Don’t Call it an Aries: Dodge 600ES Convertible

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When I think about convertibles from the middle 80’s, my thoughts almost immediately jump to the wood-paneled Chrysler Town & Country soft tops, one of a handful of K-Car derivatives from the malaise era. However, I had long forgotten about the Dodge 600 variant, which if you believe what’s on the Internet, came with that name because the folks at Chrysler wanted to blur the line between their car and high-end vehicles from the likes of Mercedes that used similar naming styles. How’d that work out for them? Regardless, this is a rare bird: a 1985 Dodge 600ES Turbo convertible here on eBay that was used extensively as a summer car.

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Introduced only for the convertible models, the “ES Turbo” package pumped up the 600 with a turbocharged 2.2L engine and added special features like the digital dashboard and more sporting suspension. Production numbers remained fairly low, with a total of just over 12,000 sold. Of course, with an inflation-adjusted list price of $33,225 in 2016 dollars, buying a 600 ES Turbo was not a minuscule investment. Of course, you also got special badges, the “pizza” aluminum wheels and even functional hood vents! Truth be told, that interior doesn’t look half-bad today.

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Ah, yes – the high point of 80s technology. Digital gauge clusters and an electronic voice reminding you that your door is ajar. I’m impressed that among similar cars equipped with the digital dash that we’ve featured previously, most appear to still be working. This 600 has under 40,000 original miles, so the odometer hasn’t had to work too hard. The seller is in Vermont and claims the low mileage can be traced back to the car’s intended purpose, which was to serve as transportation at their summer home. It has only one owner and been garaged since new.

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There’s no reserve listed on this rare 600ES Turbo, so someone could walk away with a decent summer cruiser for not too much cash. I like this example as a refreshing change of pace from the Town & Country models, and the 2.2L Turbo is a decent little motor for the era. The soft top looks to be in good shape, and the “pizza”-style alloy wheels are among my favorite Mopar wheel designs. Do you think the bidding will reach the four-figure range, or are these too obscure to ever be considered desirable?

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    This had better go up from where it is now. Just sayin’.

  2. Dave Wright

    Nice looking little car……might be a great buy.

  3. Dan h

    I remember the electronic voice like it was yesterday “ding” “the key is in the ignition….”ding” “the key is in the ignition”, God make it stop…..

  4. Luke Fitzgerald

    That – is – hideous

  5. Oingo

    I don’t really care for this series but I like this one at a good price.

  6. JMC

    Damn-that price…I have one of these that I bought new($15K)that has sat for maybe 20 years.I figured that restoring it could be a retirement project in the next few years,but it appears that I would be better off buying this one and keeping my old one along with the cache of spare parts to support this one quite economically.Hmmmmm…….

  7. Blackta1

    Is it just me or is that passenger seat on top of the center console?

    • Danno

      I believe the center armrest is down, but it’s tough to distinguish – I saw the same thing at first.

    • JMC

      There isn’t a console on these cars-that is a padded armrest that’s fixed in place.

  8. Danno

    Ahhh, the Chrysler K-car. Made back when businessmen chose to bail themselves out of their mismanagement.

  9. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Is that a microphone plugged into the dash? I seem to recall a vehicle back in the day that had a recording device.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi leiniedude, I thought maybe that was a chewed up remains of a cassette tape. Never liked “talking cars”. I was afraid the car would say, “nice going, doofus, you just cut that person off”!

    • Kincer Dave Member

      I think that wire is one of those cassette tape converters that lets you plug in a MP3 player or portable CD player etc, I have one in my basement somewhere lol

  10. Jeffro

    Could be a cheap way to enjoy a nice turbo convert. Had a friend that had a lot of cheap Aries convertibles. He’d dog them out and find another.

  11. Mark MacD

    I like that a placard on the dash reminds you that this vehicle is, “Front Wheel Drive”…just in case you forget.

    • Howard A Member

      HA! Good one, Mark. “Radial Tuned Suspension”, same thing?

    • RichS

      Came here to say just this. Chrysler wasn’t the only one who couldn’t figure out what to do with the empty dash space left when there was nothing to fill the PRNDL indicator.

  12. Marty Member

    I bought one of these once, almost as an afterthought. I wasn’t looking, but I paid $500 for it anyway. The turbo engine ran great for what it was. It was a cool little day-trip car for so little investment. It had no body integrity whatsoever. Slow way down to drive over the slightest change from a street to a parking lot, otherwise it would twist so badly I thought it would break in half. It actually popped one of the top latches loose a couple of times! It also had the most awful, cheapest, lightweight plastic dash panels and controls. Classic 1980s big three offering. But it ran and drove great. I kept it around for a year and then sold it for $1200. Good times.

  13. Blueprint

    Two hour drive from me … but just too beige of a hobby car to justify “interesting” discussion with wife. When I got my licence at 16, our family car was a new 1984 Chrysler E-Class with the same digital instrument cluster. Memories!

  14. edh

    K-rap Kar.

  15. BradL

    Seriously? A K-car?

  16. PaulG

    Funny, the “600” script is almost an exact copy of the size / font that Mercedes would have used…

  17. Pete

    WOW… this brings back memories. i owned one back in 1989 thru i want to say 95.. it was a dark grayish blue with black top. i loved it .. living in sunny south florida the ragtop was prefect.. it wasnt a fast car by any stretch, but tweeked the boost to 7lb from the factory 5 and it moved. admittedly i was way young and really didnt take care of the car as i should of so it started to become unreliable. but this is a nice example of a 600ES..

  18. Joe

    I had an 85 Dodge 600…2.2, 5 speed. Great car, comfortable and I enjoyed driving it, but I’ve never driven a car that would hydroplane so easily!

  19. Dan

    My wife and I bought one used in 1987. Loved it, but everything that could break did break. Engine? Yup, started rattling. Dealer said piston wrist pins. New engine. Transaxle? Yup. A/C, Steering Rack? CV joints? Fuel pump? Yup to all, and all before 60k miles. My favorite issue was when the steering column shorted out. Took it to the dealer, and a couple of days later he returned me a fixed car and a big old bag of dead fire ants. Apparently they like electricity.

    Having said all that, the car was great when it was running, and I think one of the best looking converts ever made when the top is down. Very classy!

  20. Tony

    I had one , the very same color. No real problems, good reliable, fun vehicle that I kept for 10 yrs.

  21. SLUGGO

    I put a bid on this beauty. I always loved the 600ES. classy with a capital “K”

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Let us know if you win! We love follow-up stories!

  22. Tom hetrick

    We had one and it was great so much better than the 400😄 It lasted a long time and it was in New England also!

  23. Mark P

    As for the cassette adapter, I went online and found one that’s bluetooth, they make everything.

  24. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    SLUGGO, I hope you got her! Sold for $2,434.50. 30 bids.

  25. Melvin Burwell

    Definitely like these better than those fake wood cars. I’m in L.A. Calif. 818 792 7209. Melvin.

  26. Mike s.

    i have a black with black top and gray leather with 13k on it .drove it back from minnesota to new york.didnt miss a beat. 23 mpg not bad with 3 speed automatic.

    Like 1

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