By on April 30, 2016

600

The Chrysler Corporation was riding high again by 1984, but were they riding high when they made this ad?

A turbocharged engine was a brand-new option that year, and the resurgent automaker clearly wanted to celebrate the hot little 2.2-liter by having one abduct a woman and take her to the afterlife.

There’s a distinctive horror movie vibe to the beginning of this spot for the ’84 Dodge 600 ES Turbo. A beautiful young woman working late in an office, ominous music, seemingly paranormal activity — if slasher flicks have taught us anything, it’s that this lady’s gonna get it.

We soon find that the terror coming for her is of the convertible variety.

The first-generation turbo 2.2 packed 142 horsepower, but we didn’t know it had such pulling power. Crawling up the side of the building? Really? That’s the stuff of nightmares.

Once inside, this sporty drop top offers a one-way K-carriage trip to heaven, where shirtless men ride white horses and doves scatter as if in a John Woo action sequence.

Is that a brief reflection of her dead childhood dog?

After she comes down off of her trip — er, from her trip — Ms. Dodge 600 is pleased to find she’s no longer alone in her office. As she casts a sultry gaze, we now see that her fling with a turbocharged suitor has only just begun.

Chrysler tapped special effects company Dream Quest to help film the 1984 spots, which were clearly influenced by movies of the time. If you’re looking for a dystopian, Blade Runner-esque thriller, don’t miss the following Dodge Daytona ad, starring an actor who resembles David Hasselhoff and Dirk Benedict:

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46 Comments on “This 1984 Dodge 600 Turbo Commercial Is a Nightmarish Fever Dream...”


  • avatar
    April S

    The only thing she got was iffy build quality and poor reliability.

  • avatar
    Wagon Of Fury

    They did lots of coke in the 80s.

    I had those wheels refinished and mounted on my late 90’s Integra.

    That is all.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Now I want to watch “Kung Fury” again!

    Dang it I’m still at work though. Maybe I can hack time and get home sooner. Just have to be careful not to hack too much time though!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The tenant’s association warned her about parking cars in the building, this is going to be the final straw.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    The Turbo LeBaron wagon was a very decent package at the time, in essence the twin of the Dodge 600. I recall many cars of the “malaise” (I hate that label) as being very competent. Lincoln Mark VII, Dodge Daytona Turbo and Colt Premier Turbo, Conquest and those are just a couple from memory. Remember, the BMW 320i wasn’t exactly a barn burner and the few used 633-5’s that I saw had many lights lit up that were supposed to stay dim. The Mercedes of the time cost as much as three 600 turbo convertibles and in 1984 I believe prime was still up near 15%. So, $10k cost $266 (about) for 48 months. Ergo, a 450 SEC would cost $700 monthly with 20% down. That should give our younger bretheren perspective on where our money went circa 1978-1990. But, still, this is a bizarre commercial by anyone’s standards, 1985 or 2016.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Man, what a prime example of a real ’80s babe. Beautiful lady.

    The 600 couldn’t overcome the limitations of the K-car platform unfortunately. The buzzy 4-cylinder was still buzzy even with the turbo, unrefined ride, vague steering. Add in Chrysler’s questionable build quality and you have a car that probably average at best for the times but would be positively 3rd-world today.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    The ad was effective; I’d like to buy one now.

    It looks so much like a real car!

    Perhaps when FCA drops all their cars and just makes SUVs, they could get an exemption from the feds to just make a slightly updated version of the K cars. No need for a nine speed transmission – put a nice 3L V6 pentastar in there, give it a little bit of safety upgrade so it’s about as safe as the bottom-line Kia, and print money.

    It would sell more at a better profit than most other stuff they’re doing. It would likely not have the mechanical parking brake, electrical parking brake, or clutch plate explode in catastrophic fashion.

    I forgot how advertising could communicate more with a nice smile – she didn’t even take her clothes off or ride the hood.

  • avatar
    dwight

    Chrysler got a lot of mileage out of one platform. Only thing is the people who bought them didn’t get a lot of mileage out of their crappy Chrysler k cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      I dunno about that, I see way more Eighties K variants still on the road here than their GM or Ford equivalents.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Hardly true, dwight. Early year Ks suffered from head gasket failures and horrible carburetors, but the injected models lasted with modest care. Mine was a model of reliability, MAP sensors aside.

      • 0 avatar
        OzCop

        My sentiments exactly. I wanted a Daytona or even a 400 Turbo with stick shift…but alas, wife wanted a type of family hauler that came out in 84, the Plymouth/Dodge mini van. And of course that is where the money went that year, especially since we were planning a trip to California with my inlaws aboard. But, I knew guys who purchased those early turbo 2.2 cars and drove them for several years. I bought one myself a couple of years later, my first dedicated autocross car, but it was not the K variant. Nope, mine was a Goes Like Hell GLH turbo Omni based pocket rocket. 7 years of autocross duty and some daily driving…loved it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Looks like Ridley Scott on an off day.

    DreamQuest did cool work, tho…like “Total Recall”.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    @kvndoom and 28-cars, +1 for the references. Too bad for Lewis, when he locked himself out of his own apartment party before the Twister game, that Hackerman wasn’t there to help him out.

    I thought the Dodge Daytona commercial soundtrack had a Friday the 13th motif going on…

    The 600ES turbo had quite the engine improvements but IIRC the rest of the driveline was the same as every other K car (for better or for worse).

    There was one of those comparison tests between the straight 600ES (non turbo) and other contemporary “sport sedans” in the June 1983 Popular Science (google it). There have got to be some archived magazine reviews of the turbo, I’m probably just not looking hard enough.

    Both of these commercials tapped a pet peeve of mine: Turn off your *&^#$ high beams in the city! You don’t need them and you’re just *&^[email protected]# blinding everyone around you!!

    Ugh. Now I’m all worked up and need to go road rage somewhere.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow ~

    I’d managed to forget all the drugs and things like this that were ‘ normal ‘ back then .

    I like K Cars , sue me =8-^ .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    All I can think of is the smell of burning oil.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Jeepers, that Daytona ad sure begs a lot of audience indulgence in the length of time before seeing the car, dimly & briefly.

    At my age 1986 seems like the recent past so it’s always embarrassing to be reminded how clunky advertising styles and production tech then were. Like re-watching War Games.

  • avatar
    bubbajet

    A friend of mine had the non-turbo Chrysler version of that car. It was, hands down, the worst car I’ve ever driven or ridden in. By. A. Mile. Cheap, poorly made, poor materials, poor engine, poor handling, lousy everything. I think the nicest thing I could say about it is that it has all four wheels and even they sucked. There was literally nothing good about it.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Still thinking. Nope. Nothing redeeming about that car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The opening was a nod to John Carpenter movies which were incredibly popular during this era. I “get” this ad and no I wasn’t on recreational drugs when I watched it. Women as stand alone car buyers were a new demographic (for a point of reference, a woman couldn’t hold title in property in Texas until 1976, the last state to do this). So single, young, professional (working late at office solo), CONFIDENT, starts as a John Carpenter horror movie and moves into a dream. I get it.

    Of course if she actually bought the 600 the horrors would be in the ownership, but that’s another story. I’ve seen way worse ads than this one.

  • avatar
    russification

    Pretend like theres a bright side to what your doing and focus like a motherf–ker on it, and perhaps get others to join in with you….”heavy rotation”…works like a charm

  • avatar
    cargogh

    They should have combined the two commercials and have Ted Bundy from the second one chase her.

  • avatar
    Chetter

    I am in my late 30’s so this would explain why all my dreams at night are like scenes from Big trouble in Little China.

  • avatar
    Joss

    More interesting than many recent ads and how else would you sell a K-car convertible!

  • avatar
    pb35

    I was driving my dads 600 turbo demo the night I met my wife. She agreed to see me again and go out on a date even though I was in a k-car.

    I showed up for out first date in my 6 month old Mustang GT. This was in 1988, we’re still together.

  • avatar
    JimInRadfordVA

    My Dad had a LeBaron Turbo Convertible. White with a red leather interior. He was so proud of that car and it was an unmitigated piece of crap.

    Squeeks and rattles at no additional charge. I remember the inside of the gauge cluster came detached and lay at about a 30 degree angle under the hazed plastic. The dash cracked in year 2, I believe. This was in NJ, where you get about 15 convertible friendly days a year. It’s not like he had 100K in the Florida sun.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is that Jon Voight’s car?

  • avatar
    pb35

    The Town & Country trim was available as a wagon and convertible dating back to the 50s.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yeah, but that doesn’t speak to the mid 80s. They changed names around quite a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Town & Country was used on the full-size Chrysler wagon (all of which had wood paneling, I think) through 1977. 1978-81, it was the wood-paneled M-body LeBaron wagon. 1982-88, it followed the LeBaron name onto the new K-car, and gained a convertible version (wood-paneled, of course). 1989 (as a 1990 MY vehicle) was when we finally saw the T&C minivan.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Gracias.

          Never in life have I actually seen an M-Body wagon. Their sales figures must have been dreadful, because it’s not like those fall to pieces or rust.

          Was the ’70s Town and Country more/less expensive than a Monaco Royal Brougham wagon?

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