21st May 2004, 20:48
I have driven a few Diplomats- all of them police models as well as two 5th Avenues. All-in-all, I have never driven more solid reliable automobile before or since. I really miss them.
A family member of mine, while at a stop in her '88 Diplomat, was rear-ended at 65 mph by a Buick Park Avenue. Despite the tremendous damage to the rear of the car, all 4 doors still opened and closed easily and not a single pane of glass shattered. She went to the hospital for observation, but, I am convinced that if she had driven her smaller car that day, she would have been killed. Volvo had nothing on these cars as far as safety went, in particular during the last 2 years when they had a drivers air bag.
13th Jul 2004, 22:13
When I was a teenager, I was under the impression the Diplomat/Grand Fury was a solid performing car, both in police package and civilian configuration. However, my career as a Missouri State Trooper has enlightened me to reality. Per co-workers who racked up tens of thousands of miles in Diplomats, these cars were neither fast or reliable. They were plagued with quality control issues which is unacceptable for a fleet/police/special service vehicle. As for looks, to each his own, but I do favor their squared off formal look.
14th Jul 2004, 17:58
All fleet cars tend to have issues, considering the use they get. Diplomats and Gran Furys aren't fool proof and might not be the fastest on the road, but for the money, it was a nice car. They have a look to them that sticks out from the crowd. And sure they have their issues, but they sure are fun to drive. I should know, I have four of them.
15th Jul 2004, 22:20
I respect anyones opinion of the Diplomat. After all, sharing opinions of specific vehicles is the point of this site. However, I would be cautious if purchasing a Diplomat. First, this is a car that has been out of production for 14+ years (1989 was the last year of production). There's got to be a reason they stopped making them. Second, I know a "large agency" fleet manager (he likes Dodge products), who told me the Diplomat/Grand Fury's were junk... Electrical gremlins were very prevalent and if you work on cars, they can make you pull your hair out. Apparently, the Diplomat/Grand Fury's were inferior in many aspects to the Chevy Caprice and Ford Crown Vic. My comments are not meant to insult anyone who has a Diplomat. I mean, one mans Pinto, could be another guys Rolls Royce. As for "fun to drive." Personally, I wouldn't get to frisky in twisties because you could be headed off the roadway quickly with that archaic leaf spring suspension and rear drum brake set-up. Furthermore, 1989 marked the Diplomat/Grand Fury's highest year for horsepower and the "police package/high-output" version made and asphalt melting, concrete shredding, 195 hp.
One positive thing is you can probably get one for next to nothing.
P.S. I think they looked decent and their mid-sized proportions made them ideal most duties.
23rd Jul 2004, 21:18
Good post. The Dodge Diplomat and the Plymouth Gran Fury were quite simply some of the finest cars ever to roll out of...Kenosha, Wisconsin. The design alone is an aesthetic masterpiece, the double-roller 318 esp. w/4-barrel carb is another masterpiece. Not a 440 or even a 360, but a good, punchy and most of all reliable friend.
Great seats, great everything. A car for which trim is already impossible to find, so take care. I love mine to death.
2nd Aug 2004, 08:37
Re the above comment, they did not "roll out of...Kenosha, Wisconsin" until the 1987 model year when AMC entered into an agreement with Chrysler to build them at the under-utilized Kenosha plant. Prior to that they were built at Chrysler's plant in St. Louis.
They were OK for their time, but it's hard to get excited now by a car with less horsepower than a Mustang V6, even in the police version with the 4-barrel.
29th Oct 2004, 21:33
Guys, stop gushing about a car with very average performance and great reliability. The Mopars that had it all were the pre-'72 full size Polara and Fury squads. Those had extra body welds, correct suspension and the awesome 440 4-barrel Magnum engine with the big 727 Torqueflite tranny. They could run 140 all day, everyday and get there in one hell of a rush as big as they were. Any old cop still around will tell you that. Ford or Chevy could not sell a squad (or give one away) during those years. Almost all 50 states used Mopars until Chrysler fell apart in the mid 1970's.
20th Oct 2005, 13:00
We have a 1987 Dodge Diplomat - 4 door - the body and frame are in excellent condition - better than by van I bought "brand new" in 1995.
It's a solid car - 69,000 miles. living in Toronto, Ontario
We have to sell our car as my husband has become ill, we didn't really want to give it up, but we must.
Just wondering if there's anyone out there who might be interested.
27th Jul 2006, 20:17
The M-body started in 1977 and ended in 1989. Chrysler stopped making them because they were at the end of their useful lives. The fact that car magazines criticized them for being too dated also led to the end of them. If Chrysler kept making cars like this, they wouldn't of had to merge with Mercedes-Benz.
15th Oct 2006, 11:43
The (review/slash walk down memory lane) directly above was moderately entertaining and interesting. If only partly accurate. I can't attest to the older police cars you speak of, such as the Polara. I know they had large engines (440 cid) and such. They may have been fairly quick in a straight line, but don't ask them to turn or stop. Itty-bitty rotors up front and drums in the rear meant you aint bringing two plus tons down anytime soon. The problem was made worse by the skinny bias ply tires available at the time.
The "Dippy" as you call it, was a decent patrol car for the time, but no rocket ship. Sounds like your "project" will be quite interesting when it's done. I didn't catch the model year of your project "Diddy". Might I recommend a 1989 because they were equiped with a driver's side airbag. You'll likely need it, as the handling and braking will still be weak and a bad wreck is eminent. "Be careful."
Lastly, I've got to be honest here. This police package/special service Lumina you speak of was not a performance car. Perhaps it felt quick and nimble by virtue of its lighter weight in comparison to other vehicles you've driven/sailed. The Lumina was not fast. It's known for being an asset to bigger city departments for its maneuverability and gas mileage ie; slightly lower operateing costs. Recaro seats! Perhaps, but they could not have been comfortable with ones duty gear on. Every patrol car I have driven has had rather unsupportive seats. This is unfortunately necessary because a heavily bolstered (form fitting) chair wouldn't work with all the gear officers wear. Look, like a previous reviewer said, one mans pinto is another mans Rolls Royce. I love old patrol cars. There's something cool about them. However, we have to be realistic about it and not let the our fondness for them, exaggerate and distort the facts. Most patrol cars are not fast and do not handle well. One exception, was the now defunct police package Camaro (2002 was the last year). Sadly, even the famous Mustang patrol cars were only quick in a straight line. The 1994-1996 P/P Chevy Caprice with the LT1 was just as quick, had a higher top speed, handled better, and naturally held much more stuff. Good luck!
15th Mar 2012, 16:54
I wrote the review "Sweet Ride". I just took the time to read the other comments on the Diplomat.
The dependability of these cars seems to revolve around how it's used and taken care of. When my Grandmother was alive, I would service her car regularly and make sure it stayed clean. She would drive pretty fast for an old lady, but never raced it. I'm a motorcycle guy, so I didn't try to get my kicks from it either.
I have to agree that it was underpowered, but not because the 318 was a weak motor, it was just smothered with smog control. When I put the engine in the Ramcharger, I got rid of most of the junk to let it breathe and added some performance parts. It made a huge difference. I also used the original transmission (904, I think), which didn't hold up long under the pressure. Fortunately I had the 727 rebuilt that came with the truck, and it was ready to go.
Never had interest in buying another one, but I sure loved the one I had. Best summed up "Great car for grannies or bikers that want to ride in comfort and style to the grocery store".