Rarely This Stock: 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T

The era of hot-rod, turbocharged Mopar products turned rather ordinary cars into legitimate performers offering serious bang for the buck. This 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T is a perfect example of a boring sedan that was transformed into one of the best performing sedans of the early 90s. The trouble is, very few of them remain in stock, unmolested condition today – except for this one here on craigslist. It’s been treated to a full repaint and recently freshened-up head. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat for the find. 

Although marketing hyperbole can be outright lies, the Spirit R/T was one of the fastest sedans in American when introduced, with Dodge claiming it’d outpace the iconic BMW M5 of the same era. It was only available with a heavy-duty 5-speed manual transmission, which put a robust 224 b.h.p. through the front wheels. The cars further distinguished themselves with a unique body kit, rear spoiler, front air dam, and color-keyed wheels, which have been replaced on this example with the “pumper” alloys found on the Daytona.

The deeply-bolstered sport bucket seats are supremely comfortable but tend to look tired after this many years of use. Not here – they retain good form and the cloth appears to be clean. No other major flaws to report from the cabin, and how nice it is to recall an era in which the only transmission option was one with three pedals. The A/C still blows cold and the Spirit benefits from a recent windshield replacement.

The turbocharged and intercooled 2.2L four-cylinder features a 16V, DOHC head designed by Lotus. The seller recounts lots of recent maintenance, including a refreshed head (new rockers and lifters), head gasket, timing belt, and plug wires. The Dodge is said to burn no oil and is ready to drive anywhere. Although more examples were produced in red than in white, this is a rare car to find no matter how you slice it – especially in stock condition.

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  1. Miguel

    That is a great price. Somebody should grab it.

    The last one that was on here sold for a bit more than that.

    Here in Mexico we got a few of these plus there were a few Phantoms (LeBaron Coupe) that had this engine.

    It is too bad the rest of the car falls apart around this engine.

    • Ralph

      There was a hot Daytona with this engine too no?

      • Superdessucke

        Yup. The 1992 Daytona R/T and 1993 Daytona IROC R/T came with this engine (Turbo III). But they are extremely rare. Less than 500 total were made.

  2. Mountainwoodie

    Great point , Miguel! Add to that it is so inspiring. Even when its moving it looks like it is standing still. I mean a Fox Mustang does more for me….barely

    • Miguel

      I wonder if, at this price point, the engine can be taken out and put into a much more desirable body.

  3. Fleckster

    They we’re also available in silver in 1992. Here’s mine.

  4. Andre

    Its boxy awkwardness IMO is part of the charm. Same way the 2.2 turbo Caravan’s and Shadows were so weird they’re kinda neat.

    • Fiete T.

      Caravan’ were 2.5L…had one, gently modified that went 308+k miles before a cooling hose popped on the Garrett T3 and the head gasket popped. Decided not to fix, stripped all the goodies off and gave/sold/traded off-

  5. Del

    I know a guy in Spruce Grove who bought two of these in amazing shape about 10 years ago.

    Hoping for a big uptick in prices.

    He may have been dissapointed

    They are neat cars though.

  6. Mr. TKD

    Despite being arrest-me red, this is a perfect sleeper.

  7. JimBot

    This is great, and what a great price – You’re ready for the next Radwood – I love it. I hope someone snatches it up!

  8. Tom Smith

    Maybe it is just me, but the red wheels would really complete the package. Too bad they are gone.


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