Tasty CMX: 1981 Dodge Mirada

A relatively short production run and limited appeal among consumers were two contributing factors in the Dodge Mirada’s relegation to automotive obscurity. However, its good looks have aged well, and examples like this CMX trim model offered a host of attractive features, including an optional 360 and Sure-Grip rear end. Find it here on craigslist with a $4,300 OBO asking price and located in Detroit.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find. This example obviously has been kept in excellent condition, with even the standard vinyl roof (for CMX cars) presenting incredibly well. I like the aftermarket wheels, which give the Mirada some much-needed attitude. Otherwise, the Mirada remains stock, with lots of expensive recent maintenance performed. The seller doesn’t reveal whether this CMX is optioned with the top-shelf 360.

The velour interior includes bucket seats up front and what looks like an un-used rear seat. Door panels and carpeting reveal no obvious flaws. The seller notes a lengthy list of recent maintenance items which includes a rebuilt carburetor, new double-row timing chain, water pump, intake manifold, coolant hoses, and more. I’d love to know what engine is under the hood, as just over 5,000 Miradas got the CMX package, and of those only 76 buyers ordered the 360 (thanks Allpar.com for the figures.)

The 318 seems like the likelier engine choice, but who knows? Maybe this is one of those 76 CMX cars with the beefier powerplant. Since the seller reports getting 19 MPGs, it sure seems likely the smaller V8 is under the hood, but that’s OK – open up the exhaust to give the V8 some room to breathe, and paired with the Mirada’s tough stance on those sharp rollers, you’ve got a comfortable cruiser with plenty of style for under $5K.

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Comments

  1. Joe Haska

    Why are the good deals always so far away? I think it would be a fun car , would like to know more details about drive train and of course A/C is a must in AZ.

    Like 4
    • dee

      I had one, red!! it was a real fun car, 318 could really get out of its way:)

  2. Jack M.

    I bought a Mirada CMX in 1982. It was driven 9,000 miles by the car dealers wife. It was also black with a black roof and tan interior. The roof material is a type of canvas to simulate a convertible top. Car was pretty rare even back then. Only kept it for 2 years and moved on to something better.

    Like 1
  3. CCFisher

    360 was 1980 only.

    Like 2
  4. Maestro1

    A bizarre and interesting value.

    Like 2
  5. Gingerman

    Could be a 225 as well. These are awesome machines, if Chrysler had been in better financial shape they would have sold well. A true classic that someday will go up in value.

    Like 11
  6. Blueprint

    The horrible roof was an option, not stock on the CMX. Miradas had a great roof design, ruined here by this vinyl abomination. And yes, 360 only sold in 1980.

    Like 7
  7. Beaver

    I did not see anywhere that it said it was A# matching car and with all the other work I am woundering if this is the motor the car came with And remember the 360 is A very easy bolt in swap! I wish it was closer I would go look it over and take $4300 cash and ask it he would take $4000 cash and flash it in front of him! I am guessing he would take it!!

    Like 3
    • Gingerman

      Someday, 4Gs will be a steal. Grab it now. I also agree, the fake convert was awful, the standard roof was a think of beauty, as long as there was no goofy vinyl opera window on it.

  8. Chebby Staff

    I had an elementary school teacher in 1980, her last name was Marotta but I though she was named after the car….”Mrs. Mirada”. The CMX had unique factory wheels, too bad they are gone. This is probably the nicest, cheapest Mopar you could get into these days.

    Like 7
  9. 36 Packard

    I have always adored these. When they were new I had a young family so not practical. Now I am older, trying to find a good one (that has intact, non crumbling plastic rear fender caps) is almost impossible. I agree, I prefer the non fake convertible standard metal roof style. A guy on here months back had a picture of his restored dark blue one. I was in Heaven over it. I wonder how much a perfect recently restored one is worth? If the one he posted here ever goes on sale, I would be a buyer. Just hope he posts it here!

    Like 3
  10. Coventrycat

    I loved these as a kid, and it still looks good after all these years. Too bad that fake top doesn’t go down.

    Like 1
  11. Pete Kaczmarski

    My preference is for the ’79 Dodge Magnum GT which I owned for two or three years in the early eighties. It took me several decades the find another GT with T-tops and E58 Police package. If Barn Finds allowed pictures again in the responses I would post it here.

    Like 1
    • Sandy Claws

      My guess is that is part of the cash situation, only the paid members can post pics. You think they would make killer cash on all the advertising and now with the auctions, but what do I know? It will back fire, the allure here is the vast numbers of followers, with that comes the advertising dollars. They are making poor choices here. Does Amazon charge you a monthly fee to buy from them? Costco does, but compare the two companies. BF, try thinking out of the box!

      Like 2
  12. Doug

    One of the big reasons that this and other Mopars of this era didn’t do well was the unavailability of the “B” block engines as part of the privately financed and government supported bailout that kept Chrysler from going bankrupt. No more 361-383-413-426-440s or Hemis could be built – I may be incorrect, but I believe that the tooling for making those blocks was ordered to be destroyed.

    • Sandy Claws

      Never heard that, but I wouldn’t put it past them. Just the same, the big blocks would have been poorly balanced and by the early 80s people wanted 30+ MPG cars, the old muscle cars were in the trash bin. Besides, small blocks and even the slant six could be factory improved, they just didn’t do it. Heck, even the 22b slant six was in Canada only in these years, too bad too as it made all the difference in the world in the smog era. The 318 could have gotten better cams and carbs, like GM did with the 305s.

      • 36 Packard

        The 225 was indeed available, but not the great 2bl SS, that was only in Canada. Canadians seem to be much smarter then us in so many ways.

        Like 1
    • Joe MOPAR

      Not true. 1978 was the last year of the 400/440 engines. The others listed were long gone years before.
      The loan guarantee was in 1980.

    • Beaver

      They where not destroyed they were sold to Kieth Black in CA BUT I can’t find where the$$ went there is no record of it you can order a new Kieth Black Hemi to day!!

  13. Glenn

    That was the first US car to feature the soft front facia that all cars now have! We had a 80 dark gray with red buckets, shifter in counsel, T tops 360 CMX, my daughters high school car in the late 90s.Now that was a rare car! It went to a collector when she moved up to a 94 Neon!! Whish I could have it back!

  14. Del

    This is a very rare nice car and the price is great.

    Like 1
  15. #69pacecar

    I had one of these back in 1981 as a demonstrator when working at a Chrysler dealer. It had the v6 in it but was still a really nice car to drive and would love to have this one but have no room, right now, for another vehicle.

  16. Del

    None of these had V6s.

    It was an in line 6

  17. Roger

    We had a mirada when I was a kid.. This is in Norway btw.. A slant six.. My dad sold it when I was about 11-12 yo.. And I always wanted one my self.. Even called on one when I was 16 (even tho I had 0 money, and we can’t drive cars before 18 in Norway).. It was sold.. Went out the sellers hands like 2 days after he put it up..
    Some years later, I found one.. a 1981 (they said, but all facts told me it must have been a 1980), 360 engine, but with the small 904 gears! (don’t ask.. hehe)

    I got it, drove it.. Loved it, but in the end, had to sell it.. I had noe place or knowlege to fix it up to a former glory!!

    Still miss the frack out of that car!! Only car I really have missed..

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