Almost 38 years ago, a bare-bones Plymouth Reliant “K” sedan rolled up into our driveway and my father stepped out of the thing with a look of unconcealed disdain on his face. I was there before he applied the parking brake, anxious to see the car that was going to save Chrysler. His brokerage had just taken a fleet delivery of a half-dozen or so Reliants, largely on the strength of my recommendation as his company’s “auto expert,” and I’d begged him to bring one home as soon as he could.
Crawling through the rectilinear vinyl interior, running my fingers along the back of every plastic trim piece, popping the hood and gazing in wonder at the all-American 2.2-liter four-cylinder and its mighty 84 horsepower. As a late-’81 build, it carried the ultra-modern Chrysler Pentastar instead of a Plymouth badge.
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