I think the fundamental, pureéd gruel-like blandness of the Dodge Diplomat is probably best summed up in how this promo movie describes it’s size: “between a compact and an intermediate!” Somehow, Dodge’s engineers have managed to invent a size of car more boring than “mid-sized.” Kudos, gentlemen.
Here’s the whole promo film you can watch, if, for some reason your have to lower your heartrate and ease yourself into a stupor:
This is such a great introduction to how deliriously generic this car was. For example, the narrator makes a big deal about how this is a “new car” and uses “new materials,” and then the example they give is of the impact strip on the bumpers.
Sure, it’s black and looks like rubber, but it’s not exactly rubber! It’s a little lighter! Holy fuck, right? Imagine how engorged or moist your genitals would have been (depending on gender) just knowing that those black strips that may absorb the impact of a errant shopping cart are not rubber, but all those stupid bastards around you think it is! Joke’s on you, morons!
The Dodge Diplomat was built between 1977-1989 and was built on Chrysler’s M platform, which was a slightly larger version of their compact F platform, which the Volare and Aspen were built on. Really, it was almost the exact same platform as the cheaper cars, just stretched, but Chrysler may not have wanted to admit that, so it got a new letter.
The Diplomat was about as conventional and unadventurous as you could possibly imagine. It was a traditional RWD design, and perhaps the most interesting thing about the platform is that it was the last major American passenger car to have medieval-tech semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear.
Styling was square-rigged, fussily-detailed, and almost entirely forgettable. In profile, it was basically the most generic outline of the fundamental concept of ‘car’ you could imagine, the result of what you’d get if you told any ‘70s or ‘80s-era eight-year old to draw a car and handed them a crayon.
Power came from either the bulletproof Slant 6, which gave it performance that puts the ‘lack’ in lackluster: 21 seconds to 60 MPH, and a top speed of under 100, but I’m sure even at that speed everything inside would be quiet, pretty comfortable, and boring as all hell.
Optional 318 V8s would shave about seven seconds off the time to 60, and that’s what most of the cop-car versions got.
If you were around when the Diplomat came out, and you actually gave a shit, I’m sure you would have been snatched up by the US Olympic Shit-Giving Team, who would have marveled at your near-superhuman levels of shit-givery, at least until it was announced that the U.S. was boycotting the 1980 Olympics. Sorry.
With all this awareness of how staggeringly dull the Diplomat was, this commercial, starring Sherlock Holmes and Watson, is all the more astounding:
They actually call the Dodge Diplomat “fiendishly seductive.” I can’t think of two words less relevant to this car, and I just thought of the words “collodial” and “fecund.”