Plymouth Caravelle

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Plymouth Caravelle
Plymouth Caravelle, 83-85.png
ManufacturerPlymouth (Chrysler)
Production1985–1988 (U.S.)
1983–1988 (Canada)
AssemblyJefferson Avenue Assembly, Detroit, Michigan (U.S.)
Body and chassis
Body style4-door sedan
2-door coupe
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
PlatformE-body (Sedan)
K-body (Coupe)
RelatedChrysler New Yorker
Dodge 600
Engine2.2 L K I4
2.2 L Turbo I I4
2.5 L K I4
2.6 L Mitsubishi G54B I4
Transmission5-speed A520 manual
5-speed A525 manual
3-speed A413 automatic
3-speed A470 automatic
Wheelbase103.3 in (2,624 mm)
Length185.2 in (4,704 mm)
Width68.0 in (1,727 mm)
Height53.1 in (1,349 mm)
Curb weight2,598 lb (1,178 kg)
PredecessorChrysler E-Class
SuccessorPlymouth Acclaim

The Plymouth Caravelle is a mid-size sedan that was introduced by Plymouth as a 1983 Canadian model. The Caravelle came to the United States in 1985 to replace the Chrysler E-Class. It was essentially identical to the concurrent Dodge 600. It was replaced by the Plymouth Acclaim in 1989. The Caravelle was Plymouth's first front wheel drive mid-size sedan.

The name of the vehicle was inspired by the word Caravel, a 15th-century sailing ship used by the Portuguese; the ship was noted for its speed and agility.

United States[edit]

1988 Plymouth Caravelle SE

For 1985, Chrysler dropped its unsuccessful entry-level variant of the E platform, the Chrysler E-Class (the idea of a more mainstream Chrysler was not well received by consumers). Even though the Dodge 600 was mainstream, Dodges were not generally sold with Chryslers, so rather than only having the upscale New Yorker on Chrysler-Plymouth dealer lots, the former E-class was given a new grille, and thus the U.S. Caravelle was born. This model was slotted between the compact Reliant K and the large rear-wheel drive Gran Fury.

For its first year the Caravelle came in one trim level with a number of standard features, the Caravelle SE. These standard features including: AM/FM stereo, power windows, power locks, power adjustable mirrors, deck lid release, cruise control, air conditioning, and a 50/50 split front bench seat, with dual recliners. For 1986, the Caravelle was given a facelift, which rounded many of the sharp angles, giving it a more aerodynamic appearance. Also from 1986 onward, a base model was offered, without some of the standard features of the "SE". The Caravelle continued in the U.S. until 1988, when it was replaced by the new A body Acclaim for 1989. Unlike the identical Canadian Caravelle, a 2-door coupe model was never offered in the U.S.


  • 2.2L I4 - 96 hp (72 kW) and 119 ft⋅lbf (161 N⋅m) of torque - 1985-1988
  • 2.2L I4 Turbo - 146 hp (109 kW) and 168 ft⋅lbf (228 N⋅m) of torque - 1985-1988
  • 2.5L I4 - 100 hp (75 kW) and 136 ft⋅lbf (184 N⋅m) of torque - 1986-1988
  • 2.6L I4 - 1986 (replaced by Chrysler's 2.5 L engine)

Trim levels[edit]

Trim levels for U.S. version, 1985-1988

  • SE - 1985-1988
  • base - 1986-1988

Production figures for U.S. version:

Year Units
1985 39,971
1986 34,352
1987 42,465
1988 16,889

Figures obtained from Encyclopedia of American Cars


In Canada, the Caravelle first appeared for the 1978 model year as a version of the Dodge Diplomat for Canadian Chrysler-Plymouth dealers.[1] As all Chrysler Canada dealers sold Chryslers, only the top of the line LeBaron was sold in Canada, and the Diplomat and Caravelle did not offer the top line models. The top of the range Caravalle was approximately $670 cheaper than the LeBaron.[1]. Between 1978 and mid-1981, all Caravelles were built at the Chrysler plant in St Louis.[1] In 1983, Chrysler Canada added the E-body version of the Dodge 600, also offering it as a Plymouth Caravelle. The rear wheel drive Caravelle then became the Caravelle Salon, rather than taking the American "Gran Fury" name. Also in 1983, Chrysler Canada added a Caravelle version of the Dodge 400 2-door coupe. Thus the Caravelle came in three sizes based on three platforms - K, E, and M.

The coupe was dropped after 1986 while sedan production came to an end in 1988. Like the U.S. version, the Canadian Caravelle was replaced by the Plymouth Acclaim for 1989. The Caravelle Salon, which was the original rear wheel drive version, survived until 1989.


  1. ^ a b c Zavitz, Perry (1985). Canadian Cars, 1946-1984. Baltimore: Bookman Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 0934780439.
  • - Plymouth Caravelle front wheel drive
  • - Plymouth Caravelle Salon rear wheel drive