By on May 7, 2015

00 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The alphabet soup of platforms that Chrysler based on the K-car during the 1980s and 1990s gets a little overwhelming to sort out. The “extended” K-car chassis was known as the E Platform and included the Dodge 600 (we’ve seen one in this series), the Chrysler E-Class (we’ve seen one of those as well) and the Plymouth Caravelle — essentially an E-class with a different grille — appearing for the 1985 model year. They didn’t sell particularly well, nor did they retain much value over the years, so spying one in a wrecking yard today is unusual.
10 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

No cassette deck, but at least you had FM to go with your AM in this car.

16 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not quite the “Tormented Faces In Hell” badness of the Ford Granada’s fake wood, but still not very convincing.

14 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner’s manual stayed with this car to the very end.

17 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior is a sea of cushy Simu-Velour™ upholstery.


A Plymouth, engineered with quality and luxury to challenge the Buick Century and Olds Ciera… but for hundreds less.

Here’s the Canadian version.

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70 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1987 Plymouth Caravelle...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    There was so little differentiation in some of the K-car models that it makes GM look stupid for putting so much “effort” into the A-body cars.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I love the way it flops around on its flaccid springs and shocks while making the u turn at the end of the first video, LOL!

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I have so much respect for the K car. Is it safe to say they pretty much created the modular platform?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Today’s Rare Ebay Find, something else you could buy at this time (though the opposite end of the spectrum).

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/221764989414?forcerRptr=true&item=221764989414&viewitem=

    An 88 Allante (misfiled as a DeVille on ebay) in black over two-tone red, in very nice condition, with the awful 4.1. (Thought only the 4.5 or the N* were used in these, so it threw me). $56,000 in 1988 – truly a staggering amount of money. I am thinking you could easily be in an S-Class instead.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Low miles but the awful 4100 with the added bonus of key parts not being available in the future (digi dash comes to mind). A 1,500 car at most and the proles already have it to 2,175 with 4 days to run. This in a 4.5 is easily worth 3,500.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Would it be that difficult to swap any failed gauges with the optional analog version?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          AFAIK there never was an analog version on Allante.

          This is what it looked like.

          http://i.ytimg.com/vi/GXpLrKS8EQA/hqdefault.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Starting in 88, analog became a no cost option!

            Check pic #33

            http://www.expertexotic.com/detail-1991-cadillac-allante_-2dr_coupe_convertible-used-12747973.html

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Never seen an analog Allante. These things were somewhat hot ten years ago simply because they were a cheap convertible of somewhat quality vs alot of the other beat ragtops and expensive Euro marques available.

            Here’s a nice article on the model.

            http://www.hemmings.com/hcc/stories/2007/11/01/hmn_feature20.html

            Additional: Oh and I forgot about the Bosch Teves braking system which I thought got dropped for MY89. Yeah F that ebay Allante, its a B.O.A.T. on land (bust out another thousand).

            “The early models had a Bosch-made braking system, which was terribly trouble-prone,” Tom tells us. He says the system can be rebuilt, but at a price. The later disc brake system incorporated several improvements, which proved reliable. Ironically, GM chose Bosch to produce the updated braking system. According to Dick Hussey, “The system was not inherently bad, but failed because of poor maintenance. Nobody told us we had to flush and replace the brake fluid regularly. For those who replaced the brake pads, which usually pushed the old fluid back into the master cylinder, that is very bad.””

            “The only option from 1987 through 1989 was a telephone, and the 1988-’93 models could be had with either analog or digital instrument clusters, unlike the earlier models, which only came with digital instrumentation.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Here’s an Allante specialty parts supplier.

            http://www.allantestore.com/

            ABS Pump – NEW
            Our Price: $800.00
            Core Charge – REFUNDABLE $250.00

            Air Compressor 87/88 New
            Our Price: $449.00

            ABS Master Cylinder – Rebuilt
            Our Price: $950.00
            Core Charge- REFUNDABLE $300.00

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Naah, $56k would only get you a loaded E-class.

    • 0 avatar

      Contrary to the seller’s claim, $56k is only about $111k adjusted for inflation, not $150k. At least according to the BLS.

    • 0 avatar
      ReallyRandy

      This Allante is an hour away from me. I kinda want to go look at it. Certainly a piece of history.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Don’t do it! There are so many reasons that it’s one of the worst years for the Allante. Read that Hemming’s article up there. You really need a 90+, or at least with the 4.5 if not the 93 with N*.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          MY89-92 should be acceptable. The other thing off the top of my head on the 4.x Cadillac motors is the odd combination of the alum block and iron heads. Back in the day the coolant needed to be changed regularly because of the alum block and the dealer provided tablets which were to be dissolved into then conventional green coolant by dropping into the rad IIRC. Modern coolants may negate the need for this, check it out if you are looking at a 4.x Cadillac. I don’t think these facts were widely known and thus any MY95 and earlier 4.x you’re looking at is probably running on aged coolant which should be immediately changed on purchase.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            The 4.1 in the allante was far removed from the troublesome ht4100

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good Lord the Ebay fools have it up to $6,400/37 bids. Really internet, really? I’m not sure this would have done 6400 in 2005 before the 30% inflation we’ve seen since then – this despite aging ten years.

            I have read Cadillac “fixed” 4100 for the 86 or 87 model year and it served as the basis for the legendary 4.5. This might be true, but then again Cadillac had “fixed” Northstar several times as well so I don’t trust them on “fixes”. Either the motor works out of the gate or I’m not interested, I hate to play “engine fix version” poker with old oddball cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Now they’ve got it at 73 bucks, these guys might take it to ten. Oh heck and its had 7 owners at 64K otc? Wonder if the digi dash’s odo even works properly?

            Oh look its got a duplicate title. Geez look at the mileage history on the registration… this thing is TMU.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL, some people don’t know what they’re getting into here. I sense some excited elderly people who don’t know about buying cars online.

            I bet if they checked their local listings they could find one that’s a much better deal.

            Or at LEAST doesn’t have the 4100 and TMU.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Looked as if it was two guys were fighting over it and a random third guy bid up last I checked. Granted this thing is TMU if you look at the carfax (and know GM digi dash odos like to not work over time) I think at least one of these bidders might be a collector as it did look clean (prob all serious bidders are, who else is forking over 7 large for a 27yo oddball car). Until around 2007 it looked accurate in terms of mileage on the carfax. The fact there were seven registered owners across several states (and a duplicate title issued) concerns 28CL (why the dupe? theft? salvage title get “cleaned”?). I wonder if it was just a moneypit for owners 2-6 hence a turnaround sale every few years till it was sold last. The lucky victim, er winner, will be proud man until he realizes he bought a B.O.A.T.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            My lot had one in the years I worked, Bob bought it and an 89 Reatta the same week (I can’t make this s*** up). The red Allante I only drove from the lot over to the electrical shop because well, it had alot of electrical issues. The car had some oomph as I gunned it of course the mile down the road. From what I recall hearing about it after the fact, it ran well but we couldn’t get all of the ornaments off the Christmas tree dash. I’m not sure what happened to it, I think one of the wholesalers took it and sold it to another dealer because I don’t remember us retailing it. The white Reatta was sweet except for one little issue: the popup headlights failed to pop up, ever. Evidently they used their own special motors unique to Reatta from what I was told which you couldn’t get in 2006. This car also disappeared quickly and I thought I was told we sold it to a friend of the owner.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So I guess with that Reatta, the owner will have to… rebuild those motors by hand or scour junk yards to find a junked one which may or may not have functioning headlamp motors?!

            Or just fix them so they’re up all the time, and not mess with the motors (probably what I’d do, if it was not collector quality).

            That would be one of those things where, if my headlamp motors still worked, I would not want to ever take the chance of driving the car at night, for fear of wearing them out.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Note that the 4100 as used in the Allante differs from the version used in the other Cadillacs and used a much different intake and port injection and made 40 more horses. That engines also integrated many of the changes that made the 4.5 a far better engine.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            75 bucks and 44 bids on that 4.1 Allante. I’d love to talk to the new owner.

            Questions:

            1. Why?
            2. Do you know anything about Allantes?
            3. Did you lookat the carfax?
            4. Do you know what TMU means?
            5. Did you know this is probably TMU?
            6. Did you know this had a duplicate title?
            7. Did you know an ABS unit runs $800 for the part?
            8. What do you think you can get out of it, in say a year?

  • avatar
    kinsha

    No pic of the odometer?

    • 0 avatar

      5-digit odometer, not much point.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        This model had the exact dash of my K car. My father had a rental Caravelle when his lemon New Yorker was in for the Failure of the Month. The version we had had silver background dash with fake words “Message Center” written as if it were vacuum fluorescent display digits. I really liked my K car; calling this a mushmobile would be an understatement.

  • avatar

    We rented an E-Class for a family vacation in 1984. It was a decent car, but the Chrysler 2.2 was woefully gutless. But I remember being amazed by the trunk because it was twice as deep as the RWD cars of that era and it was roomy enough that I didn’t get into fights with my brother over the backseat.

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      Yes, FWD packaging FTW. Youngsters today don’t realize what a paradigm shift FWD was…

    • 0 avatar
      Brumus

      Indeed, the trunk was cavernous (hyperbole, perhaps).

      Had the E-Class variant while a student and actually moved once in that thing: a dresser fit sideways across the back seat; a cot, night table, couple of folding chairs, computer and sundry other items fit in the trunk.

      Like many of its brethren, my E-Class blew a head gasket. I drove it to the boneyard at 5 a.m. one morning so as to minimize the chances of getting pulled over and sickening pedestrians with the noxious white cloud coming out the tailpipe.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’m really looking forward to Crabspirits seance on this one.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Problem with this one is the factory radio and overall decent condition of the car. This belonged to someone who died or became invalid.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know, the store-brand bottle of motor oil in the footwell is rarely a good sign.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Doesn’t mean much to me, Saturn SLs would start burning oil at 30K. Whoever had it last knew enough to keep an eye out for burning/leaking motor oil, this rules out alot of potential drivers in my mind who would have run it till it seized.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          That was something Luke picked up when the oil light flickered a few times while he was driving Grandpa Billy’s “old heap” back from Arizona after the funeral.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      @DW

      Would go something like this:

      The faded brown 1989 Dodge Ram rolled down the lane at the Goodwill auto auction and attracted interest from two buyers. The auctioneer’s lips moved what seemed like a mile a minute as the warring buyers fought over the tired pickup. Six hundred, six fifty, seven the numbers continued upward as Ray say in the Caravelle behind it. His aged eyes squinted through the large rimmed grey eyeglasses at the holes in the Ram’s tailgate. He was always amazed at the interest even the most beat pickups would draw, and how much more the somewhat together ones would bring. The Caravelle’s motor was noisy but running, as he eased up the lane he felt a miss when he accelerated through after the Ram was sold.

      The Caravelle was a good little car Ray thought. He tuned the radio to FM 89.3 and listened to the Mozart concerto as buyers walked around the Caravelle. He tried not to look directly at them feeling much like a fish in a fishbowl as their hands touched the sides of the Plymouth. He put the car in park and waited for the auctioneer to finish. Ray leaned over and dragged his fingers across the faux wood on the passenger side of the dash. Part of him hoped the Caravelle would not sell, but the better part of him reminded of the new Corolla payments. Pity how a car which brought back Chrysler -and brought back America- after the 1980 gas crisis could be so easily discarded today. Some people have no sense of history he thought. Ray got the signal to pull ahead and shifted the car back into drive to pull the Caravelle out of the blockhouse.

      “No sale, no sale” The auctioneer exclaimed before the next car pulled in, a well worn ’87 Diplomat.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “The Caravelle’s motor was noisy but running, as he eased up the lane he felt a miss when he accelerated through after the Ram was sold. ”

        Oh that familiar diesely wrist pin noise. The parts supplier for the shop I once worked at had a fleet of K car wagons they used for deliveries and that sound always meant that parts had arrived.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      Only way I could make a compelling story out of this one is if it had voice warning to go along with the no-name oil and death blood smeared fenders.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What was the price difference on something like this versus a quite superior M-Body Diplomat or Fifth Avenue?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Good question. I do remember reading that Chrysler discovered that Fifth Ave owners had a much higher median income than was expected.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Fifth Avenue had a lot of plush 80s style! I’m a fan. I’ll try and find this info out.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You need a 318 Fifth Avenue, make it happen Corey.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My grandfather had an 86, around the year 2000-2001, which he bought at an auction. I’ve mentioned it before around here. Triple red with velour, and it had 13k miles. It was UTTERLY pristine. And I learned to drive in it a little bit. So solid! So much heavy metal inside, and comfy velour!

            He only had it a couple years, replaced it with…
            02 Century Custom (blech), in silver. With cloth.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You need a Sunday car to complement the M37.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            M35! I’m not fancy enough for the M37.

            The problem is it will be parked outside. And the clear coat tends to go on these! I’ve seen a couple with rust issues, but they seem to fare better than other vehicles of this age.

            I am also very wary of purchasing a vehicle with a carb, when I’m not very mechanically inclined.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            EFI Panther it is then.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think my secondary vehicle should be an SUV, before I buy a tertiary large luxury or PLC vehicle.

            Of course according to V16vw I have zero cars and my mom’s basement is where I park all my Radio Flyers. LOL.

            This is of course down the road a little, as I’m about to get spendy repainting my house. I also paid off my college loans last month.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            I can see the wisdom there, but why be so practical?

            “I also paid off my college loans last month.”

            Somebody’s making it rain up in here. Sounds like I should be in the insurance biz.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I can’t help being a pragmatist. Plus it’s annoying to have to call my parents (who are 35 minutes away) when I need a new garbage can, or a little ladder, or something else with oil/grease/paint/nails needs transported or maintained.

            Cause every time I do that, my whole Saturday vanishes!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Well, a Diplomat (with police package) was $12,000. So, higher than that?

          Can’t find any 600/E/Caravelle pricing.

          http://www.allpar.com/photos/police-cars/vintage/price-sticker.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      Price difference was not insubstantial. Base price for this car with air was $10300, base for an ’87 Diplomat with air was $11700.

      I don’t know how quite superior the M car was. My recollection in ’87 is that they were heavy and clunky. An E car would have felt pretty light and spacious. I guess it depended on what you were looking for in a car. I always liked the way the E-cars looked, pretty clean style for a 4-door sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thanks for the price info.

        I lean toward heavy and solid, so light and K-Car don’t work for my Broughams.

        Also my parents had a Dynasty and that really put me off the K.

  • avatar
    3XC

    Oh man, one of my childhood friends inherited one of these. It didn’t run, and we never figured out why. He traded it for a 1989 Hyundai Excel hatchback, 4 speed manual, no AC, power nothing, it even had a “digital clock delete” where there was an obvious dash cutout for a small clock that was covered with a piece of nasty molded plastic. It had phantom switchgear that did nothing.

    I don’t know who got the better end of the stick on that trade.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Back in the 80’s a coworker of mine had one of these. He described the exterior color as “titty pink”.

  • avatar
    geo

    These cars were advertised as getting around 40 mpg, if I remember correctly.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I love that stereo. I miss the brushed metal look of the 70s and 80s, now everything has to be glossy piano black and attract dirt from all over the known universe.

    Also, did you take the manual? I snuck out a 1989 Thunderbird manual that was in better shape than my 1995 one on my last trip to the junkyard…

  • avatar

    A friend of the wife had an E version of the K car. No maintenance, lived in Brooklyn. She was always cash short among other issues. I watched this car survive 265k with a 2.2 turbo motor into an automatic. No car washes, no oil changes, no vaccum. Tire pressures up to chance. Lots of dings.

    The K car was a tough bugger.

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