Obscure DeTomaso Dodge Omni 024

You might be excused if you don’t remember the “sporty” 024 variant of the Dodge Omni or its Plymouth Turismo TC3 sibling.  You’ll absolutely be excused if you never knew that there was a DeTomaso-badged special edition.  While the DeTomaso didn’t have its own performance upgrades, this 1981 model at least has the upgraded 2.2-liter four cylinder; so it’s the one to have.

The seller claims to have bought this from the original owner’s family and the claimed mileage is about 81K.  Said seller has done quite a bit in the way of basic maintenance, which suggests this car sat for a long time before he or she bought it.  Still, with the right things done and with claimed occasional driving over the last five years, one can hope it’s pretty well sorted.

The 2.2 won’t make for a powerhouse, but this should be a light and nimble car; so ought to be fun in its own right.  This is an interesting and obscure piece of automotive history and we hope the next owner keeps it as original as possible and enjoys showing it off.  It’s pretty much guaranteed to be the only one at any show unless it’s an L-Body show.

Sure, this variant is all show and no additional go, but it’s delightfully odd and has the dubious distinction of being the original L-Body special edition, even if the later, Shelby-ized, turbocharged versions have remarkably more sporting character.  We’re interested in seeing where the bids land and just how realistic the seller’s reserve it.

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Arlington, VA, USA
$1,255 with eight bids, reserve not met and 5.5 days to go

An 024 is a rare sight in any form and the DeTomaso bits make it just a bit more interesting.  DeTomaso parts visible in from this angle include the “targa band”, quarter window louvers, fender flares and allows.

The air dam is unique to this variant.  The original was cracked and is included in the sale, but the seller has this replacement made.

Here’s a look at the black-out rear panel.  Also, one can just barely make out the side decal here.

Here’s a close-up of that decal.

Interior appears to be in great shape and manual shifter is always a pleasant sight.

Here’s a glimpse of the faux wood and the DeTomaso gauge package.  Note the CB radio!

The gauges are supposedly unique to this model and are very cool, even if the tach is in the wrong position.  Youngsters may not remember the days of the 55 MPH national speed limit, when essentially all cars sold in the US had that number highlighted on their speedometers.

Cargo space is ample and condition looks good here, too.  We can’t confirm, but that looks like a fold-down rear seat.

Here’s the “mighty” 2.2, which drives the front wheels.

Yes, the Monroney label is included, as is the manual for the aftermarket “whoopie horn!”

Ad text:

This Dodge Detomaso is a rare survivor car that is quick, fun to drive, and in very good original condition.  The Dodge Detomaso was a package available on the 1980 and 1981 Omni 024 hatchback coupe, and was the start of the Omni front wheel drive performance vehicles, including the Charger 2.2, Shelby Charger, and Shelby Charger GLHS that followed the Detomaso.  The Detomaso is the rarest of these, with only about 1300 made in 1980 and about 600 of the more desirable 1981 models produced.  The 1981 models are more desirable with the larger and more powerful Chrysler 2.2 liter engine, and larger 14 inch finned alloy wheels.

The Detomaso package included a front air dam, wheel flares, louvered rear quarter windows, roof targa band, rear spoiler, Detomaso graphics, and the alloy wheels and larger tires; inside the package included a leather wrapped sport steering wheel and shift knob, the rallye gauge package with tachometer, and Detomaso badging including on the unique Detomaso floor mats.  This Detomaso also has optional air conditioning, premium low back bucket seats, and cruise control.  The base price of the 024 coupe was $6149, the Detomaso package was $1719, and other options and destination brought the total sticker price of this rare Detomaso to $9253!  This Detomaso also has a period after market AM/FM cassette, CB radio, and horn that plays tunes in lieu of the factory horn, all installed by the original owner many years ago (they appear to be from when the car was new).

This Detomaso was assembled in August, 1980, and sold through Thein Motor Sales in Clarence, Iowa.  The original window sticker, as well as owners manual package, is included with the car.

This Detomaso is in excellent running and driving condition.  Since I bought the car from the family of the original owner five years ago, I have done significant work to the car to make sure that it is in top running order.  Work done includes new shift bushings, motor mounts, wiper bushings, tires (205/60/14), front brake assemblies (pads and rotors), and spark plugs.  I also had the wheels refinished, and had a new front air dam fabricated (I will include with the car the original front air dam, which is somewhat deteriorated from age and cracking damage).  I have just had the oil and filter changed, and installed a new battery.  The car starts, runs, stops, and shifts great, and has very good acceleration for its day… remember, it is the larger Chrysler engine (versus the earlier models with the VW-based engine) and a very light car.  I have driven the car just under 1000 miles in five years; typical of these motors and cars, it has some vibration when cold, but smooths out as it warms up.  All gauges and lights work, the radio works (I have not tried a cassette or the CB), the wipers work, and the ventilation system works though I have never tested or used the air conditioning (and would assume that it would need at least a charge if you were to use it) or the cruise control.  The clock does not work; I do not know if it is not working or simply disconnected in order to prevent battery drain when the car was in storage.  That said, the only mechanical issue that I am aware of is that there is a slow battery drain if you leave the battery connected when leaving the car parked for extended periods of time.  Overall, the Detomaso starts right up, accelerates smoothly, rides and handles well, and loves to cruise at highway speeds!

Cosmetically, this Detomaso is in very good, very presentable, survivor original condition.  The exterior appears to be all original with no body or paint work or repairs other than the new front air dam, and one wheel flare that I replaced with an NOS correct wheel flare.  The car and paint are in very good condition for their age.  The black graphics have some fading, but the red paint is very presentable and nice for its age, though not as shiny as a new paint job.  Overall it is a very nice survivor original!  There is typical minor surface rust and chipping along the bottom of the inside of the doors and rockers, a very small and almost not noticeable bump just behind the drivers front bumper, and there are two small areas of some minor pin hole rust, ahead of the drivers rear wheel and behind the passenger rear wheel.  These issues are so minor that I prefer to drive the car and show it as original, but the new owner may choose to undertake and present the car as restored with repair of these very minor issues.  I see no floor rust underneath the car.  Both front and rear bumper rub strips are off the car, which most people would not notice that there were originally any additional rub strips.  They have a unique metal clip to hold them in place, and both rub strips will be included with the car.

The interior of the Detomaso is in very good to excellent condition.  There are no cracks in the dash, the carpet and seats are in very good condition, the door panels are all very good.  The only interior issue is that the headliner is starting to sag, and the rear hatch struts need to be replaced.  The spare tire doesn’t look like it has ever been out or used!  And included are the original, never used, Detomaso floor mats!  There is a dash rattle that sounds like it is in the area of the radio; I did not have the mechanics look into the cause, but it may likely be accessible behind the radio.

With only about 600 Dodge Detomasos produced in the 1981 model year, this is a very rare car… even better with its fun to drive 4-speed stick shift transmission instead of a power-robbing automatic… and better yet in such original, unmodified condition!  This was the car that started the Mopar front wheel drive performance cars, including the Charger 2.2, Shelby Charger, Shelby Charger GLHS, and later cars based on the front drive K cars.  The Detomaso may be the rarest of them all!

I have described this Detomaso to the best of my knowledge.  The Detomaso is sold in ‘as is’ condition; I am not a mechanic, so if you have any questions, or would like to make arrangements to inspect the car, please ask before bidding!  A bid is a contract to purchase the car, not to inspect or consider purchase.  I have clear title in my name, and the title and car are available immediately after payment in cash or USPS money order or other mutually satisfactory payment arrangements may have cleared.  The car is garaged and can remain so for a reasonable period of time not to exceed one month prior to picking up the car.  Transport is the responsibility of the buyer.