Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #81

And we delve further into the 1980s...


1981 saw the introduction of the car that pretty much defined the 1980s: the Plymouth Reliant. Ah, the K-Car. Bland styling. Horrible performance (the 2.6L "Hemi" Mitsubishi engine, which was a significant upgrade in power, had a 0-60 MPH time of 13 seconds. That's dumptruck territory...). Depending on who you talked to, they were either super reliable or horrific POSs. However you look at the K-car, the little car designed by Lee Iaccoca saved Chrysler at the turn of the decade.

Mrs. G. owned not one but two Reliants, both hand-me-downs from her parents as she got her license and they upgraded their cars. The first was an early 1980s version, the second a 1986 (first year of the 3rd brake light). We started dating in 1991, so the newer one was only 5 years old - and had significant mechanical problems at that point. Trouble starting in winter, power features dying, a tendency to stop working for no apparent reason. Yeah. Good times...

1981 also featured the debut of the Nissan Maxima, which is still around, while the Reliant sits in the dustbin of history - read into that what you will...

That is all.

9 comments:

Dave H said...

I had a Reliant that (mostly) ran well, although you're right about the power accessories.

The most troublesome quirk was that the bolts that held one of the rocker arm supports backed out twice, dropping the rocker, the support, and the bolts into the corner of the cylinder head. I was lucky none of the pieces got wedged under another rocker, which would have shattered it.

Repairing it was easy. Just pry off the valve cover, fish out the pieces, and bolt them back into place. That hardest part was getting a good bead of the high temp bathtub caulk onto the cover to seal it.

abnormalist said...

we had a dodge aeries (J car) similar setup, the 2.5l grenaded, when the crank walked itself loose and blasted through the block. You could look down from under the intake manifold to see the ground below, THROUGH the block and oil pan.

I think that they were generally very reliable FOR THE ERA but this is the same era as the chevette... so thats not saying much

Chris in TX said...

But what about the glorious LeBaron Town & Country Convertible? That fake wood paneling lets you KNOW it's a quality item.

Stretch said...

GSA bought those things by the train load ... REALLY! In 1984 had a "Reliant" based POLICE CAR.
I couldn't go Code 3 with the A/C on or it would stall out.
Shift change included a walk around with the previous shift officer detailing what parts had fallen off. We use to leave the stray parts on the Sift Sergent's desk until he started throwing them back at us. At one point I ended up driving an 1969 Dodge Power Wagon 'cause that was the only thing left in the GSA motor pool that had police lights (red), markings, and actually ran.

George P. Burdell said...

Got my aunt's 1985 K-car in 1993 as my first car. The 85 had an "electronic carburetor", which was this bastard frankenstein contraption that was supposed to be a carburetor with the flexibility and power of a fuel injected engine. It did neither.

I picked it up in a suburb of Boston and promptly took it to Click & Clack's garage in Cambridge (yes, they actually have a business besides their now-retired radio show). They fixed everything that was immediately wrong with it, and said that the following $2000 worth of stuff will need to be repaired "soon enough" (valve job, suspension, radiator, ...) .

Lo and behold, $2000 later, the car was functional. My father's bank account, well, no comment...

Wolfman said...

My cousin had the deluxe model that would talk to you. "A door is Ajar!" "The Trunk is Open!" Sounded like Siri's older cousin. I always wondered how Dodge managed to make plastic that would rust...

Jim said...

On the upside, those K cars made a decent artificial reef.



Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Old NFO said...

They were pathetic then, and even more so now... But they were Chrysler's so what did you expect?

STxAR said...

The FCC super secret DF car was a K car!! They had removed the top, installed an antenna (like a giant pancake cut into sections) and reroofed it with fiberglass. Stealthy direction finding. The top was about 2 inches taller than a regular K.

The passenger seat was gone, and they had a rack of high tech in it's place. Most of it was covered when I got to see it.

He could chase down folks using radios that were interfering with licensed users, like the PD, FD and ship to shore in South East Texas....

Pretty cool rust bucket.