13th Mar 2020, 07:06
The determining factor for the Aspen/Volaré's higher value is that it came in 2 door versions with a "sportier" look and more performance-oriented trim packages like the R/T (Aspen), Roadrunner (Volaré - yes, there was a Roadrunner trim package available), Super Coupe (Aspen), and the Aspen/Volaré "kit cars" which had cool "performance look" features like riveted fender flares, hood pins and clips for the hood, NASCAR-style windshield clips, NASCAR-style metal straps running down the rear window, a dirt oval race car-like spoiler on the trunk lid, louvered windows on the sides, with a big "43" on the doors and "360 cu. in." engine displacement callouts on the hood.
While the Aspen and Volaré were generally seen as family sedans or station wagons, there were many options and packages with the 2 door versions that gave it a more youthful, sportier look and performance. In fact, the 1978 kit cars compared very well to the performance of other "muscle cars" of that year. Add to that, the 1980 and later Diplomats never came with the larger 360 engine that was available on the Aspen/Volaré. Additionally, the vast majority of Diplomats sold were sedans, so it was just never seen as an equal in overall youthfulness, performance or performance potential. Styling is subjective.
The Dodge Diplomat (and associated models) were just never marketed with a sporty image or had any performance (or "performance look") packages that gave it a more youthful image. Perhaps if they came in a sportier looking 2 door version like the Aspen/Volaré did with optional performance packages and the 360 engine as an option, it would have created and maintained a different image than it did. Unfortunately, the Diplomat was always seen as an "old man's car" or as a taxi cab, or a cop car at best. They were generally looked at (particularly over time) as stodgy and dated (by the 80s) cars that got you from A to B in general quiet comfort. So they just never gained a sportier, more youthful image that increased their value the way the 2 door Aspens and Volarés did.
With that said, I've always loved the hell out of the Diplomat, Gran Fury/Caravelle (Canadian version) and the Fifth Avenue. If I had the room for one I'd get one in a heartbeat.