Plymouth Volare

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Plymouth Volare

1976 - 1980
6L and V8
3687cc to 5900cc
155 bhp at 4000rpm
3/4 spd man 3 spd auto
Top Speed:
110 mph
Number Built:
1 star
Chrvsler's domestic sales leader of the late 1970s was the Plymouth Volare - a good example of this country's middle-of-the-road sedan offering of the era. Considerably trimmer than the Plymouths of old, the Volare range included two six cylinder models for the economy minded; and even the 5211cc version of the V8 options developed only 155 horsepower (net).

The Volare range consisted of six engine options and five trim packages (in addition to the plain-Jane version). In fact, in the absence of rubber-peeling power options (the genuine muscle-car), the poor old limit-ridden, safety-lobbied, pollution-conscious car makers wove a curious web of fantasy around even their most mundane machines. So the public were offered what were amusingly called 'dress-up' packages such as The Road Runner, Street Kit Car and the Fun Runner!

The Volare came in sedan, coupe and wagon versions, with engines ranging from a 3687cc 100 horsepower straight six to a 5900cc 175 horsepower V8. Its styling was reserved, which was just as well because the Road Runner treatment wasn't exactly subtle. In terms of engineering, the Volare was nothing more or less than you might expect of a locally built car from the 1970s, with front wishbone/rear leaf spring suspension, three-speed automatic transmission, power steering and power windows.

It was wind-tunnel tested to be aerodynamically, the developmen program including a wide range studies from drag reduction to crosswind stability, wind noise and ventilation performance. The effects of this testing resulted in softened front end contours, removal of drip troughs and helped shaped internal air flow ducting. An interesting innovation was the adoption of electronic ignition as an aid to fuel economy. Manual transmission was also available to the same end. Overall, the Volare was a reasonably competent but un-exceptional car. Its marketing image was something else.

Weight reduction to provide maximum fuel economy was achieved through use of thinner glass, lighter weight side door beams and high-strength, low-alloy brackets and reinforcements that were four times as strong as conventional mild steel. A reduced number of stampings resulted in better panel fits and fewer welds. There was improved visibility and compared with other Chrysler compacts, the Volare provided a total glass area increase of 25% on two door models and 33% on sedans.

Wheel alignment adjustments such as caster and camber could be made by removing plates over the wheel housings. The new isolated tranverse suspension system was a substantial departure from the longitudinal torsion bars Chrysler had introduced in 1957 and used on all models since that year, until the release of the F-bodies. The transverse (side-to-side) bars weren't as geometrically favorable but saved space and weight.

Although their designs were basically sound and well-engineered, the early F-bodies were plagued by poor production quality. In his autobiography, Lee Iacocca acknowledged that the Aspen and Volaré were rushed to market too soon, causing early buyers to act as final model testers. This was true mostly of the 1976 models, since the 1977 models were considerably better quality-wise. Several recalls were undertaken on the 1976 and 1977 models; most were minor. However, the most serious of these cost Chrysler millions of ill-afforded dollars.

In 1978, Chrysler recalled every 1976 and 1977 Aspen and Volare for possible replacement of the front fenders, which were prematurely rusting. Many cars got new fenders, painted in the proper color. Galvanized sheetmetal was phased in for the body, along with full inner front fender liners made of polyethylene (plastic) to solve the rust problem once and for all. A large number of powertrain changes, particularly in ignition and fuel delivery, were also made to improve driveability. After 1977, F-bodies had few problems with rusting or quality control. Also, in 1977, a recall was made on several Dodges, Plymouths, and Chryslers, including the Aspens and Volares, due to its tendency to stall, as well as having numerous problems with their carburetors, causing people to crank their starters for a long time as well as for more than one attempt. Those problems were never resolved, which gave the Chrysler label a bad name and reputation.

Plymouth Volare Quick Specifications:

Engine: Front-mounted, water-cooled straight-six or V8. 86.4 mm (3.40 in) bore x 104.6 mm (4.12 in) stroke . 3687cc (225 cu in) (six), or 99.2 mm (3.91 in) bore x 84 mm (3.31 in) stroke. 5211cc (318 cu in) (V8). Maximum power (DIN) 100 bhp at 3600 rpm (six), or 155 bhp at 4000rpm (V8); maximum torque (DIN) 170 lb. ft. at 1600rpm (six), or 245 lb ft at 1600 rpm (V8). Cast iron cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 8.4:1 (six), or 8.5:1 (V8). 4 main bearings (six), or 5 main bearings (V8). 2 valves per cylinder operated, via push-rods and rockers, by a single camshaft side or at the centre of the V. 1 x Holley down-draught single-barrel carburetor (six) or 1 Carter down-draught twin-barrel carburetor (V8).
Transmission: Single-dry-plate clutch and three-speed manual gearbox, or torque converter and three-speed Torqueflite automatic unit. Ratios 1 st 3.080, 2nd 1.700, 3rd 1, rev 2.90:1. Ratios for automatic models 1 st 1.990, 2nd 1.750, 3rd 1, rev 3.170:1. Hypoid-bevel final drive with a choice of nine ratios. A limited-slip differential was optional on all models.
Body/chassis: Four-door sedan, two-door coupe or four-door station wagon. Four seats (coupe), five seats (sedan and station wagon). Integral.
Suspension: The new front suspension system was touted as giving a "big car ride" as the suspension had a low, or softer, fore and aft compliance which allowed the wheel to move rearward instead of straight up and down when the tire encountered an object, dampening the blow and rolling with the condition of the road. The two parallel torsion bars and an anti-sway bar were mounted forward of the front wheels, integrated into a spring-strut front suspension. These components were attached to a K-shaped structural crossmember. The K-shaped crossmember was isolated from the unitized car body by four rubber mounts. This transverse torsion bar suspension was also incorporated into the M- and J-body cars. The conventional leaf spring rear suspension was also rubber-isolated, so there was no metal-to-metal path through which road noise or vibration can be transmitted to the body; even the steering column was isolated. Front - independent by wishbones, longitudinal torsion bars and telescopic dampers. Rear - non-independent by a rigid axle, semi -elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers.
Steering: Recirculating ball. Power assistance optional. Turns from lock to lock 5.
Brakes: Front discs and rear drums. Servo was optional.
Wheels: 5.5 in x 14 in steel.
Tires: E78 x 14.
Dimensions and weight: Wheelbase 112.70 in; track - front 60.0 in, rear - 58.5 in; length 201.1 in; width 72.8 in; height 55.0 in; ground clearance 5.20 in; dry weiqht 3237 Ib; turning circle 43.4 ft: fuel tank capacity 15 gal.
Performance: Maximum speed 110 mph; acceleration 0-60 mph 13 secs; fuel consumption approx 18 mpg.
Plymouth Volare

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The History of Plymouth
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