318/4-Speed: 1977 Dodge Aspen R/T Super Pack

It is always a vexing question. How far can a classic car deviate from its original form before it is no longer classed as a genuine survivor? That is the question raised by this 1977 Dodge Aspen R/T. It is a well-equipped tidy vehicle, and lifting its overall presentation to the next level would not be a complex undertaking. The owner has swapped the original engine for something more potent, and it is this move that motivates me to raise the question. If it makes no difference to you and you would like to park the Aspen in your workshop, you will find it located in Troy, New York, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. You could drive away in this Dodge by handing its owner $8,500. However, that figure isn’t set in stone, with the buyer indicating that he may talk turkey on offers. I have to say a huge thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for referring this classic to us.

By 1977, the American automotive landscape had become a pretty dismal scene. Once potent performance models like the Mustang and Camaro had become wheezing and asthmatic shadows of their former selves. The good people at Chrysler made a valiant (sorry!) attempt to inject some excitement into their range, and one of the results of their creative thinking was the 1977 Dodge Aspen R/T. Out of a total production run of 66,675 Aspen Coupes, only 4,468 were the R/T variant. Dodge equipped the R/T with a V8 engine, wider Rallye wheels, bold stripes, and minor suspension tweaks. For those who desired more, they could order the R/T with the Super Pack. In addition to the changes listed, the buyer received front and rear spoilers, side window louvers, and further improvements to shocks and sway bars. These were the rarest of the breed, with a mere 2,281 buyers ticking that box. This R/T presents reasonably well in its shade of Black Sunfire. The owner indicates that the Aspen received a repaint at some point within the past fifteen years, which helps explain why it still looks pretty tidy. The paint has some swirls, but I feel that a wet sand and polish might improve its overall presentation without spending a fortune. The distinctive R/T stripes and graphics look crisp, and the panels appear to be devoid of significant dings, dents, and rust. The owner indicates that there is rust in the passenger side floor, but it isn’t clear how extensive it is. The rear spoiler is intact, but the front is not currently attached to the vehicle. The Rallye wheels look like they would benefit from some restoration work, and at least one of the trim rings is missing. Making this Aspen more interesting is the original owner’s decision to order it with a glass T-Top. The owner has recently replaced the gaskets to eliminate the chance of water leakage, and a spare passenger side panel is included. However, there appear to be no pressing needs, so the buyer could drive the Aspen as-is and tackle any restoration work as time and circumstances allow.

This Aspen’s interior is something of a mixed bag. It looks like the seats wear aftermarket slipcovers, so the state of the upholstery beneath is an unknown factor. The carpet is slightly faded, but it remains presentable. The dash pad has some substantial cracks, and if the buyer wants to address this on a budget, high-quality caps are easy to find for around $120. A Sunpro tach is mounted on the column and a wrap on the wheel, but apart from those items and a Pistol Grip shifter, the interior is unmolested. It might not score highly because it lacks items like air conditioning and a stereo, but the T-Top and power windows are nice touches.

Dodge offered the R/T with a choice of a 318ci or 360ci V8, and it isn’t clear which this car featured when new. That statement should tell you that it isn’t a numbers-matching vehicle. The owner has installed a high-compression 318ci of 1969 vintage bolted to a four-speed manual transmission. There’s a fair bet that the driver will have more than the original 166hp under their right foot when they slip behind the wheel of this baby. The owner has spent some considerable money on the R/T in recent times. He has lavished TLC on the braking system, with new front discs, calipers, pads, and wheel bearings. The rears received new shoes and springs, while the pipes and hoses have been replaced with copper and braided stainless items. He also installed a new clutch, starter, and starter harness. The list goes on, and so does this car. He indicates that it drips some oil and rattles over bumps, but he has just completed a 3,500-mile cross-country journey without a single issue. The car is mechanically sound, and he includes a collection of parts that comprises high-performance 318 cylinder heads, a dual-snorkel intake system, and additional gaskets and other components.

The 1970s was a miserable time for performance car enthusiasts, and cars like this 1977 Aspen R/T graphically demonstrate that manufacturers were reduced to producing vehicles that placed style over substance. The owner of this car has sought to redress that imbalance by endowing the car with some performance credentials straight from the 1960s. That raises the question of whether these changes have increased its value or undermined its status as a survivor. Personally, I quite like this car, and while the asking price may be slightly optimistic, there’s a good chance that a motivated buyer might be able to negotiate a lower figure. At the end of the day, it costs nothing to ask, and the worst that he can say is no. So, are you feeling lucky?

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Comments

  1. Sam Shive

    POS New, POS Now. Owned one for a year, Couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.

    Like 9
    • Steve Clinton

      So I’m thinking Sam doesn’t consider this a classic.

      Like 10
  2. James

    I’m the owner/seller of this car and an avid barnfinds.com ready for many years! Thanks for the great writeup, Adam.
    Just to clarify a few things, it has not received new T-Top seals. I have nice supple ones from a camaro T-Top that will go with the car, but they will require some modification to fit. Also, the car was always a 318 car from new. It has two fender tags (highly optioned) and I have the decoded options list to go with the car. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

    Like 43
    • Jack M.

      Always a bonus when the owner chimes in. GLWTS!

      Like 23
  3. Hp440Lisa

    I was going to say whether it was always a 318 car or not the switch to the 1969 318 was not a bad idea. I would choose it over a 360 all day long also as its a much better engine!
    The 1969 318 came internally balanced with a forged crank. Also has higher nickel content and is a thicker casting then either the 1977 318 or any 360. 360’s did not come with forged cranks and are externally balanced. They also have bigger main bearings which means a larger friction area.
    I had a 1977 Aspen and I liked it and was in an accident where I tboned a Lexus that pulled i n front of me. The Lexus was totaled and the rocker panel was bent up and into the passenger seat on it. Pretty much mangled it. The Aspen suffered only a slightly shinier bumper as the contact cleaned it off.
    I wish it was in my budget but its not! Good luck selling it!

    Like 14
  4. Gary

    That is a 318, 360s in those days was only an automatic. Also, that 4 speed was an OD, to give better road fuel economy. Not much of a fun 4 speed, had horrible feel for the shift linkage. At least, that is how I remember it. The pistol grip from your 71 Cuda, it was not.

    Like 6
  5. joenywf64

    IMO, i think the seat covers complement the exterior striping.
    & the wheel with the missing trim ring seems to look better than those with the rings.

    Like 4
  6. MButcher

    I never gave these cars much thought but now as true muscle cars are becoming unobtainum (thanks Barret-Jackson) and alternate vehicles are becoming the norm at drag strips and cruise-ins everywhere I could very easily see them along with diplomats and other similar mopar creations become the new face of the gen3 hemi swap and a legitimate g-body Chevy killer when done right 🤷‍♂️

    Like 6
  7. Steve Clinton

    IMHO, any old (pre-1990) car can be described as a classic survivor.

    Like 2
  8. Ray

    F your MASK ADS
    Maskholes!

    Like 3
    • TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

      LOL, respectfully I would like to educate you on ads and data tracking. Ads on the internet are tied to an individual, not the writers or admins of this site. Your ads are different than the ones I have. Ads are tracked by what you look at or read. Also, as a member of barn finds, you never have any ads!! Cheers!

      Like 8
    • NW Iowa

      Ray,
      Ads? What ads? I haven’t seen a single ad on any website for nearly 4 years. Apparently it stopped 8 ads on this page alone judging by the icon red stop sign shape with ‘ABP’ in it and the 8 next to it. This ABP literally saved my sanity on YouTube where ads disrupt every few minutes. Some ads are flat annoying while others are interesting and yet others are meant to save lives. We all should be thankful for the latter, don’t you think?

      Like 3
  9. T. Mann

    I have never got an ad here…

    Like 3
  10. chrlsful

    a 360? boy, I don’t know…
    I used ta drive a fleet of K car wagons (livery). Loved em, but cant think of it (Aspen) as a race car. Owned the slant6 in afew of their ‘grandfathers’ (Dart waggy – ’64 & 66). 300K on the ’64 motor as it went around the parameter states of this whole country (in the newer body), Did well by me. i6 (well, i8) is my fav motor (ford ThriftPower) in 6 shades of low rev tq champ (3 ‘small’,1 odd ball, & 2 ‘big’). 1960 – ’96~

    • BONE

      ???????????????????????????????? English please !

      Like 1
  11. Gary

    I had the Road Runner version of this car. A friend bought it new and l always kind liked it. He ended up putting a 340/6 pack in it years later and it definitely moved then. I found it years later with the motor still in it but someone stuck a 2 bbl on it. Pulled and sold the motor and sold the body to a kid who fixed it up. Another guy in our town had a Volare/RoadRunner with a 440 in it, that one flew!

  12. Jack Leary

    Let me tell ya sumpun fellas: I am a Ford guy to the core but I had a 77 Volare slant six and that car, motor & tranny were unbreakable.

    Like 1
  13. JB

    ADAM, what the H is wrong with you. When you write things like, “the 70’s were a miserable time for performance car enthusiasts”, it makes me wonder how educated you are. You obviously forget cars like a 70 Hemi Cuda’, a 70 AAR Cuda’, a 70 GTX, a 70 Challenger T/A, 70 Pontiac GTO Judge, and MANY OTHERS! Wake up Adam.

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