Saturday, November 3, 2018

1971 Plymouth Cricket

I've written about Plymouth Crickets in the past. Since history hasn't changed, I've copied some of my text from a post I did 5 years ago...

Developed and built in the UK by the Rootes Group, the Cricket was known as the Hillman Avenger throughout most of the world.

Chrysler saw the Cricket as a competitor to the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto. Chrysler, besides changing the name, tweaked the Avenger for the US market. A 1.5 liter engine, front disc brakes and quad headlamps - options in other countries - were standard. Side marker lights and high back bucket seats were added to meet US safety regulations.

Sales of the Cricket never came close to those of the Pinto and Vega. In 1971, Ford sold over 350,000 Pintos. Chevy sold around 275,000 Vegas. Chrysler sold just 27,682 Crickets.

The Cricket had build quality issues, which were exacerbated by poor parts supplies and dealership mechanics having little or no knowledge about the car. In 1972, sales fell by half. By the middle of 1973 the Cricket was gone.

Worldwide, the Avenger was a success. Close to three quarters of a million cars were sold. Production in the UK ended in 1981. After Volkswagen bought Chrysler's factories in Argentina, they continued to build the Avenger and sold it as the Volkswagen Dodge 1500. Production ended in 1990.

Looking back, the Cricket wasn't a bad car. Its performance and style were better than or on par with many of the imported economy cars of the day. Poor build quality, lack of interest by its dealers, a sense of national pride about the Pinto and Vega (Yep, America was once proud of those cars), and the rise of the Japanese brands in the US doomed it.

According to the seller, this Cricket was last registered in 1975 and spent the last 35 years parked in a garage in South Dakota. It looks like it also spent some time in Iowa and now has a North Carolina title. Despite having traveled to at least 3 states, the seller says it has just 22,000 miles on it. He says it "runs and drives."

This Cricket looks to be in good shape. It comes with a dual carb set up and some headers, neither of which are installed. The downside here is the car is an automatic. Even with the carbs and header installed, this is not going to be a quick car.

The seller does not list a price in his ad. He also states things like "one of a kind rare car, add to your collection!" and "I will not be giving this car away!!" It makes me think that he wants some serious money for this car. As cool and as rare as they are, they are not worth a ton of money. But, if you're in the market for an obscure British car, it might be worth calling on this one.

Located in Garner N.C., click here to see the Craigslist ad.


pickles said...

Did you know about the VW version? What a surprise...

Just A Car Geek said...

Hey Pickles! _ Yeah, I've seen that. An English engineered car built by Germans in Brazil. I think I need to own one!