Stored 32 Years: 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon – Sold!
Desperately trying to stay relevant in a rapidly changing market, Dodge launched what was then considered a compact car in 1975 for the 1976 model year: the Aspen. Sold from 1976 through 1980 alongside the Plymouth Volare, the model line-up included a four-door station wagon such as the 1977 example listed on Craigslist in Doylestown, Pennsylvania where the second owner has it listed for $3,000 currently. Researching the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Aspen priced below the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $3,950, $5,875, $9,800, respectively.
While the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare launched as compact-sized cars in 1975, by the end of their production run, the pair would be considered intermediate cars. As successors to the successful Chrysler A-body line (think Dodge Dart, Plymouth Valiant, and Plymouth Duster) its was big deal when Motor Trend named the pair their “Car of the Year” for 1976.
Body engineering in the Aspen was executed using early computer technology incorporating the use of clear plastic stress models showing stress points before any forming any real sheet metal. Weight reduction to provide maximum fuel economy was achieved through the use of thinner glass, lighter weight side door beams, and high strength, low alloy steel (“HSLA”) brackets, and reinforcements that were four times as strong as conventional mild steel. A reduced number of stampings resulted in better panel fits and fewer welds. The Aspen had improved visibility and compared with other Dodge compacts as the Aspen provided a total glass area increase of 25% on two-door models and 33% on sedans.
While powertrains remained either Chrysler’s tried-and-true 225 cubic inch slant six and 318 cubic inch V8, the most innovative feature was a completely new front suspension replacing the longitudinal torsion bar system most Chrysler cars dating back to the late 1950’s. The new isolated transverse torsion bar set-up, while not as geometrically favorable, saved space and weight.
Most importantly, the new front suspension system provided a “big car ride” as the suspension had a low, or softer, fore and aft compliance which allowed the wheel to move rearward instead of straight up and down when the tire encountered an object, dampening the blow and rolling with the condition of the road.
The current caretaker of this Dodge Aspen provides two facts. First, they purchased this Aspen from the original owner yet the lack of license plates indicates they have not registered the car. Second, the second owner mentions his Aspen has been stored “for over thirty years.” In fact, it’s 32 years to be exact as the registration stickers still on the windshield read “88.” Those two facts combined give us a hint the seller obtained this barn find for a song and they are looking for a flip. Unlike the egregious highway robbery, the seller of this Country Squire we’re also featuring today is trying to pull off, the seller of this Aspen is looking to make a little money off a find that is still priced below the NADA price range. That’s the way it should be. Whether you’re a “Mopar or No Car” kind of person or would like to be, this is a great starter car to get into the hobby and once you rebuild the brake system and repair any other issues to get this Aspen roadworthy again, you’ll have a great, now mid-sized, rear-wheel-drive station wagon to cruise in. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1977 dodge aspen station wagon. A true barn find stored for over 30 years. The car does run and drive it will need tires and exhaust work and going over. The car will need to be towed from its current location due to the uncertainty of brakes And reliability any questions please free feel to text email or call. I purchased the car from the original owner“
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