1979: The Dodge Omni 024 beats Camaro, Capri and Celica
Once Chrysler was able to use its Rootes Group/Simca/Chrysler Europe resources to develop a small car that would sell in the United States, the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon began rolling out of American showrooms in large numbers in 1978 (a process helped along a bit later by ever-increasing fuel prices). The success of the “Omnirizon” couldn’t have come at a better time for Chrysler, and in 1979, the Omni-based Dodge 024/Plymouth TC3 were added to the mix. Here’s a 1979 magazine advertisement for the first-year Dodge Omni 024.
The standard AM/FM radio was a pretty big deal in 1979; this option cost hundreds of dollars in other cars. Photo by Chrysler Corporation
The $5,123 list price of the 024 shown here translates to about $18,300 in inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars. The price gap between this car and the Scirocco, RX-7, Celica and Accord comes to about three grand today, so the 024 was quite a deal. With just 70 hp from the 1.7-liter Volkswagen engine under the 024’s hood, though, those other cars were way more fun to drive.