Curbside Classic: 1980 Plymouth Arrow – The Only Postwar RWD Plymouth Pickup

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No, Plymouth was not a common sight on pickup tailgates. After a brief fling with them between 1937 and 1942, Chrysler left it to Dodge to do battle in that segment of the market. Well, there was the little FWD Scamp, a version of the Dodge Rampage. But other than that, this Plymouth Arrow pickup, a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Triton, was the only one.  And they’re not exactly common anymore either.

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I’m guessing at the exact year for this one, as Arrow pickups were offered from 1979 through 1982, and I can’t readily tell them apart. Obviously, these trucks were more common in Dodge D50 (1979-1980) or Ram 50 (1981-1986) disguise, and after 1982, as the Mitsubishi Mighty Max.

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Somewhat curiously, this generation truck was Mitsubishi’s first compact truck ever. Toyota, Nissan , Mazda and Isuzu had been building theirs for some time. Dodge and Plymouth were probably happy to finally have a belated response to GM and Ford’s captive import trucks, the Chevy LUV and Ford Courier. Exactly why the Plymouth went away in 1982 is unknown; probably  it just didn’t sell well since folks weren’t exactly used to the idea of a Plymouth truck.

These trucks were powered by Mitsubishi’s 2.0 and 2.6L fours, mostly rugged engines except for a serious weakness with the timing chain tensioner, if I remember correctly. And this one has an automatic, no less.

Plymouth van

Speaking of Plymouth’s brief foray into pickups, there was a corresponding one into full-size vans, for a couple of years in the late seventies. I’ve had my eye out for one for years, with no luck (this is from Andy T’s photostream). But that experiment didn’t turn out any better, given how rare they are now.

Plymouth Trail Duster 1977 -01

Update: And also the Trail Duster, a Dodge Ramcharger with Plymouth badges on it.

Poor old Plymouth….the world was moving to trucks, but it just wasn’t working for them all that well.

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