My neighborhood is filled with great cars. Some of them, like the Datsun from a few weeks back, lead solitary lives. They park alone on a block with hardly another interesting car around. Others? Others are more social. Like these Dodges. The Brooklyn Dodges.
Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where we highlight fascinating cars we found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.*
Not far from my apartment, these two Dodges while away the days sharing a block with one another. The duo consists of a 1973 Coronet and a 1983 Diplomat. Separated by a whole decade, it’s interesting to see what changed at Chrysler in the intervening years. I’d like to spend some time in the future writing up the changes in American car design and marketing precipitated by the 1973 gas crisis that occurred between the production of these two sedans but in the meantime let’s take a look at the cars themselves.
I don’t know what engine sits in this one, but there were V8s available with displacements between 318 and 440 cubic inches in addition to the old slant-six.
But even though the Coronet was the more down-market choice below the Monaco, this one’s still got a vinyl roof and some chrome trim (though they’ve lost a few pieces). Despite its single side mirror, it’s a little better-specced than the other car on the block, the 1983 Diplomat.
With its auxiliary spotlight jutting out of the A-pillar, this Diplomat pretty clearly once lived a life as a cop car. Paint condition on the hood aside, this car is in pretty good shape for New York. Growing up in the northeast, I’m not used to seeing Chrysler products from this era, especially lower-spec models like these. I think the salt, grime, and road conditions got the better of them.
The Diplomat came with the famous Chrysler slant-6 and a couple of larger V8s. I don’t know what’s under this car’s hood, but the low spec seems to indicate that it could be the base engine.
I really love the decals both cars have out back. It’s funny to me that whoever put these together used the ‘90s Dodge logotype for it, considering that these two cars are from well before its time. But it works. It means there’s some continuity. And that’s a good thing.
*I understand that one of you complained that many of the cars featured are in Brooklyn, which, although part of New York City, is in Kings County, not New York County like Manhattan. That would mean they are not in “New York, New York,” strictly speaking. I suppose that’s technically correct but the cities merged back in 1898 so we’re going to let it slide. Okay? Okay.