1980s vintage M-body Mopars (Fifth Avenue, NYer, Gran Fury, and
Diplomat) are among the most under-appreciated cars ever made. Mopar
fans at the time didn't like them because they replaced the much-loved
B-body and A-body with a single class of car AND they had the wierd
front suspension from the Volare and Aspen. Other people didn't like
them because the styling was simple and boxy. And the automotive press
HATED them because they were rear-drive, solid-axle, carbureted V8 and
6-cylinder cars instead of "high tech" turbocharged front-wheel drives.
But they turned out to be brutally rugged and reliable- my vote for the
best "everyday cars" made between 1978 and 1993. The K-cars and their
derivatives like the Shadow, Sundance, FWD LeBaron, and so on don't even
come close to being as simple to maintain, simple to work on, and
long-lived. And of course very little from GM or Ford in that era came
close to the K-cars, so its not even a contest there.
Steve, I'm not aware of your ever having owned any of the K-derivatives.
They are *VASTLY* easier and less expensive to maintain, and *MUCH*
simpler to work on than the shitmess found under the hood of an M-body.
C'mon, think about this: A feedback carbureted engine with virtually every
known type of throw-on/hang-on/slap-on emission control widget and device,
and miles of vacuum hoses and wires hooking all this unreliable spaghetti
together, versus a simple TBI or PFI system with far fewer and simpler
components, all of which are much more easily accessed. Four spark plugs
right up front instead of eight (four of which are a bitch to reach
because of the air pump lines, the brake booster, etc.). The list goes on
and on of ways in which the K-derivs are vastly easier to service and
maintain than the M-bodies. There may be a couple counterexamples, but not
I know you like the M-bodies, but let's try to be a little more evenhanded
about the matter -- they are very, very far from perfect. Their body
hardware is cheap and nasty, every last bit of it, just like it was on
most every other Chrysler product of the day. Stuff breaks and falls apart
on the M-bodies in ways that you just don't see on later ('90-up)
K-derivatives. Sure, the engine and trans will run "several forevers" in
the M-body, maybe just one single "forever" with the K-deriv, but crap
falls off/falls apart around the running engine and trans in the M-body.
And that's without even getting into the much better mileage and
driveability of even a low-line 2.5 TBI K-deriv compared to that "Let's
pretend it's perpetually 1977" carbureted M-body.
Sorry, I do not buy your "Best everyday cars made between 1978 and 1993"
award to the M-body.
Needs to be checked by a mechanic if you are departing with significant
money to buy it. For example, AC repair could be much more expensive than
just a charge. Engine could be worn out too and you would not know it.
The '84 is the last year with the good carburetor (Carter) and the
less-problematic EGR system. It is an old-tech vehicle. They work fine and
last a long time, and can be made to handle and stop better with the use
of the cop/taxi-spec brake and suspension components. Repairs are
generally inexpensive, as is insurance.
Don't pay too much for it.
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