Junkyard Find: 1986 Dodge Aries K

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 dodge aries k

The quantities of true Chrysler K-Cars in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards have been declining a bit in recent years, though I still see enough of them that I choose only the most interesting to photograph for this series. So far we’ve seen this “Hemi 2.6” ’81 Dodge Aries wagon, this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon, and today I’m adding a gold Aries sedan that has special significance for me.

You see, this is the car that provided the hood for the “Lee Iacocca, Comintern Agent” mural that went on the Plymouth Reliant wagon judged to be the Worst Car In 24 Hours of LeMons History.

This hood now lives somewhere in California, having been removed from the Reliant by Iacocca zealots.

This car was in pretty good shape for a 28-year-old sedan that depreciated to scrap value by about age 10: no rust, interior not bad.

Lots of options, including air conditioning and AM/FM radio.

Quality engineered.

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  • Reicher Reicher on Mar 07, 2014

    My mom had one she bought used and the previous owner had it custom painted canary yellow with an black pin stripe down the side. She loved that box. She was so angry when my dad sold it on her and got a green Dodge Spirit. Even now my mom liked the k-car over the spirit haha. Theres also a guy back that uses a blue one to drive around town (has very little rust for being in the snowbelt of ontario) and last time I talked to him, he said the odometer has maxed out and restarted at least 5 times since him and his son have used it. I also know a mechanic who loves these cars for demolition derbys. I asked him why he like them and he told me "they are really hard to kill and only one specific way can knock it out easily....same with volvos"

  • Allan850glt Allan850glt on Mar 10, 2014

    Had one of these briefly in 2000. '86 Reliant K-SE. Black over red cloth. 2.5 TBFI, Auto, PS/PB, Air, tilt, cruise, p/locks, p/trunk release and AM/FM. I think it had about 150k miles on her at purchase and it cost a whole $400. Bought as a temporary car to replace my '89 Pulsar NX/SE. Old lady car from new. Had the 14 inch wheel/tires option. Actually moved pretty quick with the 2.5. These were my raver days so she got used and somewhat abused and was covered in an array of DJ stickers outside and glow in the dark planets and constellations adorned the headliner as well as held it up. Got a few good months of hard service out of it. Damn good on gas. Body was decent for an old Buffalo car, only the rear quarters were getting cancerous. Eventually the tranny started slipping and I didn't feel it was worth putting the work into a K car with a lot of miles and one that was starting to rust. Definitely had some good times in it. Sold it for $50 to a kid I worked with who wanted the front end for his sister's who's was black and now sporting a gray front end. It did what I needed while I banked dough for a Hyundai Elantra. You still see these from time to time around these parts. One Wegman's Market Employee has a particularly nice '81 Reliant Coupe in brown and tan with a front half vinyl roof, upmarket wheel covers and buckets. Cute and odd little driver that wasn't so odd to see many years ago. There's also a good few '8Os K Lebaron and 400/600 Convertibles driving around here in the nicer weather. Still kicking myself in the keister for not picking up an '84 Dodge 600 ES Turbo Ragtop in the ever popular Dusty-Gold Metallic a few years back!

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.