One Family Owned: 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon

It’s never fun to let a car go, especially if it’s been in the same family since new. But sometimes other issues are more important than keeping a trusty old steed in the garage, and in the case of this 1977 Dodge Aspen wagon here on eBay, medial expenses are forcing the sale. Issues are mostly cosmetic related and the sellers have listed it with a Buy-It-Now of $5,000 and the option to submit a best offer. 

Originally belonging to the seller’s great uncle, the Aspen has remained with the family after his passing. It’s listed as a “Special Edition,” so I’m assuming this was some sort of a one-year option with a few cosmetic tweaks. If any of our Mopar experts know for sure, please weigh in below. The interior is a sea of green (not the money kind, unfortunately) but it appears to be holding up well.

The venerable 318 V8 will never win any drag races, but finding parts won’t ever be a problem, either. The seller hasn’t provided any details on mechanical upkeep, which is sometimes the problem with family-owned sales. The seller’s great uncle may have kept meticulous records of the Aspen, but those details likely passed with him. What is noted as needing repair includes the coolant reservoir and the fuel tank sending unit.

Lately, these late 70’s-early 80’s wagons have been appealing to me more and more. They are a bit smaller than their behemoth counterparts that roamed the roads in the early 70s. The fuel crisis likely shrank dimensions a bit in the interest of efficiency, and while these estates were the last thing you wanted to drive to high school in in the 80s, their cool factor is beginning to tick upwards. Anyone want to make an offer on this Aspen?

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Comments

  1. motoring mo

    How many Kermits were sacrificed for that interior?
    It ain’t easy being green.

    • daniel wright

      Many nauga’s gave up their hides to make that interior.

      • ToniM

        Oh those poor naked naugas!

  2. Mitch

    SEs were Dodge’s version of upgrades, not limited to one year. My ’74 Charger was an SE. I had a ’77 Volare Premier wagon which was the equivalent of the SE. 318 (& don’t knock the 318, they were faster than you think-I won my share of drag races with one in a ’70 Coronet) ice cold A/C, cruise control, & rear end gearing that didn’t hit 3rd gear floored until you hit 95 MPH. Mine was solid & dependable, but parking it outdoors took it’s toll on the frame & had to be scrapped.

  3. DrinkinGasoline

    We had an elderly neighbor lady who had this exact same car, colors and all. No A/C. She refused to use the heater in the winter believing it used more gasoline. I tried explaining numerous times but nope….blankets across the lap.
    Goes to show how living through the Depression and WWII sticks with some folks.

    • Jeffro

      Sounds like something my grandfather would say. Although, in my opinion, still the greatest generation!

      • DrinkinGasoline

        Yep…they saved the butcher paper wrap string and used the wrap for writing paper. Nothing, but nothing, went to waste. Something to be learned from them. I feel privileged to have been raised by my Grandmother. She was a force to be reckoned with. I can’t begin to imagine what she went through having two sons as pilots during the war, let alone dealing with the home front as well as volunteering for the USO. It was the driving force for me enlisting in the Air Force. It scared her to death but, she understood more than my Mother or Father did. She told me…be great, but come home….

    • BG

      My Dad (1925-2007)would put a blanket over the engine of his ’72 Valiant four-door slant 6, 3-on-the-tree every winter night!

  4. 68 custom

    Most wagons are cool but Aspens and Volares are the exception to me.I think all SE’s had vinyl wood grain action, so this in not one, big deal. But I suppose a set of cop wheels and dual exhaust would make even this one cool… puke green is the perfect color though…

  5. Chebby

    I like the vibe on this one, but $5k is all the money and it’s far from mint condition.

  6. Squanto

    Did anybody else immediately picture the Brady Bunch in that car or am I just really weird?

    • Jeffro

      We’ll go with weird. Lol just kidding

  7. Rustytech Member

    Mitch is dead on SE was a model designation on Mopar’s for years. This is a nice looking wagon. Nice to see one that’s not rusted into oblivion. The price seems reasonable for a vehicle in this condition. Fortunately the seats aren’t frog skins!

    • Ed P

      My 88 Caravan was a SE model. Chrysler used this designation often

  8. Ck

    My buddies dad had one of these for years ,one nite he borrowed it to take a girl out .His idea of out was hangin out at the mall with all of his friends.Well he came in the back way to the mall ,which is a little bit of a hill.He came down a little to fast ,and tried to make the turn the volare waggon didn’t. It ended up on its side ,luckily no one got hurt.A bunch of us rolled it back over on its wheels and he took the girl home never to be seen again ,not with him anyway.The car was a little scuffed up and his old man was pissed but my buddy had it fixed and all was rite with the world again.

  9. Paul R Bellefeuille

    I had a ’76 Aspen SE sedan. Worst new car ever. The rear end went on it at 28,000 miles. Poor build quality.. rusty front fenders etc etc. I traded it with around 32,000 on it in 1979.

  10. Car Nut Seattle

    Lovely looking wagon. I’ve always liked the 1976 and 77 Dodge Aspen. Why it was so maligned by collectors is beyond me. Maybe it wasn’t the best built car of the 70s, but so what? I’ve seen quite a few 1976 and 77 Dodge Aspens and its twin, the Plymouth Volare, over the years. So what does that tell you? It tells me two things, both may be right: that Chrysler built a good car after all, or the owners took care of the cars, maintaining the car like they should, and not driving reckless.

  11. The Giant Cornstalk

    Special Edition means nothing. They made them every year as I recall. The SE monicker could be found on everything from Valiants and Darts to Aspens, Volares, Acclaims, Spirits and LeBarons. I had a ’76 Aspen wagon in dark green with the vinyl wood applique on the side. It was fun to drive, handled well, and was easily one of the worst build-quality automobiles that I have owned in my lifetime (other than my 1984 e-body Chrysler New Yorker, which was truly the worst-of-the-worst in every respect). Having said that, I thought it was reasonably attractive, provided lots of headroom for a guy 6’4″ tall, provided generous cargo room in the back, and had a ride quality more closely associated with a much larger vehicle.

    • Paul R Bellefeuille

      My ’76 SE 4 door had a slant 6 in it and a really nice interior.. the exception was the carpeting on the backs of the front seats..anyone remember that detail?.. fell off..it was stapled on. It also had small trim parts underneath the carpet behind the passenger’s seat. When the rear end snapped on mine I was driving it in a hospital parking lot. I detailed the car and unloaded it at a Chevy dealer in trade for a Chevette…really…

  12. Jeff W

    I made a trip with my aunt in one of these from Louisiana to Indiana and back having to stop every fifty miles to add water due to it overheating. It had the slant six though and upwards of 200,000 miles on it. When we got back to Louisiana, my cousin looks at it and told us he we surprised we made it there and back home. It turns out the water pump was shot, but that little six kept plugging along. He put a new water pump on it and she drove it until it wouldn’t go anymore which was probably another three years. She also had a 4 door the same year that had roughly the same mileage and ran like a top! I would love to have this but wish it had the six in it. These were great little cars!

  13. Mark Hoffman

    My aunt had a Navy Blue 77 Aspen SE. She was impressed with my dad’s 76 Aspen, base model slant six no woodgrain. We went to her local Dodge dealer and she drove out in her new SE. NO woodgrain.

    SE had that wide molding on the body side, as one of the features.

    Her, my uncle, and myself were the only ones allowed to drive HER CAR. My uncle, a retired Lt. Col. hung on to their 66 Dodge Coronet 4 door

    My aunts car went 130,000 or so, when the rear end blew out on it.

    My dads 76 was rode hard by my dad, myself, and my brother. Brother totalled it in 1985, with only 53,000 miles.

    And my dads youngest brother joined the crowd with a 1979 Plymouth Volare 4 door. He drove blue Plymouth 4 doors from 1965 until 1996 when he sold his Volare

  14. David Miraglia

    The horror of it all! I have a ASS PAIN…..

  15. Larry K

    Soup up that 318. So easy and cheap. At that price though not for me.

  16. Stuckin2nd

    My second car was a ’76 Aspen RT. 318 with a manual. My buddies and I squeezed headers on that thing with glass packs. Too much fun to drive for a teenager. Bright red with the RT stripe just signaling the local authorities where I was and that I was probably speeding. That picture is my current wife of now 33 years at the wheel. Those were the days.

  17. Bruce Fischer

    Say what you want but I still think the 318 motors were great and bullet proof. I had one in my 1973 dodge Challenger. Bruce.

  18. Ed P

    This site may need to change its name to Haunted Barn Finds due to all the Aspens and Volares that have appeared lately.

  19. sparecr

    I remember these well. The family’s was this green with wood grain and fortunately tan interior. Unfortunately my parents traded their 70 Charger 383 and 69 Chevelle SS 396 along with some cash for our Aspen SE. That car led to a 1981 Charger 2.2 and my rabbit hole of loving 80’s FWD Iaccoca Chryslers.

  20. Mr. TKD

    During my elementary and middle school years, the family of a friend of mine had one of these replete with the same color scheme. They managed to extract every last bit of life out of that car. It took quite the licking.

  21. Eddie Williams

    I actually wound up buying this car after it didn’t sell on eBay I paid 3000.00 I plan on spending about 2000.00 more for wheels and tires and a few more upgrades and use it for swap meets and car cruises with the grandkids. Seller was a very nice guy and helped make this a easy transaction

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