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.


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.


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

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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.


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?

1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow, With Bonus Malaise Louver Poll
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