The Dodge Diplomat was first introduced by Chrysler in 1977. It was a midsize car that similar to the Chrysler LeBaron. The Diplomat replaced the Moanaco which had been retired the previous year. Even though is was a midsize car it was actually the largest sedan in Dodge’s line for several years. The Diplomate was similar to the Aspen even though it was built on a M platform while the Aspen had used the F platform. Several of its parts were identical and could be interchanged, including its doors and body panels.
Originally the Diplomat was offered with a six cylinder engine in its base model, and optionally a 360 cu in V8 engine was offered. The Plymouth Grand Fury was considered identical to the Diplomat as well and both were very popular for use as police cruiser. From 1984 on the only engine offered with the Diplomat was the V8 engine.
Dodge failed to market the Diplomat very aggressively and as such sales of both it and the Grand Fury declined rapidly. Although not purchased heavily by individuals, both the Diplomat and the Grand Fury were quite popular as fleet vehicles.
Dodge did not spend much time on updating the body style of the Diplomat and it was for this reason that the public felt that the Diplomat styling was old and outdated. Ironically though Diplomats that were produced from 1988 on were the first Chrysler products to include a drivers side airbag as standard equipment and were the only cars to offer airbags with tilt steering.
The Dodge Diplomat was also one of the non-truck vehicles produced by Dodge to be built with a rear wheel drive. The only other cars built with a rear wheel drive include the Dodge Viper and the Dodge Charger when it was introduced in 2006. The Diplomat was discontinued in 1989.
Dodge introduced the Dodge Dakota in 1987. The idea was to offer a midrange truck that would appeal to men or possibly women who weren’t interested in and had no need for a full size truck. The compact trucks of the seventies had been very successful but there were complaints that the bed of these tiny trucks could haul little more than a large car’s trunk. This was the thinking that led Dodge to develop the Dakota.
Designed in every way to be a work truck the Dakota was built on a true truck chassis and leafspring live axle rear end. The Dakota was also the only truck of its size to offer a V8 engine . Dodge also gave it rack and pinion steering, another first for midsize trucks. The idea that Chrysler had was to create a truck that had the capacity to work like a truck but actually drove like a car. Chrysler keep costs down by assembling the truck in a plant that also assembled full size trucks and shared parts with several cars Chrysler already had in production.
From 1987 through 1996 the Dakota was offered with a straight 4 cylinder engine or a V6 engine. Both engines were also offered with either a five speed manual transmission or a four speed automatic transmission. Four wheel drive was also offered on select models.
Next came the Dakota Sport, fuel injection was now offered and the engine size had increased as well to a 3.9 Liter V6 engine. The Sport package was also now offered in both 2wd an 4×4. Some of the other options included with the Sport were the AM/FM stereo radio, Carpeted logo floor mats, Center armrest bench seat, Deluxe wipers, a gauge package, Mopar Air Dam with Bosch Fog Lamps, Mopar Light Bar with Bosch Off-Road lamps, Euro style black out grille and bumpers. In 1989 an unusual Dakota convertible was introduced and an extended Club Cab was also added for 1990 but still with two doors.
The Dodge Colt was a subcompact car produced by Dodge from 1970 through 1994. As cars go, the Dodge Colt was a reliable small car that was economically priced and placed in the lower price lineup by Dodge. It also had a twin that was released around the same time called the Plymouth Champ. While both were carried under the Dodge-Chrysler Marque, neither of the vehicles was truly an American made car. What they were, were rebadged Mitsubishis. Made over seas by Mitsubishi Motors then simply rebagdged when they entered the states. Both the Colt and the Champs were virtually identical to the Mitsubishi Galant, except of course for the name.
The Colt was changed from a rear wheel drive vehicle to front wheel drive and again this was simply a rebadge of the Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste. Truly the cars share identical parts and interchanges between the two have never been a problem.
Once the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon received the axe in 1990 The Colt was the only small car left in the Dodge stable.
Among other names shared with the Dodge Colt were the Eagle Summit and the Mitsubishi MirageThe Dodge Colt was not carried in the United states for 1991 or 1992 however it would make a return as the Dodge Colt sedan for both 1993 and 1994 however this time it would carry the name of the Eagle Summit only. The Colt Turbo was a fine automobile and it was a bad call when Dodge made the decision not to bring the car back for the 1990 model year.
The Dodge Colt did have its heyday however. Dodge utilized the vehicle heavily in rallys and it was a Dodge Colt that would take the third position in the SnowDrift Rally of 1973. The event was repeated in 1974 and the Dodge Colt finished third in that race as well.
The Dodge Charger was a popular pony car originally release back in sixties in response to Ford’s release of the hugely popular Mustang. The car had above average performance for a street car and the tow door coupe had fast back styling and a powerful V8 engine. The V8 engine Dodge had chosen to include? Nothing less than its most popular 426 Hemi engine. Most men today age 50 and older are bound to have found memories of the famous muscle car. The car was a coronet based coupe that only came with two doors at the time it was first introduced in 1966.
Younger generations will remember the Dodge Charger as well, although they may not have seen one in person, surely it is easily recognizable once one knows what to look for. Think of a sporty restored orange car driven by two country boys who had been wrongly framed by a crooked small town sheriff and mayor. That still doesn’t ring any bells? How about a confederate flag painted on top (that surely would be seen as politically incorrect today, but most thought is cute back then). That’s right! The General Lee driven by known other than handsome cousins Bo and Luke Duke, was a Dodge Charger. In the eighties, most small towns in the south had boys that restored old Chargers just so they could say they owned the General Lee.
If you loved the old ones then you were quite presently surprised when Dodge brought the beloved car back in 2006. For the first year the Charger had a less than spectacular interior and was available in (of all things) a four door sedan. The Charger SXT was the trim level for the next year. For the 2008 year it was also released in a two door version that comes closer to looking like the original 1966 than most would realize. The2008 Charger is available in a well equiped Charger R/T that comes with a 5.7 liter Hemi V8.
The Dodge Caravan is a popular line of minivans made with the family in mind. Dodge came out with it in November of 1983. It was intended for sale for the 1984. Chrysler released its twin, the Plymouth Voyager at the same time. The Chrysler Town and Country was release in 1990 but was basically the same model and platform as the Caravan.
The Caravan is basically the same as the voyager and is built on the extended Chrysler K platforms. The Dodge Caravan became quite popular and was the basis for the stereotype of the soccer mom hauling her kids and their friends to practice and to fast food joints. This was the marketing tool used heavily by Dodge to appeal to families who felt that the station wagon had become outdated and wanted something hype and trendy but also with plenty of room for the two kids, their friends, tons of sporting equipment and the family dog. The Dodge Minivan fit this role perfectly and tons of the popular van were sold all across the country.
The first generation of the Caravan was given a 2.5 Liter KI4 engine and had one driver door, one forward passenger door and rear side passenger that gave access to the seats in the back. The transmission was a five speed manual, although not many of these were sold, and a three speed A413 Automatic transmission. The automatic transmission was by far the more popular version
The Caravan was also released ten years later in 1994 as the Anniversary Edition Dodge Caravan And came with different badging and special two tone paint. There was also a 2004 Anniversary Edition SXT Caravan. The second year it was in production, the Grand Caravan made Car and Driver’s ten best list. It had third row seating, plenty of cargo space and could carry up to 7 passengers.
The Dodge Avenger has been around globally long before it was marketed in the United States. It entered the American market for the first time in 1995. Dodge was offering the Avenger as a two door coupe intended to fill the vacancy. Chrysler had previously entered into a partnership with Diamond Star Motors which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors to build both the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring Coupe. Both cars were being built on the Mitsubishi Galant platform and ironically this was also shared with the Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The Avenger was marketed as a sports coupe and came in a base model andas well as sportier versions. The base models was using a 2.0 Liter straight 4 enginewhich was built by Chrysler or a 2.5 liter V6 engine built by Mitsubishi.
The sporty little car was well received when it was introduced to the American public in 1995. The name was also a good choice and many felt that the public could identify with Avenger as a sports model. There were critics who felt however that the name Avenger would have been better saved for a high end sports model along the lines of the later developed Dodge Viper.
Regardless of the controversy, the car sold relatively well its first year out and gave Dodge a fair amount of the the sales market for its first year. The Dodge Avenger as a sports coupe would be retired in the year 2000 and brought back out as the Dodge Avenger sedanfor the 2007 model year. This time it would be offered as a four door sedan to replace the Dodge Stratus. It avenger now exists as an Avenger SE and has a 2.4 Liter LGEMAI4 World Engine. The lastest Avenger sedan includes such options as heated and cooled cup holders and Dodge’s newest option called the “chill zone” which holds up to four 12 ounce drinks in the glove box. Sort of a minibar in a car.
The Dodge Aries was a type of vehicle produced by dodge from 1981-1989. It was a popular car and one of the first to be built on the famous Chrysler K platform. People seemed to love the look and feel of the Aries. It had sumptous interior upholstery, digital dashboard displays and was a very tight feeling midsize vehicle. The Aries was one of the first ever front wheel drive automobiles and had Ford and Chevrolet scrambling to keep up with the cool little car.
The K-Cars as they were known were strong sellers and had record years the second and third years out. The Aries was such a strong seller that it was monumental in pulling Chrysler out of a serious financial crisis that had been developing for several years.The Aries was also made by marketed as a Plymouth Reliant and shared many of the same parts including the engines. The K-cars were so popular that even the uninformed public began referring to them as such. This was helped along when Dodge and Chrysler began displaying the K on the rear emblem of the vehicles. The Aries had Aries-K on the back and the Reliant had Reliant-K on its rearend as well. Oddly enough even though the cars were extremely similar, the Aries outsold the Reliant in just about every year that the two cars were made. Some have said that the public simply preferred the name Dodge Aries over the name Plymouth Reliant.
Although both cars did go on to be extremely successful, Chrysler nearly ruined the succes from the very beginning. The cars had been advertised at a price that the company was sure would lure in consumers. It was promoted at the base price of $5,880.00. However instead of the base models that Chrysler had so heavily promoted, Chrysler was only building cars with options that cost much more than the advertised price. Consumers were not amused and the cars did not sell. Chrysler quickly caught on however and began putting out the type of cars it had advertised. The line started to move quickly after that and both models proved to be quite popular with consumers.
The Dodge Daytona was a sporty coupe produced by Chrysler beginning in 1984. Dodge was attempting to capture the interests of the younger buyers market and the Daytona was a bid in that direction. It had a youthful feel to its design and innovative interior options. One of the features that appealed particularly to young buyer was a new radio control option. Dodge had mounted a duplicate set of controls right on the steering wheel. There was no need to ever take ones hands off the wheel because the radio controls were right at ones finger tips.
For the second production year Dodge added a turbocharged Daytona Z. The Turbo Z was no longer offered as a trim package but was its own model now. It has new styling and an intergrated wrap around bumper was added as well.
The next change for the Daytona was the Shelby Z which was intended to be a sportier model than its predecessors. It had alot of appeal with the younger market as well and featured a much larger engine. The Shelby Z was loaded with tons of extra that you would expect to find in a sports car. It had a front sway bar and rear disc brakes. The interior options included leather interior, and 8 way power drivers seat with lumbar support, a digital dashboard, 12 button navigator with instant fuel ratings and trip averages and estimated travel times.
By 1989 even the rims were getting into the sports gig and the car was also offered with silver ground effects and a snowflake pattern on the rims. The cars were very popular and were featured in several Hollywood films included the 1986 movie The Wraith starring Charlie Sheen. This was a 1986 Dodge Dayton Turbo Z driven by the character Oggie. It was also featured in the television show Hunter, for this show a 1984 Dodge Daytona was driven by character Dee Dee McCall.
The Dodge 100 pickup was built in Britain by Dodge during the 70′s and 80′s. The 100 offered a diesel engine. Originally it was intended to have a Rootes Diesel engine however the engine proved to noisy and was dropped because of the expense of bringing it in line with federal standards at the time.
Dodge ended up going with an unknown maker, Perkins for its diesel engines. The engines offered were both naturally aspirated and turbocharged Perkins diesel engines. These were made locally in the United Kingdom, which made them even more attractive because they did not have to import them.
The top end line of the Dodge 100 did come with a premium engine, the Mercedes-Benz OMO352
.The Commando trucks were available around the world however they were not sold in the United States due to stricter emissions regulations. To meet these standards, Dodge felt would push the cost out of range of the intended buyer group.
The trucks were rebadged in other parts of the world and known under the name Commer.
Dodge also worked closely with Renault for a while and a Mark 2 version with an upgraded engine and other options was offered through Renault Trucks.Chrysler Europe had acquired a controlling interest in the Commer’s owner, Rootes and the truck design was changed to complement other trucks in the Dodge line up in Europe.
The trucks were originally made to be between 7.5 and 28 ton trucks however Chryser scaled this back somewhat and the final capacity range came in somewhere between 7.5 tons and 16 tons Gross Vehicle Weight. for full vehicles and 24/28 tons Gross Cargo Weight for tractors.
Valmet DSA diesels were installed in some markets and these proved to be quite durable and popular. Four and five speed synchronized manual transmissions from Rootes were used. Rear axles were a mixture of Rootes and Eaton Corporation.
The Ford Windstar was produced by Ford Motor company from 1994 through 2003. It had been created to replace the rear wheel drive Ford Aerostar which was losing sales to Chevrolet and Pontiac. Although Ford knew the end was coming for the Aerostar, it delayed discontinuing the model for several years. It is one of the only vehicles that Ford produced that continued to run concurrently with its successor.
The Windstar was quite popular from the onset, especially with families. It was spacious and had enough cargo room to haul around the soccer and baseball gear for the kids. Moms across the United States loved it so much that it is the only minivan so far to see two generation. The first engine made available was the 3.0 L Vulcan. Since this was a vehicle driven for the most part by families, the engine provided plenty of power for what it was used for.
Anti-lock brakes were offered as a standard feature. It had dual airbags and seven passenger seating. The 3.8L Essex engine was offered as an upgrade. This was the same engine as was in the Taurus.
The van was offered as a base GL and a luxury model known as the LX. For a brief period of time another model was featured as well, the Windstar Cargo Van.
The Ford ZX2 was a restyle produced by Ford Motor Company starting in 1997. The vehicle was built as replacement for Ford’s compact sport car, the Ford Probe. Itwas not styled to be a sedan or a wagon. Ford was looking to attract a new audience to this redesign and their target was the yourth market. It was built at Ford’s plant in Sonora, Mexico.
Ford was doing a makeover of the Ford Escort and though it was built on the same platform, Ford decided to drop the hatchback from the line up and added a sporty coupe to take its place.
A very rare model was released only for 1999, the Ford Escort LX wagon. It had an unusual trim package and came with chrome 14 inch wheel covers and other features.
The Ford Escort Zx2 trim models included a base and the LX, which came with more meatures. The reverse lights were also moved and now occupied the same piece as the tail lights.
Unfortunately sales were never what Ford had hoped for with the redesign of the Escort. One more effort was giving to revive the line when the ZX2 S/R was introduced in 1999 but did not increase sales enough to salvage the vehicle. When the Ford Focus was introduced in 2001, Ford cut the ZX2 back to fleet sales before dropping the line altogether in 2003.
Introduced in 1955, the Ford Thunderbird was built by Ford Motor Company. The vehicle was in production for forty years until Ford finally discontinued the vehicle in 2005.
Built originally as a two seat convertible, the car was named after a mythological creature of the aborigenal peoples of North America. Despite its look and feel, Ford never marketed the Thunderbird as a sports car. Instead Ford used the car to create a new vehicle segment entitled the Personal Luxury Car segment.
The first car was shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 1954. The first production car available to the public had a 292 cu in Y block V8 engine. It was popular from the outset and over 3,500 cars were sold in just the first weeks.
Although originally created as a convertible, a hard top option was added for 1958 and the size of the engines was increased as well. The two door convertibles were given the larger 352 cu inc FE V8 engine with either a three speed automatic or three speed manual transmission.
While the Ford T-Bird has seen many design changes through the years, the fact that it was becoming larger and larger seemed to spell the end for the vehicle. Ford continued to change the interior and exterior packages in an effort to boost sales but this did not have the intended effect. By 2004, under 12,000 units were sold and Ford made the design to finally retire the line. 2005 would see the last of the Thunderbirds and another chapter of Ford entered the history books