Here it is folks. The holy grail of the D50/Mighty Max/Arrow family. This isn’t some customized fixed up truck, it is all original. The spoked wheels, the f*&#ing awesome decal package, the push bar, and the sunroof are all factory options. This particular truck has less than 60,000 miles and is nearly perfectly preserved.
Good news! It is for sale!
As I sit at my computer, writing this entry, it is Sunday. I am fully confident that I will not have brought this truck to your attention too late by delaying the posting time by 5 days. Why? It is currently priced at $17,888.00. Is this truck worth that price? Perhaps in 20 more years if it still looks this good…ah, who am I kidding?
Now just because the price is just north of beer-at-a-rock-concert insane doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate this truck for its charms. Let’s start by learning more about the first generation Mitsu-chrysler trucks in general.
The Plymouth Arrow, Dodge D-50, and later, the Mitsubishi Mighty Max were all the same truck. They were built by Mitsubishi and imported by Dodge and Plymouth to compete in the burgeoning small truck market. Ford had been selling the Mazda-built Courier since 1971 and Chevrolet introduced the Isuzu-based LUV (Light Utility Vehicle) in 1972. Both Ford and Chevrolet were responding the the unforeseen popularity of the Datsun and Toyota pickups of the ‘60s. Dodge, as was the case throughout the ‘70s, was years late to the party. But when they joined in, it was with style.
The year was 1979 when Dodge introduced the D50 (later the Ram 50, which I suppose sounded tougher) and Plymouth introduced the Arrow. Those of you who love late ’70s Plymouths may remember that Plymouth also had a car called the Arrow. The two Arrows were related in that they were both re-branded Mitsubishi products with rear wheel drive, but the reason to name both the car and the subsequent truck the same is unknown. The two even shared the exact same fender badges. I digress…
The Arrow (and D50) was somewhat innovative in that it was offered with many options, allowing buyers to purchase a truck that was much closer to a car-like vehicle than most others had been. Today’s truck market demonstrates that there is certainly a demand for car-like trucks. Buyers just had to check the “Sport” option box on the invoice to get the most desirable options. The buyer of this example did just that.
The differences between the regular Arrow and the Arrow Sport were significant. The standard version had a 2.0l engine and a 4 speed, the Sport a 2.6l and a 5 speed. The Sport had a tachometer, a floor console with gauges instead of dash-mounted idiot lights, an upgraded steering wheel, nifty two-tone bucket seats, door-mounted speakers, carpet, and some of the greatest striping options ever to have existed. Also, the spoked, striping-colored wheels shown here came with the Sport option. Another rare option was the sporty, molded plastic door mirrors.
This particular example also boasts the factory original push bumper (nice for protecting the paper-thin front valance), full body decals, and sunroof.
Today, the first generation D50/Arrow/Mighty Max has a fierce following of about 25 people. They are a dedicated lot, but not, in my opinion, dedicated to the point of shelling out 18 grand for even the nicest of Arrows. In case I am wrong and you want to buy it (or just see more great photos of it), click here for the ad on CatsExotics.com
[Note: Technically, this example is not the "Holy Grail" of first-gen Arrows as I mentioned before (that was for literary effect). The actual holder of that title is the very rare two-tone 1979 first year edition. A handful of Arrows were sold in this Arrow-shaped paint pattern - yellow if Plymouth, red if Dodge - and matte black. They were only available for one year because of the added expense in production.]
These days, it is hard to even find a photo of one.
Scott Ith is an Associate Editor with Hooniverse.com, but he also contributes to his own site NeedThatCar.com. Head over there for more hooniganism.