Back in the day, ads for the Plymouth Volaré advised buyers to "Don't Give Up, Get a Volaré!" Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe wonders if you'd give up nearly nine grand for this slant-six '76?
Typically, the relation of a joke concerning the recently deceased is immediately followed with the question too soon? which is somehow seen as amelioration of the original quip's tasteless timing. But yesterday that wasn't the problem in the contemplation of the merits of a mid-twenties Solstice from dead-man-walking Pontiac. No, the issue that drove the vast commentariat to a foaming-mouthed conniption was the lack of a third pedal down where the sun don't shine. Despite that dark mood, the little silver targa managed to squeak a 55% nice price win by the auto-box haters.
Seeing as torque converters cause such apoplexy - which is fun to watch - today we're going with another car that gives your left leg nothing to do. Beloved by grandmas and Mopar Mad Men alike, Chrysler's Dart/Valiant/Duster A-bodies served as the Pentastar's mainstays from Kennedy all the way to Nixon and what's his name- oh yeah, Ford. But like all things corporeal, they could not last forever, and along with our great nation's bicentennial, 1976 brought with it a spanking-new pair of F-body twins in succession.
This Florida Orange Juice-evoking Volaré wagon hails from that first year, and looks like it might have just rolled off the assembly line and onto a Plymouth-lover's driveway. It's rocking an original set of rims on which have been mounted some beefy Hoosier daddy meats. Each window sports a stainless steel eave so they may be cracked while it's raining in order to keep the insides from getting all fogged up on burrito night. A set of fuzzy orange dice and matching toilet lid snood on the rear-view round out the visual accouterments.
Now, the initial model year's build quality was pretty poor, and an aggressive predilection for rust has sent many of these cars to early date with the bone yard. While all the first-year cars had been recalled for replacement fenders and the installation of plastic fender liners, if you were to buy this pristine survivor, you still might want to keep it in a dry climate. But with fewer than 15,000 miles on the clock, it's probably safe to assume it's not going to suddenly disassociate into its base elements on your watch.
Engines don't get much more rock-solid reliable and long-lived as Chrysler's beloved 225-cid slant six. In '76, it did have driveability issues - as did damn-near every car sold that year, trying to meet the ever tightening pollution standards - but it's not like it would be un-drivable. The 100-bhp under-square six with a single-barrel Holly 1945 promised 25 disco-era miles per gallon highway, and while it may be enough motor to drag around the wagon empty, the optional 318 V8 was likely the better choice if you wanted to avail yourself of the car's half-ton load rating.
But that's not to say the six is incapable of the task, as this ad, in which the Volaré wagon carries a whole Brokeback Mountain's worth of camping equipment, as well as four happy campers, demonstrates. The ride is so smooth, it doesn't matter what they were doing to pass the time on that weekend away, and it's so quiet they'll be able to get their stories straight before getting home the their wives.
This one may not be a faux forest-clad Premier, but that doesn't mean it might not be giving you wood, especially if you're a Mopar fan. Not being bedecked in bark may be a downer, but with that shiny orange paint job you'd never lose the car in the Walmart parking lot, although the expansive greenhouse means you'll probably be lamenting the lack of A/C come summer. Inside, there's bench seats that go all the way over to there, meaning that two sets of conjoined triplets can share the car in comfort.
While nearly twice the original window sticker, attrition and condition are driving that $8,975 asking price. For that kind of money, you could find a few other mid-size wagons, but probably not in this kind of shape, or with as few miles. Plus, how many other cars would induce you to break out in their theme song every time you slid behind the wheel? Volaré. . . Oh-ohhhhhh!
So, slant six, orange paint, low miles and under nine grand. Do you think that sounds like a combination that would keep you from giving up? Or, does that price make you immediately raise the white flag?