Nostalgia... This model belongs to the standard category Class E. Produced in
1977 and as of 1984 no long available with a 6 cylinder engine. Made in
the U.S.A. at the St. Louis factory, Missouri. There are still enough fans around willing to buy large old V8 powered
barges that a majority of American manufacturers let their long-paid-for
assembly lines churn them out. At Chrysler that means the Fifth Avenue,
Diplomat and Caravelle sedan or the Fury. The 3 models which differ primarily
in details of engineering and equipment level are about the last representatives
of this endangered species. If the Fifth Avenue is a luxury car,
the Diplomat and Caravelle are very ordinary, destined primarily for public
service and business parking lots. Nothing other than the public purse
can pay for the luxury of their prohibitive consumption today...Perhaps
that explains some of the huge deficits...
Driving. Incongruous driving position, light and overassisted
steering unpredictable brakes, poor controls, purely symbolic instruments,
driveability that barely permits exiting from a freeway - are the
lot of this type of automobile born as it was in the pre-history of the
North American continent. Their performance, like their fuel consumption,
has nothing to do with other cars produced today. The same goes for their
brick-like aerodynamic shape. They lean a great deal while cornering and
suffer from excessive understeer. Attempting to maintain a straight line
on rough roads is so risky that you are obliged to reduce speed. Blessed
with such interesting handling characteristics you really must order heavy
duty suspension or run the risk of dragging the rear bumper over high bumps.
For those who are really into this era, they constitute the last chance
to acquire your very own piece of the American saga, cheap. In fact, in
a few years time they may be much more expensive to obtain as replicars...
Comfort/Convenience. The charm of the Diplomat
and Caravelle Sedans rests, without doubt, in the fact that an entire family
can be carried aboard and that the trunk can be used as a bedroom for 2
children. The overall silence of operation accompanied with the gentle
swaying of the suspension guarantees them a nice deep sleep along the summer
vacation drives (to the great joy of the parents). No interior storage
space worthy of the name has ever been included in the interior of this
type of car where the ash tray is situated so far from the driver that
it's easier to flick the ashes out the window. In fact they really are
ideal cars for going to church on Sunday because the seats in either place
are about as comfortable...
Conclusion. Finally, if you rummage around enough you can find
one or two amusing arguments for acquiring one of these cars without appearing
to be a little bit stupid...