eBay Find: 1978 Dodge Diplomat Wagon – There’s a Surprise Under The Hood!


Here’s a rare bird, a Dodge Diplomat wagon. These cars were introduced in 1977 as a more upmarket sedan for those who didn’t care for the extra-zaftig Royal Monaco or Sgt. Hunter-special Monaco. A companion to the Chrysler LeBaron that appeared at the same time, the Diplomat was just a bit more attractive with its’ “right-side-up” headlights.


In addition to the expected sedan and a very attractive coupe, was of course a wagon. And said wagon was, of course, offered with woodgrain trim on the sides. I find it very attractive! But this rare survivor, which appeared on eBay Motors about a year ago, has something it did not leave the factory with–and I’m not talking about the wheels and tires!


Yes, that is correct, this Dippy has a 440 Magnum V8 installed–all the more reason to upgrade to more modern wheels and tires, wouldn’t you say?


Despite the engine swap, the rest of the car is remarkably stock and in exceptionally good condition. I especially love the dark red paint, combined with the woodgrain, fine-mesh grille and all the neat little chrome accents.


This one has the factory leather interior as well–much more plush than anything you’d have seen on a contemporary Aspen/Volaré, Malibu or even Country Squire! I love the red/red combination on this wagon, of course.


The back seat is just as inviting as the front. Power windows and courtesy lights, too.


Buckets and console were also little-seen on Detroit wagons in the late ’70s. Someone really loaded up this car when they ordered it–or perhaps it was a showroom model, ordered by the dealer to draw people in and order one with all the gadgets?


The cargo area is fully carpeted–and not the cheap doctor’s waiting room carpeting often seen on new wagons and SUVs. The chrome skid plates are a nice touch too.


The woodgrain trim is much more restrained on the Diplomat than on the 1977-79 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country, and the beige pinstriping gives it a nice accent. I prefer this to the Chrysler, with its more heavy-handed “wood” framing.


Note the chrome turn signal indicators on top of the fender. For those of you in the younger age bracket, these used to be common on higher end cars, and would blink along with the turn signals when they were activated. Of course, somewhere along the line, they were eliminated, to save seventy-eight cents per car…


I have no idea what this wagon sold for, but with all the custom work done and the remarkable condition, I imagine it went for a pretty penny–that is, if it had a reserve and met it. I’m not the biggest fan of modified cars, but I love it. This would be a perfect summer cruiser, so long as you don’t mind having a Diplomat with a drinking problem!