Junkyard Find: 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Turbo SE Sedan
As recently as five years ago, you could get a good sense of the width and height of the Chrysler K-Car family tree by just walking the rows of a big American self-service wrecking yard. You would see at least one early Aries or Reliant and probably a few late-K-family New Yorkers or Acclaim/Spirits. Not any more. The Crusher has eaten and digested most of the K Family, so I felt that this rare Plymouth Caravelle sighting in a San Francisco Bay Area yard was noteworthy.
The 2.2 Turbo engine in this car was rated at 146 horsepower, which was quite a bit for a 2,596-pound car in 1987. That’s more than a thousand pounds lighter than the 2017 Chrysler 200, which was axed in part due to its unacceptable-to-American-car-shoppers small size. In fact, the Fiat 500 is just a bit lighter than this Caravelle.
Sometimes you can learn a bit about a junkyard car from the detritus found inside. For example, I know this Plymouth’s final owner lived about two miles from the car’s final parking space.
I was able to find the car on Google Earth.
The parking ticket under the Caravelle’s wiper indicates that the most likely cause for the car’s demise was an accumulation of unpaid fines and an involuntary tow-truck ride. These clues mean the car probably ran fine prior to its series of unfortunate events.
Chrysler was King of the Whorehouse Red Car Interiors during this period, though Nissan was at least the Duke of Bordello Red Car Interiors.
One of the best-built, best-backed American cars!
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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