I spotted this car just a few minutes after shooting the '54 Chevy, and I must admit I was far more excited over the 27-year-old Plymouth than I was with 53-year-old Chevrolet. At first glance, the Fire Arrow seems to be just another tape-striped Late Malaise turd in disco colors, but lurking under its oxidized, arrow-decal-bedecked hood is the mighty 2.6 liter Mitsubishi Astron engine! By the standards of its time, the Fire Arrow was a pretty quick machine.

1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow, With Bonus Malaise Louver Poll


The Fire Arrow was actually a rebadged Mitsubishi Celeste with about 50 pounds of tape stripes and decals, all in colors straight out of Malaise Central Casting. The regular Plymouth Arrow came with the smaller 2-liter engine and only 15 pounds of decals.

1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow, With Bonus Malaise Louver Poll


This example is in pretty rough shape, but the rust-free climate has kept it in restorable condition.

1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow, With Bonus Malaise Louver Poll


I was tempted to put a note under the wiper offering to buy the car, but California's smog overlords stand in the way of my plans for such a car: drop the turbocharged Astron out of a Starion in it. I'd probably end up in Smog Guantanamo if I tried to get such a setup past the bureaucracy.

1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow, With Bonus Malaise Louver Poll


You want Malaise? How about these plastic quarter-window louvers? Don't they make you feel like Jimmy Carter is back in the White House, and the hostages are back in the US Embassy in Tehran?

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The important question here is: Do the Fire Arrow's louvers capture the optimism-in-the-face-of-gloom spirit of Malaise Era automotive styling more effectively than those on the 1973 Pontiac Grand Am Colonnade?

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First 150 DOTS Cars