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Low Mileage Station Wagon: 1987 Plymouth Reliant LE

With the popularity of the Chrysler Mini Van taking the world by storm in 1984, many would-be station wagon buyers were allured to the fresh design when it came to making choices for their next family hauler, but the wagon did manage to soldier on a bit longer at Plymouth dealers.  You could still get the Reliant K-Car and its corporate cousin Dodge Aries up through 1989 as a 2 or 4-Door model, although sales dropped significantly for the final year, however, the wagons were history at the end of the ’88 run.  If you’re missing the station wagon concept and looking for a nicely preserved eighties example, this 1987 Plymouth Reliant LE might be right up your alley.  It’s in Cleveland, Wisconsin, and can be seen here on Facebook Marketplace, with an affordable asking price of $4,000.

Reader Lothar…of the Hill People found this one and sent it our way, and we’d like to express our gratitude to him for the tip!  This wagon is a bit smaller than some of the popular sixties and seventies counterparts, but there’s still plenty of room inside plus a roof rack on top if your traveling companions like to bring lots of suitcases.  Or if it’s just two of you, I’ve seen far worse sleeping quarters than can be had by folding the rear seatback forward.  Everything inside seems to live up to the seller’s claim of being super clean, with the only non-functional item said to be the cruise control.

The wagon has belonged to three different owners and has been driven only 40k miles all these years, and it still looks really good on the outside, although no word on whether or not that’s the original paint or if the Plymouth has gotten a respray at some point.  Either way, the finish still presents well from every angle we get to view and I didn’t notice any unusual-looking areas on the body.  The trim appears good and the tires are stated as brand new.

A 2.5L motor provides power, with the seller claiming that his wagon runs and drives like a new car.  The engine has had a recent tune-up and new fuel lines, along with a fresh timing belt and a new water pump.  Maybe this isn’t the coolest or most desirable station wagon out there, but with the low mileage, nice condition, and only a $4k investment, it sure seems like a good value.  What do you think?


  1. jrhmobile

    While it’s lost its cloak of anonymity over time, the ones that have survived have provided the perfect generic transportation appliance. Perfectly OK, but with no lasting memory as you walk away from the car. This should have a barcode in the back window with the generic text “CAR” below it.

    There are good qualities in that, though. And in this condition, at $4000 with a clear title, you could enjoy those good qualities for a long, long time.

    Like 20
  2. Troy

    This is what I took drivers ed in I can remember it was me the instructor and three more teenagers in the back we were going up a hill and the instructor kept saying more power more power and I was like the pedal is to the floor we crested the hill and the car bottomed out crossing the intersection at the top.

    Like 15
    • David

      That’s exactly what I’d expect from any of the K cars!

      Oddly, some of these were purchased by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and used by administrators until they crossed the auction lines around 2002 or so. There were loads of these and 90s Cavaliers sold off at Westborough State Hospital.

      Like 1
  3. Rbig18

    Pretty sure this was featured here maybe two years ago. Or there are two brown wagons in Wisconsin. Either didn’t sell or selling again. Dad had a red one growing. I blew the motor one cold Canadian night.

    Like 7
    • Smokey Smokerson

      There are two, the other is located in Galesville, WI and has the luxurious woody sides.

      Like 4
  4. Big C

    Buy this Plymouth and you will not see yourself coming and going at the car cruise. That’s for sure.

    Like 11
  5. nlpnt

    Too nice to swap a turbo and stick into – too dull a weekend car as-is not to.

    Like 3
    • chrlsful

      that’s it. take some of the shelby bits from the other mo-pwr (lancer, csx or mazeratti). Gotta B a waggy tho.
      I had the grandfather w/the slanty x2, ’64’n 66 (wagons). Decade later drove livery w/these volarie and aspens (wagons). 100 inch wheel base but stretched for more uses. Saven the co’s life, then began to loose it to France…

      Like 1
  6. Richard

    It looks like a great value at $4K. The “K” cars were better than they were given credit for at the time.

    Like 19
  7. Michael Sears

    I think it would do just fine down the expressway with its original engine + proved to be a good one I’d be totally 🕺

    Like 6
  8. flynndawg

    sad, ugly, no -power kar

    Like 3
  9. DavidC

    I like it! It would be a great “go to the swap meet” for me and my buddies. But sadly it is too far from North Ga.

    Like 6
  10. John Elbers II

    I had this car in high school and loved it. Beat the crap out of and it just kept running. It was no hot rod, but being a bit of a nerd, I thought it was a good first car for $500 or that’s what my dad paid for it.

    Like 9
  11. wjtinfwb

    So nerdy it’s cool. I’d buy it for 4k just for the Saturday morning coffee run and local show and shines. Would love to ou up to the Valet stand at some snooty restaurant and flip the keys to the attendant just to see his expression!

    Like 10
  12. Andrew Helsinger Member

    I sold a ton of these years ago through my used car dealership. They were way more reliable than anything else I was selling.

    Like 14
  13. Richard Stone

    Had a Dodge Airies K version of the in 1989. Nice car till the wife totaled it. Great mileage but it was fair on the turnpike

    Like 6
  14. Smokey Smokerson

    I don’t live to far from there and was just looking at FBMP when I saw this car. I was gonna make a SA comment to him if that was the price he would pay me to come pick it up.

    Like 1
  15. Mike K

    I was given one of these quite used as a company car. It had been the boss’s personal family car. I still haven’t decided which was worse…the car, the job or the boss.

    Like 2
    • Nick8778

      Funny how cars trigger memories, isn’t it? ;-)

      Like 0
  16. robj Member

    Really nice but I still miss the slant 6. 1979 Plymouth Valorie 4 door, 170k miles on it and towed a 18 foot pop-up camper from Maryland to the Keys.[non-stop- I was younger then] Great mileage and 1 quart of oil. If the lifters were a bother, turn the music up!

    Like 1
  17. Grumpy

    Now that is a nice Reliant automobile!

    Like 7
  18. Fred

    Was given 2 of these by different people in the early 90s. White ones like refrigerators. Drove one for several years and gifted the other to a family needing a car. Diff went out on 95 near Philly Airport but made it 10 miles home at 25 mph. Local transmission shop sold me a cheap blown auto trans and I used the diff from it to repair(?). Lack of tolerances was amazing but made for easy work. Ended up giving that one away as well when I got a Suburban to haul the six of us around in. My son cautions go for the Mitsubishi motored versions.

    Like 2
  19. Nick8778

    These were good reliable honest transportation. Clean simple functional design. I always liked them. Considered buying a new one a number of times back in the day but eventually went with the Caravan instead. Wound up owning three Caravans and a Voyager, not to mention a Dodge Lancer ES turbo. All of these were, of course based on the K-car. It was a solid platform and it kept Chrysler alive for a decade and a half.

    Like 3
  20. Carbuzzard Member

    I’m always amazed by people who would buy a car like this as a beater.

    Like 0
  21. Keith

    Appropriate that the license plate says “ARF”… what a dog. Well-preserved, yes, but a dog all the same

    Like 0
    • Nick8778

      I would rather have one of these than one of the boring all-look-alike SUVs that every car maker is putting out today. (Since it no longer seems possible to buy anything other than an SUV or a truck.) Can’t tell one from another. Full of random purposeless body creases and lines that go nowhere and say nothing. Every designer seems to have fallen in love with triangles and the Gremlin’s rear three-quarter window shape. The only thing the Reliant looked like was the Aries, lol, which was exactly the same car. It was not “distinctive” in its time, but it was honest and never pretended to be something that it wasn’t. Very 80s square and boxy, yes—and functional and efficient. I’ll take functional over pretentious every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      Like 4
  22. Stevieg

    I had the 5 speed twin to this in the early 1990’s. I loved that car!
    If I had the money and the room for it, I would be headed to Sheboygan county to pick this up!

    Like 0
  23. Mike in Georgia

    I had one as a company vehicle. I was stopped “speeding” on I-20 from Augusta to Atlanta GA!! I could not believe it. I told the officer that this car can’t go that fast with the rear end filled with equipment. Maybe the load made the car look like a low-rider and therefore faster?

    Like 0

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