Dodge Accessories

Dodge Spirit Accessories

Dodge Spirit Introduction

The Dodge Spirit is a mid-size 5- or 6-passenger sedan introduced in January 1989 as a replacement for the similarly-sized Dodge 600. The Spirit was Dodge's version of the Chrysler AA platform, a stretched variation of the Chrysler K platform. It was assembled in Newark, Delaware and Toluca, Mexico, and shared its basic design with the 1990 to 1994 Chrysler LeBaron sedan, the 1989 to 1995 Plymouth Acclaim, and the export-only 1989 to 1995 Chrysler Saratoga. Some also regard the Spirit as the de facto replacement for the smaller Aries and the hatchback Lancer, though the Shadow, new for 1987, is closer in size to the Aries and Lancer. 60,000 Dodge Spirits were sold in its first year, enough that Aries production was stopped mid-season.

Spirit production ended on 1994 December 9, and the "cab-forward" Stratus was introduced as a replacement. The Spirit could seat six with an optional front split-bench seat. It had a large trunk, a simple solid-beam rear axle, and a MacPherson strut front suspension. The Spirit differed from the other A-bodies primarily in the grille and euro tail lights styling, and in the exclusive availability of the sportier, higher-performing R/T version. While the Spirit is dimensionally comparable to its contemporaneous Ford Tempo, the platform was also compared with the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry by Consumer Reports which found the similar but upscale Chrysler LeBaron to be "adequate", but not up to the other three cars.

Dodge Spirit WheelsNevertheless, the Spirit sold reasonably well, mainly on the basis of price and value. Though maligned in their later years by critics, the Spirit did outsell the Stratus that replaced it. In 1991, Chrysler introduced the Spirit R/T, the centerpiece of which was a version of the 2.2 L engine with a 16-valve DOHC head designed by Lotus, who won a design competition against Maserati and Hans Hermann. Fed by a Garrett intercooled turbocharger, this Turbo III engine produced 224 hp and 217 lb ft. The R/T also featured unique interior and exterior trim to set itself apart from other Spirits. The only available transmission in the R/T was a heavy-duty A568 5-speed manual transmission built by Chrysler's New Process Gear division with a gearset supplied by Getrag. Heavy-duty vented four wheel disc brakes were standard equipment, with optional anti-lock brakes.

Color-keyed 15-inch alloy wheels were standard, with P205/60R15 tires. At the time, the R/T was advertised as "the fastest sedan made in America", and one of the quickest performance sedans under $40,000, with Chrysler placing its performance above the BMW M5. It could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 seconds, according to Car and Driver, making it one of the quickest front wheel drive cars ever offered in the American market. An additional 191 were sold in America in 1992 - 92 red, 68 white, and 31 silver. The only discernible changes for 1992 were a lower first gear ratio for reduced turbo lag, woodgrain dashboard trim as used on the Chrysler LeBaron sedan, blacked out upper and lower grille inserts, clear rather than amber lenses for the front parking and turn signal lights, and a speedometer calibrated to 150 mph.

Dodge Spirit Tail LightsSpirits were very popular in Mexico. They were badged as Chryslers rather than Dodges, since the Dodge brand at the time was used only on trucks. The Spirit was introduced in the Mexican market for 1990, one year after its debut in the U.S. and Canada. The initial 1990-model Spirits used a version of the 2.5 L engine operating on leaded gasoline, equipped with a carburetor, a tubular exhaust header, and electronic control of ignition timing. This induction and ignition system used technology and components very similar to those employed in Chrysler's U.S.-market Lean Burn emission control systems of the late 1970s. For the 1991 model year, Mexico enacted new-vehicle emission regulations similar to those in the US and Canada.

The carbureted leaded-fuel engine was too dirty to comply with the new regulations, so a fully-integrated engine management system with fuel injection was added to the Spirit. This was not the TBI system used in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Rather, the Mexican-market Spirits got a more advanced MPFI setup. This MPFI 2.5 gave superior performance and driveability and cleaner emissions than its TBI counterpart, but was not used in the U.S., Canadian, or rest-of-world export markets except on turbocharged and FFV models. The Chrysler Spirit with MPFI 2.5 L engine was sold in Mexico from 1991 through 1995, and was exported in small numbers to Argentina and Brazil from 1993 through 1995.