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    Thread: The Archive: K-Car!

    1. 09-30-2008 12:31 PM #36
      The later-model injected cars just refused to die. Anything from, say, 1986 onward. The 2.2 and 2.5 were appliances in every measure of the word, and damn good at it.

      The Carbureted Ks with the 2.2, however, were crap. Everything was a kludge of electrified controls and feedback carburetors and air pumps that kinda, sorta, maybe worked to keep emissions in check. But, since all the systems were mechanical and required periodic adjustments and maintenance, everything would gum, sludge, and drift out of adjustment until the cars wouldn't idle, wouldn't start, and wouldn't run at a steady state.

      The best early K had the Mistubishi 2.6 with the Mikuni carb, but even that had its share of issues, most of them surrounding Mikuni's use of plastic gears on the high-idle cam that liked to strip out when it was cold outside. Replacement, of course, required buying half of the carb new, which was $600 in the late 1980s.

      It was the advent of the EFI models that made the Ks really, truly, durable cars. Not stellar, not fun, not any virtue that we ascribe to motoring, but *durable*.


    2. Swallow Doretti
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      09-30-2008 12:42 PM #37
      Of course, in 1986, Honda launched its third-generation Accord, a car that pretty much rendered the domestic competition--the Tempo, the Citation, and especially the K-Car--utterly obsolete.


    3. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      09-30-2008 01:08 PM #38
      Quote, originally posted by WhistlerYOW »
      LOL... I wanna kill myself for understanding that reference and laughing .

      Ah Hellz no. Trek nerds unite!

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    4. 09-30-2008 01:41 PM #39
      Quote, originally posted by Wes@motivemag »
      The later-model injected cars just refused to die. Anything from, say, 1986 onward. The 2.2 and 2.5 were appliances in every measure of the word, and damn good at it.

      Gotta disagree there. The 2.5s had a chronic damp/cool weather starting problem. The only "fix" for it was to turn the ignition on, let the fuel pump run, turn it off, then go half throttle and start it again. Now the bodies, on the other hand, were remarkably durable and rust resistant.

      By the way, I got to take my date to the prom in a nearly new 1986 Plymouth Reliant wagon - baby blue metallic on baby blue, with three-speed auto. Damn that was manly!

      Quote Originally Posted by 20aeman View Post
      No, the real enthusiast vehicle would be the RX8. It combines V12 Lamborghini gas mileage with Hyundai Genesis 4cyl. performance.

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      09-30-2008 01:51 PM #40
      Quote, originally posted by Air and water do mix »

      Ah Hellz no. Trek nerds unite!

      Ok. What class did the Reliant belong to? /hijack
      And if love remains, though everything is lost, we will pay the price but will not count the cost. -Neil Peart
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    6. 09-30-2008 01:55 PM #41
      Quote, originally posted by Bixmen »
      I can't tell which I love more. the $75 for sound insulation, or the 668 dollars for misc options!

      but I love the days when you could get the exact option you wanted, no stupid packages.

      seriously...now adays if you want an extra cupholder you have to spring for the Deluxe Beverage Package that includes heated/cooled holders and costs $450


    7. 09-30-2008 02:45 PM #42
      Memories of my high school driver-training class ...

      A choice was given of learning either manual or automatic. If you picked automatic, the training vehicle was a 1986 Nissan Micra (1.2 litre engine and 3 speed automatic). If you picked manual, which I did, the training vehicle was an early-eighties Plymouth Reliant 2.2 litre 4 speed manual, 2 door sedan. If only they had ordered the transmissions the other way 'round. The Micra was a decent car in manual form but terrible with automatic. The K-car was just terrible, but the manual added to its terribleness.

      Gawd that thing was awful. At the time I took the course, I was already rather familiar with the 1978 Civic that I would later "inherit" ...


    8. Member U n i o n 0015's Avatar
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      09-30-2008 03:11 PM #43
      Pardon my ignorance, but why were they called "K-cars"?

    9. Member MEIN_VW's Avatar
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      09-30-2008 03:13 PM #44
      Quote, originally posted by U n i o n 0015 »
      Pardon my ignorance, but why were they called "K-cars"?

      That's a good question.


    10. 09-30-2008 04:28 PM #45
      The Chrysler chassis code was K, just like the Mk. V Golf/Rabbit is A5 for example.

      These cars were so hyped, so well known at the time, with so much riding on their success, that even everyday ordinary non-enthusiasts knew these were the new Chrysler K-body cars. Even well before they came out. They were so well known as 'K-cars' that Chrysler put the K emblem on them when they were released, to try and capitalize on the pre-existing exposure of these cars' development.


    11. Member U n i o n 0015's Avatar
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      09-30-2008 04:47 PM #46
      Quote, originally posted by 93JC »
      The Chrysler chassis code was K, just like the Mk. V Golf/Rabbit is A5 for example.

      These cars were so hyped, so well known at the time, with so much riding on their success, that even everyday ordinary non-enthusiasts knew these were the new Chrysler K-body cars. Even well before they came out. They were so well known as 'K-cars' that Chrysler put the K emblem on them when they were released, to try and capitalize on the pre-existing exposure of these cars' development.

      Wow, interesting. It's funny because I hear people refer to them more as "K-cars" than their actual model name.

      Thanks!


    12. 09-30-2008 04:50 PM #47
      Quote, originally posted by 93JC »
      The Chrysler chassis code was K, just like the Mk. V Golf/Rabbit is A5 for example.

      These cars were so hyped, so well known at the time, with so much riding on their success, that even everyday ordinary non-enthusiasts knew these were the new Chrysler K-body cars. Even well before they came out. They were so well known as 'K-cars' that Chrysler put the K emblem on them when they were released, to try and capitalize on the pre-existing exposure of these cars' development.

      Yep. My father's '83 Reliant wagon had a big old K badge right on the hatch.

      call it potatography

    13. 09-30-2008 04:56 PM #48
      Quote, originally posted by Wes@motivemag »
      The later-model injected cars just refused to die. Anything from, say, 1986 onward. The 2.2 and 2.5 were appliances in every measure of the word, and damn good at it.

      ...

      It was the advent of the EFI models that made the Ks really, truly, durable cars. Not stellar, not fun, not any virtue that we ascribe to motoring, but *durable*.


      Our '84 600ES had the TBI 2.2, and despite the cars short comings it never left me stranded nor did it ever die on me. I always knew when I turned the key it would start. It may have been a mousy shade of gray that long since lost its luster, it may have had a sagging headliner, and it may have been slow as sin. But it would not die. With the ES package it got some nifty alloy wheels and comfy bucket seats too.


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      09-30-2008 08:41 PM #49
      Quote, originally posted by Wes@motivemag »

      The best early K had the Mistubishi 2.6 with the Mikuni carb, but even that had its share of issues, most of them surrounding Mikuni's use of plastic gears on the high-idle cam that liked to strip out when it was cold outside. Replacement, of course, required buying half of the carb new, which was $600 in the late 1980s.

      Didn't they also suffer from the same oil burning that plagued most Mitsubishi engines of that era?

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      09-30-2008 10:03 PM #50
      I know a guy who recetly inherited a purple K-coupe. It's got a couple dents, but runs like a champ. He had the interior redone in two tone fuscia vinyl for $600. Cracks me up when I see him driving it.
      Quote Originally Posted by Taipei_E92 View Post
      If you generalize...you are always going to get it wrong.

    16. 10-01-2008 12:24 AM #51
      Quote, originally posted by Vdub BELLA »
      Sport steering wheel - $63
      Individual seats - $51
      Heavy duty suspension - $23

      I love these options

      Kinda hilarious that radial tires were a $133 option though.


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      10-01-2008 02:31 AM #52
      Quote, originally posted by Swallow Doretti »

      But that's part of the reason the K-Car was so expensive. Think about it--this manual-transmissioned wagon stickered for just over $9K--back in 1981. Today, for about a grand more, you could drive a basic Kio Rio off the lot with A/C and a CD radio--not to mention an extra cog in the gear shift, six airbags, and cloth seats. The Rio would smoke the K-Car to 60, it would stop in shorter distances, and it would get better fuel economy while doing it. It would also be significantly more reliable, too.

      It's easy to see how cars like the K-Car drove Americans to Honda Accords and Toyota Camries.

      Yes and no. My folks bought a new 1982 Reliant wagon, oddly with the 4 speed and 14" wheels like the R&T test car- but ours had woodgrain. Kept it till 1991. The trade-in? 1978 Honda Accord. Piece of junk. 3 engines in 50,000 miles. We were through with Japanese cars. 67 hp of raging fury in that Accord (CVCC just kicked in, yo!) made the similar-sized 84 hp Reliant seem brawny. Our second car was a '75 Audi Fox.

      In 2008, the now-retired folks own a PT Cruiser and an Audi A3. The interim 25 years were spent in various Chrysler, Saab, Benz, and Audis. We never owned another Japanese car again. In fact, the soon to be wife's Scion xA may be getting replaced by a 900 SPG Saab Turbo. We are an odd bunch- there was a 100% trouble free Fiat X1/9 in the family tree too- but those who bad-mouth the K car are judging it against a new Accord and not the 1981 version. Which, shopped head-to-head, compared not-so-great with Mopar's newest. I wish that were still true today.


    18. Member HerrGolf's Avatar
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      10-01-2008 02:41 AM #53
      Quote, originally posted by Type44 »

      Yes and no. My folks bought a new 1982 Reliant wagon, oddly with the 4 speed and 14" wheels like the R&T test car- but ours had woodgrain. Kept it till 1991. The trade-in? 1978 Honda Accord. Piece of junk. 3 engines in 50,000 miles. We were through with Japanese cars. 67 hp of raging fury in that Accord (CVCC just kicked in, yo!) made the similar-sized 84 hp Reliant seem brawny. Our second car was a '75 Audi Fox.

      In 2008, the now-retired folks own a PT Cruiser and an Audi A3. The interim 25 years were spent in various Chrysler, Saab, Benz, and Audis. We never owned another Japanese car again. In fact, the soon to be wife's Scion xA may be getting replaced by a 900 SPG Saab Turbo. We are an odd bunch- there was a 100% trouble free Fiat X1/9 in the family tree too- but those who bad-mouth the K car are judging it against a new Accord and not the 1981 version. Which, shopped head-to-head, compared not-so-great with Mopar's newest. I wish that were still true today.

      Thank you. My parents had an '86 Accord. Many of our neighbors had K cars. Which car had holes in the rear wheel wells by 1989? Our car, not theirs. Which car woke up the entire neighborhood fast idling in the morning? Ours. Which car had an automatic transmission that slammed into the next gear? Our Honda did.

      K cars may have been rattly and raspy, but while it took a few years for Chrysler to fix rust proofing and add fuel injection, it took Honda until 1990 to only do the latter. The K cars I see today generally aren't that rusty. They look and sound like death warmed up, but they don't have the rust I see on Accords up to about 1993.

      Obviously, the K car wasn't as refined, but considering that our Accord wasn't exactly an exciting car, for my parents' purposed and for the purposes of many others, the K car was a better choice. With a stick shift and fuel injection, this might not be the case, but as far as the way the Accord was equipped most often in 1986, with a carb and an auto, I'd take the K car.


      Modified by HerrGolf at 7:42 AM 10-1-2008


      Modified by HerrGolf at 7:43 AM 10-1-2008


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      10-01-2008 05:33 AM #54
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    20. 10-01-2008 08:42 AM #55
      I remember the day my dad test drove a K-car in 1981. it was blue.

      it also had a digital clock and i thought it was so cool!

      Of course, i was 9.

      He ended up trading in the Volvo wagon (iirc, it was a 144) for a new "wolfsburg edition" 1.7L Jetta - it even had a/c. I inherited that car 11 years later, after my sister had thoroughly shown it who was boss.

      As an aside, 1 day after receiving the volvo, the dealer called and asked if he had any problems with it - he said no - why did they ask? the timing chain broke on them. Good timing, dad

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    21. 10-01-2008 08:57 AM #56
      Quote, originally posted by WhiteRat »
      Didn't they also suffer from the same oil burning that plagued most Mitsubishi engines of that era?

      Yep. As well as premature wear of the "silent chain" guides. And don't forget the fun of jet valves.


    22. 10-01-2008 08:59 AM #57
      Quote, originally posted by HerrGolf »

      Obviously, the K car wasn't as refined, but considering that our Accord wasn't exactly an exciting car, for my parents' purposed and for the purposes of many others, the K car was a better choice. With a stick shift and fuel injection, this might not be the case, but as far as the way the Accord was equipped most often in 1986, with a carb and an auto, I'd take the K car.

      I used to get a ride to HS in a late 80s Accord SE manual. I remember thinking how refined and well put together it felt, and the engine sounded great when revved. However the body was not durable and looked terrible even though it was only a few years old. The Kcars in comparison were like tractors, durable perhaps but an absolute penalty box to drive or ride in.


    23. 10-01-2008 09:04 AM #58
      Quote, originally posted by turbo_nine »
      Yep. My father's '83 Reliant wagon had a big old K badge right on the hatch.

      Bwaahaa! 1981 models were the worst. They had this enormous badge on the trunk that said "Reliant/Aries K", with an integrated six-inch wide strip of chrome underneath that had "FRONT WHEEL DRIVE" embossed on it. There was also, on the very early cars, a big "K" emblem right on the dashboard, on the passenger side above the glove box.

      1981s also had some gigantic model-name badges on the front fenders, as well as a solid steel dashtop. There was NO padding on the top of the dashboard like the 1982 models onwards - it was a fifty-pound piece of metal painted the same color as the upholstery.


    24. 10-01-2008 09:32 AM #59
      My mom bought a NEW K-car in '87 or '88 at the urging of my grandfather.....over a new 325 Convertible....

      Ten years later she asked me if I wanted with only 40K on the odometer....I politely declined.


    25. 10-01-2008 02:06 PM #60
      That $9000 Aries would cost just a hair under $22000 in 2008 dollars using the handy dandy CPI Inflation Calculator. http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl


      As for the whole imports blowing the K and its later derivatives out of the water, while I have no experience w/ 3rd gen Accords we did have in my family (and for a while in college became my car) a 2nd gen (a 1987) Camry LE. Certainly that car represented a major leap forward for the Japanese imports, it wasn't a tin can. It had pretty impressive NVH characteristics for its day and drove pretty well. Plus it had a fairly modern 16V DOHC engine with fuel injection, as to why Honda waited so long to get rid of carbs across its model range is beyond me. My general impression is that prior to the 3rd gen Accord and 2nd gen Camry most Japanese imports, save a few higher end models like the Datsun 810/Maxima and Cressida, were tin can penalty boxes. Certainly anything that was a compact or smaller.

      The important counterpoint is how quickly Honda and Toyota, and to a lesser extent Nissan and Mazda evolved their product. The difference between a 1st gen and 3rd gen Camry is pretty striking. And they were only 10 years apart. You go from an 81 Aries to a 91 Acclaim not so much has changed, fundamentals were pretty much the same for sure.


    26. 10-01-2008 10:55 PM #61
      Here's a rare survivor... an '84 Reliant with the 2.6L Mitsubishi carbureted 4-cylinder... which was actually a hemi-head engine.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pbDQJoc4i4

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    27. 10-01-2008 11:02 PM #62

      I think there was even a HEMI badge on some of those Mitsubishi-engined models.
      call it potatography

    28. Member audiphile's Avatar
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      10-01-2008 11:33 PM #63
      I dig that steering wheel
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    29. Member HerrGolf's Avatar
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      10-01-2008 11:38 PM #64
      Quote, originally posted by phofpower »

      I used to get a ride to HS in a late 80s Accord SE manual. I remember thinking how refined and well put together it felt, and the engine sounded great when revved. However the body was not durable and looked terrible even though it was only a few years old. The Kcars in comparison were like tractors, durable perhaps but an absolute penalty box to drive or ride in.

      You had an SE-i stick. Drive an LX auto and you'll see what I'm talking about. You'll find that the rusty body is the least of that car's issues. My parents haven't purchased a new Honda since and likely won't again. I disagree with their logic, but they hated that car. My dad had an Audi 5000 which was a reliability nightmare but he still went ahead and got an '06 A6 anyway. No more Hondas, though.


    30. 10-04-2008 05:12 PM #65
      I don't think the Aries/Reliant ever got the voice alert, but it was the hallmark of higher-spec K-cars:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUYR07J0pZk

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      10-04-2008 05:24 PM #66

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      10-04-2008 05:41 PM #67
      Quote, originally posted by ModelCitizen »
      25 years later and we are still playing catch-up to the japanese/europeans. I found it really telling in the second paragraph that the logbook read something like [paraphrasing] "detroit was late to the party with small cars, but had lots of good examples to learn from. But they didn't learn!!!!."


      Yeah but half of this is journalists' ubiquitous obsession with irony. When a domestic sucks, they compare it to an import. When an import sucks, they just say it sucks.


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      10-04-2008 08:09 PM #68
      Quote, originally posted by VWestlife »
      I don't think the Aries/Reliant ever got the voice alert, but it was the hallmark of higher-spec K-cars:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUYR07J0pZk

      That was before the days of seatbelt laws. I took my drivers test in Grandmas Chrysler 600. When I put the seat belt on the car said, "All monitored systems are functioning" startled me and the test guy. The car was probably two years old at the time and that was the first time anyone ever heard that. Might have been the last time too.

      Next edit by onebadbug; tomorrow at 10:13 AM.

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      10-04-2008 08:29 PM #69
      Quote, originally posted by Swallow Doretti »

      The Rio would smoke the K-Car to 60, it would stop in shorter distances, and it would get better fuel economy while doing it. It would also be significantly more reliable, too.


      Kia Rio 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular:

      27/33 mpg


      1989 Plymouth Reliant 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Manual 5-spd, (FFS), Regular:

      25/34 mpg


      1989 Dodge Colt, 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Manual 4-spd, (FFS), Regular:

      32/38 mpg

      Although the Kia is subject to a slightly stiffer standard, I'd still take a G5 which is still 9 grand and better on gas anyway. I think Hyundai/Kia's higher end products such as the Veracruz and Borrego are more desirable and representative of where their brand is headed.


      I'm willing to bet you could get even more mpg's out of the Plymouth though. Those old light cars can get far better mpg with a better driver.


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