Junkyard Find: 1989 Plymouth Acclaim Turbo

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1989 plymouth acclaim turbo

Members of the Plymouth Sundance/ Dodge Shadow K-Platform-based compacts of the early 1990s remain easy to find in self-service junkyards these days, but the larger stretched-K-derivative Plymouth Acclaim/Dodge Spirit isn’t so common. This probably has more to do with quantity sold than reliability, as both types are pretty similar under the skin. Here’s a first-year-of-production Acclaim Turbo, spotted in a Denver self-service yard a couple months ago.

The Taurus-inspired “bar of soap” design philosophy hadn’t caught up with Plymouth’s designers by 1989, though Chrysler would beat Ford at their own game a few years later, with the futuristic-looking LH.

153,632 miles, which is about average for junkyard-dwelling Detroit cars of this era.

You could still get a column-shift automatic on a bucket-seat-equipped midsize sedan in 1989.

The turbocharged 2.5 engine in this car made a fairly decent (for its time) 150 horsepower.

Curb weight on the ’89 Acclaim sedan was just 2,753 pounds (a little less than a 2013 Civic), so 150 horses went a long way.

Futuristic cassette-deck technology!

The white-with-red-tape-stripes scheme looks very fleet-car-ish, but rental-car companies didn’t buy many turbocharged cars back then.

Tina Turner: “You think you have to give up a lot to get Acclaim? Not when it’s a Plymouth!”

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  • Wjcraig78 Wjcraig78 on Jan 03, 2022

    I graduated HS in 1996 so that gives you a timeframe reference. Several family members had either the acclaim or spirit and they lasted a long time. I had a 95 Neon and considered trading it in on one of these used as I commuted and wanted something bigger. I drove a dozen of these models so I knew it was comfortable for a car from that era. They had some real fans out there my Grandfather had a 93. Just washed and waxed it in the summer of 1995, parked it under his deck (basement garage) The next morning my grandmother says to him where’s the car. It was gone. Her second comment was “see I was right for not letting you get rid of her old car”. She liked her 85 Caravel better and would not let him sell it. He a few weeks later got a 95 Stratus. Then found the stolen car in Philadelphia about 90 minutes away sitting in a tow lot torched. Insurance already paid himHe did miss his Acclaim though and eventually the stratus As My grandmother on the other hand gave him the Caravel as she preferred the new one. He drove the caravel till 1997

  • Butterfly81 Butterfly81 on May 22, 2022

    We drove these cars for drivers ed in high school!

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.