Transportation doesn’t get much more basic than today’s Nice Price or No Dice Plymouth Breeze. Let’s see if this Cloud Car is priced to put some wind in a new owner’s sails.
Having grown up in a region where drought is its own season, I have had little to no exposure to water-damaged cars. That’s my excuse for having misidentified as bug traps what many of you accurately pointed out to be containers of desiccant inside the cabin of yesterday’s 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 4. Their presence, you all deduced, added water damage to what was already a fire-damaged car.
The waterworks may have happened while extinguishing the fire. Or perhaps, the fire was caused by a flood-related short circuit. Either way, very few of you were willing to go the seller’s $10,000 for the car as it sat, fried on one end and damp on the other. The result was a massive 83 percent No Dice loss.
It’s likely that at some (lower) price, that hobbled Porsche will find a savior and new life on the road. It’s a car of such provenance and desirability that it will either show up as reborn or as a parts source for other, more fortunate cars.
Not all cars are worthy of saving. Some — hell, many in fact — are actually designed for a finite life. When you consider most of the midrange cars that have been produced over the years, how many do you still see on the road after a decade or so?
Chrysler’s so-called Cloud Cars were members of this here-today/gone-tomorrow class. Named for their cloud- or wind-derived model names — Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge Stratus, and Plymouth Breeze — the three cars bridged the size gap in Chrysler’s ’90s lineup between the smaller Neon and larger LH cars. With their avant-garde cab-forward design and reasonable pricing, the Cloud Car trio achieved reasonable sales numbers for Chrysler, and the Breeze even made it to Car and Driver magazine’s 10Best list for 1996. Not one of them, however, was ever intended to be the last car anyone ever bought.
That built-in impermanence is what makes today’s 1999 Plymouth Breeze so interesting. That it exists at all as a still-viable if slightly wonky transportation option makes it notable. The fact that the seller mentions the model having once appeared on Jason’s Meh Car Monday series makes it even more endearing.
Perhaps the reason for the car’s longevity is that there’s really very little to go wrong with it. The seller notes in the ad that it is a base model of Breeze. Add to that this being a car that was considered by Chrysler to be the bottom rung of the Cloud Car ladder. Befitting that role, this Breeze is powered by a modest 130-horsepower 2.0-liter four. That puts its ponies to the pavement through a no-fuss, set it and forget it four-speed automatic transaxle.
After more than 225,000 miles, that modest engine is burning or dripping about a quart of oil between every gas fill-up. Other mechanical gremlins noted by the seller include a non-working a/c system, a heater blower that’s stuck on high and a trunk that can get damp in the rain. Also, one back door is stuck shut owing to a broken lock.
On the plus side, the timing belt was changed just last year, and that back door is at least stuck shut and not stuck open. How awkward would that be otherwise?
Despite some dents and dings here and there, as well as some clear coat that’s packed up and moved south, the bodywork looks to be in decent shape. The car carries all four of its original plastic wheel covers, no mean feat, and it has some cool Plymouth script badging on each front door.
The interior looks surprisingly tidy as well, aside from a missing heater knob, That can’t be too hard to source, nor should the other issues be impossible to sort. With a clean title and complete maintenance history, this Breeze could be a pretty economical and interesting daily driver for someone of meager means but discriminating tastes.
The question, of course, is what you might pay for such an opportunity. The seller asks $700 for the car and, to be honest, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’d have to add to that the cost of sales tax, registration and insurance. Those can cost almost as much as the car when taken together.
That’s what makes cheap cars like this such a conundrum. Is it worth spending that modest initial outlay, knowing that more will have to be doled out before it can get on the road? Or, would that money be better spent on bus passes and ride-shares?
What do you think, is this Breeze worth sinking $700 into? Or, would you let this cloud car pass you by?
H/T to Hans Burger for the hookup!
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