Junkyard Classic: 1984 Dodge 600 Coupe – Marooned For Good


It’s been a while since we’ve featured anything with a landau top and I’m sure some of you are suffering from serious withdrawal symptoms.  Well, suffer no more, as looking at this fine example of a 1984 Dodge 600 will take that pain and turn it into joy for you.  The rest of us will cram into the back seat and ride along.

The 600 Coupe was basically the old 400, but with an extra 200 ladled onto the name to make it seem better than it was.  It worked for the Europeans, but in that case the bigger number actually meant something.  Here, not so much.  First launched in 1983 as a four-door sedan, the 2-door coupe and convertible were added for 1984.

The front was meant to evoke the larger Mirada (and the same as the 400), but as with the Mirada that ended production in 1983, it really just looked sort of generic.  That slatted grille has little personality.  Still, with the body color all over it, I suppose it looks more pseudo-european, or at least what passed for that around Detroit in those days.  The over the top helpings of chrome highlight trim kind of dashed that part of the appeal though.

Power was provided by the carbureted Chrysler 2.2l I-4, a capable if perhaps a bit overmatched unit in this size of car, producing 96hp and 115lb-ft of torque (published figures vary depending on the source but it’s close), although at under 2500 pounds it was likely adequate and comparable to other vehicles.  Power would increase slightly once fuel injection was added later in the model’s life.  (UPDATE 9/3/2019:  Rich C commented that this car has Fuel Injection and on a subsequent visit I was able to confirm that, see the comments below.  This car was built late enough in the model year to have made the transition.)

K-cars were pretty small, I suppose, which is evident by how tightly packaged the engine looks here.  In fact it has all kinds of breathing room now as someone has removed the transmission in this particular one, otherwise it’s still remarkably complete.

Jeez, that “600” font could be right off the back of a Grosser Benz, couldn’t it?  Complete with underline and everything.

Here’s a random ’80’s 380SL badge for comparison.  The letterspacing even looks correct/the same.

As I often do with these cars, I wonder what killed this one.  Hopefully not the tranny or some poor fool will be bringing it back in short order to do all the work all over again.

If the maroon paint with the maroon top wasn’t enough, here we complete the trifecta with a maroon interior.  Admittedly it looks extremely durably and actually fairly comfortable.  I don’t know if I could look at that super shiny “wood” for too long and it has the 70’s style of “cliff of doom” dashboard where the top is closer to you than the bottom, especially evident on the passenger side.

I was astounded to see that this was a manual transmission car, I had no idea this was a possibility in these.  But sure enough, these were offered with a 5-speed transmission as standard. I cannot decide if the idea was to make it sportier, more european feeling, or just cheaper, but it seems antithetical to the whole idea of a downsized semi-budget Personal Luxury Coupe (with a landau top) that it appears at first glance to be going for.  Someone took the shift knob too, I see, perhaps the same person that took the gearbox itself?

I’m figuring the 72,922 mile count is accurate and not missing a leading “1” by dint of the interior condition.  It’s barely past the 5/50 warranty.  Well, the 50,000 mile part of the warranty I suppose, it probably hit that about 15 years after the warranty actually expired.

But what is up with the text above the column that says “Front Wheel Drive”?  What is the point of that?  Or were they so proud of it that they actually just had to display it front and center?  I don’t get it.  The only way that could be cheesier is if it had a Kraft Single draped across the top of the column as well.

The 600 Coupes and Convertibles were built in St. Louis, MO, as opposed to the sedans, which hailed from, no, make that imported from, Detroit.  A 1984 Coupe like this one started at $8,206 before options.  And before the check that Lee Iacocca would presumably send you post-purchase, although by 1984 Chrysler seemed to be on much more solid footing with a slew of new products beginning to arrive in showrooms.

The 600 (and 400 before it) was way out in front of the more recent and now again passe trend of fender vents on everything.

With the benefit of 35 years of hindsight, this actually seems like a fairly decent effort on Chrysler’s part in the early years of the K-car era.  Usually if one of these is seen nowadays it’s a total wreck and it’s hard to see what attracted someone to it in the first place.  But with this one in the junkyard surprisingly being the best condition K-car that I have seen in years if not decades, I suppose I can understand what the appeal was back then.  However I still would have picked the Accord we saw last week though.


Related Reading:

Jason Shafer’s K-Kar Kompendium

Dave Skinner found a 1982 Dodge 400 Coupe

Perry Shoar’s take on the 1986 Dodge 600 Convertible