Dodge 400

The Dodge 400 was introduced in 1982, but it was quickly replaced by the midsize Dodge 600 just one year later. It was Dodge's second K-car in the early 1980s and was very similar to the Chrysler LeBaron of the same time period. Dodge was prompted to create a new model that could compete with models that were a little more luxurious. The 400 was Dodge's answer to this problem, as it was a more luxurious version of the Aries. The Dodge 400 was available in both a 2-door and a 4-door version making it versatile for the intended segment. Additionally, the release marked an important event, and that being that this was Dodge's first convertible since the 1971 Challenger. It was also the first domestically produced convertible since 1976, when Cadillac phased out the Eldorado convertible. It may seem like a lackluster automobile and really now that impressive to be manufacturing a convertible, yet this was a big move given that the convertible market had pretty much dried up. Chrysler's chairman Lee Iacocca believed he could revive the segment. Perhaps the model was doomed because it was only offered in two trims – the base and the LS. Its engines were limited to the standard 2.2 L I4 engine or an optional Mitsubishi-built 2.6 L "Silent Shaft" I4. It seems that a more powerful engine would have attracted the types of consumers who are likely to drive convertibles. No one want to have a flashy car that cannot get up and go. The convertible came with the 2.6 L engine as standard. Iacocca made things even worse for himself when in 1983, the LS trim line was dropped. That was the only major change for the year and it was not a good one. At the end of the day, total production was limited to 25,952.