Ever since I was a kid (read: since five years ago) I have wondered about the curious concept of the K-Car. I know it was the brainchild of Lee Iacocca and that it included such automotive gems as the Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries, but what does the term “K-Car” actually mean? I’m too young to remember when they first came out, anybody remember what the deal was?
Chrysler used letter designations to represent diffent car families (A body, B body, M…) I think that different cars in the same family would use the same brakes, suspension and engine family, but, not being a ChryCo nut, I don’t know whether this was a hard and fast rule.
all K-Cars had a near identical body style, so you are probably right.
Although I may be mistaken, I believe the cars actually had a small “K” stamped on the back as well. (I assume the K referred to the body-type; I know over at GM, the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird are known as “F-body cars”.)
According to Mrs. ZenBeam (I couldn’t get her to write this directly ) the above writers are correct. The reason the term K-car became popular was that this at the time of the government bailout of Chryseler, the K-car was the series which had to sell, or Chrysler would go under. At that time, there were no names yet for the cars (like Reliant or Aries), so the news reports refered to them with the K-car designation, and that term became well-known. Without the coverage of the bailout, you’d never have heard of the K-car term either.
I used to own a Reliant and for some reason everyone thought I was an undercover cop. But it was cool as people would think I was some corporate dude. The car sucked though
Didn’t Chrysler have an LH frame? I remember hearing jokes/rumors that it stood for “Last Hope”. This was still in the period when Chrysler was near failure.
The use of a lettered body/frame designation for a class of automobiles by a particular manufacturer goes way back. Notable is the “X”-Body, which stayed with the venerable Chevy Nova (and sometimes Malibu) from model years 1961-1979.
This site explains what exactly the heinous K-car is. Here’s the pertinent info:
EEK! stands for Every Extended K-car. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Chrysler had four basic platforms: A, B, C, and D. A was the Valiant series, which had about a dozen nameplates; B was the full-size sedan series, with a surprising variety of names and styles; and C and D were full-sized sedans. Then came the E (revised Barracuda and Challenger), F (Volare/Aspen), and the L (Omni/Horizon) and K (Reliant/Aries). For some reason, Chrysler decided to assign each K variant with a new letter, though really there were three basic varieties: K, Extended K (E), and minivans. For simplicity, we are lumping them all together as EEKs.
Having witnessed numerous friends and their families suffer through the travails of owning a K-car, I can only say that Chrysler was saved by a sense of patriotic loyalty in American consumers rather than by any advantages in price or (especially) quality. My friend’s dad got trapped in payments on a Dodge Aries-K wagon that went to the shop seven times before it hit 28000 miles. He had a line of garage decals pasted under the driver’s window like a fighter pilot records his victories.
Did I mention that vB coding sucks?
Camero and Firebirds were F cars? I thought they were J. If not what were the J models?
The “K” stood for both the fact you purchase the car at Kmart and the car ran like crap. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and that’s why K-cars are now extinct. If you find one, please shoot the engine and put the owner out of his/her misery.
Hmm… if this shows multiple posts, sorry, Netscape locked up on me.
J-Bodies are Cavaliers, Sunbirds, or Sunfires. If I remember correctly (and if I don’t sue me, I was three) GM forced each division to make a J-Body in 1984. They sold poorly. Who wants to pay twice as much for a Cavalier with a Buick hood ornament? Don’t remember the names of the Buick or other division versions.
The 2nd Gen Z24 convertible, God’s own car.
My gues is: Buick Skylark. We bought one used for my sister, and one of my first thoughts was “damn, that looks like a Chevy.”