Thirty years ago, Dodge showcased its track-focused direction by installing performance equipment onto a car that most people would not have considered in any way to be a sports car.
“When we bought Dorothy, we were looking for a used four-door with a 5-speed, the seller says. “Little did we know that she was a unicorn.”
The seller goes on to describe the important distinctions between this Dodge Spirit and its more-plebian siblings. “I have never seen another and have only met one or two folks that have.”
Introduced for the 1989 model year, the midsize Dodge Spirit four-door sedan shared basic design with its counterparts on the Chrysler AA platform – namely, the Chrysler LeBaron and the Plymouth Acclaim. The chassis was derived from the ubiquitous K-cars of the 1980s, but this one had special sauce.
Engineers at Dodge were eager to elevate the power and performance of the brand during that era, as seen in such other models as the Viper R/T10 and the Stealth R/T sportscars. That R/T nomenclature, by the way, stood for Road & Track – a designation that became synonymous with cars that were as capable in a performance driving situation as they were in a day-to-day commute.
With that in mind, the Spirit R/T, offered only in 1991 and 1992, went from a plain-Jane sedan to a car that could clock zero to 60 in fewer than six seconds and was crowned Motor Trend’s Domestic Sport Sedan of the Year. The Dodge Spirit R/T beat out such venerable performance-tweaked cars as the Chevrolet Lumina Z34 and the Ford Taurus SHO.
The secret to the Spirit’s success came under the hood, where Dodge outfitted the R/T models with a turbocharged 2.2-liter DOHC inline-four that was developed in collaboration with Lotus. Output was impressive for its time, rated at 224 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque.
Putting that torque to the front wheels was a Getrag-supplied 5-speed manual, and braking came via four-wheel discs. During its time, an equipment list like this was normally reserved for sports cars.
Only about 1,400 Spirit R/Ts were produced across the Dodge’s two model years, and Dorothy is perhaps one of the best-preserved on the market. “Everything on the car works,” the listing states.
Maintenance over the seller’s ownership of the Dodge has been extensive, the listing adds, with service items including work to the transmission, air-conditioning system, cooling system, drive shafts, timing belt and audio.
“Our desire for Dorothy is to find a home that will appreciate what she is and enjoy her,” the seller concludes, revealing a special fondness for the bright red sedan.
The seller is asking $9,000 for this special Dodge Spirit.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.