For whatever reason, we’re in the mood to talk about Plymouth today (and Dodge too, we guess).
So we figured it was the perfect occasion to feature two amazingly, incredibly, and superly-duperly rare Volaré and Aspen Mopar F-body twins.
Imagine our surprise when we spotted a Volaré Super Coupe and an Aspen A43 Petty Racing Kit Car resting side-by-side outside the Summit Racing Retail Store near Akron, Ohio earlier this fall.
Never heard of them? No worries, again—they’re both really, really rare (really). So let’s dive into each one of these F-body Mopars to explain them both a bit.
If you like these cars, you’ll probably enjoy this article too: The Dodge Aspen: Our Favorite Tree-Named Musclecar
1978 Plymouth Volaré Super Coupe
In 1978, Detroit’s stripe-and-sticker game hit its peak, and Ma Mopar hatched the idea to make “Super Coupe” variants of its Volaré and Aspen F-bodies.
Starting with some whimsy from its 1960s musclecar heydey, Plymouth and Dodge gave the Super Coupes a vibrant stripe treatment along the cars’ flanks. Window louvers, a blacked out grille, and glorious fender flares helped complete the racy look.
And Mopar did keep some vestiges of performance alive, as the Super Coupes came mandatory with Chrysler’s venerable LA Small Block. You could pick a two-barrel 318, or better still, the four-barrel 360 good for about 175 horsepower—which was on par with a contemporary Camaro. (Remember, the Mustang was relegated to a subcompact at this time.)
But by this time, the unfortunate Aspen/Volaré legacy was already being written, as reliability issues were seriously driving down sales across the entire F-body family line.
All told, Mopar only cranked out about 1,000 Super Coupes, split pretty much evenly between Aspen and Volaré models.
So in either flavor, these are rare cars.
1978 Dodge Aspen A43 “Kit” Car
If seeing one super-obscure malaise-era F-body Mopar wasn’t enough—imagine seeing a Dodge Aspen roll up wearing the familiar number 43 of racing legend Richard Petty!
For starters, yes, this car left the factory this way:
The rivet-look fender flares, ducktail spoiler, “360 cu. in.” hood decal—they were all part of a limited edition A43 “Kit Car” options package. The car was created to honor Richard Petty’s return to Mopar, who was racing the full-size Dodge Magnum in NASCAR competition for 1978.
As it did with the Super Coupes, Mopar made the Kit Car A43 options package available on both the Aspen and Volaré. Outside of appearances, there were a few key differences between the Super Coupes and the A43 Kit Car.
For starters, ticking the A43 box on the options sheet made the 360 LA small block mandatory, hence the hood decal. (Just like the Super Coupes, the 360ci powerplant was making around 175 horsepower and a TorqueFlite three-speed was the sole transmission choice.)
The second, from what we can tell, is that the A43 Aspen and Volaré both came without a floor console, which meant you were shifting your NASCAR doppelganger on the column. But you did get to grip a throwback Tuff Wheel plucked from the classic E-body parts catalog.
From what we found, Mopar sold even less A43 Kit Cars than it did Super Coupes, with combined Aspen/Volaré sales falling well short of 500 units.
So this particular Aspen A43 is even more rare than the Volaré Super Coupe above.
And seeing them together in a single parking lot?
That’s something to be thankful for.