Much like Dodge, which we’ve covered recently, Plymouth also relied on special edition packages and limited run models in order to boost sales. Diversity was their strategy in fighting much more financially solvent General Motors and Ford. The strategy often yielded fine results, although not always. Sometimes, these classic Plymouth special edition models simply flopped. This time, though, we’re not reflecting exclusively on special edition Plymouths, but their regular short-run models as well. Models that, for one reason or the other, never managed to leave a lasting mark on American automotive history. Models that quickly became forgotten and were often discarded by their owners after their years of servitude had come to an end.
Since Plymouth offered those affordable entry-level prices with most of their vehicles, they also managed to sell a lot of models over the years. That said, there were plenty of Plymouth cars among them that people have simply forgotten all about. Or, at least didn’t think of for quite a while. But the history pages haven’t forgotten them, and we’ve browsed through them for you. We hope you enjoy one of the last installments in this forgotten classic models series of America’s most prominent car manufacturers.
1978 Arrow Jet and 1979-1980 Fire Arrow
When the first oil crisis shook the market in 1973, Chrysler faced it without a small car of their own. They were already importing the Mitsubishi Galant rebadged as a Dodge Colt, but in order to control the damage, Chrysler took the Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste under its wing as well. The subcompact hatchback started its American adventure in late 1975 as the Plymouth Arrow.
Chrysler being Chrysler, they didn’t wait too long before expanding the Arrow’s lineup with special edition models. First came the Jet package of 1978 which didn’t really change much. The Plymouth Arrow Jet was apparently only available with a base 1.6L Silent Shaft 4-cylinder engine, while the 2.0L mill remained reserved for GS and GT trim levels. What it lacked in power, the Arrow Jet made up for in appearances. It was the sharpest looking Arrow of them all thanks to the pairing of Spitfire Orange on black skirts, a black hood, white-letter tires with road wheels and special body decals. Few people bit the bait, however, and the Arrow Jet was withdrawn for 1979.
Chrysler learned from this and offered a similar package with much more potential under the hood. The Fire Arrow packed a 105-horsepower 2.6L MCA Jet straight-four mill, and offered four-wheel discs, white paint, lower body striping, unique decals, and a louvered rear window among other features. It would seem that the Fire Arrow resonated much better with buyers since Chrysler allowed it to remain for another year. Not only that, they added two new color schemes. Tan with a darker caramel hood and blue with a dark blue hood. Furthermore, 1980 Fire Arrow also received a new engine option – 2.0L straight-four. This proved to be the last year for the Plymouth Arrow which was succeeded by the rear-wheel drive Sapporo and front-wheel drive Champ.