Super Six Survivor: 1978 Dodge Aspen

We don’t often see cars that have been set up for towing here, especially ones with an automatic transmission. This 1978 Dodge Aspen has a special gearbox between the differential and transmission so it can be towed behind a motorhome and it has spent an unknown portion of its life doing just that. The seller has it listed here on craigslist in Olympia, Washington and they’re asking $3,800 or best offer. Let’s check it out.

From 1976 through 1980, the Dodge Aspen and its sister car, the Plymouth Volare, were on the market and they are typically one of those love-it-or-hate-it cars for a lot of people. I have never owned one so I can’t give any first-hand experience with them at all but I know that a lot of you have owned them. The Aspen and Volare had a similar but slightly-stretched wheelbase compared to the Duster and Dart which they replaced at just over 108″ and they had basically the same engine choices. You can see the towing apparatus sticking out from under the front end of this Aspen. The seller says that it was towed behind a motorhome but we don’t know how many of the 95,000 miles were spent under its own power or were spent being towed.

They only give us four photos of this great looking car but at least they’ve covered most of the bases. Wait, aren’t there only four bases? You know what I mean, a couple of overall exteriors, a driver’s side interior, and an engine photo. I absolutely love the seat fabric, I wish we saw more of it and more of the interior, in general. The seller says that there’s a lever under the seat that disconnects the rear end for when it’s being towed. It sure would have been nice to see photos of all of that.

The clean engine compartment houses Dodge’s Super Six, a 110-hp version of the 225 slant-six and they say that it runs great and you can jump onto the freeway, hit the cruise at 70 mph, and drive all day – hopefully not in the left lane. Although in 2020, that seems to be the thing to do. And it goes without saying that you should never, ever use your turn signal in 2020, that would be unheard of. This sure looks like a nice example, would the towing feature be a draw or a drawback for you?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I think it’s safe to say someone has driven the car 95K given the prop shaft disconnect. The miles being pulled would cause minimal wear to the car and 95K is nothing for a slant or a torqflite transmission.

    Like 16
  2. Howard A Member

    Great find, and about the only way you’ll find one AT ALL, is if they weren’t driven. While the engine may be “clean” in appearance, the poor slant 6 was strangled to the max, it was Chryslers only hope at gas mileage then. I’d like to see the “disconnect” device they speak of. I’ve never heard of that. I am reminded of an ex-friend with more money than brains, apparently, has a motorhome and pulls a minivan that this guy foolishly, I think, spent $7GRAND on some funky transmission deally that disconnects the trans, so he can tow it “wheels down” ( as opposed to on a car dolly) He claims it works well( it better) and I can’t help but think, why not some kind of front lockout like on old 4×4’s for $50 bucks.
    Anyway, while towing vehicles doesn’t put any “motor miles” on, lots of stuff takes its toll, bearings, seals, steering and suspension, so it’s technically not a low mileage car, and they don’t claim it to be, but again, a nicer example I doubt you’ll find.

    Like 7
  3. local_sheriff

    Shockingly nice vehicle no one usually cared for – if it’s as good as it looks and you’re into Aspens it should be worth every penny. I mean, how many nice ones are left and at that price you could even justify the purchase as a summertime DD…? Never owned one but know several guys who did/do and hardly heard anything really negative about them

    Like 3
  4. Kevin M

    These are the only cars that rusted faster than a Vega!

    Like 5
    • bone

      The 76-77 models had the severe rust issues ; the 78 -80 models did not .

      Like 5
  5. John

    Spitting image, down to the exterior color combo, of my parent’s 78 Volare. That car was traded quickly, as my father ended up hating it early on. I remember it was the first car he owned that had a seat belt warning sound nagging you to buckle up, which in 78 wasn’t the thing it is today. He took it to his mechanic at the service station and had it put out of commission. I remember the mechanic saying ‘ that would make a priest swear, ‘ after hearing it and before he went to work disconnecting it.

    Like 7
    • AZVanMan

      In America, citizens often, but not always have the right to make their own choice. This concept of relative freedom frightens some, but encourages many more.

      Like 3
    • John

      It’s easy to judge harshly things taken out of the context of their own time. Some things should be, the passage of time does not make them any more right. Others, like wearing a seat belt, or using a car seat for kids, or wearing a helmet to ride a bike, were foreign concepts to most in 1978. Not ignorant, just a different time.

      Like 10
    • Troy s

      Believe it or not, We will be judged forty two years from now, by many people who were too young to know or understand or not even here at all. Wonder what they’ll say about our intelligence, or supposed lack of.
      It’s just a ’78 Dodge, from a collapsing corporation, trying to make it in a fast changing market…and struggling.

      Like 7
    • Ed

      I recall my parents buying a 76 Blazer new and actually removing the seat belts altogether. Better to be thrown clear than getting trapped. It is amazing we all survived to adulthood.

      Like 1
  6. George Louis

    To Kevin M i do not know where you grew up or lived but a lot of FORD Procucts rusted out faster than Volares or Aspens. Allone had to do was get the vehicle Ziebart Protected and you did not have to worry about Mr. RUSTY! My parents bought a 1977 Aspen Se four door sedan with the 225 Super six engine , it was built at the Hamtramck Assembly Plant in May of 1977 and it was Ziebart Protected. Never saw a spec of rust on it and never had the front fenders replaced under the recall. The car was sold to a gentleman I worked with in 1997 and looked like new.

  7. Skorzeny

    And look at them now Troy s. They make a 702 HP pickup that does 0-60 in 4.5 seconded, and the quarter in 12.9. I know it’s FCA, but I’m glad they survived. I remember when their stock was a quarter.

    Like 3
    • Troy s

      Yes, Skorenzy,sssaved by the K car, hey, whatever it takes. Lee Iacoca(never did know the spelling of his name) turned them around in the right direction, smaller cars, front wheel drive….for that time period.
      If you’d told me Dodge had a hemi powered Challenger capable of murdering any old muscle car flat out forty years ago I’d of laughed in disbelief,,, but a pick up truck,….nope. I would have figured a tall tale for sure. I’m glad they’re still around too,, hopefully for a while longer.

      Like 4
  8. S

    I have owned a Volare and never found anything to complain about with it. I like the color combination on this, and especially like the pattern on the seats. So much nicer than all vinyl. The Super Six is the engine to get on one of these. It was only offered between 1977 and 1979 on these, though some trucks had it also. It was the right balance between power (actually quite good) and fuel economy (not much less than with a 1 barrel). It was a package which included a larger exhaust pipe and a slightly higher numerically rear axle ratio, along with the 2 barrel, so you used the engine’s power better. It really woke up a slant 6 compared to a 1 barrel. As someone on here said, it’s too bad Chrysler did this much earlier. After the 273 was dropped in 1969, there wasn’t really a mid range power option. The 225 was better than the 198 offered in 1970 – 74, but hardly anyone got the 198. By 1975, they dropped the 198 because it was so underpowered. So in 75 and 76, the 225 was not good on power but offered good fuel economy, and the 318 had decent on power but used a lot of gas. Too bad they didn’t offer the Super Six sooner. I’m also not sure why they dropped it after 1979. The slant 6 was available in cars until 1983, and in trucks until 1987! I would give this Aspen a thumbs up – good size and a nice color combination.

    Like 8
  9. Chris

    I am one of those Mopar fans . I like the car & the interior , no need for speed for this slant 6, just cruise it & love it Fantastic car

    Like 2
  10. kmccabe56

    With A/C and cruise, this Aspen is nicely equipped. However, in 1978, there were no “models” as there were in 1976 & 77. EVERYTHING is an ala carte option. The Custom exterior trim this car has doesn’t include a custom interior (which it doesn’t have). The seats in this car are the BASE seats, and I can tell you from experience they were designed by the Marquis deSade. Trips of greater than 50-100 miles in length are torture on your spine. Would I like this car? Sure. But I’d be digging into my spare parts pile, to find better seats to put into this car ASAP.

  11. Bill Acree

    Yes Chrysler Australia did do a two barrel 225 developed 170 up
    and went very strongly against the regular 140 up 225

  12. WH

    My mom had a 77 Volare 2dr base model with the same interior.
    Car had the super six. It liked to stall out a lot. Our mechanic swapped the carter 2bbl for a holley and that seemed to help. After 13 years it only had 56k but with some rust. It was traded in on a new 1990 Plymouth Acclaim.
    My mother always hated the Volare.

    Like 1
    • Ed P

      I had a 78 Aspen with the super six. It stumbled badly also. After 60k my wife demanded it go.

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