Junkyard Treasure: 1986 Dodge Omni
The Dodge Omni came from one of the more interesting family trees in the automotive world; its design can be traced back to the 1975 Simca 1307/Chrysler Alpine, a car designed in France and styled in Great Britain. By the time Omnis (and their Plymouth Horizon siblings) went into production in the United States, so many changes had taken place they were more like cousins than siblings to their Talbot/Simca Horizon counterparts across the Atlantic. More than two million were sold in North America, but few remain; here’s an ’86 in Colorado that managed to avoid its final parking space until age 31.
In 1986, the cheapest possible Omni had a $6,209 list price, which comes to about $13,900 in inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars. That was about 700 bucks more than the rock-bottom-cheapest Honda Civic that year, but the Omni had four doors and 64 horsepower versus the Civic 1300’s 60 horses. The serious cheapskates didn’t mess around with such upscale luxury machines as the Omni and Civic, however, not when a Hyundai Excel sold for $4,995 new and a Yugo GV listed at a hilarious $3,990.
This car doesn’t have the base 64-horse, 1.6-liter Simca-Poissy 1.6-liter engine, though. This is the 96hp, 2.2-liter Chrysler engine. In a 2,100-pound car, that amount of power was pretty good for 1986; the nutso Omni GLH boasted a ridiculous 146 horsepower (and cost $7,918, definitely the best dollar-per-horsepower-per-pound deal that year).