1982 Plymouth Reliant: Spring Sport Special


Here’s a variant of the popular K-Car I had never heard of: the 1982 Plymouth Reliant Spring Sport Special, as seen here on eBay. With only 40,000 miles from new, it’s barely broken in and still wears sharp looking paint and an extremely clean interior, presenting almost as good as new. 


Now…there is nothing remotely sporting about this car. The Spring Sport Special package consisted primarily of the two-tone paint job, a luggage rack and I thought upgraded wheel covers – but the seller says these Rally-style wheels are original to the car. Before you get too excited about the condition, the car has been re-painted at some point, supposedly quite well.


The word “Sport” had little bearing on the car’s performance, as the stock engine and mechanical systems remain. But at least the engine bay is near spotless and the seller claims it has been taken out and run on a regular basis, despite its low mileage. He also estimates that this is one of a very few Spring Sport Specials left on the road, and he may be right. I’ve never seen one.


What a mint interior! I mean, literally – it’s mint in color. It’s also in good shape, and sporting “upgraded” foot pedals, which received their chrome accents as part of a dress-up kit. There’s an opening bid of $3,950 with no action; do you think this Plymouth Reliant deserves some love, or is the price too high for an otherwise ordinary car with some cosmetic enhancements?


  1. Scotty G

    Oh boy, I can only imagine the comments on this one. Because I like it I’m assuming that it’ll be panned like a Steve Guttenberg movie..

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Scotty, not so fast. I like it too. I had a car very similar to this, I think it was a Dodge 400, but the same car. Next to the Willy’s Jeep, this was one of the easiest cars to work on. ( I changed a motor in a day in my garage) Some may bash it, but for the time, it was exactly what America needed, and the almighty mini-van that followed. Nothing overly fancy, just a good car for mom to take us to the dentist ( or whatever) For many, it was their 1st taste of front-wheel drive, and we all saw where THAT went. ( everything is fwd now)

      • Scotty G

        I like your taste in cars (and, trucks), Howard! Once again, when a person assumes they make an ass out of u and me.. (or, just me)
        This car will, believe it or not, be highly collectible in the not too distant future as every other genre of vehicle is snapped up. I had pretty much this same car but in the Chrysler LeBaron convertible version, with the Mitsubishi 2.6 and it was a great car. Not one problem in the two and a half years that I owned it, before trading it in on a BMW 318i in 1990.

  2. Nessy

    I have the original dealer booklet on this car and while I always liked two tone paint jobs, there is nothing listed in this color combo nor is there anything about a spring sport model. It does look good for a K-Car.


    Slim market for these. What kind of money will be spent on basically a 34 yr old commuter car? I’m guessing the seller will be lowering the price.

  4. juwald knightlly

    its the early Reagan years! look at this beautiful beast, going to war with Honda n Toyota and , what , the Citation ?
    nifty looking, 40k miles, motor around in her for a year, no fun, limited gas mileage, but will turn heads in a “was that a K car??” look

  5. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Scotty, you know what? I’d drive it :-) Tell me the last time you saw a K-car looking this nice. I like being different!

    • Scotty G

      I’m with ya on that, Jamie! Anything unusual is what I’m interested in. And, apparently, so is my wife..why she married me I’ll never know. Thanks for keeping the unusual vehicles coming here! Sorry for my past comments if I’ve offended you or anyone on the BF staff, or anyone else here. It’s a fantastic site that will continue to grow and grow.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Offended? Me? I don’t think I need to be writing for the internet if I’m worried about being offended :-) No problems here for sure!

        Besides, I tend to learn the most when I communicate with someone with different opinions from my own — I can at least learn how others arrived at the conclusions they did and why mine are (or were, if they’re right) different!

  6. Rich

    I, I, I like it. Reliable cheap entry into the hobby.

  7. jim s

    has a/c, cruise, automatic and 40k miles. if the miles are true, seller states has history, and no rust, car came from IL, this is a good daily driver. make the seller an offer. nice find.

  8. Birdman

    It’s carb’d!! I’ve had a couple of these carbs and had nothing but trouble with them…I think I’d try to find a way to swap in injection of some sort… otherwise, it’s a really nice find…I’d drive it!

    • Dave Wright

      The fuel injected cars were better……..a lot better. But these were wonderful transportation. As I have said here before, we had a fleet of them but learned to buy fuel injected 5 lug rim models and NEVER buy one with the 2.6 Mitsibishi engine.

    • curtis fieten

      never had any carb troubles on the three 80’s Chargers I’ve owned, though I did put a pair of weber downdrafts on the shelby.

      • Dave Wright

        How would Weber down drafts work on these engines? Do you mean side drafts?

  9. gord

    shot me if you must but…. great little cars and back in the day you could get performance stuff from direct connection (pre-mopar name)
    the front end is trying to “ape” mercedes as was the granada at ford
    i did a mono-chromatic paint job, trans am tailfin, reversed 71 dart scoops, thicker sway bars, gas shocks, one step below not driveable lumpy cam, wider tires and she would actually move and REALLY liked to be thrown into corners (with the suspension stuff noted)
    ….. back then being able to do 100mph was a miracle in these cars (of course that was based on my friends motorcycle since the speedo gave up and starting bouncing once pasts 85! and my friend just tore off away from me…. ah well… youth….. i treated it as the “dart” of its time period since that is what it replaced
    carb yeah that was an issue on occasion
    i could not afford a hurst olds at the time (85) and mine loooked like a mini-hurst (hey i was in my late teens, early 20s so give me a break!)
    success to whomever buys these

    • Dave Wright

      We used to drive them thousands of miles throughout the southwest at 90MPH with talk radio and the A/C blaring……..

  10. George

    Most people that I knew with one had the heads going by 60K.

  11. Dave Wright

    The only time we had any head trouble is when someone blew a belt or hose and overheated it. The only regular trouble we had was at about 125,000 miles they would blow front wheel bearings, they were realitivley expensive to fix at the time. The engines were rock solid, both 2.2 and the 2.5 versions.

  12. Jason Houston

    What a very pretty car. And notice how whitewall tires really set it off! Great find.

    • Howard A Member

      Is this the same “Jason Houston”? A nice word on a car I thought for sure he’d trash. See, we CAN all get along here. :)

  13. CJay

    I had the stock 2.2 carbureted, 4 speed manual, no P/S,no A/C, no PB . I never planned on liking a $450 car so much! It was 7 years old when I got it and lasted 8 years and I BEAT it for over 100k miles. I would buy another one with a manual trans in a heartbeat.

    • Dave Wright

      That was our experiance. We would buy ex government cars with say 50,000 miles on them and drive them for another 80,000…….then sell them for twice what we paid for them in the first place. We bought the first one because we wanted the A/C and it was cheeper than adding it to our existing vehicles.

  14. Dave Wright

    The problem we had with carburators was they had trouble passing smog, and they were expensive…..sometimes as much as we paid for the car. I never had a fuel injected car fail the smog check anywhere…..including California. The injected cars got better fuel economy as well.

  15. Kincer Dave Member

    I would buy this and drive it, I had a 84 2 door that my ex mother inlaw gave to me for a winter beater, what a great car couldn’t kill it and so easy to work on. I wouldn’t try to kill this one though it would be kept in the garage.

  16. Ian

    For some bizarre reason that I cannot quite explain I find myself strangely drawn to a lot of 80s American cars, this one included. Would love to get my hands on the Executive model of the K car.

  17. Joe Howell

    Sweet :)

  18. Jubjub

    Wow, spent some time behind that dashboard but in a light yellow. I really liked the illumination of the key light on the column. Just something about it. These didn’t have that awful, ropey feeling steering the GM front wheel drives had. It is a charming little car.

  19. MountainMan

    surprisingly positive comments from everybody on this little jewel
    good job!!

    • Howard A Member

      Hi MM, you spoke too soon. Apparently, Tirefriar thinks they were crap. I’m always amazed how a car can sell millions ( and all the related off shoots) with millions of happy owners, ( and miles) and someone has a bad experience, for whatever reason, therefore, they are all bad. I like all cars, some more than others, but I realize they are made by human beings, and a bad one is bound to slip through.

      • Tirefriar

        Howard, you are almost correct – I don’t apparently think these are crap, I DO think they are crap for the few reasons I already mentioned. APPARENTLY the rest of the market based on the proportion of the survivors vs production and the values being in the toilet, even for a clean example such as the one we are discussing.

        K cars sold themselves on a single virtue – the price! It was perhaps the least expensive domestic family sedan with a FWD 4 cylinder power train. It was more like a situation of beggars not being choosers. K cars proved that point themselves with the basic cars flying off the showroom floor with slightly upgraded models rotting on dealer lots. At the beginning That in itself almost killed the K car

        Howard, don’t bad though. All Detroit econoboxes from that era were crap.

  20. Tirefriar

    It was a pile of crap then and, unlike a bottle of wine it didn’t get any better with age. Absolute lack of any creativity in the design inside and out, cheap grade materials, zero handling ability. One early comment was about it being a Honda fighter. Well, we all know where Chrysler is now relative to Honda these days.

    Not all Mopar products of that era were garbage. I wouldn’t mind an Omni GLHS, for example.

    • Spanky Mcfairlane

      I would like an Imperial.

  21. van

    I think you could take up a collection. All we ask is pictures of K cars in the crusher.
    I could count the number of good cars from the 80s on one hand
    You were going to say regal grand national, too heavy, no traction, bad handling, bad brakes. I won’t talk about the looks,
    Take the body off, add DBR1 body and the
    n get to work.

  22. Pat Marenger

    The early 80’s are getting rare these days folks!
    The 81-82-83 were the same car, with carburator. I own a reliant 1983 and got no problem since I have it. (5 years). Is almost as clean, red velvet with one piece seat.
    Good on gas, confortable. Easy and cheap for maintenance. For 2k or max 2.5k I would get it in a heart beat! 4K is too much asking, even if special edition, in my opinion. Good luck!

  23. Cattoo CattooButt Member

    One night while driving along the open stretches of hey in eastern Oregon in my 375 Wildcat (340 ci)powered ’66 Skylark I saw a few miles back some headlights behind me. Mind you I was going 55 mph and these headlights were rapidly gaining on me. Being 17 I figured whether or not they knew it, they wanted to race. The car caught up to me within a couple more miles and I increased my speed as we were coming out of a curve at the bottom of a mile long arrow straight stretch I punched it and saw my needle hit one twenty and this little Aries K car (with HEMI one the front fender down by the pentagon trademark) went by me as easy as if I was in reverse. Never saw that little car again nor heard of one like it. Badge looked legit but dunno what was in that K car but it was miles ahead of me in no time. I couldn’t keep up let alone catch it. Thirtyish years ago and I always kinda wondered about that car.

  24. jim s

    relisted with $ 3450 starting bid and no reserve.

    • Tirefriar

      Think I’m going to warm up the metal crusher

  25. jim s

    sold for $ 4749

  26. seth

    That must be almost sticker price of the car when it was new!!

  27. jaymes

    back when they made real cars!

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