Eagle Premier — The Accidental Dodge

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1988-92 Eagle Premier, Dodge Monaco, and 1988-89 Medallion

American Motors (AMC), while owned by noted that Grand buyers had the highest average of any American-made car or truck — around per year, in the 1980s. The Jeep a more modest vehicle fewer creature comforts, a buyer base with an income of around $50,000, to the Cadillac Deville. As Dan Minick

Chrysler saw that the people who these vehicles didn’t Chryslers or even Lincolns in the next to the Jeep. Volvo, Audi, etc were the garage of the Cherokees and Grand Wagoneers. said, why can’t we provide a car those people would buying while they’re at the dealer instead of losing sales to Volvo, Audi,

If Jeep is attracting those of buyers, why can’t we do the same a car line? That is what the was supposed to do, and the Vision, and the 300M was originally going to be an Eagle).

Bob wrote: Renault fronted the for the Premiere, but it was never sold as other than an AMC car. The 21 was nothing like the Premiere. The R25 was (to be) as the basis of the two door Premier, but not the door.

The four door was a US completely.

AMC was, at the time, by Renault, which made a car in the size: the Renault 25. This AMC with the basic dimensions and for the car they would develop using parts and designs Renault as needed, in the same way had, in the past, built GM, and Ford components into

Thus, the engine was the “Douvrin” 90° V6 and built by PRV, the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo venture; the multiple-point-injected 3-liter produced 150 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 171 of torque at 3,600 rpm, higher than the 3.0 liter V6 used by Chrysler at the time. ZF, a transmission maker which supplies BMW and other companies, a four-speed automatic transmission for the V6, at a when Chrysler was still on three-speeds in every vehicle. the V6, the Premier did 0-60 in a respectable, for the ten seconds flat, according to releases of the time.

The electronics from Renault and Bendix (Renix), with a self-diagnosing an exclusive for that time Gaston Chouinard). The interior was by AMC, working under Teague; it had numerous unique some better than To go through the various vent one had to use an up-down button, a non-ergonomic today used by General in some vehicles.

Most of the were in two pods, one on the right and one on the the latter included lights and More useful was the computer climate system, which off on blowing the heater fan until the core had warmed up.

The base model AMC — — Eagle Premier did not use the European V6, but instead used own, reliable and powerful 2.5 four-cylinder. It had electronic fuel with a single throttle-body and produced 111 horsepower and 142 lb-ft of it had a different (AR4) four-speed With that engine, the did 0-60 in a respectable (for the 11.5 seconds.

Famed chief Francois Castaing a north-south engine configuration, most front-wheel-drive cars an east-west configuration; the north-south was similar to that used by rear-wheel-drive cars, and could allowed for the Premier to be sold in wheel drive form.

The five- passenger front-wheel-drive Premier ended up being a between a sleek European car and a spacious American sedan. in Bramalea (Ontario), it was the roomiest car in its and quite aerodynamic — more so the Ford Taurus, more so any Chrysler Corporation product 1971, with a drag of 0.31.

The front suspension MacPherson struts, the independent suspension was a unique AMC design by AMC suspension engineer Bob Batchelor incorporated torsion bars. design was a transverse-mount system, but who had come from Chrysler and had the M-body system, had learned the problems with that Bob Sheaves wrote:

Chrysler longitudinal torsion bars a high science, but the transverse of the M-body (when used in service) had an annoying tendency to the front suspension to lose whenever a curb was hit. The engineer (Bob Batchelor) for the M-body design corrected the on the [Eagle] Premier. in that the were folded together a single, more compact that was more rigid in and smoother riding, due to lower and greater travel.

The Premier for its size, the lightest car that built at the time (shipping of 2999 lbs.), and the stiffest and the best riding (almost 8.7 of wheel travel vs. 4.5 for the K cars).

The of the LX featured standard six-passenger with bench seats in front and rear. The standard automatic transmissions were operated using a column The ES models had seating for five, buckets in front in place of the

These buckets seats optional in the LX, and a console mounted shift was optional in both LX and ES.

The Renault-badged Premier was to join the and Encore in AMC showrooms, perhaps an odd given that AMC was more associated with Jeep, and had the primary engineering force the car. A coupe (to be called and wagon were planned, with a manual-transmission version. events were unfolding would change AMC’s

Chrysler makes its mark on the Premier”

With AMC’s low and the inability of Renault to make in the United States worthwhile, the company started casting for a buyer. AMC had signed an agreement Chrysler to build its M-body in Kenosha, where they out their days, but sought in Asia and Europe, as well as America.

Chrysler bought AMC, and said it was to acquire Jeep; but might have had other including seeing a bargain and to revitalize its own engineering and manufacturing AMC had been able to move and could create a new car for much money than the Big Three.

engineering was revolutionized as Francois took over as Chrysler’s engineer; he quickly instituted fast, efficient engineering resulting in a complete renewal of product line and massive from 1992 until took over financial Chrysler credited the changes to a team of engineers who had visited facilities, but most of the results due to Francois Castaing’s standard operandi.

One could argue AMC’s engineering team have been worth the price, with or without And Jeep was on a roll: the Grand was about to be supplanted by the presumably-cheaper-to-make Cherokee.

Chrysler dropped the AMC and brands and created a new brand as AMC had done with Hudson and Eagle, named after compact 4×4, which its days as the Eagle Eagle. The Premier was hastily rebadged to Premier.

Chrysler’s marketing seemed unsure what to do the new lines, and much as they had the images of Plymouth, Dodge, and they essentially demolished the AMC plans to make the Premier a car that would share a with wealthy buyers’ Grand and Cherokees. As Dan Minick wrote, was thrown together with:

a 4×4 AMC, the Eagle, in its and final year, with a engine;

a low-end Mitsubishi Eagle Summit, also as the Colt Wagon and Mitsubishi — a stopgap to capture returning and Encore owners for a few years; and

the R21, badged Eagle which had to be sold by Chrysler due to provisions with Renault; to be it could have been elsewhere.

In later years, a Mitsubishi sports car, the (Mitsubish Eclipse / Plymouth

Would buyers of prestige would want to buy a car that its nameplate in that motley The evidence shows they did AMC targeted 260,000 sales for the but only around 140,000 sold during its full run, from 1988 to a 1992, even after added a version.

Part of the was marketing, even outside of the fiasco. Dan Minick wrote: Eagle Premier was unsure of its mission was. Chrysler the low line models against and the ES and Limited against Acura and

Confusion reigned because of Eagle ended up competing corresponding Chrysler and Dodge

The Eagle Premier and Dodge

Sales started slow, because Eagle dealers selling odds and ends at the While the Premier, in LX and ES form, was to be a car-companion to Jeep, attracting buyers, its stablemates defeated the and in its first year, 45,546 were built. The four-cylinder 2,858 pounds, the V6 2,960; compared with the 1988 Eagle, which was smaller and weighed 3,502 pounds.

The price for the Premier was $13,104 with the V6. While Eagle was the roomiest car in its class, beating the Sable, Lumina, Toyota and Grand Prix, and was more than most cars, the seemed to only have for the Taurus, despite the latter’s with transmissions, catalytic and fires.

Bob Benoit wrote the original model (1988) of the had AMC build plates on the driver’s and even in 1989 the Premier an decal under the hood stated, American Motors and then in tiny letters, by Chrysler. All models still had hoses with the AMC logo. might have been a of the substantially lower than volumes, as pre-existing AMC parts used.]

For 1989, Eagle an ES Limited sedan, with an all exterior (including grille and it had 15 inch aluminum wheels, covered seats, air conditioning, windows, locks, mirrors, and a better audio system, and the V6. The was modified for 1989 to make smoother, the power steering was and the LX and ES models made some optional equipment standard, an electric rear window and floor mats; the base without tachometer was dropped.

were similar, with made. That was better the new Eagle Summit, which just over 27,000 sales.

Chrysler bragged in its materials that the 1988 sales of 40,872 (the between production and sales have been due to the use of U.S. figures vs overall production, or have been an error) almost 24% higher than of the Acura Legend during the period. For the first five of 1989, indeed, Premier were 33% higher than the year; then they

The Eagle Premier buyers apparently similar in income to the Cherokee buyers: ES buyers on average, 45 years old, an average income of over half were college-educated and 70% of Premier sales were to customers at that point.

In the Eagle Premier lost its four-cylinder engine, and moved the from the column to the floor; power disc brakes added, and blackout trim, and steel exhausts were standard. Options added for the year were a CD player and new The ES came with 15 inch and P205/60R15 performance tires and the ES / ES Limited’s suspension was made responsive.

The electrical system was greatly with Chrysler parts for troublesome European pieces; new system existed in only made between July and December 1991. Minor metal changes led to the removal of the Giugiaro badges; the nameplates revised at the same time, and two new were added. Inside, belts were added two the two rear seat positions.

The model year also saw the Eagle Talon join the supplementing the Mitsubishi-made Eagle Despite extra showroom for the Talon, or perhaps because of it, production plummeted down to a 14,243. One could blame the of the Dodge Monaco (see but even combined, the two failed to the Premier’s 1989 sales.

For Eagle provided automatic control and air conditioning on all models, with dual remote mirrors, cruise control, and wheel; antilock brakes standard in ES Limited, optional in models. A distributorless ignition was added, perhaps as an experiment on a vehicle (á la Spirit R/T ). The Limited got a new and taillamps.

Changes were to transmission and engine cooling, the computer, fuel pump and front and rear suspensions (to harshness), and driveline shafts; soundproofing was added. Yet sales to fall, with 11,634

The 1992 model was largely to use up parts. The grille and tail were carryovers from the Limited. Some cars sold fully equipped for a bargain even in those (list price was $15,716 for LX and for ES Limited).

Production ceased in of 1992 as the Bramalea plant was to LH production. thus ending of the last AMC-designed car. production was just 4,730. At it managed to beat the Summit albeit not the Summit hatch.

The Talon, despite grabbing only hit production of 27,945

Mission Motors One Premier Edition

The Premier itself was not totally its design was adapted into the LH. took over the factory had been built for the Premier. The of that car that carries to today is the rear disc design that was put directly the Viper and the North-South orientation of the carried over into the LH and the new LH replacements (Concorde, Intrepid, and 300M ).

Dodge Monaco

due to slow sales of the Premier, added a Dodge version, the This also languished, despite — or perhaps of — the recognizable name. selling a Chrysler version a new name would have or perhaps customers simply the car itself.

In 1990, Dodge out the Monaco in LE and ES trim; the Monaco had a grille, similar to the Dodge of the same year. Standard included reclining bucket a center console, rear defroster, stereo, and stainless exhaust, with ES adding a player, air conditioning, four disc brakes, leather-wrapped two-tone paint, 205/70R14 and a touring suspension with a sway bar. Despite the advantages over the Dodge which moved nearly units, just 7,153 Monacos were made.

For 1991, Dodge Monaco got the changes as Eagle Premier, blackout treatment in the front and fascias. Production rose to 12,436 cars; this was over 10% of the Dynasty’s sales, critical acclaim for the Monaco and for the Dynasty.

The two cars were priced, and were similar in and weight, but the Monaco was larger in every dimension except headroom; the Premier/Monaco’s trunk was by half a cubic foot, and the V6 had the torque as the base Dynasty but with 9 extra horsepower in a body. Chrysler’s new 3.3 liter V6 was in the Dynasty; it still had a little horsepower than the PRV six, but more torque.

In its final just 1,960 Dodge were produced; that was of Dynasty sales. The Viper people that a new era was coming, and in time, as traditional K-architecture Plymouths, and Chryslers were in sales and repute, and Chrysler was hard economic times. The and Premier may not have been big but the methods used to engineer and some of their design would be the basis for a new generation of that would make the hot brand for a few happy years.

Readers’ Reports

Christophe clarified that the Eagle (Renault 21) was built in the Renault of Maubeuge, France, and that is the why imported for Eagle badges on their backs.

Bob Benoit (in the mid-1990s):

The body was a fresh by Design Guliaro of Italy. The was AMC designed with the exception of the signal flipper which was The engine is a 3.0 liter Peugeot/Renault/ (PRV) design also in the DeLorean.

The North/South orientation of the is a strong preference of Francois (head of the Premier Design who came to Chrysler with the AMC He became Chief Engineer for and greatly influenced the LH design the North South orientation of the LH Did you know that Viper the rear disc brake right out of the Premier?

Originally AMC was to three models on the Premier a station wagon, a two door coupe called the Allure, and a door sedan. It is interesting to that the Eagle Vision did not in higher volumes than the I am the proud owner of a 1989 Limited and it is by far the best of 11 cars I have owned.

Finally, Gerard Fay wrote:

The Eagle was derived from the R25. I owned an Eagle Premier 1989 and also have a Renault 25. I have many of both cars. Mr.

Benoit is correct in that the was re-styled by Guliaro and Dick did the interior of the Premier for AMC but the basic car is derived.

The car was originally to be marketed in the USA by AMC as a In October 1987, I saw my first in Massachusetts at the Chrysler Zone and it sported a Renault diamond on the grill.

The factory that was to manufacture these cars was over a period of years. The car was developed in concert with the development. Chrysler’s acquisition of AMC just prior to the car’s thus the change of badging and was rushed but the car’s production was

Troubleshooting and Repairs

The transmissions to be a sore spot.

If the seat light comes on when the is off, mchamber suggested the chime module (under the against the fire-wall, near the brake) wiping the male with a wire brush. the locking tab is against the firewall and must be used to pull the from the female connector.

Beaulieu wrote (on Usenet): your car cranks and does not open the hood, look at the firewall: there’s some of a black box, attached center, high on the firewall. All the wires run to it. Jiggle the box for about 3 close the hood, go back in car, and your engine start!

Don’t bother to open and clean and grease box, it does not change

Gaston Chouinard listed recalls: in 1988, the catalytic and oxygen sensor; some need front rotor due to the possibility of separation from the hub the prestone canister cap; and the cylinder. These recalls do not affect every vehicle check with NHTSA.

wrote: the Premier has the alternator in the lower part of the engine, left, which could to the premature demise of the alternator. To road splash from the there is a protective plastic mounted under the alternator in the models (possibly on earlier as well). If your car does not such a shield, one should be even if makeshift.

Eagle and Dodge Monaco specifications and

Mission Motors One Premier Edition
Mission Motors One Premier Edition
Mission Motors One Premier Edition
Mission Motors One Premier Edition
Mission Motors One Premier Edition
Mission Motors One Premier Edition

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