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Last M-Bodies 12/23/88

Discussion in 'F-J-M: Volare, Diplomat, etc, 1977-89' started by AHBGuru, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. AHBGuru

    AHBGuru Active Member

    Mar 22, 2015
    The very last RWD cars engineered by the old Chrysler Corporation were produced on December 23, 1988.

    These were 1989 models.

    Most of the changes for the '89 model year were incorporated into the late '88s, beginning that May. Beginning with a supposedly beefier k-frame, also added were the driver's side airbag (with a new dash, and relocated cigar lighter), along with standard delay wipers and tilt wheel. Actual changes in '89 were a new lock-up solenoid for the torque converter, and upgraded sound systems. All other features, options, and colors remained the same (beginning late in the '87 model year, when production began at Kenosha).

    Chrysler Chairman Lido Anthony Iaccoca had been after the M-body for some time, of course, but the profitability of the 5th Avenue and continued success of the squads perpetuated their lifespans considerably. After picking a fight with UAW leadership after moving the M and L body cars to Kenosha, and with the K-based AC body Dynosaur and New Yorker in the wings, Iaccoca decided to kill both elderly models. He announced early in 1988, that M-body production would cease that spring, and a rather substantial uproar commenced. All manner of threats and bets flew between the UAW and Chrysler, and even the State of Wisconsin. Iaccoca finally relented, and moved the end of production to December, when assembly would normally break for the Christmas holiday.

    Sadly, although the cars had been improved (a TBI system had been designed and readied for the cars in '86), sales plummeted after the first announcement. 5th Avenue sales dropped to around 40,000 units, Diplomat (all) sold around 11,000, and the Fury struggled to hit 5000.

    Chrysler abandoned the growing (at that time) RWD/V8 market, to sell yet another K-car spin-off. Yes, the AC/AY cars sold well. No, they were not superior to the AM.

    It would be 16 model years until RWD/V8 cars returned to the stable, and although the LX (2005-2010) cars had their flaws, they started a revolution in their market. By 2011, the new LD (2011+) Chargers had taken out the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis, and after 2017, the Caprice 9C3/ Caprice SS and Taurus. As Ford liked to say in 1997: "And then there was one..." as it will be Chrysler with the only American RWD/AWD/V8 sedans on the market.

    Something for us Mopurists to be especially thankful for !!!

    Attached Files:

    Citation84 and PCRMike like this.
  2. goair99

    goair99 Active Member

    Nov 9, 2013
    Thank you for the historical info! My '89 5th was produced on 11-30-88 at 12pm.

    I wish Lee had went ahead with the TBI system. It would have greatly improved drivability!
  3. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
    Level III Supporter

    Jan 7, 2003
    Add the TBI and OD automatic and it would have been competitive, The M body suffered because it was the size of GM and Ford intermediates, but got worse gas mileage than GM or Ford full size. But once the fleet percentage got so high, the car was doomed like the 90s Caprice and the Crown Vic.
    Bearhawke likes this.
  4. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

    Jun 18, 2003
    You're 100% correct. especially as I bolded.

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