The first thing you should know about this last-of-its-generation Dodge Aspen is that has its roots in a platform that was 20 years old when this car creaked off the assembly line in 1980. The second is that they still couldn't get the engine right.
It's the (in)famous Mopar Slant Six. As Regular Car Reviews explains, the exhaust headers are right next to the intake runners, making the intake air nice and warm before reaching the pistons. Moreover, the carburetor (yes this was still a carb'd engine eleven years after we landed on the moon) sits above of the exhaust manifold, and that gives you vapor lock. So you have to crank this old car over hard with your foot to the floor and warm it up at half throttle.
But the thing is, the slant six is immortal. Let me quote Jalopnik alum Murilee Martin on why this engine practically has a cult of personality.
The Mopar Slant Six is one of the undisputed marvels of the engineering world; when the Sun goes supernova and the entire planet has been reduced to ionized hydrogen, a '67 Valiant will still be chugging along in the debris field (I once saw a Slant Six that had been completely filled with water- due to the owner's confusion about which cap to remove in order to add coolant- and had driven that way for weeks; the unpleasant noises and brown foam spewing out the tailpipe were apparently not regarded as meaningful).
It is rough, it is crude, but it is a brutal survivor.
And that's the thing about this Dodge. It may have been designed in a self-serving think toilet of a company b-lining for bankruptcy, but it does have a strange honest charm 34 years into its life.
At least that's what Regular Cars thought. You ever driven one of these things?