Introduced in 1982, the Dodge 400 was our entry in a new compact luxury class that emerged in the 1980s. “Owning one is like owning the road, ” the Dodge ads boasted.
The 400 shared its basic K-car architecture with the Dodge Aries, the hot-selling front-drive compact sedan, but featured additional structure and enhancements that earned it the name “Super K” from the Dodge engineering team. Extra sound insulation and other measures were employed to make the ride as plush and quiet as possible, all in an effort to give buyers a luxury-car experience in a compact package.
Additional luxury appointments included premium upholstery materials, wood-grain interior trim and thick-pile carpeting. An optional LS package added even more features, including crushed velvet seats, a digital clock and a custom steering wheel. There were two available engines (a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and a 2.6-liter Silent Shaft four-cylinder) but just one transmission (a three-speed automatic).
A stylish two-door coupe (shown) and four-door sedan were the two available body styles for the Dodge 440, both featuring thickly padded vinyl tops as standard equipment. Halfway through the model year, a two-door, four-passenger convertible was introduced, which drew considerable media attention, as convertibles were extremely rare at the time.
The 400 proved to be quite successful for Dodge in the compact luxury class—so successful, in fact, that the coupe and convertible models were moved upmarket the following year to become part of the Dodge 600 mid-sized line. So this Dodge was badged as both a 400 and a 600, but in either form, offered buyers great value for their dollar.
Did you own one of these classic Dodge vehicles?