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1981 Dodge Omni 024
 (Charger 2.2)


Another of my dad's cars which he originally bought new, in the Summer of '81, for my mom. I can't say this was a great car, as there were several problems. This was the first year for this model, so I put those down to that, but overall a fairly reliable car.

There was an early problem with the front disc brakes going bad around 20,000 miles. The coil springs were too weak and the tires slightly too wide, which combined caused premature wear of the rear tire inner side walls (due to rubbing against the spring) which had to be replaced at the same time. The rear catalytic converter air hose connection rotted off at about 30,000 miles, making a heck of a racket and causing carbon monoxide to get into the passenger compartment. Interestingly this particular car came from the factory with no muffler? Just a front and rear catalytic converter and a 3x24" resonator pipe at the back end. Which puzzled the guys at Midas almost as much as it did me. Oh, and the infamous leaking head gasket, which allows oil to seep from the engine, needless to say there was no reason to try to keep the engine clean. Along with the ashtray that never was quite straight in the dash. I replaced the very dim stock headlamps with halogen units. In twenty years other things needing replaced was a couple bulbs, batteries, tires (good traction, but soft), fan belt, metal fuel line (from pump to carb) and a strut on the hatch. (Well, there was the busted side window, but that's another story.)

This little car could really take curves and corners, and on one occasion annoyed the f*** out of a guy in a hot rod V8 Ford Mustang, when I beat him from traffic light to light for three blocks one night though town (surprised me too). Not a real powerful engine, but with a decent power to weight ratio and gearing this car did have its moments. In snow the combination of front wheel drive and soft Goodyear Eagle radials provided excellent traction, especial during hard stops, but icy surfaces were a bit iffy, depending on the conditions. Rough roads made the ride a bit harsh, which considering the tight suspension and short wheelbase could be expected. Had an interesting fishtail effect on gravel roads at speeds over 45 mph.
For it's small dimensions it is actually pretty roomy up front, but not so good in the back seat with minimal leg and headroom. It's fold down rear bench seat and hatch area made an ample cargo area. The fact that it was classified as an economy car, by the insurance company, didn't hurt either. However, the rates have steadily crept up as it has gotten older (perhaps just normal inflation).

In 1999 the exterior passenger door latch broke, combined with an earlier malfunctioning driver door lock, entry had to be gained by opening the hatch, pulling a string attached to the interior passenger door release lever then unlocking the driver door from the passenger seat. In 2000 it started leaking anti freeze from under the dash, then in 2001 it refused to start leaving me stranded, probably just the starter, but my personal situation had changed and I needed a more reliable vehicle.

It still has reasonably low mileage about 60,000 miles (40,000+ with me driving). For an old car, it has very little signs of deterioration, due in part to the extensive use of zinc plated body panels.

Currently rotting in the back yard.



interior (D-50 in background) [mid '80s] - 49 KB   front ['02] - 49 KB   rear driver side ['02] - 64 KB
click thumbnail to view larger





SPECIFICATIONS
2.2 Liter 4 cylinder
    Horsepower: 84@4800 rpm
    Torque: 111@2800 rpm

    Gear Ratios:




DIMENSIONS (inches) & WEIGHT
Curb weight: 2,244 pounds

Wheelbase: 96.6
Track, f/r: 56.1/55.6
Length: 174.0
Width: 66.7
Height: 50.8




ORIGINAL OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT
Charger 2.2 package:
        2.2 Liter engine, higher gear ratio, ground effects, body effects, custom striping & interior, tinted glass,
        14" alloy wheels w/ P195/60 R14 85T Goodyear Eagle GT radial tires
Power steering
Power brakes (front disk, rear drum)
Automatic transmission (3 speed w/ floor shift)
AM/FM radio w/4 speakers

MODIFICATIONS
Right rear view mirror
Vacuum guage (hood mounted)
Stick-on convex mirror (left side)
Clarion AM/FM cassette and Pioneer speakers
Halogen headlights
Prismatic lettering "WITCH HUNTER" (air damn)
(2) 100 w driving lights 5"
(2) 55w fog lights 3x6"
Alternating/flashing/on headlight control box (home made)
Relm two-way VHF radio w/ dual 1/4 wave antenna
1/4 wave CB whip antenna mount on rear bumper
(2) red biscuit brake lights (beside license plate)
(6) assorted switched marker/running lights
Burglar alarm (home made)
Mud flaps
Drag straps (a bungee tie down strap cut in half)
Aluminum rear window louvers
Windshield tinted sun screen: "DODGE"
Window tint: reflective on rear quarter windows
Replaced dome light with dual swivel aircraft unit
Brake/tail/turn bulbs in empty inner tail light housings (two bee hive marker lamps w/o the covers)
Removed under hood sound deadening pad (added about 10 lbs. to weight of hood when wet)
Pin striping: black on hood
Reflective tape (red, white, yellow, red/white, orange/black)
Reflective license plate screws
Removable headlight covers (red, blue, yellow & smoke)

PERFORMANCE
Fuel economy: 22 - 27 mpg
Range (per tankful): 300 miles approx.
Top speed: unknown? estimated at about 90 - 100 mph


Purchase price 1981:     approx. $7,700.00



Original music in MIDI and MP3 files, Comanche Gold & U.S. Navy Fighters Gold missions, Need for Speed 3 cars, MS Flight Simulator aircraft textures, Steel Panthers II maps, web graphics
Other vehicles you'll find on this site

    2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT sedan
    1984 Dodge Ram D-50
pickup
    197? Yamaha DT-250D Enduro motorcycle
    1973 Dodge Charger
    1973 Dodge D-300 Tradesman maxi van
    1970 Dodge Challenger

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