By on November 19, 2018

1982 Dodge 400 in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Lee Iacocca’s original Chrysler K Platform spawned an incomprehensible tangle of K-related offspring between the 1981 and 1995 model years, but only a few U.S.-market models were true K-Cars: the Chrysler LeBaron, Plymouth Reliant, Dodge Aries, Dodge 600, and Dodge 400.

Of these, the 400 has been the hardest for me to find in the self-service wrecking yards I frequent; in fact, this is the first junkyard Dodge 400 I’ve photographed.

1982 Dodge 400 in Colorado wrecking yard, hood - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLocated in a Colorado junkyard near Pikes Peak, the resale value this first-year-of-production 400 appears to have been reduced to scrap prices by a hailstorm. Dimpled metal, smashed glass— an all-too-common occurrence along the Front Range. It might have been a nice, well-preserved classic before the hail.

1982 Dodge 400 in Colorado wrecking yard, dash emblem - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 400 was supposed to fit between the luxurious LeBaron and the sensible Aries. The 1982 400 coupe listed at $8,043 (about $21,500 in 2018 dollars), versus just $5,990 for the cheapest two-door Aries. The most affordable ’82 LeBaron coupe started at $8,143, a probably intentional exact hundred bucks more than the 400.

1982 Dodge 400 in Colorado wrecking yard, landau roof - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsChrysler didn’t put LANDAU emblems on these cars, but this one has the 1970s-style padded landau roof (which continued to be used on the Dodge Dynasty well into the 1990s).

1982 Dodge 400 in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 400’s 2.2-liter Chrysler four-cylinder made 84 horses in 1982; a Mitsubishi Astron 2.6-liter rated at 92 horsepower was optional. This car has the Chrysler engine.


This is no way to treat a personal luxury car!

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34 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Dodge 400 Landau Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    No comments about the “Chronometer” clock, Murilee? I’m surprised. :-)

  • avatar
    Coopdeville

    This car has to hold the record for largest dashboard turn signal indicators of all time.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry but I greatly dislike that instrument panel.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I wonder if this car was a victim of the same storm that went ham on the Colorado Springs zoo.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/08/07/hail-colorados-cheyenne-mountain-zoo-kills-2-animals-injures-guests/922047002/

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I was in the Denver Ft. Collins area a couple of weeks after this hail storm. My friend who lives there said it was bad, it even left marks on the roof and hood on his BRZ.
      One of the RV dealers on I25 was advertising hail damaged RV’s and trailers.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Hailstorms in this area are BRUTAL, but the one I posted the link to was something else – the storm actually injured people and killed a couple of animals at the zoo. Hundreds of cars were destroyed.

  • avatar

    The photo of the hood reminded me of one of my absolute favorite C&D stories – the infamous Mexican Torture Test where the Dodge 600 centerpunched a cow…

    https://www.caranddriver.com/archives/escape-from-baja-mexican-sports-sedan-torture-test-archived-comparison-test

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Lol, this POS hardly looked any better new

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Agreed, I know the early 1980s was not a time of many great looking automobiles, but I can hardly imagine walking into a new car showroom and selecting this to take home.

      • 0 avatar
        PentastarPride

        If I was alive and at a car-buying age in 1982, I probably would have picked the LeBaron. It’s a bit snazzier, but if I was on a budget, I wouldn’t mind this, poor attempt at a Mirada/St. Regis-esque grille be darned. Ironic that it is next to a 07-10 JS Sebring, I always thought that the grille geometry on those resembled a modern, rounded-off version of the 400/600/Caravelle grille.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    This is the car that Jerry Seinfeld’s parents *thought* he could afford.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Was that before or after the Jon Voight Le Baron?

      • 0 avatar

        Jerry had a 5 Series, and then Saab 900s! George had the LeBaron! And after that, George had a Regal, and then I think a Century or Regal.

        Did Elaine ever have a car?
        Kramer had the LTD.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I forgot about all those cars!

          I was thinking about the “We all saw his act. He’s lucky he can pay his rent!” Cadillac he gives to his parents.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Kramer had a 73 Impala sedan with the infamous Assman license plate.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          George also had a Mercury Mystique at one point, and Kramer drove some indistinguishable 1970s land yacht* in other episodes (aside from the LTD in the parking garage episode, which decided not to start when they were filming what was supposed to be the last scene, which fit the episode perfectly).

          Edit: apparently it wasn’t indistinguishable to MFR lol.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Lost the edit window, obviously I meant MRF, our resident holder of the sacred Thunderbird. :)

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            My grandfather owned a 73 Impala coupe with the curved rear window, not the sport coupe in the same green as Kramer’s.
            When he decided to upgrade to a of things a Dodge Aries K our family ended up with the Impala as the extra family vehicle. We had to eventually put some work into it, A arm bushings and shocks. It would occasionally not start when hot due to a overheated junction relay on the firewall which I replaced but it kept running for a number of years even after a deer got caught under its massive first year 5 mph bumper. What finally did it in was the timing chain, then it was off to the wrecking yard.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Ugliest of all the K’s, which is quite a feat.

  • avatar
    la834

    What year were “personal luxury cars” no longer a thing? I mean they still are a thing, barely, but it’s been decades since I heard that term on a mainstream television commercial with the expectation that the general public would know what it means.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Our newly appointed company Personnel Director, who being a corporate joe boy renamed it to HR as time wore on, drove the sedan version of this, the 600 circa 1984. A K car in minimal disguise but different enough to fool him. A lamentable and miserable car, but better than the Tempo which had an engine from the days of Fordson tractors, a spayed Falcon six with two cylinders hacked off, and a coarse and vibratory massage to impress litle old ladies who said they bought them for the color-keyed velour interior.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The 600 sedan was a longer wheelbase version of the K-car. The 400 sedan was basically a Dodge Aries with the same front clip and features as this 400 coupe. At some point the coupe and convertible also started wearing 600 instead of 400 badges, which only confused matters more. Over at Chrysler, the 400 was called the LeBaron. When the wheelbase was stretched as on the Dodge 600, Chrysler called the result the Chrysler E-class. Considering it was 1983 and the only midsized Mercedes-Benz cars selling stateside in any numbers were the 240D, 300D, 300TD and 300CD; the origins of the Chrysler E-class name are a mystery. Chrysler continued to use the LeBaron name for the two door versions and wagons.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Speaking of the first stabs at stretched K cars, about two or three model years after that, there was the sporty LeBaron GTS/Dodge Lancer four door that IIRC was closely based on the original chassis (slightly stretched wheelbase but same overall size) and the related Laser/Daytona two door sports cars. Soon after came the small, sporty Sundance/Shadow four door (shortened wheelbase and smaller body). Safe to say, at the time that today’s junkyard find was rolling down the assembly line, Chrysler had those first sporty derivatives (along with the famous early minivans) not just on the drawing board but well along in development.

        They bet the farm on the K-derivatives (they didn’t have a choice, financially) and they made a ton of money. I have a feeling that they were as shocked as anyone just how wildly successful all of these cars were! Even in hindsight it all seems so unlikely and amazing. Amazing how they hit the price points just right, and amazing how they figured out how to build the cars just right to match customer expectations and warrantees/predicted reliability

        I’m not trying to claim it was all rosy and everything went smoothly, but when you look at the whole story of Chrysler from the loan guarantees all the way through the 1980s, it is pretty amazing.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        There was also the short lived Plymouth Caravelle which was a lower trim Chrysler E-class. I don’t think they offered the turbo in it because Plymouth. It had the 400/600 header panel with a different style cross hatch grill.
        They were fairly popular in Canada.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I’d almost forgotten about the lowly Caravelle. That was a clone of the 600, right? I think I remember them being virtually identical, except that the body panel creases and corners were a bit more rounded (with the Dodge’s corners sharper), but maybe that was just model year differences.

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            Yes it was a clone of the 600 4-door without the fender vents. Though it was more of a de contented E-class. The later ones did have taillights that wrapped around the quarter panels.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      What the Tempo’s engine did have was reliability and durability, along with generous low-end torque. And, it drove a helluva lot better than a K car. I’ve owned both.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        Can’t agree there. Friend of mine had a 90 Topaz 2.3, and it was REALLY noisy while being really slow. My 88 Reliant with the 2.5 drove better, was quieter, and felt like a race car next to that Topaz. Both cars had sad-sack 3 speed automatics.

        Never got the chance to drive one with the less powerful 2.2, maybe thats the K-car you had?

        Neither one of these cars could even hang with slowpoke Crosstrek nowadays, but the Topaz was easily the less responsive of the two.

        Its interior was (slightly) nicer though, I’ll give you that.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Semenak

          I owned a 1994 Tempo GL. Came with the 3.0 V-6. Now, that was not sluggish one bit. Typical though, put in a good engine; from the Taurus? In the last Model Year. When I drove through the high-country of New Mexico from Michigan to Tempe,AZ; it didn’t even breathe heavy at all. Got a steady 25 mpg no matter how I drove it. My brother had an ’87 with the 2.3 L.It had a 5-speed which helped a lot. That thing went 280k miles on original clutch. I drove it near the end and there wasn’t much clutch at that point… LOL He got sandwiched at a red light. Struck from behind by a Jeep and pushed into a Blazer during a snow storm.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Never quite sure how to feel about having a faux roof top named for the town my grandmother came from…

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    0-60 in 15.7 seconds. At first I thought that was the 1/4 mile time! Ugh! Ugggggh! What a gutless little turd this thing was..

    https://www.automobile-catalog.com/make/dodge/400_dodge/400_base_convertible/1982.html


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