Junkyard Find: 1988 Dodge Aries LE Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1988 dodge aries le station wagon

Given that just about everything Chrysler built for much of the 1980s and 1990s had some connection to the original K Platform, I don’t pay much attention to Ks when I see them in the junkyard. In fact, this ’83 Aries was the last “pure” K Car we’ve seen in this series. When I see an Aries K wagon with perfect Whorehouse Red interior, however, that’s when I reach for my [s]revolver[/s] camera.

The interior of this car looks showroom-spotless, right down to the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Velour™ upholstery and You’d Have To Suspend The Crap Out Of Your Disbelief To Think This Is Real Wood™ interior trim.

The Chrysler 2.2 engine had an overhead cam and electronic fuel injection by 1988, which made it comparable to the powerplant of an intergalactic starship when placed side-by-side with the Stone Age GM Iron Duke engine.

You’d hope that this space-saver spare was just used to get the car onto the flatbed for its final ride to the junkyard, but I’m betting that the last owner of this car put 5,000 high-speed highway miles on it. It’s a K-Car tradition.

Chrysler figured that reminding customers about front-wheel-drive would somehow sell more cars, because… the Accord had front-wheel-drive?

We really can’t talk about the K-Cars without discussing the United States government’s bailout of Chrysler in 1979. Oh, sure, the Chrysler Jihad will tell you that it wasn’t a real bailout, because loan guarantees aren’t the same as cash handouts… but what would have happened to those loans if Chrysler had gone under? Pay up, Uncle Sam! Anyway, happy ending, because the K bought Chrysler another quarter-century of life.

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  • Capev86 Capev86 on Mar 24, 2013

    forgot to mention that that the "FWD reminder" was used to fill the hole above the column when a floor shifter was used in leu of a column shift. the auto on the floor is kinda stupid, but it makes a 5spd swap much easier because the bracket for the shifter is already welded to the floor. not only did a lot of families roll in K cars in the 80's, but they were also popular with many police departments. even a 2.5 couldn't catch a 69 Roadrunner on the open road, but in cities idling economy is more important than top speed. and a smaller car can snake through traffic much easier than a big one. ever notice how motorcycle and bike cops are very prevalent during the summer months? oh...and the cop package "scout car" K's had a couple trick pieces that i managed to find for my project.....an oil pressure gauge (replaces the idiot light) and a 125mpgh gauge instead of the 85mph unit that was federally mandated on civilian cars in the early 80's.

  • 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.

  • 28-Cars-Later I'll offer this, offer a registration for limited use and exempt it from all inspection. The Commonwealth of GFY for the most part is Dante's Inferno for the auto enthusiast however they oddly will allow an antique registration with limited use and complete exemption from their administrative stupidity but it must be 25 years old (which ironically are the cars which probably should be inspected). Given the dystopia being built around us, it should be fairly simply to set a mileage limitation and enforce a mileage check then bin the rest of it if one agrees to the terms of the registration. For the most part odometer data started being stored in the ECU after OBDII, so it should be plug and play to do such a thing - this is literally what they are doing now for their emissions chicanery.
  • Probert For around $15 you can have a professional check important safety areas - seems like a bargain. It pointed to a rear brake problem on my motorcycle. It has probably saved a lot of lives. But, like going to a dentist, no-one could say it is something they look forward to. (Well maybe a few - it takes all kinds...)
  • VoGhost ICE is so dangerous.
  • Akear Back as early as 2014 Ford was building some pretty decent vehicles. The Ford Fusion was getting good reviews and selling around 300,000 annually. The Mark MKZ was also the top selling US luxury car at the time. My Ford Fusion is approaching the 200,000 mile mark, while current Fords blow gaskets at 40,000 miles.
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh yes ; required with non-federal legal penalties for deliberate violation https://imageio.forbes.com/blogs-images/trevornace/files/2015/12/smog-surrounds-beijing-1200x899.jpg?format=jpg&width=1200