Top-Of-The-Line: 59k Mile 1983 Dodge Mirada CMX

Designed as a personal luxury coupe during some of Chrysler’s most trying times, the Dodge Mirada was an undermarketed gem of luxury performance. This was Dodge’s badge-engineered equivalent to the Chrysler Cordoba and Imperial, and as such was not lacking in the comfort department. Dodge being Dodge, though, they offered it with a 360 V-8, bringing its performance on par with the Chevrolet Corvette at the time, all in an unassuming luxury coupe. You can find this one here on craigslist, thanks to J Mclynn & Bob J for bringing this to our attention.

The Mirada was offered in a few trim levels, and this, the CMX, was the top-of-the-line. They built the car with one of three engines: a slant-six, a 318 LA V-8, or a 360 LA V-8. No word on if this is a 318 or a 360, but that is definitely a V-configuration and not a slant-six. All of the information I could find on the LA V-8 suggested that the 318s came equipped with fuel injection in the late 1980s on Chrysler trucks…so what’s this sticker on the air filter about “electronic fuel control?” Maybe someone who knows more about Iacocca-era Mopar can solve this riddle.

Inside is as luxurious and comfortable as you would expect a personal luxury coupe to be. This is a coupe, don’t let that landau top fool you. The plush velour seats look just as fresh as they were in 1983, and you’ve got air conditioning and an undoubtedly comfortable, overboosted, power-steering system. The trim is clean, free of cracks and stains, and the trunk is free of junk, complete with a spare tire. Interestingly, no power windows. On a top-of-the-line luxury coupe like this, you’d expect power windows. I love it when cars come optioned with unexpected things.

The seller doesn’t provide any images underneath, but they do mention it’s a two-owner car with only 58,943 miles on it. That’s a weirdly specific number, but I guess they probably never drive it, so that number is unlikely to move much between now and the time you drive away in your effectively brand new Dodge Mirada. Do Lee Iacocca proud and help to save Chrysler! Listen to Dodge engineers and put a Hellcat in it! Just kidding on that last part; this should stay exactly as it is. There are precious few of these left, and they should be driven and enjoyed exactly as they are, and exactly as Dodge intended them to be.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I remember when my neighbors bought a Maroon Mirada CMX. I also remember not seeing many on the roads making this a relatively rare car. I looked up engine choices on Alldata and the 360 isn’t listed for the 83 model year so my guess is this is probably a 318. The electronic fuel control refers to a carburetor with electronic feedback by use of a O2 sensor so no fuel injection on this one. The black box with a sticker is the electronic ignition module so it’s kind of misleading. When I saw the black box it reminded me of the early 80’s Volvo’s that used the Chrysler ignition control on their B21 engines.

    Like 13
  2. Matt G

    There is something oddly compelling about this car, that makes me want it… although I am not sure how top-of-the-line this example is with crank windows and cloth seats.

    Like 10
  3. Robert

    I do believe that’s a lean-burn. A great idea that didn’t pan out too well, if I recall.

    Like 9
    • alphasud Member

      This system is an evolution of the lean burn technology by incorporating the carb with mixture feedback control in addition to spark control in the first version. I think they became more reliable with the later versions. I remember when working on Volvo with the Chrysler ignition you never touched the electrical connector to the ignition box because you would flex the circuit board and cause broken solder joints.

      Like 5
    • George

      That is Lean Burn…..the first piece of junk to get removed whenever I ran across them. Chrysler made up a kit to dump it or you could make your own from junk yard parts. They ran fine after removing that disaster.

      Like 5
  4. Steve R

    Pretty car, unfortunately they were an utter failure at the dealership, with less than 53,000 being produced over its 4 year run.

    Steve R

    Like 6
    • Gary

      Yes, seems to me Chrysler was hanging on by a thread in those days, people were scared to buy anything from them. At least until Uncle Sam bailed them out and everyone fell in love with the K Car. Not sure how I feel about my tax dollars doing that, but I did later own a Reliant K. Not too exciting, but a solid little runner for many years.

      Like 5
      • Dave

        K-cars were the beginning, but the Caravan and Voyager minivans stood the industry on its ear!

        Like 7
  5. CCFisher

    The 360 was gone after 1980.

    Like 6
  6. Curt Lemay

    One of my all time favorite cars. Don’t like the fake roof however, just give me the regular metal one thank you. These have to be unicorn rare these days. Wonder if they will ever be worth anything?

    Like 8
  7. gyates

    My folks had a 1980 Mirada. It had the 318. It was not a CMX, but it was fully loaded with power windows, locks and drivers seat. It was white with a white partial vinyl top. Interior had white seats, but rest of interior was maroon. Nice car actually, I got to drive it as a your teen driver. The car had no hint of sportiness as far as handling, but the 318 would at least let it get out of the way when needed. Car was good until it hit around 60k miles, then the nickle and dime repairs got old fast!

    Like 6
    • scottymac

      gyates: Did your folks live in Dallas? I was visiting there one time, was on one of those access roads that sit above the interstate, and saw one like you described go by. By the time I found an entrance ramp, it was long gone. Best version I’d ever seen, triple white, with the “Crown Vic” band over the roof, and those gorgeous ten spoke wheels!

    • Phil Vacca

      Had the same 80 Mirada,,,triple white, 318. People would stop me and ask what it was. Car saw every horse race track in the NYC metro area. Moved to Florida and traded it in on an 84 Chrysler Laser Turbo. Not my best automotive purchasing decision.

  8. Gary

    Looks like a repaint to me, what do you guys think?

  9. Moparman Member

    *SIGH*…If only it didn’t have the faux convertible top; looks good other wise, though!! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 7
    • Gary

      Yes, the fake top really spoils it. What was Dodge thinking? I haven’t seen one this good, even on the net, for years. If only it was the base model.

      Like 2
      • BONE

        Buick ‘Presidential editions” had a similar blue top; its just a plastic cover. I removed one on a Regal , most of it was attached to the roof with RTV

        Like 6
  10. Tony Primo

    I had a black 1981 CMX with black fake convertible top. It was done very nicely by American Sunroof Corporation and fooled many people. If you like the car but not the roof, it wouldn’t take much work to remove it.

    Like 4
  11. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. Although I was way too young to drive at the time, I remember cars like this. I found this generation Chrysler way better than most previous gen Chrysler and Dodge cars.

    Like 1
  12. steve

    i had a 80 mirada, black w/ red velour interior, power everything, had those same nice wheels on it… quite a nice plush car back then…

    Like 6
  13. Joe Sewell

    Nice car. Wondering if this has the 318 4bbl motor?

    Like 1
    • Gary

      I think only in California.

      Like 1
      • Joe Sewell

        1979 and 1980. 1981-1983 50 state J bodies offered the 318 4bbl to replace the 360 motor according to the following. A shame the 1981-1983 EFI conversions weren’t offered this option. https://www.allpar.com/threads/mopar-la-series-v8-engines-318-340-360-and-273.229971/

      • 82 Imperial

        The E58 360 was the only 4-barrel engine ever offered in the J-bodies, and it was in 1980 only.
        After ’81, the only options were the Slant Six or the 318-2V; only the Imperial got EFI. The 318-4V was only for police or shoppers savvy enough to order the A38 or AHB (depending on year) police package. That also got you the 125MPH speedo, an oil-pressure gauge, and the A999 transmission among other HD bits. It was only available for M-bodies.
        The ’81 Newport/New Yorker and St. Regis (R-body) were the last cars available with the 360. After that, it was only used in trucks and vans.

  14. Crownstooge

    My father had one of these…a 1980 I think. His was silver with a maroon top. Power everything. I always liked the wheels. We got a flat tire on the Garden State Parkway on the way home from a NY Yankees game and we had to hitch hike with the wheel to get a new tire so we could get home.

    Like 2
  15. djjerme

    Writer must not have been of age in the 80’s (or maybe even the 90’s) to not be familiar with the electronic carbs that all the manufactures experimented with in the early Reagan era.

    Trying to meet the ever tightening emissions standards with the ol’ needle fuel measuring wasn’t working, so the various manufactures tried to come up with rudimentary electronic control.

    The electronic Quadro-pukes come to mind, as well as some of the weird Rochester incarnations.

    Like 2
  16. Michael

    I had an 83 Mirada and had low miles. It was white with red interior. And had a half campus town. The car was extremely comfortable. The only flaws it had was the plastic around the rear tail lights and bumper had disintegrated, and the plastic on the top of the door panels. I think I ended up selling it to my dad for 1500 bucks. Can’t remember if it had the lean burn on it or not. When the box would go bad it would backfire and blow out the exhaust.

  17. space GREGORY POLLACK

    Mopars computer of the time it was a lean burn system.
    Electronic fuel control.

    Like 1
  18. t-bone BOB

    Located in Spring Hill, FL

    Like 1
  19. Jwaltb

    “Top-of-the-line” Mirada is an oxymoron!

  20. Bhowe Member

    As a kid my folks were car shopping in 83 and ultimately ordered a 84 Chrysler E class on the stretched K car platform. I distinctly remember a miranda like this on the showroom floor and really liked the car. They had nice styling, comfort and really appealed to me, however, as another commenter said, seems like everybody was afraid to buy any Chrysler product other than K based choices. I really miss those days when the variety of vehicle offerings was extensive and you act6had choice in style, trim level, basically everything. Nowadays all you see are rounded off wagoblobs that are everywhere. They all look the same. Even Mercedes has a full line of Cuvs. Truly sad

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