Saved from Scrap: 1983 Dodge Mirada


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Lately, I’ve been asking myself why I don’t just buy some of the cars I pillage parts from in the scrap yard. I could care less about the junk title (we don’t title cars older than 2001 in Rhode Island) and I’d have more parts to choose from rather than just cherry-picking the stuff I can drag home. The seller of this Dodge Mirada CMX coupe here on eBay claims this very car was slated to be scrapped before being rescued by a previous owner.


These Miradas did not stick around long, with a relatively short production run. In my mind, this makes them among the more collectible Malaise-era vehicles, along with its platform twin the Chrysler Cordoba. They’re a rare sight on the roads today, which is a shame because it’s fairly attractive with what looks like an interior suited for long cruises.


While the 5.9L V8 is the more desirable powerplant, at least this 318 is original to the car. You have to give credit to the buyer in Canada who purchased this car from the scrap heap and kept so many of its original bits intact, just doing the necessary mechanical repair and giving it a repaint. It may even be the original color based on the faded red paint in the engine bay. Some minor upgrades have been made under the hood as well.


Overall, the seller gives a nice presentation of an attractive and affordable J-platform specimen. The inclusion of some OEM Mirada mudflaps, service booklets and the original steering wheel indicate to me that the owner was cautious in his enhancements in the interest of keeping this car in OEM condition. It also inspires me to possible extract a few cars from local yards that deserve another shot at returning to the roads; can you think of any junkers you would save?

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  1. cory

    I like the concept, but every time I have tried to get something from a scrap yard, they either give me a flat no, or some astronomical price, or some combination of let me ask the manager and we have to find the title. It just kills me to see some of them crushed. Especially older rust free Japanese cars out west, when here in the midwest we are trying to patch up our rustbuckets

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    • skloon

      yep, wanted to purchase a partially stripped 850r just for engine offered pnp 500 they wanted 1500- doors interior were already gone- yet they sell whole cars for 1599

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  2. moosie Craig

    Nice MopaR, seems reasonably priced, wonder why it was going to be crushed ?

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  3. Charles

    We owned the Chrysler Cordoba Landau version of this car. Those were good durable vehicles. Sold it at 326K miles and the valve covers were never off. I like this design, the color, and condition of this car. I have tried to purchase a couple of cars from wrecking yards over the years without success. In our state when a car is salvaged the title is surrendered to the state and the car can never be registered again.

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  4. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Cool car. Is it a convertible?

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  5. Charles

    No on the convertible top. In the 80’s there was a trend for a while that cars were sold with an optional vinyl top that looked like a convertible top. The look was achieved by covering a fiberglass shell with vinyl mounted onto the steel top of the car.

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  6. Charles H.

    Last of what I think of as “True Mopars” before the FWD, K Car, Mini Van era took over at Chrysler, always liked these, thought they were great cars for what they were.

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  7. DRV

    I had one of these to use as a fleet car in the day , and it felt to be in a constant state of falling apart. It rattled and squeezed and flexed like no other car I have had and kept me from buying any Chrysler product ever.
    I do like the body looks a lot though….

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  8. randy

    Yes, I remember these, very nice looking car, but I was already turned off by Chrysler products by the time these came out.

    I love the “Fine Corinthian Leather”!

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  9. Jason Houston

    I always held this out to be a welcome port in a stormy era of ugly Chrysler products. Glad someone saved it. Nice color, too!

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  10. 64 bonneville

    The Mirada is a hard to find model from Chrysler corp. with the 360 engine they can really get it., but with the 318 you will get better fuel economy. They have a ride like the big Chryslers of the early 60s’, but way lot better handling and braking. this car is slicker than snot on a doorknob, but with a salvage title, may be a difficult sell. Many insurance company’s will not write a policy for a reconstructed or previous salvage vehicle, however some may write a liability only policy for the states minimum coverage, with mileage restrictions. that’s a bummer, in my opinion.

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    • MountainMan

      I have owned several vehicles with salvage titles and never had issues with insurance. Most recently we purchased a subaru outback that was deemed a total loss by Allstate and upon purchase got full coverage insurance through Allstate without any problems. I have heard that insurance companies will not provide full coverage for a car with salvage title or similar things but never had any problems personally

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  11. Ceezy

    Not a fan of the front of these, I prefer the Imperial of this era, but they are becoming harder to find. I would consider this if it didn’t have a salvage title.

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  12. Tom

    It is nice this still exists. I seem to recall the front was intended to mimic Cords of the 30’s. The overall appearance has certainly worn better than many cars from that era. I was just thinking before seeing this listing which cars still exist and no matter how few are left will never have value.

    Even Gremlins and Pacers are bringing good $ for a nice one, and a new generation seems to have kept some value to a Vega, but it might only be to stuff a SBC in it. All the cars that were known to be awful in the day, seem to hit bottom and then rise in price when it is one of the few left. I wonder which ones just disappear?

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  13. RoughDiamond

    I can hear the late Ricardo Montalban now “feel the rich Corinthian leather”. Oh wait, that was the Chrysler Cordoba.

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  14. Jay

    Love these cars.

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  15. mark

    Nice looking car. I notice the road runner front license plate. That tells me this one is from New Mexico. I live in southern New Mexico. Fortunately rust is not a problem here.

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  16. Mike

    Pretty car. Wish I had it.

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  17. Kevin

    I loved the looks of these so much that I bought one. Huge lemon from day one. Non stop trouble. Weak front end, bad tranny, constant electric demons and door leaks. A very beautiful car, but not a strong driver. I’m a Mopar man from way back, owned many before and after, but not a happy owner on this one.

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  18. Russ

    I had one of these cars – for many years. It was the worst vehicle I ever owned with more ridiculous quality problems by far than anything I’ve ever owned. To think I traded in a low mileage loaded Plymouth Trail Duster on that horrendous lemon! You could not give me a Mirada. Oddly I had Chrysler LeBaron 4 door about the same age that was a wonderful car in comparison. Basically the same platform but a whole different vehicle.

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  19. jd

    Had one~80~ trip white car with a slant 6~Craigers and really nice ride~Slow as a slug but I did enjoy it~ until the divorce~traded it in~sad the car is gone~ happy bout the other thing here~

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