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Home Pick of the Day Pick of the Day: 1981 Dodge Mirada, a mostly forgotten ‘personal luxury...

Pick of the Day: 1981 Dodge Mirada, a mostly forgotten ‘personal luxury car’

The rare, low-mileage survivor is priced for the budget-minded

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Craving something different in a collector car, something rare and eye-catching, but feeling a little short on cash?  Well, join the club. 

And while you’re at it, take a look at the Pick of the Day, a 1981 Dodge Mirada, a short-lived and largely forgotten “personal-luxury car.”  The stylish coupe built on the bones of the Chrysler Cordoba was produced for just four model years, 1980-83, with only about 53,000 of them sold.

The early ‘80s was a terrible time for Chrysler, cash-strapped and struggling to stay relevant in a changing world.  Part of the effort was badge-engineering various models on existing platforms, with varying degrees of success.

mirada

Mirada was designed to be a sportier take on the configuration made popular by the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which the Cordoba followed.  The Dodge was even tried as a NASCAR entry with Richard Petty’s team at the helm, but its aerodynamic limitations shelved the effort.

This Mirada in Black with a Saddle interior is fully equipped with all the luxury features of the time, and powered by a 318cid V8 rated at 130 horsepower linked to a Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission.

mirada

“The Mirada was marketed as a mid-sized ‘sporty luxury vehicle’ back in its day, and it’s easy to see why the signs point toward this being true by its performance and options,” according to the Detroit dealer advertising the Mirada on ClassicCars.com. “The Mirada is equipped with power steering, power brakes, tilt wheel, AM/FM radio with cassette and air conditioning, showing that this little car was a step above the rest.”

With just over 64,000 miles showing on its odometer, the Mirada looks very clean in the photos with the ad and the interior looks appropriately comfy.

The styling might not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly looks like a blast from the ‘80s past and should turn heads wherever it goes. A spiky mullet haircut would complete the picture. 

The asking price for this low-mileage Mirada is just $7,000. 

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, I haven’t seen a Mirada for a long time. I bought a new one in 1980. Same color interior but a matching tan color outside. Drove it for 5 years then sold it to my parents who drove it another 5 years. The drive train held up great but the interior fell apart. The plastic grill got soft and was saging when they traded it in.
    Thanks for the memories.

  2. The car that killed the under-appreciated Magnum. By then gas was so pricey (and rationed) and the B-bodies with constricted muscle under the hood were like the dinosaurs their fuel was made from. So here comes the “mid-sized” Mirada that sorta looks like an ugly version of the Magnum, a nice little small block that can’t breathe, and full-blown plastic environment. Ugh.
    As a side note a friend has a 78 Magnum XE that came with the rare-for–the-car 400 engine (just a 383 with a 4.34 bore). Bored .030 over and a off-the-shelf 451 stroker kit combined with Edelbrock heads and Hooker headers (he bought the painted ones, not my taste but cheap)and a Holley Avenger swapped for the crummy 2-barrel and this thing FLIES. For a car that got no love in the 70’s, he REALLY loves it – and I’d buy in a heartbeat if he’d sell.

  3. Chrysler actually made a substantial bid to bring the Petty team back into the fold with the Mirada.

    From Richard Petty, Feb. 1981: “We tried the Mirada and it was a real good, stable car but it just weren’t fast. Right out of the box we ran 186mph, and no matter what we did that’s all we ran, 186mph. I shut off down the backstretch to get a plug reading and it came to a dead stop before I got to pit lane.” (!)

  4. There was a Mirada Diesel. I don’t know how many were built but I bought an ’80 in Vallejo CA that was 2 years old for $1000. Had it for 3 years and sold it to a Sailor at Mare Island for $1K and he drove it to the Right Coast, never saw it again.

  5. I have a 1982 mirada , white, special order T top, 318 electronic fuel injection, aluminum wheels, automatic transmission, red interior, console with bucket seats, one owner car, 86,000 original miles, will sell.

  6. it’s easy to see why the signs point toward this being true by its performance and options – 130 horsepower. That must be a joke right?

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