We were delighted and amazed to meet lovely Keha McIlwaine the other day as she lounged behind the wheel of her 1986 Plymouth Horizon. She told us she had driven the car out to California from New York a few months back and encountered no difficulties despite the fact that the odometer is closing in on 150,000 miles. We especially like the duct tape around the parking light. This kind of ingenuity worked for Apollo 13, so it would seem a logical solution for a terrestrial vehicle with certain needs.
Plymouth Horizon and corporate twin Dodge Omni were introduced in 1978 and the same basic car stayed in production for 12 years. They were fielded by Chrysler to compete with Volkswagen’s Rabbit and, like that bunny, were powered by a transverse mounted 4-cylinder motor via front wheel drive. Most mass-produced cars these days are configured this way but the “Omnirizon” twins were the first American cars of this kind and were jointly named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1978. We salute Keha who, paradoxically, pronounces her name like a certain Korean car spelled with three letters.
Volkswagen Rabbits of this general vintage are much more plentiful than their Plymouth and Dodge counterparts so we offer two such here to underscore the point. Both of these are diesel-powered which may provide a clue to their preternatural longevity.
For quite a few model years, the Horizon co-existed with its ultimate replacement, Plymouth Sundance. We’re not sure we’d exhibit the kind of loyalty Keha has for her Horizon if we had to tango with something like this over the long haul.
Chrysler touted Horizon with lots of red, white and blue advertising such as this “The Pride Is Back” commercial that has a distinct Springsteenian undertone. The truth is that Simca, its French subsidiary, later offloaded to Peugeot, did the initial development work on this car. Let’s keep that notre petit secret, d’accord?
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