Centenarian Chauffer: 1988 Dodge Aries LE Wagon – SOLD!
November 9, 2021 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 us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
In addition to finding great leads for the Craigslist Classifinds we feature, we love coming across one with a great story. Take this 1988 Dodge Aries K station wagon originally listed in October 2021 on Craigslist in Cumming, Georgia (Atlanta). The private seller, who happens to be the original owner, reports his one-hundred-year-old mother drove this car for the past 27 years. 1988 turned out to be the final year of the K-Car wagons, so this light blue example may be one of the better examples still left in driveable condition.
Currently priced at $6,500, a check of Classic.com confirms that would be a record price for a Dodge Aries the two similar examples sold in 2020 on Bring a Trailer only fetched $5,500 and $6,100.
Chrysler produced Dodge’s version of the K-Car, the Aries, from 1981 to 1989. It replaced the Dodge Aspen as Dodge’s family car with mid-size room in a front-wheel drive format commonly associated with compact cars. The Aries was Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year for 1981. The Aries sold almost a million units in a single generation.
After much publicity, the much-heralded Aries and Reliant twins made their debut in 1981. In response to the notoriety of the new cars, Chrysler added a small “K” emblem to the rear. The Aries was available as a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, or as a 4-door station wagon, in three different trim lines: base, Custom, and SE (“Special Edition”). Station wagons came only in Custom or SE trim. Unlike many small cars, the K cars retained the traditional six-passenger, two-bench seat with column shifter seating arrangement favored by many Americans. The Aries was powered by a then-new 2.2 Liter SOHC engine, with a Mitsubishi “Silent Shaft” 2.6 Liter optional. Initial sales were brisk, with over 150,000 units sold in 1981.
The Aries underwent only minor changes in its first few production years (the Custom trim line was dropped from the coupe and sedan in 1983). The first major changes occurred in 1985, when the Aries received a new front fascia, featuring a new “crosshair” grille and a new rear fascia featuring five-section taillights. A new trim line, the top-tier LE (“Luxury Edition”), was added (it also replaced the Custom trim level on the wagon).
Significant powertrain changes were made for 1986. The 2.2 L engine’s carburetor was replaced by a new throttle-body electronic fuel injection system, while a new 2.5 L four-cylinder engine was added to the options list, replacing the Mitsubishi 2.6 L. The four-speed manual transmission, previously offered as standard equipment, was dropped.
The Aries underwent only minor changes throughout the rest of its production run. The SE trim line was dropped after 1986, while the LE and base trim remained the only trims till the end of production. The base trim line was renamed America in 1988, offered as relatively inexpensive, basic transportation. 1988 was the last year for station wagons.
The seller provides a fantastic walk-around and driving video of their Aries wagon:
We spotted this 1988 Dodge Aries commercial on YouTube featuring actor William Devane pitching what were by then eight-year-old K-Cars:
By all accounts, this appears to be a nicely maintained K-Car you can either continue to use as a daily driver or as a classic, Rad Era eligible classic on the cheap.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1988 Dodge Aries Wagon LE Edition- K Car- 2.5-liter engine. Electronic Fuel Injection
I am the original owner, having purchased it new in 1988 from Marietta Dodge in Marietta, GA.
It is a one-family car, with my now 100-year-old Mom having driven it for the last 27 years of its life.
(Yes, no kidding, this car has been driven by my 100-year-old Mom for the past 27 years. She is responsible for about 25,000 of those miles.)
It has always been garaged, never driven in salt, up north, or in the coastal areas so the undercarriage is still structurally sound and in very good shape. Very well maintained over the years with regular service and maintenance, and the engine and car’s clean appearance shows it.
Very little rust on body, but there are some very small places, but hardly noticeable. Some very minor dings as well, but again, hardly noticeable.
Tires are 5 years old, but have no more than 2,000 miles on them since they were purchased.
Excellent condition given its 33 years of age. Very comfortable and smooth ride.
Transmission is tight and smooth… no issues here at all.
Cranks right up and accelerates with ease to 65 mph. 33 mpg hwy. 25 city.
116,831 miles on odometer. (the odometer is only 5 digits, so the reading shows 16,831.)
All systems work… lights, front & back wipers, new AC compressor & drier blows cold air, FM/AM radio has good sound, clock works, horn, windows all crank up & down with no problem, Driver side mirror functional, but the passenger side, although working, needs a little push sometimes to get it into proper position, visor swivel and light work, rear seat release button and mechanism works great allowing rear seat to be folded down for extra cargo space
Front windshield recently replaced, all other glass and mirrors are original. Some oxidation of the black paint around some of the window trim and headlight areas.
Cloth Upholstery is in excellent condition showing only normal wear.
Carpets are in good shape, but needs a shampoo as there are some soiled areas in the foot areas.
Floor pans are solid and no rust or holes.
Never wrecked. New Hatchback lifters (struts) recently installed so the back door opens easily.
Back seat mechanism in great shape allowing the seat to quickly be converted to a cargo area.
Roof top rack in great shape- no rust or dents.
This car is a classic and a survivor as most K cars of this period are gone…. gone forever as in … scrapped.
If you are a collector, you will not find a nicer K car than this one.
Basically, a great looking car and a great running car with no issues at all. Clean title.
You will not be disappointed.
Let me know if you have any other questions or pictures. Please take a look at this 10-minute video which shows the car driving on the highway to get a better idea of just how nice this one is:
Title transfers will depend on payment method and will be subject to clearance of payment by my bank.
Cash or Venmo is preferred.
Show or go: what would you do with this restored Triumph? Comment below and let us know!