Junkyard Find: 1983 Dodge Aries

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1983 dodge aries

So, after Chrysler got those government-backed loans that saved the company in 1979— take note, members of the Iacocca Jihad, that I am not calling those loans a bailout (even though Uncle Sam would have been forced to cover them if Chrysler had failed), and thus you may rest easy that this writer is not lumping your favorite Italian-owned corporation in with the People’s Democratic Cadres’ Bailed-Out Motors Corporation— everything hinged on the K-platform cars being a success. And they were!

The really impressive thing about the Aries (and its Plymouth Reliant sibling) was that Chrysler managed to make a reasonably modern, fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive sedan that still felt like a real American car inside. Bench seats! Lots of room! Comfy ride! Look at this interior— except for the flat floor, you could be looking at the inside of a ’73 Satellite.

It even has hood springs instead of the usual small-car prop rod.

The Chrysler 2.2 engine was still carbureted in 1983, but it had an “Electronic Control System” (which I’m assuming was a primitive mixture-adjusting feedback carburetor setup).

These weren’t great cars by modern standards, but keep in mind that you could still buy the staggeringly obsolete and fuel-swilling Cordoba in 1983. The Aries got the job done, it was cheap, and it felt like a proper Detroit car. GM fell flat on its face trying to accomplish the same feat with the Citation and related X-bodies, and the company never really recovered from that debacle.

Many of us don’t take the early Ks very seriously these days, since Chrysler stuck with the platform and its seemingly hundreds of derivatives about five years too long, plus we’ve spent the last 20 years looking at completely hooptied-out beater Ks limping along on space-saver spares in a trail of oil smoke. However, this was a very important car, and it’s sad that the last survivors are straggling into the jaws of the Crusher.

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  • Alwayssmilin Alwayssmilin on Nov 24, 2013

    jhefner I understand your point and its well taken!! In a post above WAGEN stated why not bring the same quality back with upgrades. I can only go on what I understand living in t5he northeast. I personally know many people who say if the Kcars came back upgraded for safety and a few tweaks but staying away from the fancy computer upgrades they would jump on it. Making this short I asked many questions and they want sheetmetal because they are aware it can be painted and undercoated better. They also know a four banger is way better today!! Also many of these people have fond memories and it tugs at their formative years!! But we can debate back and forth!! I'm just going on a feeling more or less also on talking to people in a certain age group 37-55 I maybe wrong!! Would'nt be the first time!! I just have a gut that if these vehicles were brought back it would have a strong cult following!! I would if I could personally build a 100,000 of them and see how it goes!!

  • Armadamaster Armadamaster on Mar 05, 2014

    My used car dealer friend used to rent these off his lot well into the 1990's, loved them for rental beaters, & the later model Acclaims, Sundances, Dynastys too.

  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.
  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.
  • Mike Beranek Funny story about the '80 T-bird. My old man's Dart Sport had given up the ghost so he was car-shopping. He & I dropped my mom at a store and then went to the Ford dealer, where we test-drove the new T-Bird (with digital dash!)So we pull up to the store to pick mom up. She walks out and dad says "We just bought it.". Mom stares at the Mulroney- almost 13 grand- and just about fell over.Dad had not in fact bought the T-Bird, instead he got a Cordoba for only 9 grand.