY after cousin schmucko disposed of it. Probably through the mid-late nineties at least if she was cared for. That’s saying alot, cars don’t last that long in this climate.


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