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33,999 Original Miles: 1981 Dodge Diplomat

This 1981 Dodge Diplomat is a stock survivor that remains in highly original condition. While most Diplomats went down the slippery slope of being a widely available model that could be driven every day with minimal upkeep, this one has escaped that fate, almost certainly owned by an older individual who racked up a mere 33,999 original miles. Despite being a Canadian model, it has no rust, according to the seller, and the exchange rate with Canada makes a potential purchase an even better deal for U.S. customers. Find the Diplomat here on eBay with bidding at $3,000 and the reserve unmet.

From the original paint down to the hubcaps and mudflaps, not much has changed on this Diplomat since it left the showroom. I’m sure many of us can recall any number of films where a Diplomat of this vintage was ruthlessly abused, usually as police car or a detective’s ride of choice from the motor pool. They aren’t particularly valuable, which explains why you rarely see one restored unless it is a surviving, genuine police car with the light bar still on the roof and the heavy-duty upgrades to the chassis and cooling system. This is just a civilian-spec model that has clearly been loved since new.

The interior shows few, if any, major signs of wear, and it’s a shame the picture features a tell-tale reminder of the joyride that 2020 has been. Regardless, don’t let that sway you from acknowledging that the cabin remains in exceptionally nice condition for its age, and the seller notes that all gauges, lights, and the AM radio all still function as designed. The cruise control works, too, and the seller notes there are no cracks in the dash, an achievement undoubtedly made possible by the fact that the Diplomat has been garage-stored since new. The bench seat is completely appropriate in a car like this.

The Diplomat features the incredibly reliable 318 V8 paired to an automatic transmission. The seller claims it runs and drives like new, and that he bought it to use as a winter car so he could enjoy the classic experience all year long. Thankfully, upon seeing how straight and solid the Diplomat was, he’s decided against that fate, and has posted it up for sale in hopes of finding an owner who will treat it like the museum specimen that it is. It comes with new tires and a battery, and the seller also confirms that he worked on the factory finish to bring back the original shine, which presumably means that the paint is original. Would you use this Diplomat daily?


  1. jwzg

    Bad eBay link.

    Like 1
    • robh693

      Linked worked for me.

      Like 3
    • jwzg

      Working now.

  2. Phlathead Phil

    E-Bay link worked phor me too!

    A very stocked well organized, and clean garage. Cudos to this guy or guyette for that.

    I noticed a slot car track, two Studebakers, a vintage m/c possibly a Scrambler and another car of unknown description.

    Wonder what’s lurking in the shadows?

    But, no, I don’t do Dodge Diplomats.

    Like 4
    • Richard M Chuda

      I think there is an Avanti next to it. Not a bad bunch of cars

    • Duane Boda

      Correction For You: That’s Dude and Dudette as guy and guyette is just so 🙄

  3. Michael Sobczak

    Miami Dade green and whites back in the day. Saw toooo many of these in my rear view.

  4. ms138va

    Miami Dade green and whites back in the day. Saw toooo many of these in my rear view.

    Like 3
  5. Mark

    Every time I see one of these I’m reminded of the great chase scene from the movie “Short Time” with Dabney Coleman. Funny flick.

    Like 9
  6. Will Fox

    Saw the lead image with red pinstripes and was hoping it was a loaded coupe, but (sigh…) alas, it’s basically a glorified taxi cab.

    Like 4
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. It’s nice to see there are still original survivors around. I’ve always liked the Dodge Diplomat and the Chrysler 5th Ave. I’d prefer 4 door sedans and wagons. Coupes are nice, but I like 4 doors the best.

    Like 6
  8. George Louis

    The correct description is: Full Wheel Cover Hub Caps cover only the lug nuts and leave the outer portion of the steel wheel exposed with black paint sometimes matching body paint covered wheels. Nice looking ride. What you really want to get your hands on is the RARE 1980 /1981 Chrysler Lebaron 2 Door Hardtop. These were really cool looking rides. Not many made as Dodge Mirada and Chrysler Cordobas out sold these.

  9. S

    This needs to be preserved. Too nice of a car to bet ruined as a daily driver.
    People tend to keep 2 door cars, 4 door cars don’t get much respect. But, they are every bit just as much a part of automotive history. Black with the red cloth interior is a nice color combination.

    Like 5
  10. Bob C.

    Good, solid, comfortable sedan from yesteryear. Not the greatest drivers in the snow, but definitely a good fair weather car.

    Like 1

    I had a low mileage Fury version of this car that I got from my grandparent’s estate. Drove it FOREVER! Going through a midlife crisis, it became the favorite mode of transportation for my drinking buddies. They called it the “incognito Fury”, claiming no cop would ever pull over some sweet grandma in her car. LOL! , It worked!

    Like 3
  12. martinsane

    Funny. Almost 4k with the reserve unmet on a car a couple years ago that would have cost you $300 to get rid of.

    Like 1
    • ADM

      Yeah, you’re right. I could’ve bought an ’87 5th Avenue, back 2012, for $1500, with 38K, and in pristine condition, but didn’t. I couldn’t get past the styling. Shoulda woulda coulda…

      Like 1
  13. Ron p

    I had a white coupe with white leather and red carpets and dash it had factory aluminum road wheels ,back in the day . It got stolen at Sammy whites bowling ally in Boston mass. Got it back was never the same and they took the wheels and insurance wouldn’t replace them I got steely s

    Like 4
  14. JoeNYWF64

    Nice steering wheel.
    I believe the mileage, considering even the bumper/body plastic spacers are good.
    How many more miles can 1 get out of the Lean Burn system?

  15. yes300ed

    A true Malaise Classic. I need this car to show how bad cars were to my 19 year old son.

    • JoeNYWF64

      Don’t you mean how bad cars ARE?, with all that cheap plastic fading trim on the OUTSIDE, expensive to replace yellowing/cloudy headlites, not much if any legroom in the back seat, useless expensive “bumpers”,
      tiny windows, a lousy view out the back, peeling clearcoat(compared to much better looking fading enamel or laquer paint – if 1 is too lazy to wax – how many do THAT these days?), less comfortable seats & ride. & a joke of a short trunk lid – poor REAR back seat crash protection if hit from the BACK. & mickey mouse “spare” tire, if any.

      Like 11
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I had a 2015 Dodge Dart that was a good car, quite reliable. It started when you pushed the start button, and stopped when you pressed the button again. Drove down the road without problems. The only problems I had with the car were the trunk lid that refused to stay closed when you closed the trunk lid, and the driver’s side door that wouldn’t unlock when you grabbed the door handle.

      • lc

        Don’t forget about all the dash lights that come on some models when things are going out. I just bought a Dodge Journey that has all that these dash warning lights. Oh and don’t forget about batteries put in a place that the car has to be jacked up to exchange the battery!

  16. Car Nut Tacoma

    I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t believe there’s such thing as a bad car. I’ve seen American cars from the so called “Malaise” era, that are still being driven 40, maybe 50 yrs. after they were first introduced. I think that has to do with how carefully they were driven, how well they’ve been maintained, etc.

    Like 3
  17. Geebee

    Drove one like this as a rental car, while my pickup was in the body shop. It had the slant six. I thought it was sad looking, but it drove nice, and, to me, was a very comfortable car. After six weeks of 23 year old me driving it, it wasn’t quite as nice when I gave it back. There was a hub cap missing, a couple cigarette holes in the seat, and a good coating of red Oklahoma clay on it, when it was picked up.

    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’ve never seen a Diplomat with a Slant six engine. I’m sure there are plenty that are still out there. I just ever saw any.

      • Charles Sawka

        Had one exactly like this with a / six. Smooth ride, no power. Kept it about a year.

        Like 1
  18. Geoff

    I used to drive these out of the county motor pool back in the day. Reliable and comfortable but unremarkable in most other respects. This would make a good movie/TV car as it is very evocative of those times. It’s nice that the seller took the time to buff out the old paint. There is something slightly “off” looking when you see these cars with an overly shiny two stage repaint.

  19. Jim

    Love this! One of the last of the “old style” cars to come out of Detroit. Based on the surrounding in the picture, it’s evidently owned by a true car lover.

    Would love to see it if….A. It weren’t so far away and B. if I could get to it even if it were closer (but the border is closed).

    Would never use if for a daily driver. This is the kind of car that would really attract attention at a car show. You won’t see another one, I guarantee that.

    Like 2
  20. Jcs

    Showing as listing ended early with 13 bids up to $4250

  21. Beel

    I got pulled over and the cop was driving a Diplomat of this vintage. I was driving a gorgeous 79 LeBaron. He had me sit in his front bench seat. I commented that he had the same dashboard as me. Unimpressed, he wrote me the ticket anyway.

    Like 1
  22. Car Nut Tacoma

    What was the ticket for? Speeding? :)

    • Beel

      @Car Nut Tacoma Ha. You’ll love this. The ticket was for running a stop sign because my heater core was leaking and the windows were all fogged up. I truly couldn’t see out; my fault for sure. But I did get a ticket later in this car, for speeding, because the stupid speedometer cable had a stupid nylon tip, which of course sheared off. So I had no speedometer, and got a ticket for speeding. Similarly, the officer wasn’t impressed with my explanation.

      Like 2
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I’ll bet. I hope you got the problem repaired. It’s never good to not being able to see how fast you’re going.

  23. Car Nut Tacoma

    @ Beel I remember seeing Dodge Diplomats used as police cars and taxi cabs.

    • Beel

      @Car Nut Tacoma Yes, boatloads for police and taxi service. The Chrysler variant, my LeBaron, had much better sound insulation, nicer trim, and big tires. Mine was a two door coupe with a deep back seat. My friends would slide around in the back and fondly named the car The Battle Wagon. Long hood, especially for a non full-size car.

      Like 1
  24. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve never driven a Dodge Diplomat, Nor have I ever ridden in one as a passenger.

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