Selling For Dad: 1979 Plymouth Volare Station Wagon – SOLD!

Jun 2020 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

Update – we confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

June 17th Update:  we just noticed that last night, the private seller updated the same Craigslist post by lowering the price of their Volare station wagon we first featured last week $300 to $5,800, bringing the ask closer to the average NADA value.

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 Volare.  Sold from 1976 through 1980 alongside the Dodge Aspen, the model line-up included a four-door station wagon such as the 1979 example originally listed in June 2020 on Craigslist in East Northport, New York (Long Island) where the second owner has it listed for $6,100 currently. Researching the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Volare priced below the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $2,775, $4,450, and $6,475, respectively.

As an example of how much the U.S. auto market changed in the late 1970s, consider this:  While the Plymouth Volare and its brother Dodge Aspen launched as compact-sized cars in 1975, by the end of their production run in 1980 the government considered the pair 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.

Chrysler engineers leveraged early computer technology to engineer the Volare’s body by using clear plastic models showing stress points before forming any real sheet metal.  Engineers achieved weight reduction to provide maximum fuel economy 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. Volares had improved visibility and compared with the Chrysler compacts they replaced by providing 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 1950s.  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.

By 1979, Chrysler hired Lee Iacocca from Ford to help right a quickly sinking ship.  This commercial shows one of the earliest ads featuring Iacocca who in this stage was just trying to work with the products the company already had while designers and engineers prepared the upcoming compact K-Cars for a 1980 launch:

While we like the seller’s honest description of what he and his father recently replaced on their Volare, The son mentions they are currently working to get the A/C working again.  Be sure to really probe them to ensure they simple didn’t add 134a to get the system working long enough for the next owner to new to rebuild the system.  Otherwise, as long as everything else checks out during either your in-person or pre-purchase inspection, good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1979 Plymouth Volare Premier Wagon Survivor. 2 owner car, really clean example of an original survivor. 225 super six, power steering, power brakes, power door locks, AC (all there doesn’t blow cold but currently working to fix). New radiator, water pump, fuel pump, front rotors and calipers, and battery. Only rust on back bumper (pictured under sticker), clean interior dash NOT cracked, carpet clean, seats beginning to rip but clean (see pictures). Great car, runs and drives great, LOW miles. Get in and enjoy.

Posted for my Dad, text preferred, negotiable, 516five87onetwo72..

Do you have a Volare story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous

    My parents bought a new Volare Premier wagon in 1976 when I was just a year old. My memories of this car (other than burning my legs on the metal inserts on the vinyl seats in the summer and bailing water out of the spare tire well with my dad) were being stuck on the side of the road a lot (later learned lean burn issues) and there being lot and lots of rust in the lower quarter panels. The car was destroyed in an accident when it was ten years old. It was white with woodgrain and a cranberry interior


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