CC Outtake: 1983 Dodge Omni Shares The CC Stage With A Couple Of Other CCs

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Is this a three-for or four-for? The Olds Ciera is a staple hereabouts (at CC as well as Eugene), and the Chevy S10 is a legit CC, as well as the Omni behind it. The gen1 CRV? Obviously not at the time of shooting this, since it got cut out. But the one that got me to stop and pull out the camera was the Omni, a car that is starting to get a bit scarce on the streets. Let’s go check it out.

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Walking towards it, let’s pay brief homage to the S-10, whose number on the streets aren’t exactly growing these days either, although basic little pickups have a way of hanging around for longer than one might expect.

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Here it is. This is a 1983, according to its registration. That makes for some interesting speculation about what’s under its hood. Chrysler bought 1.7 L long blocks from VW for the Omni and Horizon, from its 1977 premiere. presumably, they bought the SOHC VW engine because they thought the Simca pushrod four used in the European Simca Horizon was a bit too overstressed for American use, and it had a rep for being a bit fragile.

But in the latter part of the 1983 model year, Chrysler dropped the VW engine, and did start importing the Simca 1600 cc four, as the base engine. I seem to remember that VW needed that capacity for its own cars. And by then the sturdier and more powerful Chrysler 2.2 four was available as an option on the Omnirizon twins, and was increasingly popular in them. Presumably the Simca engine was intended to be used mainly as a cheap engine for base/stripper Omnirizons.

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Given that this is a pretty basic stick-shift car, it could well have either the VW or Simca engines. Horsepower? Did you have to ask? 62 for the VW, 63 for the Simca. But then these cars were pretty light (2175 lbs). Just keep rowing those gears.

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Like so many all-new American cars, the Omni and Horizon did not have a stellar start in 1977, in terms of reliability and quality. There were a number of issues with the first year cars, and some recalls. But they managed to avoid scandal-level problems like GM’s X Cars, and within a few years, they became pretty solid little cars, especially so towards the end of their long run, in 1990. “Build it long enough, and it will become good, eventually”; the motto for the Big Three, back in the bad old days. And the Omni shares that with the Ciera across the street.

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I suppose that applies to the S-10 too. Sadly, that applied to too many American cars back then.

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Time to say farewell. And as a parting shot, here it is paired with its neighbor to the rear, another gray four cylinder car, a Mazda CX-7. Yes, we all know cars have gotten bigger. but it’s fun once in a while to see just how much.

And if you’d like my bigger story on the Omni and Horizon, here it is.