10 Classic Plymouth Cars To Avoid At All Costs

10 Classic Plymouth Cars To Avoid At All Costs

Plymouth is a name synonymous with classic American muscle cars and vintage automotive culture. The marque has produced some of the most iconic vehicles of the 20th century including the legendary Plymouth Road Runner and Plymouth Barracuda. In the late 1990s, Plymouth was struggling to keep up with changing consumer preferences and industry trends. Sales fell and the brand struggled to differentiate itself from other Chrysler brands. The last Plymouth vehicle, a Neon, rolled off the assembly line in June 2001 and marked the end of an era for the iconic American brand.

RELATED: 10 classic Mopar muscle cars that won’t break the bank

There are several Plymouth cars to collect based on their popularity, performance and durability. But not all Plymouth classic cars have stood the test of time. Some models, particularly those produced during the “Malaise era”, were considered lackluster in performance and build quality and were best avoided by collectors and enthusiasts.



10 1971 Plymouth cricket

Plymouth cricket
James Plamer

The Plymouth Cricket was a badged subcompact car manufactured by the Rootes Group and marketed in the United States under the Plymouth marque. Its aim was to compete with other small cars of the time like the Ford Pinto and Volkswagen Beetle, but it ended up being one of the brand’s most epic failures.

The small four-door sedan featured a criminally underpowered 1.5-liter, 70-horsepower engine, in addition to several quality control, reliability, and design issues that failed to convince critics and consumers.

9 1983 Plymouth Gran Fury

1986 Plymouth Gran Fury sedan
Gregory Gjerdingen

Chrysler originally designed the Plymouth Gran Fury as a police car, but it soon became popular with taxi companies and fleet buyers. It turned out to be a reliable and durable car, suitable for its purpose thanks to a spacious interior and a large trunk, which makes it ideal for transporting passengers and their equipment.

But it came with its fair share of downsides. It was a large, heavy car, making it less fuel efficient than smaller, more modern vehicles. It also had an outdated design with boxy styling and limited interior options.

8th 1983 Plymouth Caravelle

1983-1985 Plymouth_Caravelle

The 1983 Plymouth Caravelle was a midsize car manufactured by Chrysler Corporation to compete with other popular midsize cars of the time such as the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Celebrity. It was a well-built and reliable car that offered good value for money.

But it was bland in design, with a boxy styling that lacked the panache and excitement of some other midsize cars of the era. It was also underpowered and struggled to keep up with some of its competitors, and collectors and enthusiasts have largely forgotten about the car.

7 1983 Plymouth Champion

1981 Plymouth Champion
death Fitch

The Plymouth Champ was a subcompact car produced from 1979 to 1982 as a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi Colt. The Plymouth Champ was a competent and reliable car for its time, but it wasn’t a champion in performance or design.

RELATED: The 10 Best American Muscle Cars for Collectors

While it was an option for drivers looking for an economical and reliable vehicle, it only managed 70 hp, making it slow and sluggish on the road. Additionally, it had a basic interior and lacked modern features, making it feel dated even at the time of production and far from desirable today.

6 1997 Plymouth Prowler

Purple 1997 Plymouth Prowler on the road
Mecum Auctions

The 1997 Plymouth Prowler was a retro-styled sports car built as a homage to the classic hot rods of the 1930’s and 1940’s and was instantly recognizable for its unique styling and distinctive design. It was a head-turner with a sleek, low-slung design, long hood, short deck and exposed front wheels.

Reviewers criticized the V6 engine and the lack of a manual gearbox. Also, its somewhat ugly appearance attracted relentless attention while driving, and its limited space and hard-to-access trunk made it highly impractical.

5 1961 Plymouth Valiant

1961 Plymouth Valiant

Plymouth built the Valiant to compete with popular small cars like the Ford Falcon and Chevrolet Corvair. The Plymouth Valiant was a well-built car, equipped with a range of amenities that offered value for money. But it had bland styling with a boxy design that lacked the panache of its competition. The Valiant’s biggest drawback was its reputation for rusting easily, affecting its resale value and long-term durability.

4 1958 Plymouth Fury “Forward Look”

1958 Plymouth Fury front view third quarter
Mecum Auctions

The 1958 Plymouth Fury was a stylish and distinctive car, part of the ‘Forward Look’ design movement that characterized many American cars of the late 1950s. It was a real head turner with its long, low body accented by sweeping lines, intricate chrome trim and the distinctive tail fins that were a hallmark of the Forward Look movement.

But underneath the cool looks was a notoriously unreliable car, plagued with mechanical problems that left you stranded at the side of the road.

3 1979 Plymouth TC3

1979 Plymouth Horizon TC3
Scott Gilertson

The TC3 was a compact hatchback based on the Dodge Omni 024, a modified version of the Omni produced from 1979 to 1982. Chrysler designed the car to provide affordable transportation for budget buyers, with an emphasis on fuel efficiency and practicality.

While the TC3 was known for its agile handling and driving dynamics, it wasn’t particularly powerful. It also had a boxy and utilitarian design and was prone to rust and other corrosion problems.

2 1978 Plymouth Horizon

1986 Plymouth Horizon - Front right angle
bring followers

The Horizon was a compact car produced from 1978 to 1990 and was considered one of the least inspiring cars of its time due to its simple design and mediocre performance. It was part of the Horizon/Turismo family of cars, including the Dodge Omni, which was available in hatchback, sedan, and station wagon bodystyles.

By 1985, the Horizon was nowhere near up to date. It was underpowered and significantly outdated, with a basic interior and lacking in the amenities available on more expensive cars.

RELATED: 10 Plymouths that defined the muscle car era

1 1980 Plymouth Volare Roadrunner

1980 Plymouth Volare Road Runner front view
Mecum Auctions

Just five years after Mopar’s performance peaked with a 440 six-pack V8 producing over 390 hp, the compact Volare/Aspen twins arrived with 5.2- or 5.9-liter V8 engines that only between 150 and 170 hp. No amount of decals, sipes, vinyl strips, and spoilers could help hide the underperformance of these Chrysler-malaise-era muscle cars.

The Plymouth Volare and its Dodge Aspen twin once claimed the title for the most remembered car in history after a series of never-ending troubles.

Sources: Hagerty, Edmunds, Road and Track

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