Save Ferris, Save this Car: 1985 Plymouth Reliant

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When this car was new, who would have ever thought we would be discussing it on a site called Barn Finds 34 years later? When you see something on the road older than 25 years old these days, it gets attention. On New Year’s Day I had my classic car out for a ride, as I was accelerating onto the interstate I noted a passing motorcycle with two passengers. The lady on the back turned and stared at my car and tapped the driver to get him to take a look. If you should see this one, you would probably tap your passenger too because of its rarity on the road. Here is a 1985 Plymouth Reliant 4 door sedan for sale here on eBay in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jason P. for letting us know about this one.

As the seller pointed out, these Chrysler K cars were the underpinnings for just about everything they sold in the eighties. The Reliant and its Dodge relative the Aries were updated with more rounded corners in 1985, to give it maybe a little less shoebox look. The seller is the third owner, only having owned it since summer 2018. The car has been repainted once in its original light blue metallic. It’s one of the cleanest cars of this year you’ll find. There is no rust other than a little surface rust where the paint has thinned on the driver’s door. It has been an Oregon car its entire life. The current owner has installed new tires.

It is a near match for the car that principal Edward Rooney drove in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Ironically, it even comes with a “Save Ferris” sticker on its rear window. Here is a picture of that car in a scene from the movie.

The interior is in good condition. It is furnished in a two-tone blue with light blue on the seating surfaces and dark blue on the front seat back, carpeting, lower door panels, and dash. A previous owner installed a more modern radio with MP3 capability. The dash lights do not work at night. There are a couple of splits on the driver’s seatback as well.

The car comes with a 2.2 liter 4 cylinder engine that has been driven 61,800 miles since new. The air conditioning has been converted to R32 and a new catalytic converter was recently installed. The seller has projects other than this car and needs the room and is selling it. The Buy it Now Price is a reasonable $1,950. This could be an everyday driver or occasional use car without any further investment other than the purchase price. Save Ferris, Save this Plymouth!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. BB

    Do the dash lights work during the day?

    Like 21
    • CliffMember

      My windshield wipers work, except when it rains! Lol

      Like 13
    • Sidney

      Did someone check a fuze? In my experience, dash lights going out are rare.

      Like 2
  2. David Frank David FMember

    I guess I’m lucky to live in California. Most cars as old this old don’t look this nice, but there are lots of cars from the 1980s and older still on the streets. They are just old used cars. This one appears to be a real gem, though and would be a great driver. $1995 seems like a very reasonable price.

    Like 9
  3. LarryinMA

    I’m tempted to buy this just for the nostalgia (these things – often in this color – were seemingly everywhere when I was in high school). But then again, what would I do with it? I question any claims of “fun to drive.”

    It’s short money to buy, but unfortunately, I’d double my cost just transporting it back to New England (and before anyone even suggests it, I’m not interested in 3000 mind numbing miles of interstate driving in this thing).

    Like 3
  4. Rhett

    I had one of these (and later a Plymouth Acclaim) as a company car at the time. I would up liking it more than I ever thought I would. It was a very honest and utilitarian vehicle that did nothing poorly enough to bother you, but everything well enough to almost enjoy…it was dependable, had good AC, had good range on a tank of gas and would go 100 mph. For a company car, that was a quadruple win!

    Like 12
    • That AMC Guy

      I also had a 4-door Reliant just like this one (same color even) as a company car. Mine was a real lemon though. It started falling apart almost immediately despite being fresh from the dealer and had to be towed back to the shop several times. The final straw was when that metal canister (filter?) by the carb started leaking fuel all over the engine.

      Like 0
    • Jett

      Would it hit 100 mph on a flat road, or would you have to be going downhill…? All joking aside, I think that’s a bit optimistic, as the car might have had a 95 hp engine, unless it was the scarcely produced 2.6 turbo, which I doubt any company would spring for as a company car…

      Like 0
      • Rhett

        Point taken, as now I recall the speedo only went to 85 – but at very least it would reach that and more, and stay there for a good long time. The fondness of recollection may have me …um… rounding up. I also may be confusing it with the 88 Tempo I had next….

        Like 1
  5. David Rhoces

    anybody got a little ol granny that needs a grocery getter ?

    Like 2
  6. Ken

    Look. Why the hell not save it. Take it for some Ice cream on weekends. You’ll get the attention.

    Hey on Dennis’ Gage my classic car some brought a beautiful 72 Pinto to a show. People liked it

    Like 1

    I never knew until this day that Principal Ed Rooney parked by a fire hydrant.

    Like 4
    • Joe

      Yes just saw the movie with my kids the other day and noticed he parked there lol

      Like 1
    • PRA4SNW

      That’s why he got a ticket and it was towed.
      Unless this post is some sort of a joke that I’m not getting.

      Like 0
  8. Kenneth Carney

    A young man I wirked with had one.
    Didn’t have it two weeks before it caught
    fire and burned to the ground. Since this
    poor guy knew nothing about cars, I went
    with him to talk to the dealer that sold him that POS. After twisting the dealer’s
    arm a bit, we put him in something that
    was a whole lot more reliable and safer
    too. As for this car, it is worth saving as
    pristine examples of the K-car are getting
    harder to find. They’ve all been crushed
    and turned into modern cars that give
    you even more headaches the longer
    you own them. Do history a favor and
    save this for posterity.

    Like 3
  9. Howard A. Howard AMember

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t restore one, but one this clean would make a great beater for someone. I had several of these,( and mini-vans, same guts) and they were all great cars. Looking for a dependable cheapie, and every parts house lists them, can’t go wrong here.

    Like 2
  10. Wrong way

    Appears to be a nice car! It will never be a classic tho! IMHO, it would make a great daily driver! Kinda like a little Dodge Daytona, I picked up on because of the mint condition it was in! Drove it around for awhile, but I eventually put it away in the garage with my others! I myself wouldn’t take a chance on it, because I have heard from some good sources that the 2.2 was not a very good engine!

    Like 1
  11. Maestro1

    Someone buy this car. If I had the room I would.

    Like 1
  12. Joe Defelice

    In ’05 I took a break from living in a truck and needed a car. I paid 1000.00 for an ’85 Town and Country wagon. Damn car held up great, nearly no rust, and got me around for 35K miles before I let it go. It was the twin to the mother’s car in the same movie..

    Like 1
  13. Del

    I had one. It was very reliable.

    Got good trade in for it on my 1990 Daytona

    Like 2
  14. William Decker

    Drive as a “work car” till it pukes, recycle.

    Like 3
  15. Brian G

    As with ‘any vehicle’ from that era, there were lemons and there were good ones. I personally had a Plymouth Horizon. Ordered it from the factory with the 2.2 & 5 speed. Same power train as Reliants & Aries but it was leaded fuel. (I was living in Canada at the time)
    I don’t know exactly what the difference was between the US/Canadian versions but it was huge. This car had no problem easily exceeding 100mph (not kph) and blending in traffic when needed.
    It performed better than the Shelby Omni GLHS that I had years later.

    Like 0
  16. Terry J

    This car SAVED Chrysler Corp. After Ford and Lee Iaccoca parted company, Chrysler hired him to save them from collapse. They were building totally crappy cars just like all of Detroit at the time. The K car was a modern platform and sold well. Iacocca himself did commercials saying simply “Chrysler has been building terrible cars and I don’t blame you for not buying them, but our new K car is a great car, I stake my name on it AND a 100,000 warranty to back it up”. It was a big success and that type of car dominated the industry from then on. :-) Terry J

    Like 6
  17. Lance Platt

    The boxy styling is very space efficient and easier to get in and out of than today’s sedans. The engine was fuel efficient for it’s day. The light blue exterior paint and blue interior is attractive but not flashy. With working automatic transmission and air conditioning, the price is quite reasonable.

    Like 5

    I got my son an 85 Aries as his first car. It was a used 100k fleet car from the school district. I hope someday he can forgive me – mind-numbingly unreliable with virtually everything breaking on a daily basis! Live and Learn

    Like 1
  19. Del

    Very good Terry 😁

    Like 0
  20. Dave

    I owned 1 of these bought it secondhand from a car lot for 1100.00 I drove it daily for 3 years the only ongoing issue I had with it was when you were highway driving the engine would surge it was the strangest thing . I made several attempts over the years to try to stop it but never got the handle on it. When I stopped driving it I gave it to a local mechanic and told him he could have it for parts ( he had helped me out a number of times when I was experiencing some tough financial troubles ) . I thought that ,that was the end of the story but one day I stopped in to buy fuel and when I went to pay for my fuel my friend handed me 200.00 I said what’s this for ? He said I sold the car for parts and I got 400.00 for it and now I’m splitting it with you. I tried to give it back to him but he refused. So I can say I my experience with this car was overall a very good and cheap one. I think this is an excellent deal for someone.1950.00 and new tires and a piece of history that helped pull Chrysler back from almost certain extinction.

    Like 4
  21. PRA4SNW

    Sold for $2001.76. Weird bid.

    Like 0

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