Rare 1981 Dodge Omni 024 DeTomaso

Chrysler has a history of producing some of the most successful economy cars of the twentieth century, with the cost-effective K-platform underpinning everything from pickup trucks to wagons to sporty coupes. Sometimes the world of sensible economic choices and the emotional, but nevertheless unrelenting, desire for impracticality combine to form something truly interesting. Many know the Omni GLH and GLH-S, the underrated hot hatchbacks tuned by the famed Carroll Shelby. Whereas the GLH looked relatively stock but packed more performance, today’s 1981 Omni 024 DeTomaso takes a different approach. You can find it here on craigslist, and a special thanks to Chuck Foster for letting us know about it!

The only engine option for the 1981 model year was the Chrysler 2.2 liter four-cylinder found in most of their offerings. It made a whole 84 horsepower when new, and drives the front wheels through a three-speed automatic transmission. Officially, the model of this car is the Omni 024, while the DeTomaso link was mostly just an appearance package and was comprised of decals, badges, and trim on the body, as well as interior badging. Still, for its arguably disappointing performance, it’s an endearingly frumpy and unique coupe, and its rarity matches its looks.

As for the condition, the seller leaves much to be desired with the description they provide. It’s said to run well, and the pictures provided show little–if any–rust, complete trim free of cracks and rips (both exterior and interior), and relatively clean paint. As always, be sure to research common issues, discuss the condition with the seller, and do a test drive before you buy it…but even if it’s not perfect, this would make an excellent addition to a budding collection of underappreciated Iacocca creations. Even though it’s missing a clutch pedal, and has about half the power it should have, its sheer quirkiness would undoubtedly make this fun to drive.

Only 619 Omni 024 DeTomasos were made for the 1981 model year, so on top of the street cred you would get for driving something that puts more thought and effort into advertising a friendship between Lee Iacocca and Alejandro de Tomaso than it does into going fast, you get the added benefit of being the only one wherever you go. Gone are the days of losing your grayscale midsize SUV in a sea of other grayscale midsize SUVs, you drive the only Dodge Omni 024 DeTomaso.


  1. Stan

    Chrysler’s delorean ?

    Like 5
  2. Jonathan A. Green

    In 1981, my sister won a Dodge Aries K car in a contest. She was 16, so it was perfect timing. But there’s nothing less girly than a K car. The dealership offered to keep the car, and if we paid the difference of like $2500.00, we could get the hatchback Omni. My dad said no, and my sister was SOOOOOO upset. But I also remember my dad (an Oldsmobile guy) opening the hood, looking at the little engine, and being visibly and audibly disgusted that the fan was (gasp!) plastic!

    Like 11
    • CJinSD

      Aries Ks were in-demand new cars in 1981, so the dealer was not doing your family any favors by offering to keep one or provide credit towards an Omni 024. The Charger 2.2 arrived late in 1981, but even those weren’t as expensive as the loaded K-cars that Chrysler stocked their dealers with the first year of production.

      Like 2
  3. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    $10k for this anemic thing? Step away from the tailpipe…

    Like 18
    • TA

      and the crackpipe…

      Like 4
  4. Sam Shive

    I had a 84 Shelby Charger (NEW) Biggest POS ever made. Surprised the Shelby put his name on the trash. Owned it for 2 years and it spent at least 6 months of that in the shop. Wanted to trade it on a NEW 86 Pick Up and the dealer laughed.

    Like 5
  5. SubGothius

    The K-cars were mechanically derived from these L-cars, which included the TC3, Omnirizon, later Charger/Turismo (Charismo?) coupes, and Rampage/Scamp (Scampage?) pickups. My dad had a Rampage for several years, was pretty fun, stylish, and reasonably peppy to drive.

    Like 4
  6. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    Could have been the DeLorean package.

    Like 2
  7. Howard A Member

    “DeTomaso”? WOW, what an ice breaker. I can just see at some bar,,”yeah, baby, I drive a DeTomaso”, as some exotic Italian job immediately comes to mind ( with some Italian super model draped over the fender) only to find, “It’s a freakin’ Omni, you creep”. and that was probably that.
    I think these were the “swoopiest” of all the K cars,,,as if, it’s how Chrysler got back on it’s feet, by offering a new body on a standardized base. Plastic car models did that for years,,”3 in 1″ kits, remember? It saved a ton of money in retooling for an entirely new car, and for most, the public never knew,,or cared. They were good cars, dependable, with proper maintenance, which few got, sporty, good, not great mileage, it sorely needed a 5 speed,, but was still the 55 mph era, and constant 75 mph hammering hadn’t happened yet, these did an okay job. BTW, 84 hp was acceptable then, but I read this package added a whopping $1575( almost $6 grand today) to an already pricey base 024 at $5271, making it comparable to many sportier cars, for sure. It’s a good find, they were nothing to write home about, the amazingest(?) part, is seeing one again at all. Great find.

    Like 6
    • Claudio

      A sticker package on a pos for 10k

      Lipstick on a pig

      Like 3
  8. Motorcityman

    84hp AUTO!?
    Throw that dog a bone and let it die peacefully! 😄

    Like 4
  9. Howie Mueler

    Talk about a short description, and bad photos, and no engine photos.

    Like 3
    • Motorcityman

      Exactly what I was thinking. Not much description for a premier price for this type of 80s econo box.

      Like 3
  10. Chris

    Rare does not mean valuable. I can think of much better things to do with $10k, like throw it in the trash, at least then I wouldn’t have this useless brick taking up a garage space.

    Like 3
  11. Jake Loring

    These were pigs then and just because not many were made does not make this appealing one bit. Dreamer like many today thinking they got something of value, lol… Thanks for the laugh today! Who came up with the price, amazing folks like this can actually figure out how to breathe !

    Like 2
  12. t-bone BOB

    Located in Northport, AL

  13. Jon B

    Once again, these are NOT K cars. These are L bodies.
    I had a black/gold Charger 2.2 way back when. Lethargic but with the wider factory wheels and good rubber they handled like slot cars.

    Like 1
  14. Carmanic Carmanic Member

    It’s unfortunate that rare doesn’t always mean valuable. But on a positive note, you’d be the only one at Radwood.

    Like 1
  15. Stevieg Member

    $10,000? Hilarious! I would be interested if it were priced reasonably.
    I had one I sold here about a year and a half ago, a beige hatchback a couple years older than this one. It had a smaller 1.7 liter engine in it and was slower than molasses lol. This would probably feel like an improvement over mine. I hope that young chick I sold mine to is still happy with it.

    Like 1

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