Many of us laugh at the Starion now, but it was considered genuinely badass by me and my high-school peers back in 1983 or 1984. It looked fast and mean and had the magical-in-the-1980s word “TURBO” on every possible surface.
Of course, it was also a flaky, breakdown-prone money pit, but it took a few years for that to become clear to everyone. Still, Starions show up in self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a battered ’84 that I saw in the San Francisco Bay Area a while back. (Read More…)
Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Dodge will end production of its supercar Viper in 2017 when the current generation has finished its run, Allpar reported.
(OK, so the Viper wasn’t exactly perfect.)
The website reported that United Auto Workers proposed contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t include a product at the Viper’s Conner Avenue plant when Viper finishes in 2017. Viper has languished since its introduction in 2013, suffering from a high price and increased competition from the Chevrolet Corvette. Last year, Dodge sold 760 coupes, which was the best year for the current generation so far, but far from the nameplate’s zenith in 2003 when it sold 2,103 examples.
Chrysler’s flathead (aka “L-head”) straight-six engine is one of the forgotten heroes of prewar and postwar Detroit, being produced from 1929 through some undefined year in the early 1970s (for stationary use, e.g., in generators and irrigation pumps). There was even a five-bank, 30-cylinder version made for tanks. It appears that it was possible to buy a new Dodge truck with the flathead six through the 1968 model year, though some say that Uncle Sam was the only buyer for the last few years of flathead Dodges. Most buyers opted for futuristic overhead-valve engines by the 1960s, anyway, but here’s a D-series pickup in a California wrecking yard that still has its L-head. (Read More…)
Total Fiat Chrysler Automobiles volume is up six percent this year thanks to record sales at Jeep, FCA’s top-selling outlet. However, despite that wave of Jeep-directed affection in the U.S., sales at the company’s other brands have fallen two percent through the first nine months of 2015.
Even in September, an extraordinarily high-volume month for the U.S. auto industry, a month in which sales shot up 15 percent compared with the same period one year earlier, FCA’s non-Jeep marques posted only a modest one percent increase. Jeep’s 40 percent surge to more than 77,000 sales produced a 14 percent overall uptick for FCA’s U.S. operations, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram plus Fiat and Alfa Romeo. (Read More…)
Chrysler hadn’t been making the K Platform for long before they branched it out into the bewildering K Family Tree that confuses everybody to this day. Iacocca’s Chrysler-saving (or demise-postponing, depending on your point of view) platform gave us both the worst car in human history and a Dodged-down version of the swanky LeBaron GTS. Here’s an example of the latter that I saw in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)
When Chrysler went all macho with tough car names, it was partly an attempt to expunge the marketing memory of the cute and happy ads for the Neon. The Neon was much better than its wretched Shadow/Sundance predecessor, but still enough of a disposo-car that junkyards teem with them today. Mostly I walk right by discarded Neons (unless I see something unusual, like an Expresso or an R/T), but this ’99 Neon Sport has aftermarket performance gear to match its stickers and that’s interesting enough for this series. (Read More…)
Ram production will be coming back to the United States and car production moving to FCA’s Mexican operations, Automotive News is reporting citing anonymous sources.
The news comes just days after FCA and the UAW tentatively agreed to a new national contract while locals continue to hammer out the finer details at the plant level. According to the report, there will also be some movement of products within U.S. borders between FCA plants.
Dodge announced for its Charger Pursuit cars Friday an available 12.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen, which is five times larger than its 5-inch model available in some of its cars.
The 12.1-inch screen — which is only available on Charger cars for police for now — is meant to eliminate mounted laptops in the front seats of many police vehicles. The screen can be connected to a laptop in the trunk via ethernet cord, and can display functions such as lights, sirens, forward-mounted cameras and radio information.
Wake up, ladies and gentlemen, and listen to the happy news: we are in an automotive renaissance. The kind of renaissance that comes around but once every decade or two; the kind that’s accompanied by new designs and new powertrains and new features and new competition.
I am referring, of course, to the cargo van renaissance.
I’m not sure if you’ve realized it, but that’s exactly what’s going on around us: a renaissance of cargo vans. An explosion of new models, and new segments, and new powertrains, and new features, and new designs. When we look back years from now, we will all agree that the cargo van segment was forever changed by the years 2014 and 2015.
This has not been a banner summer for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In the past 90 days, FCA has recalled nearly 4 million cars and trucks for various issues including hackable cars, volatile fuel tanks, faulty airbags and now, in some of its Ram trucks, airbags with minds of their own.
In a statement Thursday, FCA said it was recalling more than 1 million pickups for a faulty steering wheel wiring harness that could rub against a spring and deploy the driver’s side airbag. The company said it was aware of two injuries related to the airbag deployment. Ram trucks — all models — made between 2012-2014 are affected by the recall. More than 235,000 trucks in Canada will be recalled as well.
In addition, FCA is recalling roughly 350,000 trucks for faulty welds and non-compliant side-curtain airbags.