• Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
The K Platform saved Chrysler from certain doom after the company's 1979 bailout by the federal government, and one of the most successful K-based vehicles was the one that spawned the American minivan craze in 1984: the original Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager. Built all the way through the 1995 model year, these K-Caravans or K-Voyagers could be purchased with a four- or five-speed manual transmission, but just a handful were sold that way. Here's an extraordinarily rare late 5-speed example, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard.



The shifter location is a little awkward, requiring the driver to reach back a bit more than would be the case in, say, a Dodge Shadow (which shared the same powertrain). It's too bad that Chrysler never offered these vans with five-on-the-tree manuals.



Even though plenty of Mitsubishi-V6-powered front-wheel-drive Chryslers of the late 1980s and early 1990s were available with manual transmissions (e.g., the Chrysler Laser/Dodge Daytona or the Plymouth Sundance/Dodge Shadow), Chrysler minivan shoppers who wanted a stickshift had to take the four-cylinder engine (either a Chrysler 2.2/2.5 or, in the early years, a Mitsubishi 2.6 Astron).



This one has the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine that went into so many Plymouth Acclaims and Chrysler LeBarons. In 1995, it was rated at 100 horsepower, which made for stately acceleration with a full load of passengers. For the 1989 and 1990 model years, a 150-horse turbocharged Chrysler 2.5 with 5-speed was the high-performance minivan setup... and you should let us know if you find a factory-built one.



This is only the second example of a manual-trans-equipped 1990s Chrysler minivan I have found in the junkyard (the first was this '93 Voyager), and both vans were lightly-optioned El Cheapo models with cloth seats and hand-crank windows; the manual transmission was a bit cheaper than the automatic in those days. At least this one has air conditioning.



Advertising for these minivans tended to focus on price, price, price.

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