Omni Vision: 1981 Dodge DeTomaso 024

1981-detomaso-024

When it comes to custom variants of Dodge’s compact Omni, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Shelby version is the fastest and funnest, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook this DeTomaso 024! Yes, the genius behind the DeTomaso Pantera also slapped his name on the somewhat boring Omni, at least it’s the more interesting 024 model. It didn’t receive all the great go fast parts that the Shelby did, of course it also came a few years earlier. It was primarily a visual upgrade, with some nice leather seats to give it a more sporty feel. You can find this DeTomaso here on eBay in Arlington, Virginia with a bid of $1,200.

1981-detomaso-024-engine

The Omni 024 came from an idea that Lee Iacocca had. The Omni had been awarded best car of the year awards in both the US and Europe, so why not take the popular hatchback and make it look more sporting (think VW Scoricco). The styling isn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t say it was a huge improvement over the standard car. Sales weren’t as blistering as was hoped, so it only made sense to team up with a big name like DeTomaso to drum up some sales.

1981-detomaso-024-interior

I’d say DeTomaso spent all of 30 minutes designing their version. If you parked this car next to a standard 024, you would hardly notice the differences. I do prefer the rims and interior of this car over the normal version. Once you climb into the DeTomaso interior, you will instantly notice the differences. The seats are lovely and look like they should be mounted in a high end sports car, not a Dodge Omni. Is it just me or is there an insane amount of dish to that steering wheel?

1981-detomaso-omni-024

There really weren’t many of these cars built, less than 2k in the two year run. Most were built in ’80, with about 600 being built in ’81, making this example exceptionally rare. It also should be equipped with the improved 2.2 liter straight 4! Now if you could find yourself a wrecked Shelby GLHS to donate all of its go fast bits for this 024, you would have something that’s both rare and fast! So what do you think of this DeTomaso 024 Survivor?

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    The steering wheel needs that much dish–it’s far away for a flat wheel! I remember that from my Shelby Charger. This seems like a great buy if it stays near this price.

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    • Lawrence Wright

      +1, put a flat-dish wheel in my Rampage (truck version), knuckles whacked the dash immediately. Fortunately, Grant made a 3″ extender kit for the wheel. Unfortunately, Grant couldn’t help with Dodge’s build quality.

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  2. Brian Birkner Brian Staff

    Wow, that is so cool. Who knew there was a Detomaso version? A 2.2 turbo setup would be the ticket for this Dodge to flaunt it’s Detomaso name. Cool find Josh!

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  3. dj

    I’m glad ya’ll monitor this webpage. There’s a lot of trash on the FB page. Now back to the story. I had a black and silver one and loved the car.

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  4. Todd Zuercher

    Never knew DeTomaso had their hand in this model.

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    • 68custom

      Me either I did see an omni 024 back in the day with detomaso decals on it and thought the owner had done some badge engineering?

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  5. JohnD

    Is it April 1 already????

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  6. Tom hetrick

    my old mom had an 024 had the VW block? it was a great car when you consider we came out of a 77 Aspen!!!!!

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  7. Steve B.

    Deal of the day at the current price.

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  8. Not really a Mopar guy

    How did Chrysler manage to get its demon seed in so many European car brands?? Mercedes, Maserati, DeTomaso…Lancia, god no not Lancia, yep,Lancia too. On and on…
    Don’t get me wrong, I love all things gasoline but it kinda kills it for me to to know that a cool Euopean brand has been….well…contaminated by Mopar.
    End of rant.
    You may thumbs down me now….

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  9. Steven Visek

    My Dad had a white 1980 024; VW engine. I think it lasted 7-8 years before the tin worn got it. I’d rather get another Caravan turbo like I used to have; maybe the best vehicle I’ve ever had.

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  10. M B

    The earlier Omni and its C/P versions used VW engines, when the 2.2L was introduced, the VW engines stayed in VWs. As “weak” as this car might be, it was really competitive with the benchmark VW Scirocco. GM and Ford had “pretend” sporty fwd cars, but CHRYSLER Corp delivered fwd sporty cars which were competitive with the Euro makers. That was intensified with the Shelby GLHS Omnis and those later Chrysler turbo hot rods (which were really high-tech compared to what “others” were building in the same size class).

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  11. cameron

    lipstick on a pig

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  12. Mark-A

    Might be a possibility that it needs the deep dished wheel as this was the time that most Italian cars seemed to be made for Gorillas or something else with disproportionately long arms!!

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  13. John C

    Hi All,

    I bought one of these used in 1985. I overheated the original motor and tried to find a 2.2 turbo transplant back in the day but no dice. It suffered some typical Omni issues. My recollection was it often burned out alternators/rectifiers and I replaced the CV joints around 80k. A coworker ended up with it following a junk yard motor swap but my guess is the car was crushed.

    Cool flashback!

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