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Car of the Month, February 2010: Justin Paulson's K-Car Trio

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Justin Paulson wrote:

Some people may think im crazy for entering K-cars for car of the month, but remember this is the car that saved Chrysler, if it were not for the K-car, Mopars would not exist now.

I first become attached to the K-car at the age of five; it all began with a 1986 Reliant SE 2.2. I would play in that car for hours and pretend that I was driving it. It took me through middle school but sadly it didn't make it through my high school years because of the rust we face in Wisconsin.

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In 2002, we purchased a rust-free 1988 Dodge Aries K for $300. It needed an engine and some paint, it was going to be my summer car, but in the summer of 2006 I got different plans for making it into a show car.

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She sat in the weeds; no one wanted her, and with the 2.5 liter engine ready to kick a rod, it needed a new home, so with the battery being completely dead there was only one thing to do, jump start the car with our black Plymouth.

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Once running, we spent hours trying to see what was causing the knocking. Later we found out it needed a new engine.

Two weeks later we had this k-car running; now it was time for the interior. Being a smoker car, the interior needed to be taken out at and shampooed; antifreeze was in the carpet so we went to the junk yard and pulled the carpet from a 1987 Dodge Aries LE, and the rear bumper from a 1988 Plymouth Reliant LE. About a year later we added new paint on the roof.

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Put all of this together you get a prize winning show car.

In short, 2002, abandoned; 2003, parked for winter; 2004, new paint on roof; 2005, normal; 2006, full detail; 2007, first place at Mopar show; 2008, second place at Mopar show and third place at all-Mopar event. The cost was around $2,000 in parts and junkyard materials.

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I wasn't just satisfied yet. Across from my school I came accross another K-car; judging by the steering wheel it was a 1986, that made me all the happier since I grew up with a 86, so I knocked on the door and asked if it was for sale, sure enough it was. So with peeled paint, dents all over, we took it home and then it waited until spring to get a full restoration. Only paid $150 for the car with only 85,000 miles.

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This past year I was ready for another K-car, I have been following this car for four years, it was perfect shape four years ago, but since the owners abused it, it needs a lot of work, the young girl ran the motor low on oil and damaged the engine, it still runs but it has a knock like the crack of doom. It only has 56,000 miles.

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The K-car may not be a fire breathing muscle car, however with these hard times and high gas prices, it's time for the K-car to make its comeback, which it is with the online club I'm involved with.
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