Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis
bodacious beaters em and road going derelicts em special arrow
To open this entry, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for your interest and comments! One of the reasons for my less-than-tight-on-the-bottle approach with this column is to encourage participation and expression.

It seems to be working!

While I did notice that some of the comments seemed to suggest a combination of low visitor traffic and lack of good new material (on the writer’s own sites), as well as evidence of some fairly tightly focused OCD, I don’t seem to be personally experiencing those issues while proceeding with the compilation of my “BODACIOUS BEATERS: and road-going derelicts” column. This week’s entry is no exception to that, and certainly is a “special” one, indeed!

Some years ago, I owned a Plymouth Arrow Pickup.

It was a 1980 model, with the balance-shafted 2.6L engine, 5-speed trans, and a slight body lift kit installed. It was one of the sweetest mini-trucks I’ve ever owned—all the Toyota Hi-Lux units I’ve had before or since notwithstanding! I really liked the styling, the chassis was pretty rugged, the engine was smooth (if not just a bit underpowered), and it was easy to work on (even the needed functionality mod’s made on carburetor, distributor, and exhaust system were fairly intuitive).

To see one of these models in convertible guise is like the getting icing on the proverbial cake!

Granted, the truck-utility factor is compromised somewhat, but really, who could argue with the cool-factor?!

I’m not sure when the convertible conversion was done on this particular example (likely from model year 1981), but the quality is well beyond anything resembling a hack job, for sure! I did a little research (as you know, that’s not the main focus of this column), but couldn’t find any reference to any convertible-ized D50 / Arrow Pickups—either as production or one-off units.

The paint appears to be original, and overall, the little mini is in as good a shape as is the paint. It’s not in “show” condition, mind you; and when I shot these photos, it had a light coating of sawdust on the exterior. The Rolling Stones icon may or may not be appropriate, depending on personal tastes—but kudo’s to the owner for letting his “Freak Flag Fly”!

Of course, all of these ingredients combine to make it truly a special “BODACIOUS BEATER”!

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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2 of 8 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 24, 2013

    I had a silver 1985 Mitsubishi Mighty Max with 4 on the floor, sliding glass rear window, and air for over 14 years. It was a great little truck and it had 200k miles when I got rid of it. It had an 8 foot bed and it was a solid truck. You don't see too many of them anymore.

  • -Nate -Nate on Feb 24, 2013

    I remember these well ; The Dealers in So. Cal. had the rag tops added by a place in Long Beach Ca. that sadly , is long gone , they always did nice works and converted many Toyota Coupes too . -Nate

  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.