Junkyard Find: 1976 Plymouth Volare Coupe

The A-Body Plymouth Valiant (and its Dodge sibling, the Dart), stayed in American production from the 1960 model year all the way through 1976. Legendary for its sturdiness, the Valiant was sure to be a tough act to follow. The Plymouth Volarés and Dodge Aspens appeared in 1976, never gained the affection given to their predecessors, and were facelifted and renamed the Gran Fury and Diplomat in 1981. Here’s a luxed-up first-year Volaré I spotted in a Northern California self-service yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Plymouth Volare Sedan

The Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1976, and they spent a good decade among the most commonplace vehicles on American roads. Then just about all of them disappeared, no doubt as they depreciated well below scrap value in about ten years. However, the occasional odds-beating survivor shows up in wrecking yards now and then; we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now today’s ’76 Volaré sedan. This one shows evidence of having sat for the last decade or so, but still managed to rack up many more miles than most of its Civic and Corolla contemporaries.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Plymouth Volare Premier Station Wagon

The successor to the incredibly successful Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant was the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré. These simple rear-wheel-drive cars sold fairly well, but for every Aspen or Volaré I see in high-turnover wrecking yards today, I find ten Darts and Valiants. Part of that reason is a short production run, part is (arguably) lower build quality, but I’m guessing the main reason is that Americans just didn’t love the F-body Chryslers the way they did the A-body. When a Valiant got sick (which wasn’t often), it got fixed; when a Volaré came down with some expensive problem, it got crushed. Now these things are almost nonexistent, but here’s a very rare Volaré Premier wagon I spotted in a California yard a few months back.

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BODACIOUS BEATERS and Road-going Derelicts: VOLARE - OH-OH

With all of the attention yours truly “Bodacious Beaters” have been receiving in this column—and rightly so due to the proliferation of such vehicles here in the vast car-biased expanse known as Southern California—the “road-going derelicts” have mostly been relegated to the back burner.

Well, this entry fits the latter half of this column’s title like garbage in the proverbial dumpster!

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Plymouth Volare

The Volaré and its Dodge sibling, the Aspen, were perfectly competent cars for their time, (anectodally) more reliable than the Chevy Nova and Ford Maverick (and, later, the Fairmont) competition and, if you looked at them from the right angle, better looking. Still, they were never quite as beloved as the Dart/Valiant A-bodies that they replaced, and they have not aged well. In fact, most of them got crushed during the 1990s, so it’s not often that I see examples like this one in self-service wrecking yards.

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Car of the Year Revisionism, 1976 Edition: If Not the Volare/Aspen, What?

We went all 20/20 hindsight on the 1970 Motor Trend COTY choice yesterday, and today we’ll be jumping right into the depths of the Malaise Era for the MT gurus’ 1976 choice: the Dodge Aspen/ Plymouth Volaré

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  • Michael In your research you may have found that after 2024 this model will no longer be part of MINI lineup. I wish you would have driven JCW version. Over an additional 100hp. With launch control it will go 0 to 60 in about 4.6 seconds. Outstanding car.
  • RHD A hybrid small pickup is a no-brainer. Let's go, already! Price it reasonably and every one will fly off of the lot.
  • RHD This is a $3,500 car (assuming you can get a good junkyard transmission and install it yourself) that, once back in usable condition, will be worth about $1,000. Hopefully the guy that spray-painted the wheels black didn't attempt to rebuild the engine himself. That would make it a $5,500 car that's worth $1,000.
  • CEastwood They should , but they won't being fearful of losing those sales of near 30 grand base Tacomas . People thought Hyundai could do this then they did it at laughably expensive prices . And try to get a base Maverick at advertised prices . Go ahead I dare you .
  • Jpurcha Nice. I had bought one from my dad's friend for my first car. University/model airplane hauler.