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1985 Plymouth Reliant SE Wagon

“The room you need in a wagon you’ll love. The 1985 Plymouth Reliant LE and SE wagons offer all the six-passenger comfort you need, with clean new styling and 34.4 cubic feet of cargo space (67.7 cubic feet with the rear seat in the fold-down position.)” So says a brochure touting the benefits of the new Reliants. The seller has this SE wagon posted here on craigslist in Aberdeen, Washington, the “Birthplace of Grunge”. They’re asking $2,500, here is the original listing, and thanks to Rocco B. for the tip!

Hemmings recently posted an article wondering if winter cars are becoming collectible. Having grown up where there’s snow on the ground at least four months a year, other than this year, a lot of us have winter vehicles. Ones that are reliable but maybe have already started to rust from the road salt and ones that hopefully aren’t rare or collectible.

There are a few exterior issues, and dings and dents, mostly on the rear hatch or tailgate as you can see in the photo above. The seller says that they will pop out but I don’t think it’s quite that easy. Still, this car isn’t going to the lawn at Pebble Beach so maybe taking off the interior panel and popping those dents out as good as you can will work for most owners. They don’t mention rust at all and the photos are so small that it’s hard to tell from looking at them if there is any.

The interior looks great, and they say that it has power windows, I think. The description is a little hard to decipher unless they’re saying that it doesn’t have any options like power windows and air-conditioning. It looks great inside, though, front and back. Fear not when looking at the photo of the backseat with a blanket on it, they say that the seats have always been covered to preserve them.

The engine is, I believe, Chrysler’s 2.2-liter inline-four with around 96 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque. It sends power to the front wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission and for the money, this car really can’t be beat. If you live in a climate that gets snow, have you ever owned a vehicle that you specifically drove in the winter to save your “good” car for summer months?


  1. Avatar photo Big C

    I never used K Cars for winter beaters. Because I needed to actually arrive at my destination.

    Like 13
    • Avatar photo Big Al

      Big C …….I had a K car. .I had nothing but problems.

      Big C ….Thank you for the laugh ! …😂😂

      Like 6
    • Avatar photo Nelson C

      Clever. Never a problem getting there and back in any of my old fwd Chryslers.

      Like 17
  2. Avatar photo RKS

    Interior pic clearly shows a window regulator.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      RKS, I see – or saw before the ad went away – one in the seller’s bank of photos but not in the interior pic that I posted above, or the back seat photo. Those clearly show manual crank windows.

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Daniel Franklin

        Power windows : power supplied by your arms….lol

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Danno

      Did not see any shots of its Turbo Encabulator.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Brian

    At least it doesn’t have the woodgrain paneling decals.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Dan

      You mean, like my Chrysler Town and Country? Very fashionable at the time.

      Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Rbig18

    I grew up driving this exact car. Same colors everything. This was in Ottawa Canada. Colder than any US city except maybe Alaska. Blew engine getting on Queensway in-30c with 217k. Hear a lot about these but we got our moneys worth.

    Like 10
  5. Avatar photo HoA Member

    Stop it, good grief, I had this exact car, well, actually it was one of the many repair jobs from my old man. We took that car to FL. one year, drove it non-stop from Wisconsin one cold February weekend. Kids slept in the back, got great mileage, not a speck of trouble. Even with my leadfoot ex-wife driving. I laid down, only to be woken up by an unusual vibration. Getting up, I see the speedo is pegged. I said, “how fast are you going”? “Just keeping up with traffic”,,I drove the remainder of the trip.
    I’ve had many FWD Chryslers, all kinds, and quite frankly, I don’t recall a bad one, ever. Yeah, timing belt, easy fix, a hassle, but with so many made, many parts interchange, mechanical parts should be easy, I doubt anyone reproduces replacement fenders for one, maybe, but point is these were generally driven by older, less capable folks, and junked when an issue arose. Some made it though, and like in 1985, you can’t go wrong here.

    Like 19
  6. Avatar photo Don

    Had 2 or 3 K cars over the years. They were mostly reliable, with the exception of them needing head gaskets at about the 80,000 mark. They were surprisingly roomy inside and comfortable. Got great gas mileage for their size.They had their day, and along with the Voyager/Caravan minivans helped save Chrysler.

    Like 8
  7. Avatar photo Matthew Dyer

    Lee Iacocca, brave man. Remember, he put his face on TV to hype the K-car.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Ffred

      Nothing brave about it, it was pure genius.

      Like 4
  8. Avatar photo Michael Tischler

    All winter I see plates from Washington, Oregon,Minnesota, the Dakotas,Idaho etc.here in the retirement community in AZ.Some of these snowbird cars are 10-15 years old old,like new,they have never seen a winter back home.

    Like 4
  9. Avatar photo Claudio

    As a montrealer , i have had winter cars for most of my life but it changed at some point and they became daily cars and the playthings stayed in the garage !
    I do my own rustproofing so i can keep the cars in good shape but always find a reason to trade .amc eagle got me hooked on AWD and its been since the 90’s , only now its with Hyundai, its actually snowing here today !


    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo neftali febus

    My 84 dodge Aries k car was my best car ever. I was in the army and when i was sent to Germany i took him with me. I drove from Germany to Berlin in that car in 89 before the wall came down and went to Italy and Austria. Best car ever!!!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

    Someone has themselves a cheap entry into cars and coffee.

    Like 1

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