Junkyard Gem: 2001 Chrysler Voyager

Murilee Martin
·2 min read

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When a car brand gets the axe from its owners, it's not as easy as flipping a switch. Sometimes models of that brand still sell enough to be worth carrying on under the original name. That was the difficulty presented by the deletion of the Plymouth marque by Chrysler after the 2001 model year; sales of the Plymouth Neon could continue here (for a few more years) with Dodge badges, as had been the case all along, but what about the still-popular Plymouth Voyager minivan? As the most proletarian of the Town & Country/Caravan/Voyager minivan triumvirate, the Voyager name had been on Plymouth minivans since 1984 and on full-sized Plymouth siblings of the Dodge Tradesman/Sportsman since 1974. So, when an updated Chrysler minivan arrived for the 2001 model year, the Voyager name lived on — briefly — as the lowest trim level of Chrysler-badged minivans. Here's one of those rare machines, found in a Denver boneyard recently.

For the 2001 through 2003 model years, the Dodge Caravan lived in the middle of the Chrysler Corporation minivan prestige pyramid, flanked by the Chrysler Voyager below and the Chrysler Town & Country above.

In the European market, of course, Chrysler Voyagers (and Chrysler Neons) were sold for decades. Trivia fans might also recall the Lancia Voyager and Chrysler Grand Caravan, both available for a while in the European market.

In fact, the idea of a Lancia Voyager seems sufficiently amusing that we should watch a Dutch-language advertisement for it right now.

This is the pushrod 3.3-liter V6 engine, originally developed as a more powerful alternative to the Mitsubishi V6s that went into so many Chrysler vehicles during the 1980s and 1990s. This one was rated at a respectable 180 horsepower. You could get a manual transmission in US-market Voyagers and Caravans through the 1995 model year, but the days of three-pedal Chrysler minivans were long gone for American car shoppers by the dawn of our current century.

So, it's a gem from a historical standpoint but not exactly the sort of vehicle that inspires the howls of outrage from enthusiasts over, say, a discarded Lotus Esprit or Jensen Interceptor.

Not many television advertisements exist for the '01 Chrysler Caravan, so we'll watch one for its Dodge-branded sibling. That center console is just a trashcan for your CDs and flip-phones!