AJ’s Car of the Day: 1988 Dodge Aries K Wagon

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1988 Dodge Aries K Wagon

Car: Dodge Aries K Wagon

Year: 1988

What makes it special: Laugh all you like, but the car we all joked about actually saved the Chrysler Corporation’s ass. By the late 70’s, Chrysler was on the rocks as the oil crisis and outdated car designs sent them there. There was a need for an efficient, modern front-wheel-drive car, so Chrysler Head Honcho Lee Iacocca himself masterminded the creation of the all-new “K-Platform” that hit showrooms in 1981. The “K” car came in the form of the Dodge Aries and the Plymouth Reliant models. This K car went on all the way through 1995.

What made it famous: These cheap, affordable economy cars were just the thing to put Chrysler back in black. Earlier versions could be powered by the optional Mitsubishi Astron 2.6-liter, four-cylinder ( That actually HAD “Hemi 2.6” badging ), but for 1988, the choices boiled down to either a 93 hp, 2.2 Chrysler built four-cylinder, or a 96 hp, 2.5 version of the same powerplant with an extra 13 pound-feet of torque.

Why I would want one: Actually, I’d love a pristine example of one. They are a piece of automotive history that any true car fan should have in their collection. No foolin’.

Fun fact: Although the K car was the butt of many jokes, Dodge laughed all the way to the bank with the reward of higher sales. The division volume rose from 309K in 1980 to nearly 341K the next year. By the 1985 model year, Dodge realized its dream goal of a half-million sales.
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