Junkyard Find: 1976 Plymouth Volare Sedan
The Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1976, and they spent a good decade among the most commonplace vehicles on American roads. Then just about all of them disappeared, no doubt as they depreciated well below scrap value in about ten years. However, the occasional odds-beating survivor shows up in wrecking yards now and then; we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now today’s ’76 Volaré sedan. This one shows evidence of having sat for the last decade or so, but still managed to rack up many more miles than most of its Civic and Corolla contemporaries.
It’s always interesting to find old newspapers in junkyard cars; they let you know about when the car last functioned as a semi-usable vehicle. This ’65 Chevy Bel Air had a bunch of 1982 Denver papers, this ’60 Plymouth Valiant wagon had a few 1970 issues of the San Francisco Chronicle, and today’s Junkyard Find came with a trunk full of 2004 issues from the now-long-defunct Rocky Mountain News.
Certain topics haven’t left the editorial pages for decades.
This comic was important enough to the car’s previous owner to have warranted clipping and stashing in the glovebox.
Chrysler used this style of AM radio for most of the 1970s; I had one in my ex-water-company ’73 Plymouth Fury.
The Aspen/Volaré was the successor to the incredibly successful Dart/Valiant series, but its quality problems and notorious recalls nearly destroyed Chrysler.
Slant-6 engine with great big two-cylinder air-conditioning compressor. A friend of mine used to make and sell cut-rate shop air-compressors using these things.
The steering wheel was a lot snazzier than your typical Valiant’s.
Toyota used the Volaré as an example of what not to buy in their ’78 ads. This one must have made Lee Iacocca livid.
A “special” suspension!
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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