‘Sure, it does look a little ‘Avenger on steroids’ but the same could be said for a lot of other
more successful model ranges of the time…’
Here we go again – as usual, the vast majority of knockers are people who’ve never driven one, never mind actually owned a Chrysler 180. I had one in the mid-1970s and found none of the criticisms put forward (with the possible exception of one) to hold any water.
Underpowered? The 180 (1800cc) produced 1bhp more than the Mk3 Ford Cortina 2-litre. Both cars were only offered with four-speed gearboxes. Poor braking? The 180 had disc brakes all round whereas the Cortina was discs front and drums rear. Poor interior? Well, let’s face it, the Ford was no Vanden Plas either. But the velour of the 180 was less pretentious than the Cortina’s lame attempt to pass plastic off as leather. Actually, come the 1980s, and you had to spend a fair amount of money on a car if you didn’t want velour seats and trim.
Exterior styling? Sure, it does look a little ‘Avenger on steroids’ but the same could be said for a lot of other more successful model ranges of the time. Ford Cortina/Granada, BMW 5- and 7-Series. Nowadays, it’s become the accepted norm – the only difference is that we refer to it as ‘corporate styling’. The Chrysler 180 was a victim of the politics which were obviously going on behind the scenes in the US, GB and France at that time – no doubt the same problems ended up scuppering the company as well as the car in the end.
What, then, about the one criticism of the 180 that actually holds water? Well, I have to admit that they do oxidize rapidly. But rusting cars? In the 1970s? It’s hard to think of many that didn’t! Maybe this is why the Spanish loved the car as it isn’t such a big problem out there and, ultimately, the lack of sales here resulted in a very inexpensive car over there.
Anyway, while we are on the subject of rusty cars, I’ve just gone through a whole reel of welding wire fixing up a 1985 Audi GT coupe – if ever there was a rust bucket, these were it. That’s probably why you don’t see many around any more, but it’s funny how you never hear about that…