By on February 16, 2016

15 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Everyone loves station wagons, right?

We saw three junkyard station wagons last week (a 1980 Toyota Corolla, a 1982 AMC Eagle, and a 1984 Ford Escort), and now we’re going deeper into the Malaise Wagon Era with this San Francisco Bay Area Dodge Aspen

08 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

This one has a decade-old City of Berkeley residential parking permit for Area G, which happens to include the famous Chez Panisse restaurant.

02 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Berkeley may be the most parking-ticket- and tow-away-happy city in California, with vast fleets of revenue-enhancing personnel searching around the clock for ways to turn parked cars into sweet, sweet money (many dollars of which are used for such city services as a sister-city program that links Berkeley with Uma Bawang and Mathopestad).

There’s an excellent chance that this car ran out of luck, got towed, and was not rescued by an owner who didn’t have the hundreds or thousands of dollars needed to get it out of Car Jail.

09 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Most of these cars came with Slant-6 engines, but this one has a 318- or 360-cubic-inch V8.

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104 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon...”


  • avatar
    FalcoDog

    I want one of these to drop a hemi in. What is wrong with me?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Nothing wrong with that. In sedan or wagon guise, these have got to be some of the most unassuming cars of their day (given that they replaced the Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant).

    • 0 avatar
      rickrod238

      Drove one of these out of show room floor in ’77. A beautiful two-tone, highly optioned wagon; The WORSE CAR EVER! Engine knock turned out to be faulty oil pump. Drive shaft fell out on the highway; faulty universal joint. Finally it caught fire when sealer dripped onto electrical parts. These were just a few of the highlights of my time with this little beauty. Only lasted 4K miles. I swore never to buy another Chrysler product again.

      • 0 avatar
        tinman93

        Quitter

      • 0 avatar
        jansob

        You and my dad both (and tens of thousands of others)…..no one in our family has ever bought another American car after the expensive experience of buying TWO of these sh*theaps at the same time. It may not be rational to avoid American cars after all this time due to the cynical con game of one company, but once you’ve owned a string of dead-reliable Japanese cars, why take the chance?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      it’d have to be a Gen III (5.7/6.1) Hemi; there’s no way the Elephant would fit in there.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    So no real commentary about the car, but plenty of Berk hate. Nicely done TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      Well, Murilee in particular has a long and colorful history with the area. Given that, you got to leave that slide.

    • 0 avatar
      Verbal

      Murilee’s jabs at Berkeley are on the mark.

      Back in the 80’s, Berkeley’s mayor was Gus Newport, nicknamed Gallopin’ Gus. He was often away visiting one of Berkeley’s impoverished third-world sister cities. At one point he made a trip to visit the sister city in El Salvador, only to find there was no one there. The place had been leveled by militants.

      As well-served as Berkeley’s sister cities were at that time, Ashby Avenue remained a potholed mess. But Gallopin’ Gus scored him some lefty cred.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        My point Gentlemen, isn’t the Berkley hate. Even as liberal as I am, I hold no love for the area. It’s more that I feel Junkyard Finds are more about the car and the niche they held in society more than just the sketchy owner. But then again, this is an example of perhaps one of the most forgettable cars in American history; neither great nor horrifying.

    • 0 avatar
      Ostrich67

      I was stationed at NAS Alameda in 1989 and went to Berkeley often. One night I got a parking ticket. Meter hours ended at 6 p.m. The time stamp on the ticket was 5:56.

      You suck, Berkeley!

      Which reminds me, I probably would have been on the 880 freeway when it collapsed in the 1989 earthquake, but my ship the USS Carl Vinson was at sea at the time.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I so want to love this but after 30+ years of transverse engines and gloriously useful & roomy vehicles like minivans and CUVs I can’t see old 2- or 3-box cars as anything but the equivalent of ancient console TVs with screens smaller than my laptop’s.

    Long hoods are now stupid but the past must be forgiven.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I remember our wood cabinet Zenith color TV. Probably just 23 or 25″ overall I’d say. Fake drawers on the front made it fancy! It migrated with the wagon wheel velour couch which matched it to the basement living room for a couple years.

      Then the tube started going bad, and they axed the whole room down there, furniture and all.

      It was replaced with a PS1 setup area that Christmas, and an air hockey table.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I remember those things. My inlaws had one when I first met my wife. By my estimation, it weighed about 1200 lbs. Long live flat panel TVs! Even my Plasma TV, in my basement, that I purchased in 2008 seems, heavy compared to new LED TVs.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          One of those things where there really is no drawback with newer TVs. Better picture, -1000 pounds, more reliable, better sound, more screenz, cheaper.

          I’m struggling with replacing my LCD with LED. My TV is from 2010, and I have no real reason to replace it save for I’ll have a thinner TV with LED. I’d also go up from 42 to 46 most likely.

          But I don’t NEED it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I like the LED TV that I bought in 2012. I’m sure it’s obsolete by now. My wife almost convinced me to buy a 46″ and not a 50″. This may be the only example of her admitting that she was wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            If I get a 50 I’d end up needing to upsize my media console – the screen would be about 99% as wide as the console is. I’m not sure I want that sort of furniture investment for no reason, either.

            I also need a swivel base, which I’m not sure is entirely popular right now in TV design. The ones I see most have 4 thin rocket legs.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Mine is mounted above the fireplace. There isn’t another place for it in the living room.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            :( I can’t do that, there’s no wiring on that wall, and it’s solid brick! Old houses fall down on “What can I change about this or that.”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well I have brick behind the plaster, so I couldn’t run wires behind the TV. I have to use this paintable cord hider stuff and build a shelf for the cable box/Blu-Ray next to the mantle.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That sounds difficult! I’m very anti-cord visibility as well.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            The fact that I barely know what you guys are talking about shows the extent to which we are ignoring modern TVs.

            We just huddle close around the ol’ 33″ (?) Samsung we’ve had for years to watch a little football and a lot of Brit TV.

            I’d much rather spend $$ on laptop real estate when my present one dies and if anyone still makes a 4X3 aspect matte display.

            Otherwise, games of checkers by lantern light!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            For gentle and comforting comedy directed at older people, you might enjoy the 90’s Britcom As Time Goes By, with Judy Dench.

          • 0 avatar
            JonBoy470

            One crucial use case for CRT’s. If you want to play Duck Hunt, you need an analog CRT. All flat panel HDTV’s introduce a few milliseconds of latency to the image, which the NES hardware doesn’t account for, so the Zapper doesn’t work.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            #vintageproblems
            #playvirtuacopinstead

            Never heard that before though, interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            As Time Goes By is one of the best British sitcoms I’ve ever seen. I don’t care as much for Keeping Up Appearances.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I am pleased and surprised you know of both of those! I’ve seen all episodes of each. Keeping Up Appearances got a little worn out by half way through – too many repeated jokes.

            And I didn’t like how Jean became such a paranoid, nosy, anxious person for the later seasons of ATGB, but it’s still enjoyable.

          • 0 avatar

            The drawback of LCD TVs is the blacks are grayer, compared to tube and plasma TVs, leading to a picture that lacks depth. Colors and contrast also suffer at an angle compared to both plasma and flat tube TVs. Too bad they stopped making plasmas. I would gladly put up with the extra weight and energy usage. I guess the process to make 4k was more expensive than making lcds 4k.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I love my Panasonic Plasma TV. I think it, in some ways, has a better picture than the newer Samsung LED TV that was rated super high by everyone. The LED is better in our living room though. It mounts cleaner above the fireplace, and has less glare from the large windows.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            By the time I was buying my first big TV, the fails of plasma were known, and I didn’t want to go down that road.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            My Sega Genesis looks like crap on my LED TV, that’s why I keep a cheapo thrift store flat-screen CRT around.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            ….I love my Panasonic Plasma TV. I think it, in some ways, has a better picture than the newer Samsung LED TV that was rated super high by everyone…

            Dare we go down the “quality of downloads” rabbit hole again but yes, the best plasmas have a better picture than any LED set which is just a LCD set with LED light sources. Panasonic and Pioneer made superb plasma displays. Sadly, the stigma of poor first generation plasma performance coupled with the marketing engine behind LCD TVs killed the plasma. Despite what some may think the market does not always determine what is best. Now, OLED sets – a totally different animal from LED sets – are phenomenal. The next generation of TVs are going to be great.

            As for life of a modern plasma, my wife is dutifully doing her aging test….32,000 hours to date on a Panasonic. Must be nice to stay home all day…

      • 0 avatar
        Ostrich67

        My family had one of those too, bought in 1973. Dad kept that for a long time, twenty years I think, and had “TV repairmen” come out to service it occasionally. The picture tube started going dim; they installed a booster box of some kind to brighten it and a “rebuilt tuner”. Those were the days of three network stations, PBS Channel 13, and two UHF stations, 22 and 53. Dad STILL doesn’t have cable.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      The Quality Goes In Before The Name Goes On!

      • 0 avatar
        mazdaman007

        The Quality Goes In Before The Name Falls Off.

        ZENITH !! Now owned by LG incidentally.

        • 0 avatar

          Duck Hunt doesn’t work on an LCD TV because they lack the electron gun that tube tvs use. Virtua Cop for the Sega Saturn or Dreamcast would also not work on an LCD or Plasma.

          Most TV’s that have “LED” on the package are actually LCD TVs with LED backlighting. Actual LED TVs exist, they are called OLED TVs.They sell them, but for now they cost about 3x as much as a comparable LCD TV. Supposedly they are close to plasma in picture quality, with most of the positive traits of LCD.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Looks like I’ll keep rolling that 27in Phillips Magnavox proudly assembled in USA.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            I just looked up how the Nintendo light gun worked. I always figured it was based on raster interrupt like the light pen on the C64 but nope, much different than that and really quite ingenious.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Recall the spoof on Saturday Night Live regarding Zenith? The heaviest TV ever…the parts go in before the name goes on.

  • avatar
    bfisch81

    Ours was a dark blue version with dark blue vinyl interior and slant six.

    Drove it until the mid 90’s when the floor finally rusted out completely and everyone was choking on exhaust from a rusted tailpipe. Despite that, it never quit on us.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Hopefully this has been crushed…19 years too late though.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The one part I remember about the Aspen and Volare was the unique front suspension with the torsion bars transverse instead of longitudinal like the other Chryslers.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Stop trying to make discount brougham work, it’s not going to work. That steering wheel and the center cluster are just hateful.

    What was the price difference between this and something like a Monaco Royal Brougham wagon? Double?

    http://www.automobile-catalog.com/photo/1977/662540/43866.html

    How was the reliability of the 318 when it didn’t have that weird fuel injection foisted upon it that the M-body had later?

    • 0 avatar
      roger628

      No 318 ever had FI except for the star-crossed Bendix system in J-Body Imoerals.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I thought the 318 had electronic throttle something or other which was an attempt at FI, in the M-body and also the 80-82 Imperial.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          You are thinking about the Lean Burn system which was a computer control with a electronic feedback carburetor. They were quite trouble prone and many people removed them and went to a replacement Carter carb.

          http://www.allpar.com/mopar/lean-burn.html

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yes, that! I know you couldn’t avoid it with the M-body. I also just learned that Honda had a lean burn system in some cars up through the early 00s.

            I really want an M-body Fifth Avenue, but I really don’t wanna deal with a carb.

            I alos just learned that in 86 the Fifth Avenue was the same price as a Civic Wagon 4WD.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            Evidently there is an aftermarket FI system for the Chryco 318 but its worth more than the M-body.

            http://www.summitracing.com/search/section/fuel-injection/make/dodge/engine-size/5-2l-318/engine-family/mopar-small-block-la

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, f-that! There’s a beauty with 60k miles at some dealer in middle of nowhere, asking $4000. Which is about a thousand too high, but hey it’s a dealer. I know they’ve had it for a while.

            http://chillicothe.craigslist.org/ctd/5438480748.html

            Pics show it has intact Lean Burn.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t think those are truly collectible. $1500-2 to take it off their hands else let them continue to sit on it.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I was just gonna rip out the 318 and drop in a 408 with Edelbrock EFI anyway if I got a M-body…

            Would go well with my 351W stroker Grand Marquis and my 383 box Caprice.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So then you’re $8K into a $2500 car (4K asking/4K for EFI)? Might as well toss in the $2K spinnin’ rims to make it 10.

            I think you’d be better off with a Panther Townie and adding a 351 EFI out of a later truck.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            If I’m gonna build a trio of 450+ horsepower boxy 80s sedans, we’re already in the realm of madness.

            In a not so mad realm, if I ever get a nice 460 Continental, I was gonna junkyard hunt myself an EFI setup off an RV or something and replace the C6 with an overdrive trans, picking up a few MPGs and a lot more driveability in the process.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well if we’re just dreaming stuff up, 460 in a Panther Limo, 383 Eldorado 3 spd (or Olds 403 swap), and then you’ll need a 360 Dippy with a Fifth Avenue interior swap.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            460 limo? Are you suicidal? That thing would roll over faster than a motor home on a cliff!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve seen it done, it cannot be unseen. In a word: top heavy.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, even non-collectible cars in pristine condition with 60K are worth more than $1500. Even if it’s a Hyundai.

            The appeal of these is more emotional to me. I have nice memories of the Fifth Avenue.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          We used to swap out the lean burn system and instead throw on a cop 4BBL intake and carb of choice for a big performance boost and better drive-ability. Surprise even mileage benefited.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Back when these were current, we rented an Aspen sedan at Denver Stapleton airport, heading to Aspen. That particular Aspen was in no hurry to get to Aspen, the climb up to Eisenhower tunnel was almost painful.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Except for vacays I’ve never had to deal with anything close to mountain driving. Business trips are invariably to hotel conference rooms near airports and my life has always been in flatlands.

      I’d probably have an entirely different view of engine-y stuff were I frequently confronted with that.

      Nah.. I’d still think NA 4-bangers were plenty. People can just damn well go around me.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        You have to remember this was back in the late 70’s, and the Aspen weighed around 3200 lbs empty and had 90 hp at sea level. At 8000 feet it was down around 67 hp, and the grade is steep – 6 or 7 percent I think. Any car built in the last 10 years, save maybe the Smart, has more power to work with. The NA four cylinders would be plenty.

        Even on that day, we were blowing past the tractor trailers at our 45 mph or so. Cars used to be a lot slower but somehow we always managed to get where we were going.

        • 0 avatar
          scottcom36

          We still managed to get plenty of speeding tickets, too. Granted it was the double-nickel era…

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yeah I just don’t know how we ever managed to get anywhere when cars didn’t have a bazillion HP like most do today.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Veeeeeery slowly, I’d imagine.

            Highway traffic with a bunch of early 50s cars with 150 (gross) horsepower at the most must have been something.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Surely they would have been easy to tune for more HP though, right? All those essentially unused cubic inches.

            Then you see one guy in traffic with a Jag or something, and he -can- actually go faster than everyone else in a Pontiac.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well a big reason why those old motors made super low power was because of super low compression…I can imagine that an Olds 303 Rocket at 8.5:1 compression would make a bit more than 160 horsepower.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the car that made Avis switch to GM after a longtime exclusive allegiance with Chrysler. When a fleet buyer of their size does that, you know a car sucks.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    There was an Aspen sedan in Death Wish 3 that seemed to disintegrate upon low speed impact. I feel like they did not do any modifications to get it to self-destruct so spectacularly.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I’m pretty sure they made them in brown and with a manual, which, coupled with the 360 V-8, would be the enthusiast pinnacle of these things.

    This is a surprise to see. Most Mopar F-bodies succumbed at least a decade and a half ago. Occasionally, you’ll see an “R/T”, “Road Runner” or Kit Car coupe version pop up on eBay, usually owned by someone who has a grossly overinflated opinion of its value.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Mustn’t forget the converted Volaré used in “Fantasy Island” as the transport vehicle. (And Ricardo Montalban’s (“Rich Corrrrrr-EEEEN-thian Lea-therrrrrrr”) sidekick Tattoo (a midget named Hervé Villichaize) had a miniature replica on a golf-cart chassis.)

    • 0 avatar

      I remember C&D tested an R/T Sport Wagon version of this with either a 318 or 360/AT combo. Didn’t like it.

      The local Dodge dealer supplied these to our HS Driver Ed. They always stalled on left turns. Our gym teacher/instructor used to say, “don’t worry, that one isn’t your fault.”

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Lloyd: Some place warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.

    Harry: I don’t know Lloyd, the French are a$$holes.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    My first car was a ’76 Plymouth Volaaaaray woodie wagon with the 318 V-8. Emission controls caused a stumble (more of a stagger, really) just off of idle that led to many butt-clencing moments when pulling out into traffic. It did 107 mph flat-out, with a positively nausea-inducing wallow over any bumps or dips in the pavement and an alarmingly disconnected-feeling steering system that BARELY allowed keeping it on the road at that speed.

    That said, the wagon part did come in handy on dates when I was a hormone-addled teenager…(Nudge, nudge, wink wink, say no more….)

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Heh – 16 years old and I went car shopping with my dad. He was seriously looking at a Volare with the slant-6. Thanks for my love of The Road Warrior, I looked at this piece of Chrysler engineering with distaste. Thankfully he didn’t pull the trigger on this. Instead I bought a ’68 Firebird a few months later – rusted rear quarters but even then it looked better than the Volare.

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      A high-school buddy had a late 70s Firebird Formula at the same time as I had the Volare wagon. I’ll be damned if the Volare didn’t consistently out-drag the Firebird up to about 60 mph… He couldn’t believe it, and neither could I. In the end, we decided that the tall gearing on that particular Firebird was to blame…

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Well most late 70’s Firebird Formula’s came with 140 HP 301 2BBL V8 engine and some the 4BBL option so that is not surprising. The real Firebird engines were in the TA with the 400 stick providing some of the quickest performing cars of that time era.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It would be pretty cool if it was the ultra rare 360…

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My dad test drove two wagons way back in 1983. One was a 1979 Cutlass Cruiser with the Chevy 305 4BBL V8, automatic, A/C, full power equipment, Olds rally wheels and the not so common at the time FE2 suspension upgrade and larger P205/70R14 tires. The window sticker was still in the glove box sitting nestled in the owner’s manual. Later that same evening he also test drove a 1980 Volare’ wagon just like this one but with the newer style square headlights and it was white with tan interior. It had the deluxe exterior trim and upgraded interior trimmed in vinyl. No power options expect steering and brakes but it did have automatic, 318 and A/C and a stereo at least.

    The difference in how those cars drove was mind blowing and dad was pretty set on buying the Cutlass except that the dealer wanted a very high price for it and wouldn’t budge an inch. The Volare’ was a grand less despite being a year newer but it drove and handled so poorly that he decided against both cars. Where as the Olds felt tight and eager the Plymouth felt loose, limp and rolly polly. The poor strangled 120 HP 318 needed foot to the floor to climb any hill with any verve whereas the 305 pulled and sounded so much better and he described the steering as lifeless and twitchy on the Volare’. In the end he decided on a 1979 Fairmont sedan with 200 six, a miserable car that I would inherit just 4 years later.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I HATE parking in area G. It is where my dad lives, and I used to occasionally eat free at Chez… so it’s a mixed bag kind of hate. The temporary permit, the “street cleaning days” when they religiously tow one side of the street and *sometimes* actually drive the street sweeper through… Driving in Berkeley is a crime, details will be filled in on the ticket.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Nobody did Malaise like Dodge…well, okay yes, Plymouth. AMC was horrible but at least their cars had a quirky charm.

  • avatar
    April S

    Say what you will about reliability but that vinyl interior sure held up well.

    • 0 avatar

      My parents had one of these when I was growing up – ’78, white, fake wood, tan vinyl. I have memories of getting leg burns from sitting on that vinyl in shorts.

      Maybe that’s why this one had the dark make-your-own-window-tint treatment.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        My Dad had a ’77 Volaré wagon as a company car. IIRC it was decent enough — had the infamous rusting fenders replaced under recall, along with a few other of the many recalls. I believe it had the “Super Six” in it, but don’t remember any lean-burn issues; maybe a ballast resistor or two was the worst mechanical issue.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I cross-shopped an Aspen coupe with 318 against the 78 Malibu 305, that I eventually bought. The Aspen was so bad that to this day when I think about checking out a Chrysler 300, or Challenger, I hear the voice in my head, “remember that crappy Aspen.”

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Collectors car! My loss is your gain! Wired for subs! Finish the project – V8 power! Lots of spare parts! I’ve run out of time!

    (just thinking of the Craig’s List ad you would typically see around this)

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I’m pretty sure that’s a 318, going by the tiny Carter BBD on it. AFAIK the 360 had a larger Holley carb.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    I want to remember some quirky appeal to the brown 77 sedan I drove for three years but I can’t quite manage it. Passing was terrifying, and having no rear defroster grid in a car sold in Alberta is a flat-out crime. Horn didn’t work except when the key passed through the ACC position when starting, giving a little toot each and every time you went to drive anywhere. Trying to fix this resulting in the most annoying high frequency shock through my fingers I can ever remember. It felt like the entire horn contact was hooked up to a furnace transformer. I never did figure that one out. Sun split dash, spring through the seats, split windshield. Good times. The stripper 2 door 85 Escort four speed I replaced it with seemed light years ahead of it. It was written off after getting rear ended by a rental car employee trying to get an Aerostar back to the airport at double-time, after I myself had barely avoided rear-ending a Hyundai pony which had run out of gas in the slow lane as I was returning home from a successful safety inspection just days after buying it. So many levels of suck in that one sentence….Turns out, it was for the best, as soon as the cold weather hit, it would pour out clouds of blue smoke during warm up, and tried to strand me on the highway between Calgary and Red Deer at -35C with a carburetor that kept freezing up. Foot to the floor at 30mph on the paved shoulder with black smoke belching out the back, between stalls at least. I burned a full tank of gas in the 90 miles between Calgary and Red Deer. If my buddy hadn’t been working late at the lube shop in Red Deer that night, I would have been hooped. Replaced it with an 86 Topaz, which had a miserable, neglected life at my hands, and tried to kill me once after a brake pad change, but was otherwise stone reliable.

    But Aspen, yeah, horrible. Always started though. Go Slant 6!

  • avatar
    glwillia

    My mom’s car for the first 8 years of my life was a 1979 Dodge Aspen, white/beige Slant-6 coupe. She liked it until she got t-boned in an intersection, and replaced it with a new ’89 Corolla. She never had any issues with it, but then we lived in Phoenix, where rust wasn’t an issue.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I grew up across the street from a white Aspen coupe, with T-tops. I thought it was kind of cool. Just needed a powerful V8. It was driven into the early 2000’s, when the owner died and his daughter got rid of it.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Plymouth also offered a 2 door version in Duster trim. Most likely because the Duster name still had decent catche and they were one of the best selling cars of the 70’s they decided to keep it. The louvered rear quarter windows gave it a nice non-landeau, malaise era flair.

    In the late 80’s my family picked up a base model Aspen wagon in white with this same blue vinyl interior at the town auction. You figure the fleet cars would have the V8, HD suspension and the 15″ slotted wheels but this car had the slant-6, a/c, AM radio and not much else. It was used by the building and water department for several years but had fairly low mileage. I welded up the hole in the rear quarter from the two-way radio, gave it a quick touch up and sold it to a friend of the family who was learning plumbing and needed a wagon type vehicle. They got a few years out of it which considering it was a Aspen above the norm.


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