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What does an A-Body guy drive in 2015/2016?

Discussion in 'A Body: Duster, Valiant, Dart, etc' started by MRGTX, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. MRGTX

    MRGTX Well-Known Member

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    From where I'm sitting, this is a car that's difficult to replace. They're relatively compact but suitable for 6 passengers in a pinch (with the right seat options), they're cheap to buy, reliable to live with, don't ask for much...but when they do, they're cheap and easy to repair.

    They have handsome but unpretentious sheet metal and a broad array of engine options from the humble (though butt-kicking in their own way) /6 motors to some of the most lion-hearted V8 engines ever made.

    The suspensions, while nothing exotic, just work. They can be set up for comfort or drag racing with great results, transformed for handling with a bit of work and aftermarket support.

    They're just damned versatile and totally lovable...all while being totally humble and honest.

    If you were the target working class/middle-class car buyer who would have snatched up an A-Body of any variant during the 60s or 70s...what on earth would you be shopping for in today's market?

    The FCA Dart just doesn't seem to fit due to the narrow range of options and general lack of honest simplicity...but I'm happy to hear opinions to the contrary on that.
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    Does it have to be a current offering? I have a 2007 Caliber SXT that meets my needs as a basic and useful everyday vehicle.
    I have been interested in the JS-body Avenger as a recent iteration of a compact and unpretentious Dodge sedan.
    The Avenger could be had in a range from the base 4-cyl SE to the V6 R/T with various trim options.
    Normal upkeep and maintenance costs are quite reasonable and they aren't bad to work on in the driveway.
    I imagine that Nova, Falcon and Rambler buyers would also have to jump to a FWD compact. :D
     
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  3. dana44

    Ad-Free Member

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    I say, why replace it with something new, simply rebuild the old one, there are both tons of options for suspension upgrades, engine upgrades can be done, including reliable aftermarket EFI systems and even new engine swaps into the engine bay, but a little work is needed to do this. Interior is no big deal, some sheetmetal is available if replacement is needed, but who needs all the bells and whistles added these days anyway? Depending on the level of modifications to upgrade different items, labor being the most expensive part of a build, if you can handle it yourself, or most of it yourself, pricewise it can be kept to the cost of a brand new vehicle, but a lot simpler and much more classic looking.
     
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  4. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

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    Funny that you say that since the Avenger 4 door screams '1967-76' Dart to me as well, much more so than the current Dodge 'Dart'.
     
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  5. CudaPete

    Level 2 Supporter

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    I'm thinking mini-van.
     
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  6. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    I'm still driving my 93 Daytona, I sold my 72 Dart in 1985 to buy my first new Daytona. But my wife bought a 2012 Chrysler 200, and I'd put that up against the old Dart as far as a basic family sedan. Sticker was $22,500, but my Affiliates Reward program at work saved me $4,000. Has A/C, satellite radio and a few toys, but not loaded up with cameras, radar or other frills.
     
  7. chuzz

    chuzz Allpar Legacy

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    I agree with Bob Lincoln. I got my 13 200 for $18,800, so paid almost the same as his wife. Got the same drive train too. 2.4 auto with good equipment, but no back up camera either. Love this car.
     
  8. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Most people bought A bodies new because they were relatively inexpensive transportation and that's what they needed - few thought about the ability to modify the car's performance or handling.
    So there are many products that fit that same criteria today.
    For example, a base (and I really mean base) 1968 Valiant 4 door cost right at $2300 MSRP. Inflation alone makes that almost $16k today. Compare that to a $17k MSPR on a base Dart today and the new one with lots more comfort, economy and performance starts to look like a bargain (just like the old A body).
     
    #8 valiant67, Nov 30, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
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  9. 68RT

    68RT Well-Known Member

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    "A" bodies had decent room and good ingress/egress in a 4-dr model (Basically all of todays are 4-dr.) with room for 5 minimum and 6 most commonly with good vision, decent style and were esy to keep running. Nothing today matches that. Although, you do not need to service the new product as often. Neither the Dart or 200 fit the family as well.
     
  10. hemirunner426

    hemirunner426 Well-Known Member

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    got my son a new 2013 Avenger Black top for 20K all in.Great car,change the oil and filter regularly.Feels like it will go forever,just like the leaning tower of power.
     
  11. geraldg

    Ad-Free Member

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    I bought a base 66 dodge dart for $1600.00 a 2 door standard shift no power anything just a heater. I was making around $5.00 a hour now days how much would I have to make to afford a new car. Also back then 3 years was as long as you could finance a car, now days they are doing 6 and 7 years, so what does that tell you ????
     
  12. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    It tells me people aren't buying base cars any more. If you bought a new Dart in 1964 for $1600 it was pretty heavily discounted because the MSRP was probably over $2k.
    Anyway, $1600 adjusted for inflation is about $12300 which wound come very close to getting a new plain car like a Hyundai Accent with no options (before tax, title, etc.). So inflation adjusted, you can buy a new car for about the same money as in 1966. By the way, $5 per hour in 1966 is equivalent to $38 per hour today inflation adjusted. So if you made $38 per hour today, you could afford a 3 year car loan on a $13k new car but no one (relatively few) are buying $13k new cars. The are buying fancier ones, not the base one.
     
    #12 valiant67, Dec 2, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
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  13. chuzz

    chuzz Allpar Legacy

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    Can you even find a "base model" anything anymore?
     
  14. 68RT

    68RT Well-Known Member

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    Looked at the Value Caravan last week and it is really basic. If seats did not look so "inexpensive", I could live with it. However, they looked and felt very small and cheap. One up would be my minimum.
     
  15. geraldg

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    OK so who makes $38.00 today not very many that is why the loan rate is extended, wages have not kept up with prices and that proves it.
     
  16. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Now you've changed the argument from "cars are too expensive" to "wages are too low". That's a different argument and I'd agree wages often do not keep pace with inflation. However, $5 per hour in 1966 was 4 times the minimum wage. 4 times the current minimum wage is $29 per hour so I'd guess back in 1966 $5 per hour was a pretty good wage.

    As for how many people make $38 per hour - probably about 20% of the workers if I understand the numbers correctly (I'm going on yearly income of $75k or more, not a per hour wage)
     
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  17. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Um...$5 per hour back in 1966 was HIGH pay. My dad was making that in 1970 as a mid-level manager in the largest bank in New England, and barely supporting a family of 5. So if you made $5 an hour in 1966, that was great pay, and was probably equal to or better than $38 an hour now.
     
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  18. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    I agree with the “old” 200/Dodge Avenger as a spiritual replacement for the slant six and 318 Dart and Valiant. The 2.4 replaces the slant six while the V6 easily tramples on the 318 and 360 Dart, Valiant, and Duster.

    Of Mopars made today, I think you're looking at the Cherokee, really, for ingress/egress. Dart and 200 feel low-slung even if they aren't.

    I speak as a fellow A-body owner — 1974 Valiant.

    Why not keep it up? I could make a list.
     
  19. geraldg

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    I started out in 1960 at $1.98 which was considered good now project to today, say the average wage is $18.00 . compare that to the price of cars and other things like houses, in 1965 I bought a brick 3 bedroom ranch house for $18500 and compare that to todays prices no way does wages match the price increases You guys are living in lala land
     
  20. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

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    No kidding about the 3.6L V6; that's a potent son-of-a-gun. :)
     

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