Way back at the 2012 Geneseo, Illinois Trains, Planes and Automobiles car show, I ran across an endearing oddball. It certainly stood out amongst the dime a dozen red Camaros and Mustangs and streed rods. How about a 1989 Dodge Omni with less than 30K on the clock? And it was for sale too-yours for $3500!
Now here’s a rare birdie. A loaded ’78 Diplomat wagon. Sure, most of you likely remember Diplomats and Gran Furys from many ’80s movies and TV shows, but the wagon didn’t last long. 1981 was the last year for it (and also the Diplomat coupe); from then on, you could get only a four door sedan.
And of course most of those four door sedans sported various law enforcement regalia or were painted yellow. The Diplomat was introduced in 1977 as a more upmarket model, playing off the ‘small but luxurious’ style brought into being by the ’76 Cadillac Seville.
Here’s a nice time capsule to prove Dodge did sell vehicles other than loud, brash muscle cars in the ’60s.
While the most famous Monaco is a certain black and white 1974 model, the nameplate initially appeared in 1965 as a special top of the line two door hardtop with bucket seats, console and wicker door panel trim, meant to compete with the Pontiac Grand Prix.
ED: Another one from ‘The Vault.’ Thought it was appropriate since we were just discussing silver interiors recently!
I love Fuselage Mopars. As the 1969-73 full-size Mopars, from basic Plymouth to top-drawer Imperial, are affectionately known by collectors. And while there are highs and lows in Fuselage-land (of course I love the more luxy versions: Imperials and New Yorkers) I can find some appreciation for all of these land yachts. I especially liked this black over silver 1969 Monaco when it appeared on eBay back in 2014 or so.
My buddy in Spokane, Jason Bagge, AKA That ’70s Car Guy, AKA The Brougham Whisperer, has found yet another remarkably well-preserved land yacht. This time, it’s the C-body Dodge Monaco, made famous on The Blues Brothers.
“They broke my watch!” “You want out of this parking lot? OK!” “You traded the Cadillac for this?” “Hi! you want to hand me the mike? Thanks a lot. Uh, this is car number…what number are we?” “Five five.” “Car fifty five. Uh, we’re in a truck!”
Note: Another article by Lee Wilcox! Enjoy. -TK
Even though I am retired, I frequently find myself crossing the state for non-income producing reasons. Now I carry a camera. I was minding my own business doing just that when I came across this little attention grabber. These coupes have always been favorites of mine despite having too many wheels. Just honest workhorses.
For Chrysler, just getting up off the canvas after the “plucked chicken” fiasco of 1962 was hard enough without Ford doing something crazy by dropping its Mustang bombshell on the market. What’s more, the personal-luxury coupe market was heating up by the day. So what was a beleaguered Chrysler to do? Fake it, that’s what. And do so with a memorable and venerable name.
The earliest Charger I remember (at least referring to something other than a hay-consuming equine) is this car, which a sporting band of Chrysler engineers campaigned on the drag strip. This car was the “High and Mighty” (actually a ’49 Plymouth). According to Alpar, it existed as seen above into late 1958. The original 354 truck engine, fitted with 392 heads, eventually gave way to an all-392 Hemi. Obviously, the car sacrificed aerodynamics on the altar of weight transfer and traction.
You really don’t see as much of this anymore, for several reasons: first, manufacturers no longer have the kind of mad money it takes to design, produce and market vehicles that disrespect the economies of scale. Also, the once-vaunted “halo effect” is increasingly irrelevant to consumers–after all, is the average Altima or Civic buyer the least bit influenced by the existence of the GT-R or NSX?
And then there’s the matter of political correctness; seriously, if a car maker offered a model geared toward a specific gender or other personal demographic today, howls of protest would reverberate, boycotts would form, and the offender would be made to attend automotive sensitivity training conducted by a newly formed Federal Department of Indignation Resolution.
This car is the one that says ‘police car’ to me more than any other. Growing up in the 1980s, the Rock Island Police Department drove black and white Diplomats. And when Officer Friendly visited our school when I was in first or second grade, he was driving one of these.
The Dodge Diplomat initially appeared as a corporate cousin to the new, Seville-sized and very Seville-like 1977 Chrysler LeBaron. The car itself was essentially a 1976-80 Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré with fresh sheetmetal, plusher interiors, and more upscale aspirations.