If you’re a Mopar-Chrysler fan, you likely know something about their special edition models over the years. You likely also know that they often didn’t make too much of an effort in order to distinguish a Plymouth from a Dodge. Even some Chryslers were often very similar to their counterparts from other Mopar divisions. Badge engineering was strong with Chrysler – there’s no denying that. However, rare special edition, one-off and limited production models that they made were probably the most colorful among the Big Three. Being special editions, most of them are extremely rare today. Moreover, those that have survived the test of time often command quite a hefty price tag. Here are some of the coolest and rarest Mopar-Chrysler limited option package and special edition cars. It’s often tough tracking and documenting them (especially if they’re extremely limited regional dealership models), so feel free to contribute to the post.
Plymouth Fire Arrow
Now that Mitsubishi Lancer is officially discontinued, it’s the perfect opportunity to reminisce the first generation Lancers which were also offered under the Plymouth badge as captive imports. Actually, Celeste – a hatchback version of the Lancer – was. The name given to the import would be Arrow and one of the most interesting packages that came with it would have to be the Fire Arrow. It was the sportiest of all special edition Arrows with 2.6L engine pushing 105 horsepower due to the strict emissions regulations. It also had the 5-speed tranny and four-wheel disc brakes. At least in 1979, it did. 1980 brought a number of changes including additional colors and optional 1.6L and 2.0L fours. Original white Fire Arrow, however, would remain exclusively offered with the 2.6L in-line four Mitsubishi Astron. It would also be one of the cars with the best power to weight ratios of the time.
Plymouth Feather Duster
Duster was actually a coupe version of the Plymouth Valiant, and as such, it was the prime candidate for special edition packages and limited run edition makeovers. In accordance to that, there were numerous special edition Dusters throughout its 7-year long production stint. Twister, Gold Duster, Silver Duster, and Space Duster were only a few. Our pick of the day is the Feather Duster.
No, it wasn’t overly expensive cleaning implement. It was actually a lightweight package introduced during Duster’s last year with both performance and fuel economy in mind. Feather Duster implemented aluminum parts like intake manifold, hood, bumper brackets, and transmission housing (manual) in order to save some 200 pounds of weight. It also had the second smallest 225ci slant six engine available in the lineup, and fuel efficiency of 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Solid enough even for today’s standards. Dodge version of the car was called Dart Lite.
Dodge Bengal Charger
Bengal Charger was introduced as a limited 50-unit run in order to commemorate the forming of the Cincinnati Bengals. Bengals and second-gen Charger were both new for 1968, and local Dodge dealer Tom Kneer took the opportunity to create his own special edition Charger. It featured Bengals colors through and through with PPG 60326 used as a base. Kneer dubbed the color “Tiger Orange”. Furthermore, Bengal Charger had the black roof and black stripes around the rear-quarter panels and the trunk. Other than that, there were the blacked-out grille and custom-made fender badges with Bengal lettering. It could have been ordered with any Charger engine, but none of the 50 was ordered with the Hemi Elephant powerplant. Only two of them have survived to date which makes them some of the scarcest muscles in existence. They’re truly endangered species. Just like the Bengal tigers.
Dodge Shelby Dakota
Part of the revolutionary first generation Dakota mid-size truck, Shelby Dakota was its high-performance version. It came with 5.2L V8 making 175 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, but not before some corrections were implemented. Being a V8 (regular Dakota came with a V6), the engine took the space otherwise used by the cooling system. Engine-driven cooling fan that slotted between the block and the radiator was scrapped in favor of electric fan on the frontal side of the radiator. This is what gave the engine those additional 5 horsepower. Only 1,475 of them were ever made (995 in red and 480 in white), and it was Carroll Shelby’s first rear-wheel drive vehicle since the sixties.
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