One of the greatest mass-market automobile products of all time, the 1983 Chrysler Voyager, came about not by accident, but out of accidental necessity. Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 80s, and was saved at the last minute by a government loan, something never seen before in the USA, but often since, to disastrous effect. Anyways, Chrysler had this one chance to save their skin, and they bet the farm on the K-Car. We laugh at it now, and deservedly so, as it was by all account a terrible vehicle, but it was cheap and sold well. The Voyager, which was based on it, was the surprise hit of the bunch, and at first Chrysler couldn’t build them fast enough. A scaled-down minivan, it was modern of design, incredibly roomy and offered car-like driving characteristics, rather than a top-heavy truck experience, a complete novelty, and an idea whose time had come.
The Chrysler Voyager was powered by an unexciting but potent 3.3-liter V6, that churned out 150 boring horsepower. Top speed was 107 miles per hour, and 0-60 acceleration was about 13 seconds. It’s not that the Voyager didn’t have performance; it wasn’t that bad. Remember that it was built on a K-Car platform, and those were not known for their driving excitement, with one notable exception, and – hint – it’s not the Voyager.
One of the greatest success stories of all time, the 1983 Chrysler Voyager practically invented a whole new market segment all by itself, one that every car manufacturer in the world is still happily riding. Well done!