1980 Plymouth Horizon

The October 2017 issue of Hemmings Classic Car came in the mail today. It includes an article on an “Unbelievable Restoration of a 1979 Plymouth Horizon,” which certainly falls into my “Who Saves These Cars?” category. In honor of this, I’ve updated a blog entry on the 1980 Horizon from a few years ago.

“Handling it with confidence.”

1980 was the third year for Chrysler’s “Omnirizon” front-wheel drive subcompact. Once again, the only available engine was a Volkswagen-sourced 1.7 liter/105 cubic inch four-cylinder with a Holley two-barrel carburetor and all of 65 bhp. With the standard four-speed manual transmission, 0-60 came in about 14.5 seconds in the 2,135-pound car. Fuel economy was rated at 24 city/31 highway by the standards of the day, so the 13-gallon fuel tank gave a range of about 320 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $5,526 car (about $18,100 in today’s dollars) included rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes, a rear electric defroster, tinted glass, and P155/80R13 radial tires (a size still available from Kumho). Standard interior equipment included a heater, an AM radio, and an electric clock.

A variety of exterior and interior packages were available to dress up the rather spare base Horizon. The Custom exterior package ($101) added some brightwork to the outside of the car. Moving up to the Premium exterior ($207) added more brightwork and deluxe wheel covers. Custom ($112) and Premium ($355) interiors mostly made the upholstery slightly nicer.

Exterior and mechanical options included a sun roof ($182), power steering ($161), power brakes ($77), and a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission ($340) that slowed the car’s acceleration even more. Inside, air conditioning ($541), a sport steering wheel ($40), and an AM/FM stereo radio ($93) were available—there were no eight-tracks or cassettes available as factory stereos (it was left to Crutchfield and others to provide).

Page from 1980 Plymouth Horizon brochure, linked from the very useful PaintRef.com.

The Horizon continued to sell reasonably well in the 1980 model year—almost 86,000 units. The slightly sportier two-door TC3 hatchback added another 60,000 or so units. Combined, the two models accounted for 58% of Plymouth’s dire 1980 automobile sales totals in the United States (Plymouth’s other offerings for that year included the Arrow, Champ, Gran Fury, Sapparo, and Volaré).

There are a few folks trying to save “Omnirizons”—including that fellow featured in Hemmings Classic Car (journalist Robert Suhr)—but you rarely see these cars for sale in either the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors.

For a later and much faster L-body check out my blog entry on the 1985 Dodge Omni GLH.

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