By on January 17, 2012

The TV show Dynasty was long gone by 1993, but Chrysler kept the glamorous Dynasty name on their C-Body cars (the 114th variation of the K platform) until 1993. The Dynasty is one of those cars Chrysler wishes we’d all forget (right down there with the Diplomat-based LeBaron), and thus it seems historically significant when I find an example in the junkyard.
Say what you will about the misery of a very-long-in-tooth platform being used as the basis for a luxury car that caused the Europeans— or even GM— exactly zero lost sleep, but you must admit that this is one seriously pimp-grade red velour interior. I’m tempted to go get these seats for my A100!
You’d have to be a pretty low-budget pimp to feel at all fly in a Dynasty, once you looked at the exterior. Perhaps a pimp working the Oildale, California, Greyhound station in 1996 might have felt a tiny glimmer of car pride while stepping out of his Dynasty… no, he’d have traded it in on the Dodge C-Body’s much better-looking replacement: the Intrepid.
The Chrysler-made 3.3 V6 made a pretty-good-for-a-K 149 horses, and it also benefited from not being a Mitsubishi product.

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52 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Dodge Dynasty...”

  • avatar

    Based on the Handicap sticker, it was running until 2008.

    I’d give it some credit for lasting that long and looking pretty good for being on the road that long. Looks like 147K on the odometer.

    I’m a bit surprised at the wind up windows though.

    • 0 avatar

      The purpose of this car is to compete against the Chevrolet Celebrity.

      GM took crappy X Body car parts and stretched them into a C Body success story. GM had to build a car for their repeat customers turning in their old rear drive full and medium sizers. The C Body let GM fill the bill during the 1980s while paying off the costs of the X Body disaster. It worked. GM sold a million C Bodies across the brands and across the US.

      Chrysler did the same thing with this car. It was never a superstar, because it wasn’t supposed to be. It was supposed to be a Chrysler version of the GM C Body. The K cars were successful, and well, if GM could do it – why not Chrysler? Chrysler was getting people to buy old Valiant/Volares by naming them Fifth Avenues and LeBarons, why not make a decent six person mid sizer off a an actually decent car like the K car?

      Sorry if it doesn’t thrill you, but frankly, this was never intended to be a thrill of a ride. Some cars are not intended to stop traffic and make you the life of any party.

      This is the auto version of the dark brown hair, brown eye, 5’9″ caucasian male. The auto version of the sparrow. The auto version of soft white bread. The auto version of Dayton Ohio. Those are good characteristics. That’s better than being the auto version of Detroit. Or the auto version of Dippin’ Dots.

      Marketers want you to think that you can be more than just another VanillaDude. I’m here in my 1993 Dodge Dynasty telling you that there is nothing wrong with telling marketers to take a flying leap into the nearest pile of PR poop they excreted, because being plain vanilla in a world of poop is better than poop.

      Embrace your normalcy.

      • 0 avatar

        The Celebrity/6000/Ciera/Century family were A bodies. C bodies were the 98/Park Avenue/deVille. It would a heck of an engineering job by GM to morph a Citation into a RWD Fleetwood.

      • 0 avatar

        Well spoken, I always do say “Better to be boring than ugly”, mostly when referring to modern cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah – A Bodies.

      • 0 avatar

        Vanilla, I was thinking Columbus, OH, but I get your point. And yeah they were decent cars for their time. If this was modern times and a car like the Dynasty has the same interior room and mpg’s in relation to it’s competition as it did back then the press would be all a titter (or twitter) about this car. MPG’s were not as big a deal back then and there were plenty of cars with the same room (but thirstier).

  • avatar

    I wanted to hate this car, but the moment I felt the 3.3L’s torque, the very supportive (not sporty, natch) and soft velour seats and buttery soft ride, I knew I was in a proper Yank Tank.

    A terrible tank, but still…the genre’s dead and now I have to appreciate them all.

    • 0 avatar

      I try to appreciate Yank Tanks, but I can’t muster much love for the Dynasty after driving one several times. I think I’ve never driven any vehicle with worse steering feel. It wasn’t the “drive with a single finger” overboost of a ’60s or ’70s land yacht, nor was it of the “slight assist” style of many a Euro-box. Instead it seemed to vary in effort and feedback throughout the wheel’s travel, never giving me any confidence in what the car was doing.

      • 0 avatar

        Back in college, I bought a Dodge Daytona dirt cheap after I wrecked my Plymouth Champ. One thing I noticed about the steering was that I was indeed able to drive it with two or three fingers, and I thought all cars were supposed to handle like that. After I got rid of it, I wondered why none of my cars ever handled like that.

    • 0 avatar

      I inherited my grandmother’s New Yorker. In its time/context, it was a great highway cruiser, which is just what I needed most since I was driving 36,000 miles/year at the time. The car road great, got 30+ mpg on the highway, roomy, comfortable, and mine was very reliable.

    • 0 avatar

      I inherited one of these from my Mother when she was incapicated by a stroke. I thought the roll-up window and power lock combo it had was pretty rare until looking at these pictures. It took a Tank to finally kill the thing, an F350 sideswiped my stepson while he was driving it. Got way more than the car was worth from the insurance company to fix it, and it was still driveable after the accident. Finally sent it off to the scrapyard when the ultradrive died from sitting around. That 3.3 is a beast of a motor, very hard to kill if you can stand the lifter noise.

  • avatar

    Oddly, Dr. Gregory House drives one. Maybe because of his gimp leg.

  • avatar

    My sister and her husband once had a ’90, or was it a ’91 Plymouth Acclaim version of this very car, though theirs was black and had the then very new 4spd auto in it which DID slip and freewheel as they noted the tach rev up when it shouldn’t, indicating problems with the transmission.

    I don’t know what motor it had, prolly this very one in theirs as well.

    Anyway, they finally traded it in for a ’94, I think Plymouth Grand Caravan that they drove until I think 2003 when it was replaced, smoking motor and all, but still moving pretty well under it’s own power (I think it WAS the Mitsu V6) on a lightly used Toyota 4Runner that they are still driving with something like 250K on it if I recall my BIL saying over a year ago.

    Back in 2009 when I show a whole bunch of cars, 1992 or so and earlier in a project to see just how many I can spot between my apt and the grocery store when inspired by your old DOTS series on Jalopnik and one of the cars I photographed was a battle scarred Dynasty in this very shade of purple parallel parked on Melrose just a few blocks from my apartment here on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

    On that very day, I also spotted an early Cressida and a very early (read, early 70’s) Datsun truck in turquoise with red wheels – all stock too.

    Indeed, this period of time was Chrysler’s darkest days though some of their cars and trucks were clearly better than others, their vans were one that were clearly above the rest of their fleet.

    • 0 avatar

      There was no Plymouth equivalent to the Dynasty. The Acclaim’s Dodge sister was the Spirit (and yet another LeBaron variant for Chrysler) while this was retrimmed as the Chrysler New Yorker, with stretched Fifth Avenue and Imperial (yuck) models.

      • 0 avatar

        OK, you are right, since these had a similar side profile to the Acclaim/Spirit, though the Dynasty was boxier, I get them mixed up occasionally.

        I know the purple one I saw with battle scars WAS the Dynasty.

      • 0 avatar

        I once worked for a company whose owner died in an Imperial of this vintage…on the freeway, of a heart attack, in rush hour traffic. Not exactly like going out while having a threesome with two buxom blondes, ya know?

  • avatar

    I used one of these in a series of youtube videos where we jumped it through a huge cardboard unicorn and a wall of tv’s. That thing took a hell of a beating. I was hoping to get one or two jumps out of it, instead we ran it until boredom set in. Lost a few tires, tore out the front motor mount and ripped the wires of the starter but she was still running and driving when I donated it to the local high school for homecoming. Not bad for a $100 car.

  • avatar

    I’m fixated on the “formal” (I think that’s the term) nearly vertical rear window, and the massive trunklid it enables. I remember at the time being told that this acted like a spoiler, and offered good aerodynamics. GM’s A-bodies (Celebrity, Ciera, Century) looked like this too.

    Compare it in your mind’s eye to the swoopy, steeply-raked rear windows on every current midsizer, and the resulting mail slot that provides access to the trunk.

    Aesthetically, I imagine most people would prefer swoopy, but with the blindingly-large C pillars and tiny trunk openings, we’ve lost some function with these designs.

    • 0 avatar


      Why is it impossible to have a “formal” roofline even on large luxury cars these days? Let people who want a coupe-roofline sedan buy a CC/CLS/A7.

      I’m pretty impressed at the amount of interior room in this car, and at Chryslers of the era in general. The rear seat looks pretty spacious considering thse cars weren’t very large on the outside (20″ shorter and 9″ narrower than the 1993 Crown Vic).

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll have a guess that near vertical rear windows have an effect on the aerodynamics of a car. I could be wrong, but air flowing over the roof would then immediately spin into the gap behind the vertical window, causing eddies which will slow the car down a little bit. In today’s fuel-frugality obsessed world, this just won’t do.

  • avatar

    Good basic transportation.*

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    *Change your fluids regularly!

  • avatar

    Not terrible at all, as SM said, the 3.3 was more than adequate and the tall roof made for great headroom. I never cared for the vertical back glass but it was great for visibility. These cars were not bad at all. On par with the rest of the industry and certainly better looking than a damn Soviet bloc styled Lumina of the same era.. : )

  • avatar

    It was Car and Driver if I remember correctly, that referred to that interior color as “funhouse red” in the early 90s. Sadly haven’t seen that in print recently as all color has been banished from car interiors.

  • avatar

    The OHV 3.3 and its large-bore twin the 3.8 were excellent engines, seeing service until 2011, I think. This Dynasty probably didn’t die due to the engine.

  • avatar

    There were many atrocities from the malaise era, but I’d hardly rate this car as amongst the worst. The impressive interior space and trunk have both been cited. The styling may be boxy by today’s standards, but this vehicle must be judged against the vehicles of the day, not today. The LH vehicles that replaced this one were very sophisticated for their day. The Dynasty was becoming dated by 1993,but it was due to be replaced. While others had already replaced their mid-sized offerings with more ‘jelly bean’ styles, we’ve always known Chrysler for being late to the party, but then suddenly being the talk of the party, as they were with the LHs.
    The Dynasty and their Dodge/Plymouth siblings survived very well up here in the hinterland. Chrysler has always had spotty mechanical history, but their bodies hold up very well to the punishing Canadian winters and nasty road salt.
    There’s no point in glorifying a vehicle’s mechanical prowess, if the body rots out from under it within 5 to 6 years, as the Japanese offerings traditionally have up here.
    My ’91 Caprice had the bordello red color. Pity that we only can choose between boring beige, glum grey and (maybe) dark grey for our interior choices today.

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, but the Chryslers in the 90’s were, aside from the Ultradrives, pretty good cars – those based on the K platform anyway. We owned several of them.

    Roll-up windows? Sure. Power windows weren’t universal until fairly recently. A friend’s company Eagle Vision had manual sideglass. It was a 1993 model. I priced Intrepids back then, and manual glass was the base model norm.

    We had a 1990 Acclaim for 10½ years and my brother-in-law had a Dynasty for almost that long, it seemed. Take an Acclaim/Spirit, blow up the inside with air and you have a Dynasty. Chrysler wriggled as much interior room as possible – look at the paper-thin doors, which was the SOLE reason I didn’t buy one. Getting t-boned would put you all the more intimate with the grille that hit you.

    What, exactly, is wrong with the formal roofline? I loved it.

    • 0 avatar

      Definitely agree on the formal roof line, I would give up a mile or two per gallon in economy any day for decent rear headroom and mafia style trunk volume and access. How long will we have to wait out the current fastback sedan design nonsense?

    • 0 avatar

      I agree I also love the formal roof-lines, very classy.

    • 0 avatar

      Zackman, I agree. These really were not bad for what they were. That formal roofline was a Lee Iacocca thing. He wanted it and so it was. From the inside it was great. And other than the Ultradrive (admittedly a big “other”) they were quite reliable…

  • avatar

    My Dynasty had the smoky 3.0L Mitsu mill. A 3.3L would have been greatly appreciated. Overall, the car was great, but that instrument cluster! Chrysler could have made it look more symmetric.

  • avatar

    These were rental car fodder in the day. Rented many of them — and compared to the (other) rental car fleet special — the Chrysler New Yorker (Aspen with plushness added) — this was a delight to drive and ride in.

    Not bad for the day, really.

  • avatar

    I don’t think that they made 1993 Dynastys. The Intrepid came out in Fall 1992 as a 1993 replacing the Dynasty as I remember. I actually wanted one of these as a business car (insurance agent). I ended up getting a 1993 Intrepid instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      I think the Dynasty may have actually hung around through 1994, at least in fleets. Plus, Chrysler probably didn’t want to completely alienate its more “traditional” buyers by going full-on LH all at once.

      My father briefly had a new ’92, white over red. A classic fleet car. Nothing special, but mostly inoffensive — and sort of fun to drive in its way.

  • avatar

    Friends had a nice example of one of these for a while last year. Very clean and straight, but the tranny was stuck in second gear, which made starting on hills and going down the freeway very interesting. We also found a large stack service receipts in the glove box.

  • avatar
    Buster Brew

    My Father had one of these, 1989 I think, with the 3.0 Mitsubishi V6 and 3sp trans-axle and was quite pleased with it. Dad’s Dynasty was the same Black Cherry exterior as your junk yard find but with a more subtle (gray, I think) interior. For a K based car stretched to it’s limits the Dynasty was a nice car, much nicer than Dad’s previous Dodge Diplomat. Dynasty’s, C body New Yorkers and the smaller K based Spirits, Acclaims and Le Barons are still quite common on the roads around here.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I always thought the Dynastys were the perfect college car for those who really don’t care about cars.

    They are nice highway riders when you have to take that long drive home. Plus, you can squeeze in six or seven whenever there is a need.

    In the auction world we call them ‘Die Nastys’ for the way the 3.0’s belch out smoke when coming through the lanes. But as a 3.3L the Dynasty was a decent beater.

  • avatar

    I happen to like these cars. But to me, they’re exotic, as I am European. These cars were never sold here, all we had was beige opels and beige volkswagens. And some Japanese cars, but not the same as the us had.

  • avatar

    Anyone else surprised how clean and intact that interior is? Usually crusher-bound cars look a bit more…crime-scene-y.

  • avatar

    I learned how to drive in a 1991 Dynasty, nicknamed “The Nasty” after the DY fell off the name plate. It would have been my first car had the much abused, by my older brother, transmission not crapped out on it.

  • avatar

    It’s not precisely correct to say the TV series Dynasty was “long gone” by the introduction of the 1993 models, given that it was on the air until the end of the 1990-91 season. I never watched it, but my Yorkshire relations did (in the UK they pronounced it Dinnasty).

  • avatar

    In Canada these were badged ‘Chrysler’ Dynastys, not sure why. They were very popular. Here in Vancouver there are still a lot of them on the road. I always thought they looked sturdy and utilitarian. But the stretched New Yorker Landau versions were hilarious. One auto journalist at the time referred to the interior styling as “K-mart meets baroque”.

  • avatar

    Man, this thing makes same-era Buicks seem adventurous…can’t honestly recall anything that screams ‘old man’s car’ as much as this. From the blocky styling, the squared-off instruments, basement rec-room style wood panelling…just the whole vibe it gives off is early-bird dinner at Shoneys.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    There are actually 3 or 4 of these beasts running around Gallup, NM. The clear majority must have the 3.3 cause I can only remember one smoking one. One of the cars in question is a real “grandma special” that looks showroom, the others have been driven through many an arroyo without mercy.

  • avatar

    I’m going to be the weird one here, because I’ve always loved these cars. In 1989 my parents bought a slightly used 1988 Dynasty LE. The car was practically loaded, featuring dual eight way power seats, Infinity stereo that still ranks as one of the best sounding I’ve ever experienced, and a host of other luxuries. It was a seriously nice car. The former owner had the windows tinted limo dark. Oddly enough, my parents became friendly with some doctors and other well-to-do’s, and they all thought the car was classy and it fit in well in our various social circles.

    If time and money permitted, I’d love to have a loaded, well-kept example in my garage.

    Lastly, these were made from 1988 through 1993, in the Belvedere, IL factory that the Dart will be coming from.

  • avatar

    We had tons of these in our sales fleet when I first entered the workforce. We kept our cars for 80,000km (50,000 miles) and most of them went through at least one transmission, and not infrequently two. Negated any benefits from the 3.3L V6.

  • avatar

    The Spirit & Acclaim soldiered on in Mexico for many years after they went out of production in the US.

  • avatar

    In late 1994 I had one of these for a week or so as a rental car. It had the 2.5 (I think) 4 cylinder. It looked awful styling-wise (to European eyes) and the suspension was very soft but once I got used to it I quite liked it. The engine was torquey with a good turn of speed and reasonably refined for a 4-banger. It was easy to drive on a long run and fairly relaxing. Far better than the Ford Tempo I had a few years previously.

  • avatar

    I once rented an ’89 Dodge Dynasty LE. Possibly the worst-handling car I have ever driven. I always wondered if “LE” stood for “Linda Evans”.

  • avatar

    My parents bought a Dynasty in 88 brand new. It was the same grey color, with dark grey on the inside. I don’t remember there being as much wood trim though.

    I used to want to sit in back on the left, and peer up to the drivers side to watch the little lines pop up when one of the doors was opened. I always thought that was so cool.

    I also remember getting in quite a bit of trouble a couple of years later, as I sat up front waiting for my mom to run something inside over at the babysitters house. I grew impatient, and decided to stick my two front teeth through the top of the vinyl door panel. Left two little punctures there, which took a while to notice.

    They had the car for about 6 years, and about 88k miles it started burning oil horribly, and having an issue where it would just die at random times (intersection, highway on-ramp, etc). They dumped it in 94 for a Plymouth Grand Voyager in ice blue.

    Aside from that, my grandfather had a New Yorker (91 I think) in the same grey color, with a dark grey landau top on the back. I loved all the buttons in that car (all chrome surrounded IIRC). It had a terrible oil leak which he didn’t want to bother fixing, so he got rid of it quickly.

    Even back then, I liked the longer, larger New Yorker better than the smaller Dynasty counterpart.

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