1979 Dodge Aspen Automatic from North America


Memorable first car


This was my very first tank (after a short-lived love affair with a Honda Prelude, which I wrecked within a few months of owning it).

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Dodge, thanks to the performance of this car. There could be something seriously wrong with this vehicle, and it would still carry you from Point A to Point B. For example:

A dirty axle that squeaked loudly, but did not break for miles before I could finally afford to replace it.

A bad habit of stalling on right turns (but would start like a champ mid-turn when I threw it into neutral).

A radiator that made whale songs in stop and go traffic, but never forced me to pull off the road in a cloud of steam (like another car I had later did). I could go on, but I'd run out of space.

Bottom line: this is the kind of car the B52's were singing about in "Love Shack." It is the perfect car for your teenager who just got a learner's permit: there's room for all his friends inside, if it breaks down that doesn't necessarily mean he has to stop driving it (and it's cheap to fix), and there's enough metal around your kid that anyone involved in an accident with this car needs to worry about themselves; your kid and his friends will be fine.

General Comments:

Extremely roomy inside. You could probably camp out in this car.

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Conversation starter.

Built like a brick - well, you know.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st April, 2010

4th Apr 2010, 18:46

Uh, yeah.. the car in "Love Shack" was a "Chrysler" that was "big as a whale"...not a dolphin-sized Dodge!

5th Apr 2010, 14:52

I agree... although large by today's standards, the Aspen was a compact car in its day and could never be confused with a "big as a whale" sized Chrysler.

18th Apr 2010, 11:14

Dodge are made by Chrysler Corporation.

18th Apr 2010, 16:21

Yeah, if somebody thinks the Dodge Aspen is a big car, they'd shut down from sensory overload if they saw a Chrysler Newport or New Yorker!

Anyway, the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare was a good car, the wagons and the sedans. The sedan would easily fit 6 people, probably 8 high school kids who wanted to squeeze in there. They took a lot of abuse (my friends in high school used to drive them through plowed fields, do reverse drops, brake stands, bash into old farm equipment, trees, etc.), and "beverage" spills were easily cleaned up thanks to the vinyl seats.

They were also not the kind of car to attract police attention, always a plus for a kid, being a fairly bland sedan.

The Slant 6 or 318 was also very forgiving on an absence of maintenance typically done by the average high school guy on their first car.

I can surely see why the original reviewer would have a fond memory of this car. In the late '80s and mid '90s I owned or had friends that owned a number of Darts, Aspens, and Volares, and they were all good cars.

1979 Dodge Aspen Wagon 225 2 BARREL from North America


Function over form


The air intake hose has fallen apart. The oil pan gasket and the rear main seal needed to be replaced at 91,000 miles.

General Comments:

I have not owned too many cars in my life. However, the Dodge Aspen has got to be one of the best kept secrets out there in used cars! I was pleasantly surprised to find the seats and the ride to be extremely comfortable. This car glides over most road imperfections with ease and handles very well. Very cold air conditioning and the cars' ability to dampen road noise, contribute further to driver comfort. The 110 horsepower engine is adequate, but not fast by any stretch. The key here is reliability, and the Aspen does not disappoint.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th August, 2003