Mopar Must: 1979 Dodge Aspen Street Machine – Sold?

by | Sep 2021 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

October 12, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

September 6, 2021 Update – In a fresh listing, the private seller and builder of this unique Dodge Aspen wagon lowered their asking price from $15,000 to $12,500.

Long time followers may remember we once gave our imaginary “NEW!” (short for “No Effin Way!”) Award to another seller of this 1977 Dodge Aspen who asked $16,500 for it. Ironically, while this 1979 Dodge Aspen R/T “what if” originally listed in September 2021 on Craigslist in Ardmore, Oklahoma wants a similar price, the fact he created a nice looking street machine from a well-optioned, low-mileage, rust-free example is okay by us this time around. While Hagerty Insurance does not consider these cars collectible classics yet, the Collector Car Market Review confirms the private seller has their Aspen street machine priced nearly double the value of this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of only $8,700.

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.

Powertrains remained either Chrysler’s tried-and-true 225 cubic inch slant six and 318 cubic inch V8. The Aspen’s most innovative feature was a completely new front suspension replacing the longitudinal torsion bar system found on 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.

Perhaps it’s the great presentation, but the pictures provided seem to indicate a very high-quality build to created this Aspen R/T wagon.  The $15,000 ask seems to be in the “You Can’t Replicate It For This” range.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1979 Aspen Wagon, senior owned, 100% zero rust free Texas car. Mild built 318 with 46-RH torque flight overdrive transmission, cold factory a/c, P.S., P.D.B.

Body- As stated, 100% rust-free body, the floor pans, and under-carriage are in excellent condition. The paint would best be described as good driver condition. Looks great at 5 ‘but still gets a lot of looks. All of the glass is in excellent condition (tinted) with a nice clear windshield, all of the windows operate with ease. It has dual outside mirrors and a nice rooftop luggage rack. All of the weatherstrip is in good condition with “NO” water or wind leaks.

Interior- Nice factory bucket seat/console interior in very nice condition as seen in the pics. The headliner, cargo area, carpet, seats and door panels are all great shape. The factory A/C blows cold (new style compressor with R-34) and no overheating problems. It has factory lap belts and shoulder restraints. All of the lights, signals, horn, wipers, and radio all function.

Engine- 318 (30 over)mild cam, Wieand alum intake, 600 Edlebrock carb, MSD billet dist, 6AL box and coil. New plug wires and plugs. Shorty headers and newer exhaust. Approx. 8000 miles on the rebuild. The engine has 50lbs oil pressure at idle, zero oil consumption, no smoke leaks or any issues. It is not a tire-burner just a great little highway cruiser, very dependable.

New parts:

New American Racing Torque Thrust wheels with new BFG TA Radials (25 miles)
New Monroe-matic gas shocks
New Aluminum radiator (runs super cool).
New front end inspection and alignment.
Fresh oil change and lube , serviced and packed wheel bearings.

Transmission- converted to late model 46-RH Torque Flight O.D. (31% speed reduction at cruise speeds) New drive shaft and U-joints. This Wagon is right at home running 75 on the Hwy.

Two door and convertible cars are getting impossible to find unless you mortgage your home to buy one. This little wagon gets just as much attention as anything I have ever owned, and believe me that is a bunch .

$15,000. No checks or money orders. Cash in person or wire transfer. ”” I will not respond to texts.””

Show or go: what would you do with this 1979 Aspen?  Comment below and let us know!

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