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Five Awkwardly-Named Mopars You Never Knew Existed

When it comes to limited-edition cars, U.S. automakers designed quite a few cool packages. They're too many to mention here, but we all know about the iconic Shelby Super Snake, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and Ford Mustang Bullitt.
1970 Dodge D-100 The Dude 11 photos
1970 Dodge D-100 The Dude1970 Dodge D-100 The Dude1976 Plymouth Feather Duster1968 Dodge Bengal Charger1968 Dodge Bengal Charger1978 Dodge Jean Machine1978 Dodge Jean Machine1978 Dodge Jean Machine1978 Dodge Omni 024 De Tomaso1978 Dodge Omni 024 De Tomaso
But Detroit also offered a few packages that haven't become iconic. And some of them were launched under awkward names that don't make much sense in 2021. Here are five of them.
Plymouth Feather Duster
No, this is not a stick with a bunch of feathers attached to it, but a limited edition Duster that Plymouth built in 1976. It wears a "feather" badge because it's lighter than the average Duster, hence the awkward trim name.

What made it different? Well, it had a bunch of aluminum parts, including the intake manifold, bumper brackets, hood and truck bracing, and transmission housing.

The "feather" script relieved the car of about 187 pounds (85 kg). Now I know what you're thinking: the lighter Duster must have been quicker than the rest. Well, not exactly.

1976 Plymouth Feather Duster
This car wasn't lightened for speed, but to achieve better fuel economy. The Feather Duster came with a 225-cubic-inch (3.7-liter) slant-six and returned up to 36 mpg on the highway, which made it the most fuel-efficient car in its class. Dodge also offered a similar version of the Dart with a more inspired "Lite" badge.
Dodge Bengal Charger
It was 1967 and the Dodge Charger had been on the market for less than a couple of years. As Mopar was getting ready to introduce the second-generation muscle car, Paul Brown established the Cincinnati Bengals football club.

This prompted local Dodge dealer Tom Kneer to request a special-edition Charger that would commemorate the founding of the new team.

The Bengal Charger was born with a custom orange color called Tiger Orange, a black roof, and black stripes around the rear.

1968 Dodge Bengal Charger
Only 50 cars were built, but none was fitted with the iconic 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Hemi V8 engine. It seems that only two of them survived to this day, which makes the Bengal Charger one of the rarest Mopars out there. But I bet no one's really looking for them outside Cincinnati.
Dodge D-100 The Dude
Pickup trucks were still workhorses in the early 1960s, but as muscle cars became popular from 1964 onward, Detroit automakers started rolling out haulers as lifestyle vehicles. Dodge was among the first to do that with the Custom Sports Special package for the D-100.

The CSS was followed by a multitude of limited-edition D Series trucks, including the famous Li'l Red Express and the Warlock, as well as the Macho Power Wagon. But none of these names sound as weird as The Dude.

A trim package for the 1970 model year, The Dude was essentially a standard D-100 with a few visual extras, the most prominent being the black or white C-shaped stripe with "Dude" lettering on the sides.

1970 Dodge D\-100 The Dude
The bundle also included dog dish hub caps and a flat tailgate with a Dodge decal instead of the typical embossed logo.

About 1,500 to 2,000 Dudes rolled off the company's assembly line and very few of them have survived to date. It's a hauler that makes me want to shout "Dude, where's my truck?!" in the parking lot.

But this doesn't mean it's not a cool name. We actually included The Dude in our Coolest Pickup Truck Trim Names of All Time blurb.
Dodge Jean Machine
But wait, there's more. A few years after it sold The Dude, Dodge designed a truck with a denim-style paint job. Well, it was the late 1970s and everyone was wearing denim, so I guess it wasn't all that weird back then.

But the Jean Machine name Dodge picked for this truck is unusual, to say the least. Especially if you're French.

1978 Dodge Jean Machine
Just like The Dude, this special edition was just about visuals. The truck came wrapped in a denim-themed exterior finished in blue and with thread-like orange accents. The seats weren't covered in real denim, but they had orange piping around the edges.

It's worth noting that Jean Machine wasn't the only denim-themed vehicle from the era. AMC also offered a Levi's interior trim package in the Gremlin, Hornet, and Pacer.

The Jeep CJ, Cherokee, and Gladiator also offered something similar from 1975 to 1977. In Europe, Volkswagen sold the Jeans Beetle.
Dodge Omni 024 De Tomaso
Okay, this one isn't awkward as it is confusing, but it fully deserves a place on this list. You're all familiar with the Omni, the subcompact hatchback that Chrysler brought to the U.S. from Europe. It was identical to the Simca and Talbot Horizon and used a variety of engines from Chrysler, Peugeot, and even Volkswagen.

1978 Dodge Omni 024 De Tomaso
Dodge also produced a short-lived 024 model, a sportier coupe version aimed at the Volkswagen Scirocco. You may remember it better as the Dodge Charger, as it was named from 1982 to 1987. Before this happened, Dodge offered a limited-edition model called De Tomaso.

Did it have something in common with the Italian brand? No. It probably had more to do with the friendship between Lee Iacocca and Alejandro de Tomaso.

The name was nothing more than a marketing stunt, as it only added red or yellow paint, black louvers and grille, and a blacked-out lower body. Dodge built 1,952 of them over two years, but many of them were consumed by rust before the 1990s came knockin'.

 
 
 
 
 

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