History


Thanks to Dr. Dave Zatz - for his friendly help on this next part.
He was the one, who encouraged me to start these pages.

"Chrysler introduced two new variants of the extended K-car in the late 1980s. In the US, they were called the Spirit and Acclaim. The Acclaim had a silky smooth ride and a hushed interior; the Spirit had stiffer springs and better handling. They were not superb performers, but they were the best family cars in their price range, with about the same space as a Taurus but starting at several thousand dollars less. The turbocharged Spirit R/T was a high performance sport-sedan. None received much attention, mainly because, at the time, Chrysler's PR department wasn't doing much, and their advertising was ineffectual. The Spirit/Acclaim were, in a word, under-rated, despite relatively high reliability and customer satisfaction."


THE ORIGINAL

"When Chrysler brought the car out to other nations, including Canada, it chose to drop the moderately goofy American names and use an even goofier one: Saratoga. What follows is a description of the European version of the Saratoga."




SIGN UNDER HOOD

The Chrysler Saratoga series was introduced on German market in late summer of '89.
A sign under the hood mentiones all three "A-body" family members.

The first 100 cars shipped to Europe were originally build and planned for Canada but modified for Germany. They used the Canadian model because it was already fitted with metric instruments (speed, distance, computer).

Three different types from two base models were available.

  • A 2.5 litres / 5-speed manual shifting S
  • A 2.5 litres / 5-speed manual shifting SE
  • A 3.0 litres / 4-speed automatic LE

The 2.5 litres SE type comes with no electric windows, no A/C, no e-drivers seat, no e-mirrors and no speed control - some of that were orderable extras. The S type comes with nothing at all - just a basic model. Unlike the ES/GTS-models, which have the same engine, there was no automatic transmission available in the 2.5 litres. They were always manually shifted.

The 3.0 Litres LE type comes with all the electric equipment, a radio-cassette combination with digital clock. A/C, metallic colour and a glass sunroof were the only orderable extras. At that point no airbag, no antilock brakesystem was available.

They were sold to test the market, I think, because the marketing didn't put much effort on commercials, advertises and so on - the Saratoga was an all-time-secret model, nearly unknown in Germany compared to the LeBaron series or minivans. They repeated the mistake they made in the US - the car itself could have attracted much more people - if only the customers had known about it.




The A-Body History Continues ...
... but not in the western world.

Richard Winde reported: "Just to let you know that even though they have stopped production of the Chrysler A-body (Spirit/Acclaim/Saratoga) this vehicle is going to be produced in China by the Beijing Jeep Corporation. All the tooling from the Newark, Delaware plant and the plant in Mexico is being shipped to China and production "(... will start ...)" in June of 98."

To my opinion this is a good news. The A-bodies will maybe not live forever - but will get a second chance on one of the fastest growing markets in the world.
And what was good enough for the odd Volkswagen Santana ... ? Who knows, what comes out. Maybe the Chinese know how to appreciate the quality of the A-body family.


I will track this later on and report if neccessary.
In case you have any additional info, please let me know !


Last Update 09. July 1999
© 1997 by Peter H. Wendt