Junkyard Gem: 1987 Dodge 600 SE Sedan


The K Platform, introduced for the 1981 model year, saved Chrysler from certain bankruptcy. By 1983, a stretched-out K chassis had been developed; the Chrysler version was the E-Class, while Dodge had the 600. These cars have become all but extinct now, so this ’87 in a Denver-area wrecking yard is a noteworthy Junkyard Gem.

Ford explicitly compared the appearance of the late-1970s Granada to that of the Mercedes-Benz W123 in their advertising, and so the ground was broken for Chrysler to make the allusions to Stuttgart machinery even more obvious a few years later. The name of the Chrysler E-Class was about as subtle as a tire iron blow to the kidneys, and the badging on its 600 sibling left little to the imagination.

600s came from the factory with several variations of the Chrysler 2.2/2.5 engine, as well as the Mitsubishi “Hemi 2.6” four-cylinder. This car has the 2.5 Chrysler engine, rated at 97 horsepower. Base price was $10,553, about $23,500 in 2017 dollars (the cheapest new Mercedes-Benz E-Class cost $38,600 in , so there wasn’t much customer overlap between the two cars).

The 600s weren’t bad cars for the price, though the build quality wasn’t quite up to Mercedes-Benz standards. You’ll find this thumbtack treatment on most K-Car headliners that still drive today.

The interior is all tan and brown, with plenty of tough industro-velour upholstery and not-so-convincing artificial wood.

Aluminum-faced home audio equipment was all the rage during the 1980s, and the trend spread to automotive controls. No cassette in this car, but at least it had AM and FM radio (even plain old mono AM radios were still expensive options on many cars as late as 1987, so the standard AM/FM stereo rig in the 600 was an attractive deal).

You can’t beat the 600!

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