Dodge Mirada

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Dodge Mirada
1981 Dodge Mirada
ManufacturerChrysler Corporation
AssemblyWindsor, Ontario, Canada
PredecessorDodge Magnum
SuccessorDodge 600
Body style(s)2-door coupe
LayoutFR layout
Engine(s)3.7 L Slant 6 I6
5.2 L LA V8
5.9 L LA V8
Transmission(s)3-speed A727 automatic
3-speed A904 automatic
RelatedChrysler Cordoba
ManualsService Manual

The Dodge Mirada was released in 1980 as the replacement for the Dodge Magnum until its end in 1983. It was a mid-sized, rear-wheel drive coupe, and was one of the three cars based on the Chrysler J platform, with the other models being the second generation Chrysler Cordoba and the Imperial. Production numbers were very low, with just under 53,000 units sold during its lifetime. The Mirada would stay relatively unchanged during its run, with the exception of paint colors and engines. Chrysler replaced the Mirada with the 600 in 1983.


When the Mirada was introduced, it was touted as a sort of luxury coupe, with many of the luxury items found in American models during that time such as AM/FM radios with cassette players, leather upholstery, and many power options.


The Mirada was also marketed as being somewhat of a sport coupe, and was hoped by Chrysler to usher in a new era for NASCAR success, with Lee Iaccoca personally asking Richard Petty to campaign one in NASCAR. Several NASCAR teams, including Petty, built race ready test cars and tested them. The testing, particularly the Petty testing, showed the car was around 8 mph (13 km/h) slower than the other GM and Ford cars of the day, and Petty and the other drivers moved to other makes. The reason behind the slowness of the car was the visually pleasing, but un-aerodynamic nose of the car. If Dodge had spent a bit more money adding sloped/retractable headlight covers (as the recessed headlight arrangement acted like speed-breaks at high speed), the car would have been capable of competitive speeds. One NASCAR team (Arrington Racing/Buddy Arrington) however, decided to make a go of the car and campaigned it during the 1981 to 1984 racing seasons and managed 15 top-ten finishes during those years. A few other drivers (Dave Marcis in four races, and Dick May in three) ran Mirada's from time to time in 1981, but the cars either broke down, or finished several laps off the leaders. Until 1984 a Mirada might make a race here or there but when they finished they were always way off the pace.


There were three engines originally offered, with the 5.9 L V8 being dropped after 1980:

  • 3.7 L Slant 6 I6, 1-barrel carburetor, 90 hp (67 kW) @ 3600 rpm, 160 lb·ft (217 N·m) of torque at 1600 rpm (85 hp and 165 lb·ft (224 N·m) after 1980)
  • 5.2 L LA V8, 2-barrel carburetor, 120 hp (89 kW) @ 3600 rpm, 245 lb·ft (332 N·m) of torque at 1600 rpm (130 hp and 230 lb·ft (312 N·m) after 1980)
  • 5.9 L LA V8, 4-barrel carburetor, 185 hp (138 kW) @ 4000 rpm, 275 lb·ft (373 N·m) of torque at 2000 rpm

The 3.7 L engine was the standard engine in the base Mirada with the 5.2 L V8 offered as optional, and the 5.9 L V8 was only available in the Mirada CMX and only in the 1980 model. All of these engines were mated to the A904 automatic transmission except the 360, which received the beefier A727.


The suspension of the Mirada utilized transverse torsion bars in the front and leaf springs with a sway bar in the rear. A "Sport Handling Package" was offered, which included heavy-duty shock absorbers, torsion bar bushings, springs, as well as anti-sway bars in both the front and rear. The braking system used power assisted disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear.


There were several different types of rooflines offered. The base models all received a basic metal roof with a chrome beauty strip extending from the bottom of the opera windows and across the roof. Those who chose to have their Mirada look a bit sportier could opt for either a power sunroof, or a glass T-top roof; and those who wanted a more luxurious look could choose either chose a vinyl Landau roof or a Cabriolet roof, which was basically a mock convertible top. The T-tops and Landau would be offered every year except for 1983, and the Cabriolet top would be offered every year. However, the power sunroof was not very popular and was only offered for 1980 and 1981.

There were a few basic wheel options. The base models came with 15” steel wheels with turbine-like hubcaps, or polished ten-spoke, 15” aluminum wheels with painted section and bright chrome center caps.


The interior of the Mirada was offered in a variety of styles and colors, although the most common color interior was dark red. The base model dashboard was black with a faux woodgrain finish, which surrounded the gauges and center console, but the CMX came with a brushed aluminum finish replacing the woodgrain. The seat options were either vinyl bucket seats, leather bucket seats, or a 60/40 split cloth bench seat. Since the Mirada could be chosen with either a column shift or floor shift, the bench seat was only offered with the column shifter. Buyers had the choice of either an AM/FM stereo or an AM/FM/cassette stereo, an AM/FM/8-Track stereo, and a Chrysler CB radio could be chosen as well. The steering wheels offered were either an interior-matched two-spoke wheel with horn buttons in the spokes. The standard steering wheel for the CMX in 1980 and 1981 was the Mopar “Tuff Wheel”, which was strikingly similar to the sport wheel found on the vintage Mopar muscle cars such as the early 1970s Dodge Challenger. Manual windows were standard on the base model, but the power windows from the CMX could be ordered on the base models as well. A rare local option was a Cabriolet mock-convertible roof, featuring a blocked-out quarter window.