Chrysler 180 : Barreiros

The Chrysler 180 was popular in Spain, and this is its story…

C Car in Spain

At the beginning of 1975 the assembly lines of the Chrysler 160, 180 and 2Litre were transferred from Poissy in France to the Barreiros factory at Villaverde in Spain. The plant belonged to Chrysler and had hitherto specialized in making trucks. It also assembled Simca cars and built an American designed V8, the Dodge 3700GT, for the import-protected Spanish market.

No major modifications were made to the 160, 180 and 2-litre, which continued to be sold in France and Britain. However, the Spanish market gained a two-litre Barreiros diesel version and the 160 model was dropped.

The Barreiros engine was a traditional diesel, four-cylinders, 2007cc and indirect fuel injection. It developed 65CV at 4000rpm and torque of at 2100rpm. The transmission was that of the 1610 2 litre – a four-speed manual with a 215mm clutch. Tyres were 165SR/14 and brakes followed the original 160 – discs up front, drums out back.

Both trim levels were equipped with the dashboard of the Chrysler 160, which didn’t have the tachometer of the 180. Its two front spot lamps meant you could easily distinguish the luxury model. Fuel consumption varied from 6.5l/100 km on the open road at an average speed of 80km/h to 9l/100km in urban motoring. Top speed was just 134km/h.

During the 1970s, Spanish taxation of new vehicles was based on the engine rating. The engine rating was related to the cubic capacity of the engine: the top band of 13CV corresponded to a cubic capacity of 1920cc. The Spanish rules were simple and designed to encourage smaller, more economical cars, which of course was where most Spanish car production was centred. Until 1976, the tax was 16% of the price for the vehicles of less than 8CV. From 8CV upwards the tax was 20%. From 1976, the taxes increased to 17.2% for 8CV and 22% for those over 8CV. In November 1977, a third category appeared: a tax rate of 35% for vehicles of 13CV and more.

The Chrysler 2Litre and its diesel sister were hit by the luxury tax of 35%. The Chrysler 2Litre was removed from the catalogue and replaced by the Chrysler 180 automatic. The diesel Chrysler had its engine capacity reduced by 90cc, which in turn shaved 5CV from its taxation band. The Chrysler diesel for 1978 had an engine of 1917cc, which rated just 12.9CV and saved the buyer a tax bill of 13% of the purchase price. Neither fuel consumption nor maximum speed was affected by this reduction in engine size.

In 1978 Chrysler Espana campaigned for sales on basis of the fiscal advantages of the revised 180 series. You could have your paella and eat it, economy and luxury in one happy package…

The Chrysler had a reasonable degree of success on the Spanish market, where it was marketed – especially in diesel form – successfully as a taxi. Local bodybuilders carried out limousine and station wagon conversions, although the company never listed these officially. Petrol engine production ended sometime in 1980 to make room in the range for the French built Tagora, but production in Spain of the diesel version lingered on until 1982.

Written by Andy Thompson.


  1. FWIW managed to find a bit more information on the Barreiros diesel used in the Chrysler 180 and Spanish built Dodge Dart later 3700 as well as used in other vehicles like the Seat 1400 and 1500 along with the Tempo Onieva vans.

    There were about six or more models of diesel engine, the base all being identical and the main difference is that are subdivided into groups of three. Namely:

    – EB-55-1918 cc 55 hp. (82X90.5 mm.)
    -C-14-1918 cc 55 CV. (82X90.5mm.)
    -C-24-2007 cc 60 hp. (82X95 mm.)
    -C-34-1918 cc 60 CV. (82X90.5 mm.)
    -C-60-2007 cc 60 CV. (82X95 mm.)
    -C-65-2007 cc 65 CV. (82X95 mm.)

    There is also mention elsewhere of a turbocharged version of the Barreiros EB55 putting out about 73 hp, however am unable to find out what vehicles received the Barreiros turbodiesel.

    From what am able to make out, the EB-55 was essentially a 4-cylinder version of the Barreiros EB-6 that competitors claimed was actually a replica of the Perkins P6 (albeit an improved refined one) though Perkins did not patent the engine in Spain being acquired by Massey-Ferguson shortly afterwards.

  2. Working out the mpg, the Chrysler averaged 31-43 mpg depending on how it was driven, quite good for a large family car in the late seventies, and 85 mph flat out would have been OK for a car mostly used as a taxi. Being an old school diesel without a turbocharrger and complicated electronics meant the 160 would have been reliable and capable of large mileages. Another advantage these Spanish 160s and 180s would have had over cars sold in Britain was the dry climate and plenty of sunshine meant no rust.

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