Junkyard Find: 1992 Plymouth Sundance

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Chrysler sold P-body compacts in near-identical Dodge and Plymouth flavors; we saw the ’91 Dodge Shadow yesterday, and the very same self-service yard has this ’92 Sundance.

In the early 1990s, cars sold in the United States were required to have maddening automatic seatbelts if they didn’t have a driver’s-side airbag. Chrysler opted to spring for the airbags in the Shadow/Sundance.

Here’s another feature you won’t see in most compacts of the period: hood hinge springs. Yes, Chrysler was willing to add several pounds of weight and (I’m guessing) $5 in cost to each Sundance, so that owners wouldn’t have to fumble for a hood prop. Corollas, Sentras, and Civics got no such convenience.

The problem was that these cars didn’t hold up under the rigors of street abuse for quite as long as their (non-Mitsubishi) Japanese rivals. This one nearly made 160,000 miles.

The Pabst-and-Marlboro diet of the car’s last owner indicates that perhaps the process of depreciation had gone as far as it ever would.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Sep 02, 2012

    The last of these being 94 model year had the motorized passive restraint on the passenger side only since the drivers side airbag was standard since 90. Apparently Mopar did not want to bother with passenger airbag for one model year since it was being replaced by the Neon.

  • CarPerson CarPerson on Sep 02, 2012

    Purchased a rootbeer-over-tan Sundance 2-dr auto new in 1990 for cash. A couple years ago decided to sell it on Craig's list after calculating we put 100 miles a year on it this past five years. Priced it at $2,500. After 12 serious inquiries in 24 hours, took it back off the market. Just learned Allstate Insurance values it at $1,000 if totaled. We have space in the garage for it, its well maintained and could drive cross-country if needed, it hauls darn near anything, goes, stops and steers just fine, and it's a great backup vehicle for two daily drivers.

  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
  • 1995 SC I'm likely in the minority, but I really liked the last Eldorado best. That and the STS.