Ever look at a tired project and think, “There could be a good car underneath?” My success rate at picking winners and losers isn’t too shameful (yet),but I’m struggling to determine if this rare Dodge Spirit R/T is past the point of saving. The cosmetics are tired but the seller seems to have performed an impressive amount of maintenance – but it could all be negated if this sleeper sedan has been thrashed beyond saving. Check it out here on craigslist in Connecticut with a $3,500 or best offer asking price.
I do love the iconic “Beep Beep” front license plate decor, reminding us that this Spirit R/T deserves a place in the Mopar hall of fame of high-performance products. But then you also notice the dirty cosmetics and broken grill slats and it begins to get a bit worrisome. The R/T was produced in extremely limited quantities in red or white, and your options for finding spare parts are going to be limited. Still, with the potential to embarrass far more expensive vehicles always just a clutch-dump away, the R/T’s standard 224 b.h.p is always going to be a temptation no matter the condition.
With cosmetic enhancements like color-keyed wheels and thickly bolstered sports-style seats, the R/T was a sports sedan through and through. The seller of this example is up front about the poor cosmetic condition, and the rear bumper is badly cracked and will need replacement. He has seemingly tackled a long list of maintenance items, including a fresh clutch, ignition components, timing belt and a new coil pack. However, he’s also added a cheesy Cherrybomb muffler, manual boost controller and a very silly blowoff valve. With the potential these cars had for being abused, you’re making a calculated roll of the dice with the tweaked R/T.
I’d want to know more about the rear hit that cracked the bumper, as the trunk lid alignment also appears off. The seller doesn’t appear to be hiding anything major, and that’s a plus – but how are you going to know just how often he cranked up the boost without fortifying the stock internals? That’s not to say this engine couldn’t take it, but you don’t want to buy something that’s been thrashed just because it’s rare. But let’s turn it over to our readers: should this R/T be bought and returned back to its stock condition, or is it past the point of saving? Lodge your thoughts in the comments below.