Plaid Interior: 1977 Dodge Aspen SE Wagon

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Located just northeast of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this 1977 Dodge Aspen Special Edition, or SE, Wagon has seen some road salt in its lifetime. We’ve only seen two 1977 Aspen wagons here on Barn Finds and one was a really nice one as seen here. This tan example with woodgrain has seen better days but it’s said to run great and has a wicked cool plaid interior. Thanks to Tony P. for the tip!

Once the rust in the front fenders is repaired, or new fenders are found, that woodgrain is available so this car could look like new again if the next owner chooses to restore it. I don’t know if that would happen, but hey, it’s a possibility. Chrysler made the Dodge Aspen and companion Plymouth Volare for only a handful of years, from 1976 through 1980. They’re so famous among car fans and fanatics that it’s hard to believe they were made for such a short time.

Everywhere you look, there’s work to be done. I always have hope that a car can be saved, but with rust around the rear window and we don’t see the underside, I have my doubts. As a winter car, this could be a contender. Dodge and Plymouth offered a four-door wagon, a four-door sedan, and a two-door coupe. I’ve always wished they made a two-door notchback sedan, so I added one, and a convertible.

While the driver’s side of the front seat isn’t perfect, it’s fairly close. There are other issues inside as you can see, but it’s hard to beat that interior fabric for a 1970s vibe. Dodge offered the Aspen wagon and Special Edition, or SE wagon, this is the latter, the fancy one with carpet in the cargo compartment and, of course, the woodgrain on the sides and rear liftgate,

The back seat looks new as do the door panels, but I wish the seller had included an engine photo. It’s Dodge’s 225-cu.in. OHV slant-six with 110 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. It rolls through a TorqueFlite automatic to the rear wheels and the seller says it starts right up and the transmission works well. They have it posted here on craigslist near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they’re asking an ambitious $6,600, and will negotiate in person. Here is the original listing. What’s your offer on this Aspen wagon?

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Comments

  1. Terrry

    Rust in the fenders is the least of its problems. I’ll lay twenty there’s rust all over, look at the back window.

    Like 5
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

      Coming from salt country, I’m surprised that the tops of the fenders aren’t rusted through. With this car, you can see exactly where they rusted after just one winter season.

      Like 0
  2. CCFisher

    Rust is like an iceberg: there’s always more to it than what you can see. You can see a lot of rust here, so….

    Like 3
  3. HoA HoAMember

    Oh boy, you folks that want to rip on Chryslers K cars, these are the cars that caused the most havoc. It became the poster child for recalls. They practically single handedly took Chrysler down. Like Iacocca said himself, “we sent a lot of crap out the door”. The cars themselves were actually good cars, the right size, it’s just times were changing, and all the car makers had trouble, Chrysler probably the worst. Dealing with outdated motors trying to comply with emissions and gas mileage, didn’t go well. Hopefully by now all the bugs have been worked out, and could be a nice car, for maybe a couple grand. There’s not much collectible status in an Aspen wagon, I don’t think.

    Like 5
    • bone

      the 76 and 77s were real rust buckets, the 78 – 80 models were very good cars

      The Citation became the poster child for recalls

      Like 2
  4. Todd FitchStaff

    Nice one, Scotty. Sign me up for the convertible after you 3D print one. I learned to drive on the Plymouth Volare version of this car in the same color scheme inside and out. My parents factory ordered it with the 318 and a three-speed floor-shifted manual. I’m guessing that was rather unusual. It had a split bench seat and an angled shift lever like in a pickup truck, with a black ball on top. My Step-Dad explained how he was shifting, etc. then pulled onto the berm and said “OK – it’s your turn.” No parking lot practice, just trial by fire. I also remember they didn’t want air, but it was required with some other options they wanted, so the car had air conditioning and we never used it. I guess that was their way of sticking it to the dealer.

    Like 4
    • Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

      I’ll bet a consensus of BF readers would say that a lot of us are like you in that department, Todd-“get in and drive!” then tool on down the road with dad subtly watching our every move..
      And another tradition passed on to our kids👍🏻

      Like 2
      • HoA HoAMember

        I taught both my kids how to drive on our Dodge minivan. Since my kids high school no longer offered dr. ed., it was me or a private school. Not to toot my own horn, but I figured a truck driver with millions of safe miles would be a good teacher. They both are good drivers, so far.

        Like 4
  5. bobk

    I see “plaid interior” and my mind immediately flashes back to WKRP in Cinncinati and the episode where, after failing in her “remake”, Jennifer tells Herb to go out to the parking lot, find the car whose plaid interior he likes the best, and wear the seat covers home.

    Like 4
  6. Bill West

    Ah, the Aspen. My mother bought a new early release 76. Beautiful car when delivered but barely into 4 digits on the odometer and trouble started cropping up. The majority of it’s very first summer it lived at the dealer while we drove a Coronet wagon loaner. Many issues the dealer couldn’t even rectify and the $6000 wagon was never right and didn’t even make 100k.

    Like 3
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. Although I was way too young at the time to drive a car, I remember cars like the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare. I would’ve preferred the 1976-77 Dodge Aspen over the Plymouth Volare. I don’t know exactly how reliable the cars were, as I’m sure everyone’s experience is different.

    Like 1
  8. Nelson C

    Everything you could want in a 1977 sort of way. Wood tone and paid? Wow, just wow. The transverse torsion bar front end made for a good driver. No thrills unless you’re sliding backwards down icy I-496 like I did in my coupe. Wrecked her bad but drove it home. Tough car.

    Like 0
  9. Big C

    Did the backseat passenger move his Winston 100 too close to Aunt Millie’s Aqua Net, and cause the burn mark on that headrest?

    Like 0
  10. RickMember

    For the same amount of $, I’ll take the 64 Ford Galaxie wagon listed earlier. No comparison.

    Like 0
  11. CrazyDave

    I had a 76 I bought used. Had the hard to kill slant 6. Drove from Ohio to Florida and back many times. Sold it with 346,000 miles on it. Body was gone. Put 3 transmissions in it but it was still going.

    Like 0
  12. Car Nut Tacoma

    Although I’d gladly do without the plaid interior, the rest of the car is nice.

    Like 0
  13. wjtinfwb

    Had the Plymouth version, Volare’ Premier wagon. Like this, it had the slant-six. That was its only redeeming virtue and the only component that didn’t require replacement in the 18 months it disgraced our driveway. By far, the absolute worst new car our family ever owned. It was replaced by a 240 series Volvo as soon as possible. $6600.. that’s hilarious. Crush it and save the world more misery.

    Like 0
  14. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    That upholstery is epic.

    Like 1
  15. chrlsful

    owned the dart waggy (x2), drove a fleet of these livery ina neighbor’s co., then his K-cars all wagons. Wouldnt mind an aries or reliant right now due to the FWD but just gota fox-ltd wagon.

    Like 0
  16. H Siegel

    I absolutely love this Aspen wagon. I had a 76 Plymouth volare 4 door sedan with a 318 V8. I rebuilt the 318 with all high performance parts. I drove it everywhere. Drove it more than my 1973 Plymouth Road Runner. The volare eventually rusted everywhere so alas I sold it to a guy that wanted the engine for his hot rod. I would love to have this wagon and I would drive it till it to had to much rust. I find the price a bit high but at my age I think everything costs to much lol. Good luck with the sale.

    Like 0
  17. Car Nut Tacoma

    This looks like a good resto project for anyone interested.

    Like 0
  18. TheGasHole

    The price is ambitious, indeed. Two years ago I had a Mercury Bobcat wagon here in Jersey that I had imported from near my parents house in Montana. 4 cylinder with a stick shift, Factory AC, and zero…I mean zero rust. I could not give that Bobcat away and finally sold it to someone in Pennsylvania for $2300. I will be impressed if the seller gets half of his asking price.

    Like 1
  19. Tony_Cuello

    I had one, it was a great car and never left me stranded. Drove that car to many ski areas in Colorado. A friend of mine, an auto mechanic would ‘winterize’ it every fall before the snow season. Probably changed the plugs and wires and anti-freeze more often than really necessary, but like I said, the car never left me stranded.

    Like 0
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      You do what you have to to keep a car running and driving. Despite being referred to as the so called “Malaise” Era, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with cars of the 1970s. They just need maintenance to keep a car or truck, or whatever you buy running.

      Like 0

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