Survivor Slant Six: 1978 Dodge Aspen – Sold?

by | Sep 2021 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

October 17, 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 12, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the private seller replaced their expiring original listing with a fresh ad earlier today.  The pictures, description, and revised asking price of $7,500 all remain the same.

September 1, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the seller of this Dodge Aspen survivor just lowered their ask by one thousand dollars to land at a revised $7,500.

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 two-door coupe such as this 1978 survivor example originally listed in September 2021 on Craigslist in Pennellville, New York (Syracuse) where the current caretaker has it listed for $7,500 (down from the original as of $8,900). Researching the Collector Car Market Review online valuation tool confirms the seller’s ask is right in line with this guide’s current #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $8,700 plus a five percent premium for the car having air conditioning.

As an example of how much the U.S. auto market changed in the late 1970s, consider this:  While the Dodge Aspen and its brother Plymouth Volare 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 Apsen’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. Aspens 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.

The Osborn Tramain YouTube Channel features this dealer promotional film from 1977 comparing the Dodge Aspen to the Chevrolet Nova:


Seeing one of these in such nice condition brings back memories for this writer as similar Dodge Aspens and Plymouth Volares were the first cars of choice for several classmates in high school. We hope the next caretaker avoids the urge to swap out the original slant six in favor of a more powerful V8.

When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their TR-250 featured here on Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“78 Aspen survivor, 86K miles, slant 6, automatic, front disc brakes, air, clean and ready to cruise $8500. Or best offer, trade for something older, call or text

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


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