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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: Aspen was ‘family car of the future’

Pick of the Day: Aspen was ‘family car of the future’

This 1977 Dodge Aspen is a two-row station wagon

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When Dodge replaced the compact Dart with the slightly larger Aspen for the 1976 model year, it promoted the newer car as “the family car of the future.” So perhaps we should present the Pick of the Day, a 1977 Dodge Aspen station wagon, as the family car of the past.

Or perhaps simply as a vehicle available for 4 figures that you rarely see on the road these days.

According to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, Dodge rolled out more than 111,000 Aspen wagons for the 1977 model year, though the private seller in West Hampton Beach, New York, probably is not incorrect when noting, “This is a really rare vehicle and is in excellent condition.

“All original — clean and sharp looking. It’s a head-turner. Runs beautifully. Daily driver.”

Aspen, Pick of the Day: Aspen was ‘family car of the future’, ClassicCars.com Journal

The seller notes that the wagon recently has gotten a new fuel tank; fuel, air, and oil filters; belts; ignition wires; spark plugs; and rebuilt carburetor.

The Aspen station wagon has Chrysler’s amazing 225cid Slant-6 engine and the Standard Catalog points out that when installed in wagons, which were slightly heavier than sedans or coupes, those engines were equipped with 2-barrel carburetors rather than the standard single barrel. The Slant-6 is linked to an automatic transmission.

The odometer shows 66,750 miles.

“Other than maybe getting it detailed, there’s really nothing needed on this car,” the seller says. 

“There are two tiny holes in the back of the front seat. All upholstery otherwise in great condition. The rear seat folds down, but there is not a rear-facing seat. This is a relatively small wagon. 

“Extremely nice to drive and easy to handle, has great visibility all around. Rear opens as a hatchback (as opposed to a swing door), with an original roof rack.”

The seller adds that the Aspen’s heater works, but the car is not equipped with air conditioning.

The wagon is offered for $8,600. To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

22 COMMENTS

  1. My Dad had the sedan version and it also had the “Super Six”. It was a really nice car and happened to be the same color as this wagon. The Aspen was a great car with one exception, the front fenders were prone to rust so Chrysler replaced them under a recall. I wonder if this car had the fenders replaced.

  2. My friends BEV dad had a white one in high school we had so much fun in that car in the late 70s…great days gone by…slant 6 was a great engine

  3. Dumb pick and at a ridiculous price – I guess this hobby is just a paycheck for you. This is the lowest offering in the lineup and happened to be a huge POS !!! Terrible years for MOPAR cars !! Pricing is more speculative than aggressive. Put some more effort into your work. It will go a long way !!

    • Well, the above criticism is too harsh for my taste, but makes a point: Stop picking the dumpy sedans that might have had some distinguishing features but were still dumpy and boring when they were introduced, and remain dumpy and boring for 99% of all of us car enthusiasts. Pick cars that attract enthusiasm or at least represent some major breakthrough in design, build quality, performance or timeless appeal. Not this “family car of the future.” Enough with the average cars!

      • I don’t see a problem with showcasing average cars as well as the high-priced collectibles. FWIW, if I had the room in my garage, I’d be considering picking up an Aspen or Volare coupe like I had in high school. Lots of good memories, trouble-free history until it was time to do the rear brakes. The air release nipple had frozen in place and I accidentally stripped one of them. Still managed to sell the car to a Volare owner who wanted it for parts til he realized that my car was in much better shape than his, brakes notwithstanding. What’s boring to you may be interesting to someone else; nothing wrong with that.

        • I agree with Mr. Diggs’ comment. Yes we all know that the Aspen/Volare had their flaws, namely the rust issue. But I enjoy seeing cars that the average enthusiast can buy and enjoy without resorting to hoping for a huge lottery payoff or something! If you only want to see the 6-figure investment-grade classics then look at any collector car auction. Some of us want to be reminded that there is still room in this hobby for the average middle-class enthusiast. So please keep the average cars coming!

  4. I worked on these for many years . The slant 6 was an awesome engine and used in race cars in the day. This is an awesome pick choice. The pricing is more than fair an I am surprised not higher considering the miles.

  5. Good morning, I’m very familiar with these wagons. When mine needed a gas tank the rest of the bottom was getting nasty. Any chance of some undercarriage photos showing weak areas if any. I’m in Maine. Thank you, look forward to hearing from you.
    Steve

  6. My mother bought the relative to this, the Plymouth Volare sedan.
    Just goes to show not every “collector car” has to be an exotic Duesenberg.

  7. Not interested in seeing cars like this as the pick of the day. It might bring back memories for some folks but it definitely won’t interest the majority of your readers.

  8. Larry: I owned the sister car — a V8 Plymouth Volare wagon (same colour). This is NOT a collector car. ’nuff said

  9. Tiresome how the Slant-Six is lauded for durability and reliability. The Slant-Six, along with the Ford 200/240/250/300 sixes and GM 230/250 were equally dependable and known for their longevity. Nine of them however were renowned for their power, character or desirability. They were chosen when new because they were cheap and in most cases the standard engine offering. It’s a good thing that these base engines were reliable because they had no other outstanding attributes.

  10. Hi All I remember this car well…I was an NYPD Auxiliary Police Officer back in the 1980’s and we had the ’77 Dodge Aspen as a hand me down Radio Motor Patrol (RMP) from the regular NYPD Fleet…
    I really enjoyed driving this car when I was on the force…Sure some of those cars were not so stylish…but Dodge made many of those cars so people with not a lot of money could own a vehicle. I think this particular dodge…would look nicer in a different color…But it is a survivor…and you know what…it still has lines…not like most of the newer cars of this decade…
    Please continue to report survivors…Thanks!

  11. Thanks for choosing the Aspen as Pick of the Day… This site is not for just expensive collector cars but regular cars that we can all appreciate. I had a similar car and really loved the slant six. This brought back some great memories and the price is incredible. I would like to see some pictures of the undercarriage.

  12. I bought a DODGE LANCER back in 68 while stationed in the Army in Germany, ofcourse it was a hand me down car from soldier to soldier. toured through out Europe with it on my leaves.I have to agree that little slant 6 engine was very dependable. But as a few of your readers have mentioned those era Chrysler cars do not merit Pick of the Day status

  13. My first car was a 76 Aspen 2-door coupe, slightly darker brown than this wagon. Passenger side door had a huge dent from an impact before my Dad bought it for me. $100 from a co-worker, and it even ran! Sleeper car, it came with a 318 V8 2bbl – he thought it wouldn’t get past 85 but I buried the odo (which went up to 100mph) one day just to see what it could do. I got it just before I got my driver’s license in my senior year in high school. A neighbor across the street (notorious penny pincher) had bought his son his first car, a Pontiac 6000 hatchback that he couldn’t get to stay running. He’d start it, rev it ad nauseum and it’d die every time. Guy considered himself mechanically inclined at the same level as Dad (he wasn’t) so, like the stupid kid I was, every now and again I’d fire up my Aspen and rev it- it sounded way better than what he was working with. He paid more for that POS, too. To his credit, he did eventually get it to run so his son and I raced the two old hulks just for kicks. Good times.

  14. Old cars like this Aspen should be appreciated like older women. There both not as spiffy as they once were, but being collectable there both worth a look.

  15. I look at these listings all the time wondering if one of my old car models would show up. I had the RT model, came with a 318 two barrel and a four speed, sold it ten years later with a 1969 340 4BBL, went like snot. It got me into and out of trouble. These car listings seem to me are for all vintage vehicles, whether everyone agrees with what that looks like. I would be upset at seeing something new here. If it isn’t rusted underneath, it’s an affordable driver.

  16. These older cars should also be appreciated – to many, they bring back very fond memories – I still miss my 75 dodge dart swinger, which was my first good car, and my 1970 dodge dart 4 door – if I had the money, I would have rather have rebuilt this engine than get rid of this great car –

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