Personal luxury cars were an important part of the new-car market in the early 1980s, both for sales and as image builders. Sporty two-doors loaded with luxury features drew customers into the showrooms. The Dodge brand’s all-new entry in this highly competitive segment for 1980 was the Mirada, a sleek coupe that was produced for only three years.
A bit ahead of its time, perhaps, the Mirada was lean and compact—it was 800 pounds lighter and seven inches shorter than the Magnum, Dodge’s previous model. But like any good personal luxury car, the Mirada sported a long hood, a short deck and rear-wheel drive. Buyers could choose a 225-cubic-inch Slant Six or a 318-cubic-inch V8, but only one transmission was available, a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic.
Three stylish interiors were offered—cloth and vinyl, vinyl, and leather and vinyl—with a choice of split bench seat with folding center armrest or a pair of bucket seats with a full-length console. Cars with the split bench seat were equipped with a column shift lever, while a console-mounted shifter was available with the bucket seats. Audio options included a choice of cassette or 8-track tape players, a premium speaker package with 30-watt rear amplifier, and even an in-dash CB radio.
Available only as a two-door hardtop, the Mirada was offered with a variety of roof options to provide different looks. Choices included a painted metal roof with fixed opera windows, a vinyl landau half-top, or the rare Cabriolet roof shown here. With its full-length padded vinyl cover and blocked-off opera windows, the Cabriolet was a knockout—and looked just like a real convertible from a few feet away.
While the Mirada did quite respectably in the marketplace, times and tastes were changing, and in 1983 the elegant midsize coupe was discontinued. Its replacements in the Dodge lineup, the Lancer and 600, were front-wheel-drive sedans.