Best One Left? 1983 Dodge Mirada CMX

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This 1983 Dodge Mirada CMX is one of the lesser seen Chrysler products born out of the downsized 80s, especially in CMX trim. The seller notes that his example is a smart buy, as it’s not missing any of the hard to find parts that might otherwise prove quite time consuming if you were to buy a less preserved example. The Mirada was not a big seller when new, which is why it’s entirely possible that reports of Dodge only finding just over 5,000 shoppers to spring for the CMX package. This one has the venerable 318 under the hood, and is offered here on craigslist in Rochester, MN, for $9,000. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find.

The J-body Chryslers were not exactly groundbreaking compared to previous years’ Chrysler products, offering rear wheel drive and power options ranging from the venerable slant six to the top-shelf 360. This was an interesting era in automotive design and sales, as there was still demand in the marketplace for personal luxury coupes that were high on comfort and smooth rides, but increased attention given to fuel economy meant that the old recipe couldn’t continue in its existing form. Perhaps some of the magic was lost, or the price was too high, but the Mirada failed to hit the high notes of its predecessors, which is probably why we don’t see too many of them today.

The Mirada didn’t do anything particularly badly, at least not enough to warrant being shunned by the marketplace. But it also didn’t excel at any one quality. Handling was hardly sporting, and while ride comfort and improved fuel economy were selling points, almost every car in this category could likely claim the same. The seller notes his CMX is among the most complete available, with numerous original features still in place, from the trunk lock emblem to the cornering lights. There is one deviation from stock form, however, and that is the wheels – the CMX package should feature handsome multi-spoke wheels with whitewall tires.

You could still order the 360 via the CMX package if desired, but an incredibly small lot of Miradas came with the upgraded engine. The 318 will provide reliable but not particularly sporting performance, which is in keeping with some of the reasoning behind ho-hum sales. The listing specifies an odometer reading of under 40,000, which certainly looks believable given the condition on display here. Though the Mirada will likely never be what we consider collectible in the traditional sense of the word, it is rare enough to likely get more than a few onlookers at the next cars and coffee. Would you prefer to own a Mirada like this or its more successful sibling, the Cordoba?

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  1. Jack M.

    Hi Jeff, I bought a Dealer’s demo Dodge Mirada CMX back in 1981. Black on black, with tan cloth interior. The aluminum wheels are extra cost and do not come with the CMX package. Mine had turbine type wheel covers.

    Like 8
  2. Matt in LA

    I bought a 1980 Mirada when it was one year old. It was a beautiful car, was quiet and rode well. It had the tan leather seats as well. My first car with leather. I got as LOT of compliments on it in the day. Unfortunately it had the slant 6. It had no grunt and was actually scary trying to merge onto freeways. That was the main reason I got rid if it. I casually look for one these days as I would love one with the 360. It was the real last decedent of the Dodge big rear wheel drive coupe.

    Like 4
    • Ken Jennings

      Good luck with finding a 360. In 1980, only made like 80 of those before the EPA shut that engine down. Not sure how Chrysler got away with that, didn’t do something for the requirements at the time. The 195 net HP 360 of that year was more HP then a standard Corvette for 1980. I bet they flew.

      Like 10
  3. Ken Jennings

    No, I think the best one left is the blue colored one I saw at the Iola Wisconsin car show last year, or was it the year before? This guy had it freshly painted, and it glowed. Maybe not original, but amazing. He didn’t have the factory wheels but I think he had Centerlines on with, of all things, white walls. Worked on this car. The interior was at least as nice as this, but cloth. Wish I had taken some pictures, still kicking myself for that. His was better, IMO, as it had a metal roof, not the fake convert. I like those better, a cleaner look. Chrysler would have sold a ton of them if they hadn’t been ready to go under at the time. too bad these didn’t last just a year or two more when the better V8s came out. Chrysler was too busy with K Car variants, nice cars, but these spoke of old Detroit.

    Like 3
    • Tony Primo

      You are not comparing apples to apples Ken, the CMX package is all about the “fake convertible top”. Mine was so realistic that every time I went to the car wash the staff would ask to lift the rollers so that they would not crash through the roof!!!

      Like 8
    • Moparman MoparmanMember

      Ken: I have pictures of this Mirada of which you speak, typically, NOW that I’d like to up;load them, I CAN’T find them!!! LOL!! I’ll keep looking. I’d love to have one like that one, don’t care at all for the fake top.

      Like 4
      • Ken Jennings

        Oh wow, you were at Iola? Awesome show, I have been going for years. So, you must have liked it too, just like me. It was dark metallic blue, I think it was the only one there out of thousands of cars. I spoke quite a while to the owner, big guy, but really nice. I think he said he lived somewhere near Eau Claire, but if I asked him his name, I can’t recall it. I wonder if he takes it to local shows too, might wander to some of those near EC if he does. I really like that car. Nothing against this one mind you, just liked the Iola one much better. I remember him saying the car spent two years in a body shop, amazing for a car not worth all that much. He really did love that car. If you find the pictures, please post one here to see if it was the same one.

        Like 2
      • PRA4SNW

        Here’s what looks like a dark metallic blue that ran through here almost exactly a year ago.

        Like 1
  4. Bill

    My dad had one of these for a while, which I drove occasionally to high school. It was white over bordello red. I remember it being an oversized, underpowered barge—it had the 318 but I remember the engine looked like it had been wrapped with miles of emissions hose. The doors were at least seventy feet long and groaned when they were opened. All of the interior trim was held together with wood screws and gallons of factory sealant, and what plastic remained was already turning to powder (this would have been 1987 or so). His mechanic got tired of fighting the smog equipment and he got tired of the repair bills. I think it was gone inside one year.

    Like 1

      Pretty much dead on,some fool has to have it though

      Like 0
  5. Steve BushMember

    Agree with Ken, these look better with the metal roof. Buddy Arrington and Cecil Gordon raced these along with the similar Cordobas and Imperials in NASCAR in the early 1980s.

    Like 2
    • Ken Jennings

      Didn’t Richard Petty try these and decide they were not slippery enough? They look like they would cut through the air fine, but there are some squared offed angles. Despite that, I feel they are one of the greatest looking cars of the 80s. Wish I would have bought one new, but at the time, didn’t meet my young families needs. Trying to find one as clean as this (and yes Tony, without the top. I do think they look well done, but I would want one like I saw at Iola) is almost impossible, but this gives me hope that my car is out there somewhere. I asked the lucky Iola owner if he would ever consider selling, he told me not a chance. He had it over 30 years at the time and never going to give her up. Can’t say I blame the guy. Trouble is, even if you had to the cash to pay far more then it is worth to acquire the car, they still are worth so little that even a substantial premium over value would not sway an owner. He told me that it would have to be a ridiculous amount that I would never pay to even get him to consider, something well into six figures. That would be silly, but of course, if I hit the Powerball, might look that guy up. To me, that is what the hobby is about, owning something because you love it so, not because you want an investment or to show off. Of course, I have (inappropriately) voiced my opinions of the ultra wealthy here, so by saying I would throw money to get a car because I suddenly had it, makes me look like a bit of a hypocrite.

      Like 4
      • bone

        That was the Dodge Magnum

        Like 0
  6. Terry

    clean car, but not a fan of the carriage top……..

    Like 2
  7. Blueprint

    Hot Wheels had the Mirada done as a NASCAR stocker and I still have it in my collection. I was 11 when the Mirada came out, fell in love with its period-correct Mopar aggressive look. 360 was first year only, as mentioned above, but even though the awful padded top was often ordered, it was NOT standard on the CMX, thank God. Metal roof had a great design. My Powerball Mirada would be a first year CMX with the 360, metal roof, Inferno red with matching leather.

    Like 2
  8. gtyates

    My folks had a 1980 Mirada, but not the cmx. They hated the fake convertible top look, so no cmx. Theirs had the 318, full power including drivers seat, and turbine style wheel covers. It was white with 2 tone maroon and white interior. Nice car actually. It was a dealer demo when they bought it. Sold it with around 60k miles on it. At that point it was beginning to nickel and dime them on repairs, so they let her go. I got to drive it a few times before they sold it, as I was 16 at the time. Thanks for a memory.

    Like 1
  9. Ken Jennings

    I wonder if this was sold new in Rochester, Minnesota? If so, prob came from Adamsons, they had the big Chrysler dealership there in those days. Saw a lot of nice cars there. Many nice cars in Rochester. When I lived there, got to ride in a few Ferraris that some of the Mayo doctors had, though never was allowed behind the wheel. Back in the 80s, the car scene there was very active, wonder if it still is?

    Like 1
  10. Bmac777

    I never really payed any attention to these ,like most of the models running off the assembly lines at that time.
    But the amount of love given to them here tells me they must have been something.
    It was definitely one of the better looking cars of that year

    Like 1
  11. JoeNYWF64

    That 5?mph front bumper is useless to protect the angled to the front edge upper valance by the headlights, much less the grill.
    The rear bumper is a different story & protects well.
    Odd the headrests do not match the seats, but do match the aftermkt console! huh?
    Do i see 2 thick front swaybars?!

    Like 0
  12. irocrobb

    I always liked these. Lady at the bank next door to our store drove one half a mile to work everyday. I like this one but I would swap out those pathetic wheels.

    Like 1
  13. Pete Kaczmarski

    I have owned a ’79 Magnum and ’80 Cordoba. My preference goes to the ’79 Magnum GT with the police package. The ’78/’79 looks more sporty and with the right options much faster.

    Like 1
  14. RG in PDX

    Looks like about 15 different shades of tan/beige/ivory interior.

    Like 3
  15. Russell Ashley

    I had an 1982 Mirada in late ’80’s/early ’90’s. Silver color with light gray leather. No fake convertible top but it did have nice looking factory alloy wheels and a 318 engine. It was a nice riding and driving car. I really wanted a Cordoba but this one came along first. It was for sale in the Atlanta newspaper for a long time while I was waiting on a Cordoba but I decided it was close enough.

    Like 0
  16. Robert Woodward

    I liked these cars, but never owned one. I did have the two tone tan/gold 1977 Charger Daytona w/T-tops and the 400ci engine. It would do 111mph all day long and ran a blisteringly quick (not) 17.9 in the 1/4 mile.

    Like 0
  17. John

    Downsized? Compared to what? A locomotive?

    Like 0

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