Curbside Classic: 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus – Haven’t I Heard That Name Before?

The earlier 1960 Plymouth XNR post brought two things to mind. One, the 1971 – 1972 B-Body coupes with the XNR-inspired wrap-around grille are getting very scarce indeed. What’s left of them are all living pampered lives in some garage, sipping away from their 440 six-packs. And two: some of you younger and less fanatic readers may not know that the illustrious Sebring name was not recently retired by Chrysler for the first time.

I shot this in the Bay Area a while back, and I apologize for the lack of a proper front-quarter view: I was walking with a group of relatives, and by this time they were razzing me about my frequent stops. Hey, this is important! Especially when it’s an ebring Plus, that’s obviously had its roof re-coated to withstand the harsher CA sun. Snow Roof, perhaps?

The Mopar mid-size pack arrived in 1971, sporting the latest iteration of the fuselage look, which didn’t age all that well. I mean, at the time; by the mid seventies, the boxy formal look was in, and Chrysler had to try to reskin these as best as they could. The 1970 Barracuda and Challenger shared quite a bit of their skeletons with these B-Body coupes, which in turn shared little sheet metal with the four door versions.

The loop grille only lasted for the first two years, and by 1973, a dramatically less distinctive front end graced the Satellite and its Sebring offshoots. The loop grille’s heyday was over everywhere in Detroit, as the new bumper regulations started to take effect in 1973. Actually, the Satellite’s bumpers are one of the best of the breed of new five-mile bumpers, unlike some of the protruding cowcatchers that cars of that era were sullied with. I’m planning an Automotive History on the subject, so consider this a warm up act.

Speaking of warm, in 1973 Chrysler’s engines were a bit less hot than they had been, thanks to the also tightening emission standards. But a full palette of options was still on the books: the 225 CID slant six now with 105 hp (all hp figures in net); the most popular 318 V8 (5.2 L) had 150 hp; and the 400 V8 (6.6 L) came in two-barrel (175 hp) and four-barrel versions. That final version made a pretty healthy 250 or 260 hp, depending on which source you prefer.

An oddity I had forgotten about was the console in these cars. As is all-too obvious, passengers were not being encouraged to downshift the TorqueFlite in a helping way: “Mom; you need a bit of boost here getting on this freeway ramp…”

The actual shifter is covered by that notebook, perhaps as an additional layer of UV protection, which this car seems to be highly sensitive to. Must find a genuine loop-bumpered Sebring…