1987 Dodge Aries LE sedan

We’ve got a lot of road work going on in our area. Two days ago, I had to take a short detour, which sent me down a route that included a few blocks I’ve never traveled. I saw a white Dodge Aries sedan parked on the side of the road. Yesterday, I went back and took a couple of pictures. The Aries was in pretty good shape and sported a Pennsylvania classic car plate.

“More car for the money than you thought possible.”

For 1987 changes to the Dodge Aries sedan were minor. A stainless steel exhaust system was new, as were standard front bucket seats.

The Aries’ standard powertrain was an E86 97 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with central fuel injection paired to a five-speed manual transmission. A 100 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci inline four was a $287 option for the LE only and required the $534 TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

Fuel economy with the standard powertrain was rated at 25 city/32 highway by the standards of the day (22/29 by 2020 measures), while ratings for the 2.5 liter/automatic combination dropped to 22/27. With a 14-gallon gas tank, the owner of a base Aries sedan could expect a range of 320 to 360 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. The driver of a 2.5 liter Aries could expect about 50 miles less. Best case 0-60 times were about 10.5 seconds in a car with a shipping weight of just under 2,500 pounds.

1985 Dodge Aries LE sedan photo
1987 Dodge Aries LE sedan circa 2020

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment for the $7,655 Dodge Aries sedan included halogen headlights, manual rack-and-pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, a compact spare tire, and P175/80R13 black sidewall tires (now generally a trailer size) on 13-inch wheels with hubcaps. Inside, a manual left exterior mirror, a Deluxe two-spoke steering wheel, a mini console, and cloth with vinyl trim low-back bucket seats with reclining seatbacks were included.

Moving up to the $8,134 LE (which 93% of Aries sedan buyers did) added Deluxe wheel covers, a power left exterior mirror, Deluxe windshield wipers with intermittent wipe, a trunk light, cloth door trim panels, and an AM electronic tuning radio with a digital clock. The LE could get a vinyl bench seat at no extra charge.

Chrysler corporation had begun to move to more options packages by the mid-eighties. The Aries sedan had four for 1987:

  • Basic Equipment Package ($261) included Deluxe 13-inch wheel covers, a black power left exterior mirror, Deluxe windshield wipers with intermittent wipe, and an AM electronic tuning radio with a digital clock. It was (natch!) only available for the base sedan.
  • Popular Equipment Discount Package included tinted glass, bodyside tape stripes, an automatic transmission, power-assisted steering, and P185/70R14 black sidewall tires (a size still readily available) on 14-inch wheels with Deluxe wheel covers. Inside, the package included black dual remote exterior mirrors, special sound insulation, trunk dress-up, and an AM stereo/FM stereo electronic tuning radio with a cassette player, four speakers, and a digital clock. This package was LE-only and went for $740.
  • Premium Equipment Discount Package ($1,312 and LE-only) included everything in the Popular Equipment Discount Package and added an electric rear window defroster, electronic speed control, a Luxury two-spoke steering wheel, a tilt steering column, and power door locks.
  • Light Package ($59 and LE-only) included an ash receiver light, a cigar lighter light, a headlights-on warning buzzer, an ignition switch light with time delay, and an underhood light.

Individual options included tinted glass ($121), 14-inch cast aluminum road wheels ($332 with either the Popular or Premium packages/$381 without), a conventional spare tire ($75 for 13-inch wheel/$85 for $14-inch wheel), and air conditioning ($790 and requiring tinted glass). Between the packages and the options, a loaded LE sedan could surpass $11,000 on its window sticker.

The Aries sedan continued to sell respectably in 1987, with 71,216 sold. It remained by far the best-selling Dodge sedan. Interestingly, K cars have not entirely disappeared from the road—quite unlike many of their eighties peers. Examples of the Aries rarely show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, though they do appear on cars.com.

Make mine the extra cost ($41) Twilight Blue Pearl Coat, please.

Other K and K-based cars I have written about include the 1981 Plymouth Reliant coupe, the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible, the 1984 Chrysler Laser hatchback coupe, the 1984 Plymouth Voyager minivan, the 1985 Dodge 600 Club Coupe, and the 1986 Chrysler Town and Country convertible.

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