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The 1978 Dodge Street Kit Car: Surprisingly smooth and a carnival ride for the eyes


#1

There are those of us, myself included, who will defend the automotive travesties of the 1970s until we meet our demise. We’ll say that because of government regulations, the OEMs were choked in regards to what they could deliver to consumers, and they did the best with what resources they had. And even though most of the automotive populace was correct regarding just how shoddy American vehicles were at the time, every now and then a star found its way through the darkness and ultimately, made its way to the streets.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/04/24/1978-dodge-street-kit-car

#2

One use of the Aspen Kit Car was to make a rally car with 4WD! Chrysler engineer Scott Harvey campaigned it for a few years with moderate success. For reasons can’t remember the alternator had to be driven backwards to be able to fit in the engine compartment. Check out https://sites.google.com/site/danhirschfeld2/scottharvey’s4wdaspen


#3

@merlyyn - What a neat story! Pretty awesome to see photos of the car racing just south of Hagerty’s home office in Michigan.

I also like the Toronado wheels on the front with standard steel wheels on the rear.


#4

I wonder, are those red seats Rich Corinthian Leather?


#5

I think calling it the fastest US car is a little optimistic. Car & Driver tested the 1978 Pontiac Trans Am with a W72 optioned 400, 4 speed and 3:42 rear end ratio at 6.5 sec 0-60 and a 15.3 quarter mile. Despite the dress up parts, I doubt a 360 cu in Aspen could match that. Here is a list of 0-60 times from Car & Driver and Motor Trend:

http://www.mopar1.us/times.html


#6

Those fender flares are just hideous. The body style isn’t horrible it’s just not “classic” enough.


#7

As the son of 40-year Chrysler dealer, I still cringe at the sight and sound of those plastic dashboards. They were “so cheap that they squeaked” as my Mother used to say. And it wasn’t just the “black box”–those cars would not start for no reason at all; we lost many customers out of genuine disgust with their unreliability


#8

VOOOO-LAR-EEE OH NO NO NO

My father loved aspens and volares, usually of the 318 or 225 slant 6 variety. we went through many.
I’m kinda torn on this one.


#9

I think that this is a beautiful car. Also a great write up, however, the number in the article and the number on the video are different. One fourty five in the article and 1045 in the video. Sorry, it bothered me.


#10

I owned one of these interesting cars for a short amount of time. I saved it from a guy who was planning on cutting it up to make it into a “Pro Street” car. What a strange mash-up THAT would have been - NASCAR fender flares and big numbers on the doors, but Pro Stock rear suspension and fat rear tires and skinny drag strip tires on the front…!!!
The second part of the story is that the guy that I sold it to rode 26 hours from Metairie, Louisiana to Newport News Virginia on a Trailways / Greyhound bus to look at the car and to take it home. He arrived at my house after I picked him up at the bus station, looked over the car and test drove it about a mile, and then said that he needed to get back on the road and he jumped in it and hit the interstate and headed back to Louisiana within about an hour after getting there! This was just based on my description of the car and a wing and a prayer, because this was pre-internet/YouTube and there was no way to email photos or a video of the car, how it ran, etc. I also repeated over and over that that I wanted to be honest with him and that I had only driven the car about ten miles from my buddy’s house to my own house when I bought it, so I could not reasonably offer any kind of guarantee that the car would make it to the next town, much less the 1400 miles all the way back to Louisiana!!! I did offer to let him shower & shave or to take him out for a nice dinner before he hit the road, but he insisted that he had to get back home. I asked him to phone me when ( IF??? ) he made it back home, so he phoned me late the next day and said that the car never skipped a beat and that it was a blast to drive, so…