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23K-Mile One Family 1977 Plymouth Volare Wagon

If you’re of a certain age, you can’t help but have the “Volare” song in your head every time we see a Plymouth Volare here on Barn Finds. “Volare, oh oh –
Cantare, oh oh oh oh…” This time capsule California car, one-owner, 23,990-mile 1978 Plymouth Volare Premier Wagon is listed here on eBay in Port Charlotte, Florida and the seller has a $13,999 buy-it-now price listed. 

“Nel blu, dipinto di blu” (“In the blue painted blue”), popularly known as Volare, was written and performed by Domenico Modugno and was a hit single in 1958. The song won the first Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1959 at the very first Grammy Awards. Just some Barn Finds breakroom trivia for you. The song is fitting as this beautiful Volare wagon is Starlight Blue Sunfire Metallic so it goes well with the song title’s English translation. The seller points out a crack in the lower section of the grille and says that there are minor blemishes to the exterior and interior.

If a person were looking for the nicest Plymouth Volare woody wagon on the globe, this could be it. With under 24,000 miles, having spent its entire life in dry northern California until a month ago when it moved to Florida, and having been owned by the same family since new, this is one amazingly preserved car. The Plymouth Volare was made along with the Dodge Aspen from 1976 to 1980 and it’s hard to believe how famous (infamous?) they are after only having been in production for a handful of years. More trivia? The Volare was Canada’s top-selling car in 1977.

I expected to see a nice plaid fabric fabric on the seats, but this vinyl looks like new and the driver’s seat has power controls. A fully loaded car with power windows and locks added to the list would have really been amazing, but the interior of this car looks as nice as the exterior does. The seller says that the interior is original. The back seat area looks almost like new as does the posh rear cargo area.

I expected to see a 318 V8 here, but this is the rock-solid 225-cu.in. OHV Slant-Six. Either engine was standard while a 360 V8 was optional. The slant-six in wagons had a standard two-barrel carb called the “Super Six” and had 110 horsepower. It starts, runs, and shifts great and everything works, although the AC could use a recharge. Any thoughts on this preserved Volare wagon?

Comments

  1. nlpnt

    FWIU the wagon plaid interior came only in tan, which would’ve worked with this blue paint especially on a blue car, but the blue interior was probably a more typical combo.

    Like 8
    • David Nelson

      I have seen a blue plaid interior as well!

      Like 7
  2. Harrison Reed

    I Remember the Domenico Modugno song very well! — late summer of 1958. I SHOULD — I bought the flexible (non-breakable vinyl) Decca 78, and I still have it. Most people bought the 45 — and, by late 1957, you had to special-order any current 78 — they did not stock them. By 1959, only some titles were even available on 78s — and by 1960, only one that I know of — then the 78s were gone😥 Nice Plymouth wagon! Aspens were okay, too. They were styled and proportioned like full-sized cars and generally ran practically “forever”.

    Like 9
  3. peter

    ‘fully loaded with power windows”?

    ….the crank for the window is plainly visible.

    Like 6
    • Nelson C

      Peter, Scotty goes in to say that the pw & pl ” would have been amazing”. Try to keep up.

      Like 18
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Ha, thanks, Nelson C! I’ve made enough mistakes over the last 7.75 years that I’m sure it’s like a treasure hunt to try to pick out the mistakes and call them out publicly to make me look like the goofball that I usually am.

        Like 2
  4. William Maceri

    I’ve always had a soft spot for the Chrysler Corporation. Maybe it’s because my grandfather worked for Chrysler for 35 years, so we always had Chryslers in our family. I’m actually a Ford man, ever since my oldest brother bought a black on black 1966 Mustang, a 289, 4 barrel carburetor and 4 speed manual transmission. I learned to drive a stick in that Mustang. But we always had Chryslers in the family. My dad had a 63 4 door Newport hardtop, white with blue vinyl interior. It was our first car that had factory installed air conditioning, by the mid 60s most cars in Southern California were equipped with air. I thought we were too cool driving around on hot days with all the windows rolled up. He later had a 69 Chrysler 300, he bought new in 69 to tow our 17 foot Aristocrat Land Commander trailer. It had a 440 4 barrel Carter carburetor and a 727 Tourqueflight automatic transmission, it handled that 3,000 trailer like it wasn’t even there. After the oil crisis of 1973, the Big Three were really struggling to stay afloat. Chrysler was in the worst shape, Ford and GM were barely surviving. So in 1976 when the Volare/Aspen were released I thought they were a perfect fit for the times. A small American car with traditional American luxury styling that was very good looking and very Chrysler. I never drove one but they were a big hit in Southern California, especially the wagons with the woodgrain paneled sides. They seemed to be good, reliable and if you had the Slant Six under the hood they got pretty good gas mileage. We had a 64 Valient V200 station wagon that had the 225 Slant Six in it. I never really liked that engine because I knew it was a 6 cylinder, and I didn’t like the sound of them. I thought my parents were going to replace the Valient with a Volare or Aspen but they never did. By the time the early 80s rolled around I remembered hearing that they didn’t do well in the cold weather in the east. In no time they rusted away to nothing. Of course we never had that problem in Southern California, in fact we depended on the unused parts sitting on dealer shelves that never got used back east. We always drove the wheels off our cars out west, but they didn’t rust. In any event, I thought the Volare/Aspens were the right car at the right time and was glad to see Chrysler score a big hit with those cars. By the 80s they were gone and the K Cars were Chrysler’s big hit. We still had family back in Detroit that worked at Chrysler’s Highland Park headquarters, so we heard first hand how the K Cars and of course Mr. Lee Iaccoca’s magic saved Chrysler from the brink. Chrysler dodged another bullet.

    Like 11
  5. Richard

    While I’ve never thought of the Aspen/Volare as a collectible, this one is very nice. Rust claimed most of them.
    It’s a plus that it has the slant six. They can last practically forever.

    Like 15
  6. Roland

    These were great cars in their day. They were not meant to be special, they were family beaters and grocery getters. Yes, they all rusted away back here in salt country. I owned one of these for 2 days – I pulled the motor+tranny and dropped it into my 80 LeBaron 2dr. The 225 got decent mileage and was fine at 55-65mph. Over that speed there was not much there. For $14k there are many other cars I would prefer to drive.

    Like 4
  7. Big C

    Seeing that late 70’s, early 80’s basket of snakes, under the hood, as the auto makers were falling over themselves to genuflect to Uncle Sam, is sadly hilarious.

    Like 5
    • Pete Phillips

      Most of that mess covering the engine is the optional extras that this thing is laden with: power steering; power brakes; cruise control; air-conditioning. There probably isn’t much power left to move the car at highway speeds with all of that.

      Like 7
  8. H Siegel

    I’d love to own this wagon it is in really good condition. I owned a 76 volare 4 Dr sedan with a 318 engine. I bought it in the mid 1990s it ran good but not good enough for me. I rebuilt the 318 using all HP parts and she sure ran good then. My volare was the same color blue. The interior was the same color vinyl as this wagon. Mine had a split bench and the driver’s side reclined. I loved it and drove it all the time. Sadly it sucomed to rust I sold it to a guy that wanted the engine for a hot rod he was building. GLWTA

    Like 7
  9. Robin Tomlin

    When I saw what they were asking, I didn’t sing ‘Volare’, I sang ‘That’ll be the day’!

    Like 5
  10. Richard

    My brother bought one brand new. I warned him, but his wife liked the car. When leaving the dealer the tailgate fell off! It was the start of many warranty items.

    Like 5
    • bone

      “tailgate fell off” riiiighhhht…… so not only did the car have no gate latch, the two huge hinges weren’t bolted to it either ? how did the car get from the factory to the dealership without it falling off ?

      Like 5
  11. charles landreau

    i had one bought it of my brother in law same color same motor great car except in winter you would go around a corner and the doors would fly open doors wouldnt lock when closed the latches always froze

    Like 3
    • Big C

      My one and only MOPAR was a ’76 Volare. Got it free from a friend, who said get it out of his yard. Got it running, and picked up my new girlfriend in it, one rainy night. A mile from her house, I hit a large puddle. The water came right through the inner fender and splooshed out of the kick panel on her side. All over her white jeans and shirt. Oops…

      Like 5
      • Frog

        I’m curious was there a second date or did she marry you to teach you a lesson lol?

        Like 1
  12. Zen

    My parents had a badly rotted 76 Aspen wagon with the slant six and a 1bbl carb. It was reliable in that it always started and kept going even though my father did oil changes once a year, in the summer, when he felt like it. Nothing else on the car worked, though, especially the HVAC system where you had to hold the button in or the blower would shut off. Replacement units from Chrysler never lasted long, just a poor design that they kept well into the 80s for some silly reason. Yes, most of these rotted away and fell apart. It’s neat to see one in such nice shape, but even in such nice shape, even if it had a 360 4bbl, I don’t see anyone paying that much.

    Like 3
  13. Big Owl C.

    I had a 1976 dodge Aspen station wagon with the ( super) six the engine was ok but that carburetor never did work all that well the engine would die out when I would slow down to a stop or made a slow rolling turn had a mechanic find of mine rebuild the car which helped it run better for a while. In the winter all the doors would freeze up except for the tailgate

    Like 1
  14. Randall Tefft Sundeen

    VOLARE OOO! My Pinto, the Head Gasket it Blew, so what did I do I traded it on a VOLARE OOO! The transmission it slips, the oil pan it drips! The dashboard has warped in less than a year, the bumpers have rusted both fronts and rear! The roof liner says and the muffler it drags OOO VOLARE what will I do? Guess I’ll trade it in on an Oldsmobile Diesel or maybe a Pacer!

    Like 2
  15. Dave W.

    A friend of my Mother bought a ’76 Volare wagon new back in the day…..brown color and it had the slant/6 and 4 speed manual overdrive.

    She had traded in a 60’s VW van which had a manual transmission so she wanted a manual transmission in the Volare

    Like 1
  16. Mark White

    My babysitter bought a Dodge Aspen wagon brand new when they came out. Even as a kid I remember how nice this car was! They got a loaded model with woodgrain and rally wheels with the slant six. She loaded it up every summer weekday with about 10 kids and made the short trip to the pool!

    Like 0
  17. Harrison Reed

    I have “That’ll Be The Day” also — Brunswick record. I knew somebody who had a 1976 Aspen four-door sedan. His main problem.was the ignition switch: you could turn and start it without the key. He had it replaced, and the same thing again happened! The front passenger’s door also got so that it would not lock reliably — you could open it from the outside. Then a 14-year-old who lived in the area figured that out, stole the car, and wrecked it by side-swiping it against a utility pole adjacent to some railroad tracks not far away. Happily, the kid wasn’t hurt. The damaged car was able to be driven home, But you could not open either passenger side door, and the body was sprung to where you could not do a wheel-alignment ever again, and the car door-legged down the street with its steering wheel pulling sharply to one side. The owner drove it to the junk yard and got 50 dollars for it, then bought another car.

    Like 0
  18. MOPAR Joe

    Based on the partial VIN provided, this is a 1 barrel carb slant six.
    I think the 2 barrel option came along mid year 1977.
    Nice car. Way too much money though

    Like 0

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