Junkyard Gem: 1988 Dodge Aries LE Sedan

When Lee Iacocca took the helm at Chrysler, he grabbed a lifeline for the seemingly doomed firm by getting a bailout from the federal authorities. Utilizing the time bought with these Uncle Sam-backed loans, Chrysler was then in a position to develop a contemporary front-wheel-drive car platform from scratch, full with a brand-new overhead-cam engine household. This was the Ok platform, and the Ok-Vehicles grew to become a direct gross sales success once they appeared within the 1981 mannequin yr. These first-year Ks had been the Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries (the LeBaron, 400, 600 and Caravelle confirmed up throughout the next few years) and Chrysler bought greater than two million of these two fashions from 1981 via 1989. This is a bread-and-butter Aries sedan from the second-to-last yr of manufacturing, present in a Denver-area self-service yard a few months again.

The Ok household saved Chrysler, after which it saved on giving throughout the center Nineties as Ok-derived chassis variants went beneath the game-changing Chrysler minivans in addition to every little thing from the Dodge Shadow to the Chrysler Imperial. In truth, the overwhelming majority of Chrysler-built automobiles bought in the US in the course of the 1981-1995 interval might hint their ancestry again to the Reliant and Aries. Maybe you do not assume an Aries qualifies as a Junkyard Gem, however this is without doubt one of the most traditionally important automobiles you may discover in a Ewe Pullet-type yard as we speak.

For a lot of the Aries’ manufacturing run, patrons might select an non-obligatory 2.6-liter Mitsubishi Astron engine, which resulted in cool-looking HEMI 2.6 badges on some early automobiles (the Astron had hemispherical combustion chambers and thus earned these badges). By 1988, although, the bottom Aries engine remained the Chrysler 2.2, and the non-obligatory improve was a 2.5-liter model of the identical plant. The two.5 value $279 additional (about $667 as we speak) and so nearly all 1988 Aries patrons received the two.2 and its 93 horsepower. The unique purchaser of this automobile needed extra energy, so we’re wanting on the 96-horsepower 2.5 right here (sure, only a mere three horses over the two.2, however the 2.5 had 133 pound-feet of torque versus the two.2’s 122 lb-ft).

Amazingly, you may get a five-speed guide transmission within the 1988 Aries… and in the event you ever see one in individual, please let me know. This automobile has the three-speed computerized, which was obligatory with the two.5 engine in 1988.

Regardless that the Aries was thought of an affordable automobile (base MSRP of $6,995 for the 1988 sedan, or about $16,720 as we speak), this one received loaded up with some high-ticket choices past simply the larger engine. Air-con with the required tinted glass value $895 ($2,140 in 2021 bucks), and that high-zoot AM/FM/cassette radio with EQ sliders went for $254 ($607 in our present bones, or clams). You actually wanted that audio system to do justice to the large hits of the period!

Bucket seats and energy home windows had been out there, however this automobile has the identical kind of fabric bench seat and hand-cranked home windows that may have appeared acquainted to patrons of a brand new 1951 Plymouth Cambridge.

Vinyl roofs fare poorly when parked outside in Excessive Plains Colorado.

Loads of Denver automobiles started their careers in close by Kansas or Nebraska. Steve’s Auto is a restore store, nevertheless it’s a secure guess that this Reliant was bought close by.

The Aries was out there as a two-door sedan, four-door sedan, and wagon. Curiously, the two-door value the identical because the four-door in 1988 (most two-door put up sedans value lower than their four-door counterparts at the moment). After 1989, the Reliant and Aries had been changed by the intently associated Acclaim and Spirit.

Chrysler put the lowest-priced fashions within the “America” collection round this time, although I’ve solely seen America badges on the actually low-end automobiles.

Again when watching video on-line concerned downloading codecs and cursing at your laptop, this mock commercial for the 1988 Aries grew to become the late-Nineties model of a big globe-spanning viral sensation (i.e., a number of hundred thousand individuals had the endurance to seek out it, obtain it, and make it show accurately). Unusual to assume that this automobile was barely a decade outdated at the moment.

Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

You may also like...