By on August 12, 2019

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOnce Lee Iacocca’s front-wheel-drive K-cars brought Chrysler back from near-death and into profitability, the platform became the basis of a sprawling family of K-related relatives. One of the earliest spinoffs was the E Platform, a lengthened K that gave us the Chrysler E-Class/New Yorker, the Plymouth Caravelle, and the Dodge 600. Just to confuse matters, the Dodge 600 coupe remained a true K, sibling to the Dodge Aries.

That’s what we’ve got here, and this Denver 600 coupe has some stories to tell.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Five-speed manual transmissions still seemed sort of racy in 1984. Because the slushboxization of the American car-buying public was well along by the middle 1980s, very few Detroit cars with luxury pretensions came from the factory with three-pedal setups; this is the first Chrysler E-Body I’ve seen with a five-speed.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, engine lift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSomeone must have wanted that hard-to-find (well, not really hard-to-find) transmission and didn’t want to remove the engine, because this ingenious engine-support rig holds the engine in place. Maybe a junkyard visitor brought it along and then, its job done, left it behind. Maybe the car’s final owner pulled the transmission with the idea of fixing it, and then life intervened (in the form of a tow truck from U-Pull-&-Pay) and hauled away the car, engine-support bar and all.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, engine lift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsCheap but effective.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAlthough Chrysler hoped to snatch some sales away from European marques with the 600 coupe, the front end looks lifted straight from the incredibly non-Euro-looking (and pre-Iaccocan) Mirada.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, front seats - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWe’ve got a no-holds-barred Whorehouse Red Velour™ interior here, and it still looks very clean at age 35.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, landau roof - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI don’t know if Dodge still called the padded part-roof treatment a Landau by 1984, but that’s what this is.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, map - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI found a bunch of realtor-related paperwork from the 1980s inside, so I think the car may have died or been parked at a very young age.

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, speedometer - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLooks like a mere 72,922 miles on the clock.


Commitment? Pfft, that went out with the hula hoop!

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55 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1984 Dodge 600 Landau Coupe With Five-speed Manual Transmission...”


  • avatar
    s_a_p

    Seems like a death wish to crawl under a car balanced on steel wheels with a makeshift engine hoist to pull a transmission. How is that even remotely safe? Where ever this thing was parked, it looks like it was kept out of the elements. Looks very restore-able should one feel inclined to drive a bordello red 80s crapcoupe.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s actually very safe and stable sitting on junk wheels. They don’t even need to be welded together.

      Their rolling/tipping “resistance” is much greater than you think.

      At this age, it could be an interesting resto(mod). When it went down, probably not. By the looks of it, it’s been (inside) stored since the late ’80s.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Those seats! In comparison my bordello burgundy seats in my departed ’86 Monte Carlo were pretty ragged out.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Also enjoy the “Front Wheel Drive” tag. Just in case you thought you were in another car.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      The Robocop-era digital lettering with “Message Center,” “Fasten Belt,” and the “F” and “E” on the fuel gauge is another nice touch. Just a reminder of the early-1980s!

      Also noticed the speedometer needle has the look and shape of a Virginia Slim. I think Chairman Lee knew his target audience! I’ll bet the headliner has a permanent nicotine and smoke stain somewhere over the driver’s seat.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Yep. Front wheel drive was marketed as new and modern. Chrysler’s marketing in the early 1980s was based on their great warranties and their modern engineering. There was actually a lot of truth in that advertising… not that they were building great cars but neither was the competition.

      I remember an ad proclaiming that the rear wheels just “obediently” followed the fronts around so maybe safer too (generally true; recovering from an understeer skid doesn’t require any skill from the driver). There was other sales literature about a more spacious interior with a “flat” floor (not perfectly flat but the hump was a lot smaller). A lot of people understood that the Japanese were doing front wheel drive (although the RWD upmarket Cressida, Supra, 810, and Z made it through the eighties, makes you go hmmm) and if the Japanese built their cars that way then it must be good, right?

      The “front wheel drive” badge seemed a little silly by 1986… kinda like those “power brakes” rubber pads that GM kept putting on their brake pedals as long as they did.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The Front Wheel Drive tag filled in where the PRNDL would be if this was an automatic car.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So, owned by an manual transmission enthusiast? Or just a cheapskate?

  • avatar
    Ltd1983

    Must be a popular junkyard.

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/junkyard/junkyard-classic-1984-dodge-600-coupe-marooned-for-good/

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The 1966 Rambler factory service manual showed a similar contraption to this for changing the motor mounts, only I’m pretty sure it suggested using a length of 4×4. The turnbuckle here adds a nice fine adjustment capability.

    I too suspect that this car died young – the interior looks too clean and one-owner-y. I dig the fake LCD segment lettering for the seatbelt warning and message center. High technology!

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    ” Because the slushboxization of the American car-buying public was well along by the middle 1980s”

    It was well underway in the 1960’s. I was born in 1957, and the first time I rode in a vehicle with a manual transmission was in the early 70’s, which was a school van from the late 60’s. Manuals were mostly found in small cars such as a Corolla or the near ubiquitous VW Beetle. During the 70’s they were common in Japanese small pickups, subcompacts, and sporty cars, but for day to day Detroit iron it was automatics all the way.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      +1, FormerFF. Hydramatic and the automatics that came on its heels were incredibly popular right from the start. I know people born in the 1930s who never learned to drive a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Heck, my mom was born in 1919, and her first car (and first new car) was a 1950 Chevrolet with Powerglide. She didn’t learn to drive until about then, because Dallas had both buses and streetcars, and if she needed to travel further (like a vacation to L.A. in 1947), there was the train. Her subsequent cars were a new ’52 Packard (Ultramatic), new ’66 Rambler American (Borg-Warner 35 D2/D1 automatic), and new ’78 Chevy Malibu (awful THM200, later swapped for a THM350).

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Automatic transmissions were originally primary a North American phenomena.

          Right up until the turn of this century if you rented or drove a vehicle in most of the rest of the world it would be a standard.

          Even a large number of luxury cars for much of the 20th century retained standard transmissions, even if only as a theoretical option. Because in the rest of the world, if you had a luxury car, you had a chauffeur. So it didn’t matter if it was an automatic.

          North Americans however tend to drive more/for longer distances. Chauffeurs were much rarer. Therefore the ‘self made’ or ‘nouveau riche’ North American would buy a Cadillac or Lincoln or Imperial and drive himself. So an automatic became a ‘must have’ luxury item.

          This of course then ‘trickled down’ the food chain. My mother learned how to drive on a Plymouth Business Coupe given to her when she turned 17. She drove/owned standard cars until she turned 38.

          I taught my wife how to drive standard on an old VW Beetle. She still takes my standard car out for drives on the weekend. One of my daughters and my son drive standards.

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          Powerglide wasn’t an automatic as we think of them until 1953 when Chevrolet also finally eliminated oil-dipper slingers on the conrod big ends of the 235 6 cylinder wheezer. Such modernity for your money! You had to shift from Low to High yourself on the ’50 thru ’52 — from itstillruns.com, and my old memory of watching those early Chev lash-ups in action:

          “Powerglide was the first automatic, it wasn’t the best by a long shot. GM marketed the Powerglide as a “shiftless” automatic on the 1950 Chevy models, although drivers had to shift one gear. Through 1953, the automatic was sluggish in off-the-line acceleration. It did not automatically shift into high gear, so drivers had a tendency to leave the transmission in low gear too long to about 40 mph to gain adequate acceleration before shifting to high, or second gear. This treatment wreaked havoc on the transmission’s components, which led to premature repairs. While drivers had to shift manually into high gear, they loved the idea of driving without using a clutch, third gear and overdrive. By 1955, more than half of all Chevys featured the Powerglide.” A VW could keep up with the six and Powerglide, but it was noisier.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            PowerGlide certainly was _not_ the first automatic from GM ~ the Hydromatic was used in WWII tanks….

            It had effectively four forward speeds, IIRC it was a two speed dual range, fully automatic .

            It’s been decades since I rode in a ’49 Chevy with the cast iron PowerGlide, I don’t remember having to manually shift it .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    IESR (ingenious engine-support rig) recommendations received to date:
    – Substitute thinner gauge galvanized hanger strap (cost savings, mass)
    – Reduce depth of wooden support members (cost, mass, partially address hood interference condition)
    – Revise stamping dies for hood inner and hood outer to incorporate Power Hump (TM) or similar workaround (Styling to respond by August 2023)
    – Evaluate pipe support deformation under load (digital modeling in progress)
    – Revise promotional materials to address customer concerns regarding deforestation (consider FSC/PEFC certification)
    – Delete IESR, delete engine, delete transmission, mount drive motors at each wheel (note: may require larger battery)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “ingenious engine-support rig”

    I thought it was a homemade strut tower brace

    I love the endless supply of junkyard “K-Car” conversation fodder we get on TTAC. Is there anyone who doesn’t have a “K-Car” story?

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Missing only 2 options to be peak 600: Turbo and cornering lights.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Except for it being a 2 door it looks just like my Father in laws 87 New Yorker

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Too bad this car was scrapped. Although good news for the guy who wanted that five speed. But, this car would have made for a lot of conversations at the local old car show or Cars and Coffee…

  • avatar
    Deneb66

    My dad had one of these growing up, it was baby blue with the “bordello blue” velour interior. I didn’t have this engine though or the manual transmission. It had a Mitsubishi 4 cyl with some exotic carburation set up that no one could fix correctly. It also used to go through accessory belts like no one’s business. It ended sadly in a funeral procession for a family member where something in the carb failed and the car stalled unable to be restarted. My dad had enough and tried to sell it for parts. It only had 43K on the clock and no one – not one single person – wanted to purchase it for parts or attempt to fix it. It sat in front of the house with a for sale $500/parts sign in the window for weeks. Not one person even called/looked. It was in great shape to boot – aside from the not starting part. The year was 1987. My father purchased a Dodge Spirit to replace it which was actually a pretty good car for the time. Light years ahead of the 600.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      “The year was 1987. My father purchased a Dodge Spirit to replace it which was actually a pretty good car for the time.”

      He bought a car from 2 years in the future??

      • 0 avatar
        Deneb66

        1987 -1989 was a long time ago -they all run together trying to remember exact date. 2 years off isn’t bad. Thanks for the correction.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          Hehe – the Spirit is close to my heart as it was, in the early 90s, the first rental car me and my buddies truly gave the rental car treatment. It went back with 3 different brands/sizes of tires and a glob of JB-Weld stopping oil from pouring out of the pan. Who would put a concrete sewer way out in a field behind that school??

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “The Dodge Spirit is a mid-size 5- or 6-passenger sedan that was introduced in January 1989 as a replacement for the similarly sized Dodge 600.”- Wikipedia

      I still want to know if the 600 is still sitting in front of your dad’s house

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It wasn’t the carb that went bad on these, but it felt like it. The intake gasket would fail, and sucking too much air, unless you babied/feathered the throttle, they would fall on their face. Every K-car I drove would fall on its face, unless it was showroom fresh. Yes I worked at a Dodge/Chrysler/Plym/etc dealer in 1990. There should’ve been a recall/update. But different times.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I also feel like the Message Center, which probably consists of nothing more than “door open” and “low fuel” messages, could have been deleted to make way for a tach on stick-shift examples.

    A tach should be mandatory on anything manually shifted.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Although I agree, over they years I had a great many manual cars without tachs. German, Japanese and American.

      • 0 avatar
        ravenuer

        And a great many auto cars with a tach. My new Lexus RX350 has a tach the same size as the speedo. Haven’t the faintest idea why.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I always liked the German solution (common on MB and VWs) – little dots on the speedo showing max speeds in each gear. Who needs a tach?

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          ” Who needs a tach?”

          Deaf people maybe ? .

          -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          krhodes1,

          I’m pretty sure I’ve driven at least one Mercedes or VW that had white dots for recommended shift points and red dots for maximum engine speeds. Have you ever seen that?

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Long ago my then teenaged son bought a 1963 VW DeLuxe VW Beetle with 1200CC 40hp engine and one day as I was riding in it with him to dinner I asked why he over revved the engine on every shift ? .

            “Dad, I’m just following the factory shift points on the speedo ….” .

            Whoops .

            -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      The Dodge Lancer/ Chrysler Lebaron GTS with the same powertrain and of course the turbo version had a tach standard most likely because of they were considered to be Euro style sport sedans. This 600 coupe competed with the popular personal coupes like the Cutlass Supreme as Ciera.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      My older sister’s first car was a Chevrolet Styleline 1500 with 3 on the tree, no radio and no heater. That’s what you got for $1340 ($14,265), but who needs a tach on a car that did 0-60 in 19.4 seconds?

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    My guess, broken cam if it is a 2.2l.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s the identical drivetrain as my 85 LeBaron GTS, including the 5-speed. Brings back good memories of a very durable car, which I owned from 1988-2000.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I test drove a manual transmission 90s Ford Ranger without a tach. It was odd, especially since I wasn’t familiar with the 2.3L engine.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wow, that map…amazing how much Denver’s grown.

    FYI, the map isn’t from the ’80s – if it were, my house and subdivision, which date from the early ’70s, would be on there. I think that map’s actually from the late ’60s or very early ’70s.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I always thought these were called 400s and the long-wheelbase model introduced in 1983 was the 600. (They were, until Dodge merged the 400 and 600 in 1984.) Also, it looks like the owner sold the car to the wrecking yard; its trunk lid is still intact so they apparently have the key(s).

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Sad to see this one go but I’d not have bought it for $500 in running condition .

    ? Is paul still running curbside classics ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Regarding the papers found in the car:

    Back when I drove a tow truck in Milwaukee in the late 1980s, we were often called to tow abandoned cars, cars involved in crimes, stolen recoveries, cars involved in collisions. Drivers like me were trained to do a quick on-scene inventory of any valuables plainly visible in the car, and if possible, in the trunk, glove compartment. Usually, with the on-scene police officer, and we would both sign off on the inventory sheet. These searches were not related to evidence, simply a way document any valuables found in the vehicle.

    My tow company’s territory was mostly the near north and northwest side of Milwaukee. This area then, as now, was a predominantly low income, troubled district in the city. With disturbing regularity, during our routine search of large, rusty Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Cadillacs, all of us tow truck drivers would discover polaroid photos (then the rage) in the glove compartment of what appeared to be the owner of the car, uhm…”self stimulating” his private parts. It was a longstanding joke amongst all the tow truck drivers. It happened so often…as in DAILY!!

    I will never forget a detective team who would frequently visit our tow yard to comb cars used in crimes for evidence. The detectives had nicknames–“Heckle and Jekyl” and they kept an album of all the crazy photos they found in cars….a large number of those photos were polaroids of the type I described.

    –Yes, Heckle and Jekyl had a rating system for the anatomy displayed in the photos. Gross, I know, but for the krap they faced in their world of crime, I suppose it was a way to blow off steam….

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And I thought di*k pics were a 21st century thing…

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Take a look in those ancient Cro-Magnin caves during the Peleolithic period…and will find such sketches or male anatomy on the walls. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Freaks & geeks rarely change, they’re the # 1 class of recidivists .

          It’s nice to hear of another honest tow truck driver, I’ve known quite a few who grabbed anything and everything they could, often aided and abetted by the N/W Division of L.A.P.D. ~ shame on them ! .

          Tools, new tires, stereos, anything they could steal, they did .

          One I knew always stole cameras and was disgusted by the endless gay porn pix ~ I told him to not judge others when he was a thief…..

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            Driving a tow truck in a major city is quite an experience, without doubt. The hours are very long, the pay is very low, and there is virtually no respect attached to the work. As a life experience however, it is priceless. I was able to provide assistance to some people in tough, sometimes dangerous situations, I was threatened with a gun (for hooking up to an “abandoned” car, and observed police officers working very hard to not beat the shyt out of stoned or otherwise crazy and abusive citizens…who well and truly deserved such a beating!

            As an automotive enthusiast, my main lessons were: 1981-1985 Ford Escorts got towed A LOT for no-start situations, and that one can watch an old K-Car roll off the back of your flatbed tow truck…and see it land hard…but sustain zero damage (yes, my bad).

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Just so .

            Close to forty years later I still miss my beat to crap 1955 Chevy tow truck…..

            Everything you said and more .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    There is this insane guy in the K-Car and kin community by the name of Guy. Someone needs to do a welfare check on him.

    IT’S THE LAST ONE! SOMEONE MUST SAVE IT! I’VE BEEN STABBED IN THE BACK!!!

  • avatar
    j3studio

    I believe it might have been a “Club Coupe,” instead of a Landau. It was definitely a club coupe by 1985 and included the Landau roof as standard. A write-up from a few years ago:

    https://eightiescars.com/2017/07/30/1985-dodge-600-turbo/


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