‘Fridge White Vanilla Sedan: 1978 Dodge Aspen

Vanilla may be the best-selling ice cream flavor, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the favorite flavor. Speaking of vanilla, this 1978 Dodge Aspen is one plain-looking car, but it still looks pretty sweet. This undercover special is listed on eBay with a $4,300 buy-it-now price or you can make an offer. It’s located in beautiful Boise, Idaho and it sure looks and sounds like you could drive this one home, at least if you live in the US or Canada.

It appears to have a little rust lurking at the bottom of the RF fender, but if that’s the worst of it, that’s not too bad for a car that’s now four decades old. The blackwall tires, black-painted rims, and dog dish wheel covers give it an official look, like you could either roll up to a police station or a water and gas company and fit right in. The seller says that this is car has a “clean rust free body and good original paint..New tires.”

I’m thinking that this was originally a tan car, or some color (or, tone) other than white? Although, the seller says that it’s original paint, it doesn’t appear to be original in the detail areas. If you look closely at the details and edges you’ll see some overspray on the door openings and trunk area, etc. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but why would someone go through this much work to change the paint to a stark appliance-white? Maybe they mean original-color/tone, not that the actual paint itself if original. There’s only one way to find out, check it out in person. It looks good from a distance, though, and the seller says that this “car is very tight..all of the weather stripping and seals are excellent..Doors close solid..car has no rattles going down the road.”

The interior, other than some odd color-change fading on the headrests, looks great. A dash cover appears to have done its job in keeping the original dash in pristine condition. The seats look great, both front and rear and the trunk, while appearing to have been painted with some sort of.. flat gray paint, looks good. Is that the original finish in the trunk? There are no underside photos to gauge the condition of the bits and pieces under this otherwise fine-looking car. The seller says that the “Auto Trans..PS-PB..Radio..Heater..Everything works!”

The engine photo that was posted was not much bigger than thumbnail-size, so it’s pretty pixelated here. This is Dodge’s 225 slant-six which in 1978 would have had around 90 hp and reportedly it “runs and drives great.” They go on to say “it is still 39 yrs old, unrestored, not without flaws and is NOT perfect, including minor cosmetic and misc other minor items in and out.” NADA lists a high-retail value of $1,825. Thoughts on this ’78 Aspen? Original paint? And, how about the price?

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Comments

  1. edh

    Just as boring 40 years ago as it is today.

  2. Danno

    The kind of unstoppable commuter that a middle-class minion can pass down to a middle-class heir. At least the heirs won’t have to buy a car in their lifetime.

  3. Billy 007

    That looks like a Super Six 2BBL to me, thats good for 110 HP Net, not 90. The regular six was 100 HP in those days. This was pre lean burn, thats what really killed these engines, this one is still okay, not like a 72 Dart mind ya, but still adequate That 2BBL went a long way to make them run better. I have mentioned this here before, but it bears repeating. Dad bought a new Volare in the fall of 1975, went out of his way to purchase a slant six despite ample 318s on the lot, he had many sixes in the past and was well pleased. At first ran great from the dealership, but then it started to idle and run poorly. The dealer after 10K miles said it was the best it was going to be as the emission controls ruled, not proper running. Dad at 12K (when the warranty ran out) went to our local junk yard and grabbed a manifold and carb of a 72 Dart, ran superbly from then on, all the way to 247000 miles..(an even then it was the Volare body that gave up the ghost, not that great little engine) The slant six was an engine from another era. It couldn’t meet the new clean air requirements of the day. Tech was still primitive, and compromises abounded. At the time, being a firm believer in the yet then still novel idea of Earth Day, I found his solution abysmal, but I understood his motivation. We have it so good today, clean air, great mileage, and high horse power. The cars today are so much better, all except for the nostalgia. This car warms my heart remembering all the good times I had in a similar one as a teenager. Not a teenager anymore.

  4. redwagon

    after looking at the ’62 pontiac sd421 gp for who knows how long this looks so sedate.

    with a little help from a mopar catalog you could turn this into an awesome sleeper.

    • Christopher Wenz

      Drop in a Hellcrate and call it a Hellspen.

  5. Wade Anderson

    Looks like the cars my hometown had that year but blue with white doors ans a V8

  6. Big Mike

    The little old town I grew up in had 3 of these as City Cars, 1 for the Chief of Police, one for Police Officers and 1 for Mayor/City Clerk to use. They ran these little cars for years, Dad would fix up the dings and such when necessary, they all had slant 6 in them, but in a town of 1000 people there wasn’t any reason for High Speed pursuit, the entire town was 2 miles from city limit to city limit with a posted speed of 35. I think the biggest crime we had was the drunks backing off in a deep ditch across from the local bar, but that was mainly on Friday nights. Oh well we did have the major Bike theft ring back in the late 60’s.

  7. Miguel

    The 6 kills this car.

    At least if it had the V8 somebody could make a vintage police car out of it.

    The price seems about 4 times what it should be.

  8. Taco Juan

    Set of nice wheels, paint bumpers white too. Clean it up, polish it up, and I’d drive it. Good fuel milage, dependable. Why not?

  9. Blueprint

    Typical municipal fleet car: buy cheapest config, repaint in generic white in city’s body shop. Heck, we had two-door AMC Concords in our fleet, with no vinyl roof, something I never seen elsewhere. Employees got automatics, but no radios or a/c in those days. Now we’re only getting Leafs and Bolts – times they are a’changin’

    • Chuck Dahl

      Why not buy a white car instead of repainting? I don’t think your city official responsible for purchasing vehicles was cost conscience.

  10. mike D

    my vote would go for some sort of a Municipality car, looks great to me! the slant six can be souped up , and no one is the wiser … and, of course everyone will think it is an old cop car, as I did when I first saw it I think it is a great find!

  11. Superdessucke

    Looks like a cop car. Lucky it didn’t get destroyed in a Pukes of Hazzard remake or something. It would be as dull as dishwater as spec’d, tho it would be easy enough to drop in a crate 360, 727 trans, 3.55 gears and have a little fun.

  12. RockNRoll

    Way too much money for way too plain a car…

  13. Steve M

    I rode in the back of a couple of these in the ’80s……bet you can guess who was driving. ;)

    • Jeffro

      I can also guess who was the “passenger “

  14. JW

    I remember these cars being used as cop cars in the small rural farm towns I used to travel through to avoid the cops in my bigger town when coming home from Party Barns.

  15. PETER P BAUSYS

    I worked with a guy who bought one of these because it was the Motor Trend car of the year. Yes, really! LOL I told him it looked like a cop car. One day he took it to a Chicago White Sox game and when the game was over, all 4 tires were slashed. Apparently, the local denizens also thought it was a cop car.

  16. skloon

    Just missing all the holes in the hubcaps

  17. angliagt angliagt Member

    Makes you want to buy it,put on a dark suit,
    & some sunglasses,& look like a Gov’t Narc.

  18. Mitch Ross Member

    Just missing 15″ wider wheels and the holes in the hubcaps.

  19. TR

    Pointless

  20. Rube Goldberg Member

    I agree, some sort of municipal car. The visiting county nurse, or the supervisor checking up on a road crew, these were very popular. While I’ve seen pursuit cars like this, they weren’t equipped like this. About as generic as you can get. I bet this car would chug along for years to come.

    • Miguel

      Not necessarily. I bought a 1975 Dart with the slant 6 and on the way home the pushrod bent for some reason.

      I had to rebuild the whole engine.

  21. BRIAN KINNARD

    Looks like it’s running in the ebag photos. Notice the key is turned on. Wonder whats under the wheelwell drop in the trunk? Hiding some rust?

  22. Classic Steel

    This car kicks asph or maybe it’s blending into white lines on the road 🙃

    The slant six was one tough motor that ran forever !

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