April 2019

Ten Chrysler Models That Have Been Mostly Forgotten

   from Motor Biscuit

Chrysler has contributed to automotive history in a way that can't be understated. It is the company that came up with the aerodynamically designed sedan, the transistor car radio, the alternator, the Hemi V-8, the minivan and other uncounted innovations. Chrysler cars usually have a knack for being a little more interesting than the competition. Here are ten unique cars that have been largely forgotten.

1.  Chrysler 300J – the letter car for 1963, it had world-class handling, leather interior, a 413 cubic inch V8 with 390 hp. Only 400 were built before it was replaced by the cheaper, but very successful 300K. The J remained the most powerful 300 car until the 300SRT8 debuted 41 years later.

2.  Plymouth GTX – 1967-71, Plymouth's version of the 300, updated for the muscle car era. Chrysler offered two engines - the 375 hp 440, or the 426 Hemi V8, in a loaded and pricey Plymouth Belvedere. In five years, less than 50,000 were built.

3.  Plymouth Cricket – 1970-73, a captive import, Chrysler's English Hillman Avenger was rebranded. It was relatively expensive and plagued by reliability issues. Rust claimed most of them.

4.  Dodge Demon – 1971-72, Dodge's version of the Plymouth Duster, with a front end borrowed form a Dart. Its logo was a pitchfork-wielding devil, which sent some religious groups into a frenzy, and the car was pulled after just two years. It could have been worse – Dodge originally planned to call it the Beaver.

5.  Dodge Charger SE – 1975-78, transformed from the once mighty muscle car into a Disco-era “personal luxury coupe”. It was closely related to the Chrysler Cordoba, but sales were disappointing and it was quickly replaced.

6. Dodge Magnum – 1978-79, with boxy angles and covered headlights, it was supposed to look tough, but was even less popular than the Charger SE. It had opera windows and a plush over-stuffed leather interior.

7.  Chrysler Imperial – 1981-83, was supposed to compete with Lincoln and Cadillac. It was gawky, expensive and unreliable, and never took off. Just over 12,000 were built.

8.   Dodge Rampage/Plymouth Scamp - 1982-84, in the early 80s, nearly every Chrysler car was based on the front-wheel drive Omni/Horizon or K-car platforms. It was designed to compete with the Chevy El Camino, but it was a compact and was a hard sell.

9.  Dodge 600 – 1983-88, built to compete with mid-size front-wheel drive competitors like the Ford Tempo and Chevy Celebrity. It was supposed to bring European-style luxury to the domestic market, but was never very popular. 300,000 were built over the five years of production.

10.  Dodge Monaco – 1988-92, AMC was bought by Chrysler in 1988, and its Eagle Premier was unlike anything Chrysler offered. Chrysler continued to offer the Premier, also sold as the Monaco, but was already at work developing the next-generation LH sedans. It was decided to let the car continue until the LH sedans were ready to go, but it was never well marketed.