CC Capsule: Dodge Mirada CMX – Loveable Orphan

(first posted 3/28/2012)    On the Dodge Mirada’s Wikipedia page it states that one was used in Kenny Rogers’ theatrical acting debut, Six Pack, a film garnering an impressive 5.2/10 on the Internet Movie Database scale.

The story is of Brewster ‘Brew’ Baker, an auto racer who finds himself in the very relatable position of having his race car stripped bare by a gang of six unruly orphans while stopping for a chicken fried steak in a small Texas town.  The movie’s Mirada is owned and driven by Turk, Brew’s competitor in the important final race of the movie.  Befitting Dodge’s general reputation in the early 1980s, Turk furtively calls his Mirada a Buick.

Being that the mechanically-inclined children soon become Brew’s pit crew, they probably knew that the Mirada was based on the same platform that begat Sinatra’s beloved Imperial which itself was closely related to a Deadly Sin.

The Mirada featured the familiar 225 slant six or 318 v8s along with 1980’s CMX-only 360 also being available, engines so simple that even a kid (or six) could work on them.

The CMX trim level featured a veritable buffet of delectable items, the fake carriage top and 10-spoke wheels being not the least of them.  The padded top was so convincing that it took me a good 10 minutes to verify for certain that it is, in fact, an impostor.  Its appearance is far more natural than many Hollywood stars’ exterior revamping efforts.

He hasn’t changed a bit!

I also discovered actual Mirada convertibles were created by Global Coach, hacker uppers of yet another car some would call a Deadly Sin.

Not too many people were seduced by the Mirada even when in sexy CMX trim, and only about 53,000 Miradas were produced over its 4-year run.

Our movie hero Brew had markedly better prospects as he found himself being subtly seduced by the oldest of the orphans, a (very) young Diane Lane.  However, Brew apparently was not much of a gambler and ended up doing the right thing, going with his older-model girlfriend, though one wonders if he ever pictured growing old(er) with she who I will forever think of as Miss Lorena Wood.

Hope and leaf springs were almost eternal with Chrysler, featured here and on countless other Mopar vehicles through the years, though the newest Ram light duty trucks now have rear coil springs.

The roof’s side profile has a very distinct Lincoln Mark V and VI feel to it, especially wrapped in the white canvas.  The fender vents, while looking suspiciously like ones I saw last weekend under a layer of plastic AutoZone chrome, work well enough here, as do the alloy wheels.

Perhaps the things that let this car’s appearance down most are the disposable razor grille and the single sealed-beam headlights, though the overall effect is decent if admittedly one of a car that doesn’t know whether it wants to sporty or broughamly.

In the end, however, art imitates life with Brew, the orphans, and this Mirada all living happily ever after.

Find these and other forgotten treasures at the Cohort, and thanks to Davo for the photos.  One of these days I’ll get Paul to buy him a bucket of chicken!