Muscle Car

What Chrysler Got Up To In The 70s and 80s.

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By Mark Weisseg

Many young people wonder what happened to the Chrysler Corporation in the 70’s and 80’s. Here is one example. The 79 Dodge St Regis.

A four door barge that was terribly underpowered. So bad, sales slipped big time. The few that did buy this turd were police departments. Why? Well, the four doors had great space for putting your arrested ones in the back seat.
Most of these cars had either the 318, 360, 400 or a police 440ci. engine. All automatic transmissions of course. This rotten car landed up on TV shows where it was always shown as being fast. Almost like the Ford police car version used for years. Turns out the only people buying these cars were police departments because they got great deals.

Once Chrysler finally pulled the plug on this turkey it had a second life. Like the Ford Crown Vic, there is a segment of the market that found these attractive. Now remember, they use taxi like seats, a spot light on the left front and a huge whip antenna for the CB radio. CB for citizens band radio.

Originally the radio was 23 channels and as the craze ramped up it went to 40 channels. Channel 19 was used a lot by the police. But back to the second buyer. It seemed to sell to the greasy haired, dirty glasses geek that liked to pretend he was a police officer. He left the antenna on, the spot light on and cruised around like he was a policeman. Occasionally one of these guys would pull someone over to get there rocks off but usually was caught at some point.

How many of these were really in your local neighborhood? These cars tried to be fast but even with the so called inceptor package the cars were awful. Thankfully they died. The Ford version went on for several more years generally selling to old men who liked the big soft ride and the average 302 engine. Now, finally that rear wheel drive is gone. Now the police like the rear wheel drive Chargers but now they have that Hemi engine under that the hood.

Times changed and the law enforcement people finally used some good American cars, but like many of the muscle cars in the late 70s and 80s, you had to make do with what you have.
Looking back, it’s a shame they didn’t just buy up all the cheap 440 engined cars. It would have made from more of a thrilling ride.

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