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Mopar F/J/M Bodies
The American automotive industry has been dominated by three companies: General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. These companies all have their roots in Detroit back in the early part of the twentieth century and have grown into massive corporations that are competing not just against each other but against innovative Japanese automakers. While being big has given these companies a big advantage, all of these automakers had to find different ways to innovate while creating great cars that will make their customers happy.
One of the biggest innovations that Chrysler has made is by providing precious resources to their automobile parts and service division Ė mopar. Short form for motor parts, mopar performance has become the stuff of legends. Car enthusiasts swear by the quality of mopar parts and itís true that mopar parts like the 426 hemi have become part of automotive lore. With such an impeccable reputation for producing fantastic moparts, we will examine the F body vehicles, J body vehicles, and M body vehicles that mopar produced for Chrysler vehicles. Remember that Chrysler is also the parent company for such revered automakers as American Motors Corporation (AMC), Dodge, DeSoto, Imperial, Jeep, Mercedes Benz, and Plymouth.
Mopar F Body
The automotive industry is a fascinating one and not for the faint of heart. Considering how many competing automakers out there and how high the expectations of car lovers are, it would be foolish for automakers to stay stagnant. Despite enjoying popular success with their A body platform (which was used in classic cars like the Plymouth Barracuda, Dodge Dart, and the Plymouth Valiant), Chrysler started thinking about replacing the popular body line with a new body line.
Tapping into the resources of their mopar department, Chrysler came up with the new F body platform that was released in 1976. While the Chrysler f body platform mirrored the A bodies with the car noses, the cars that were part of the platform featured a more refined look. The F body cars contained longer wheelbases, brand new suspensions, front anti-sway bars, front disc brakes, and iso-clamp cushioned rear suspension. The F body platform was introduced with the release of the Dodge Aspen and the Plymouth Volare. These cars were critically acclaimed, which is evident in their being awarded Cars of the Year by Car and Driver in 1976.
However, Chrysler jumped the gun a bit with their F body platform by introducing it too early. When the public got their hands on these cars, they found that the mopar f body cars had some quality issues such as fenders that rusted quickly and a rough idle. Recognizing the publicís complaints, daimler chryslerís mopar department worked diligently to create new mopar parts that would solve these problems.
While Chrysler continued to believe strongly in the viability of their f body cars by releasing cars like the Diplomat and continuing the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare lines up to 1980, the damage had already been done. Although Chrysler insisted that the bugs in the F body platform had been solved, the publicís faith was broken.
Despite offering ďSuper PakĒ and ďSports PakĒ options and adding stylistic revisions in 1978 to their f body cars, the public was wary of purchasing F body cars. Considering the significant cost of purchasing a car, it was perfectly understandable that car buyers were hesitant in investing in Chrysler f body cars that had been justifiably criticized when they were first released. Faced with an indifferent marketplace, Chrysler discontinued the f body platform in 1980.
Mopar J Body
When Chrysler decided to overhaul the platform of their two door cars, they came up with the J body. Similar in style to their F body platform and their M body platform, the Mopar J body contained traits like traverse torsion bar suspension. Introduced in 1980, the mopar j body was used in the Chrysler Cordoba and the Dodge Mirada.
These j body vehicles were powered with a slant 6 engine and came with limited transmission options. In 1981, Chrysler would introduce the Imperial that would be the third car that was based on the J body platform. With the exception of the Imperial, Chryslerís j body cars contained the Lean Bean computer and were equipped with a Feedback carburetor. Letís just say that these features werenít exactly moparís finest products and many mopar j body enthusiasts prefer to replace these features. Eventually, Chrysler would move away from the J body platform and the mopar j body line was discontinued in 1983.
Mopar M body
Chrysler was in a bit of a pickle Ė they had made a mistake by rushing cars that used the F body platform onto the marketplace when they were still flawed, yet they believed strongly in the mopar j body platform. Recognizing that it was a Herculean task to change car buyerís minds about the quality of the J body platform, mopar quickly went to work in crafting the mopar m body platform.
Almost identical to the mopar f body platform, Chryslerís M body line was introduced in 1977. Representing the last passenger car that utilized semi-elliptical leaf springs in America, the mopar m body platform was a resounding success. The m body was used for the basis of popular cars like the Dodge Diplmoat, Plymouth Gran Fury, and the Chrysler LeBaron, Chrysler New Yorker, Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue, and Chrysler Town and Country station wagon, . Equipped with either the slant 6 engine, the 318 engine, or the 360 V8 engine, the mopar m body line was widely recognized as a considerable success. It would even be used extensively in police vehicles.
The success of the mopar m body line was excellent validation for the engineers that worked diligently in Chryslerís MoPar division. Considering the legacy that mopar had developed in the late 1960s and 1970s with their muscle car innovations like the 426 hemi, the success of the mopar m body platform ensured that Chrysler could continue to rely on their trusted mopar name.