• 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
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
Chrysler was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy in the late 1970s, but a government bailout kept the company on life support long enough for the new K platform to hit the marketplace in 1981 and turn things around. The Reliant was Plymouth's K-Car, available in coupe, sedan, convertible, and wagon form and built all the way through 1995; here's a woodie version of the '86 wagon, spotted in a self-service wrecking yard in California's Central Valley.

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Decal-based fake wood had become so acceptable on cars, home appliances, and audio equipment by the middle 1980s that few thought to question the even-more-phony-looking-than-usual "wood" on Chrysler's wagons of the era.



Inside, plenty more of the products of the Enchanted Plastic Forest may be seen.



Reliant buyers in 1986 could choose between a 2.2-liter Chrysler four rated at 97 horsepower and a slightly torquier 2.5 liter version rated at 100 horsepower (the Mitsubishi 2.6 Astron engine— a turbocharged version of which was used in the famous Mitsubishi Starion— was discontinued for the Reliant after the 1985 model year). This car has the 2.5.



I have had many miserable experiences with a 1986 Reliant wagon, so I feel incapable of delivering an objective opinion of this automobile. It was affordable and sold well during its heyday, and that's what matters.



Just the car for a trip to McDonald's.

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