The seldom-seen 1971 Plymouth Cricket was an epic failure

1971 Plymouth Cricket brochure

Like going a movie and realizing the previews are actually better than the film, we had a great time perusing what barnfinds.com readers had to say about a 1971 Plymouth Cricket for sale on Craigslist.

The Aztec Gold Metallic-painted Cricket, located in North Carolina, is claimed to have traversed just 22,322 miles since new. That low mileage explains the survivor condition and seems to corroborate that it was last registered in 1975. The little four-door sedan is powered by a 70-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission.

The car was produced by Britain’s Rootes Group, which became a subsidiary of Chrysler Corporation beginning in 1967. Known as the Hillman Avenger in the UK, it was imported to the U.S. and Canada—and rebadged as a Plymouth Cricket—so that Chrysler could compete in the subcompact market against the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega. Chrysler claimed that “To know a Cricket is to love a Cricket,” but the final North American sales figures for 1971 told a completely different story: Pinto, 352,402; Vega, 274,699; Cricket, 27,682.

1971 Plymouth Cricket engine
1971 Plymouth Cricket rear 3/4
1971 Plymouth Cricket front 3/4
Craigslist
1971 Plymouth Cricket

It’s no wonder then that the seldom-seen Plymouth generated plenty of comments—mostly negative—on barnfinds.com. From complaints about the seller’s “asking price” of $1 to the car’s country of origin and its build quality, here are our favorites:

2cooc2say: “I didn’t know Maytag washers came in these colors.”

That AMC Guy: “Back when these were new, a friend’s dad bought a Cricket thinking it was a Japanese car and expecting Japanese levels of quality and reliability. Hilarity soon ensued.”

Ralph: “I’m in for $1… hell, I’d go $10… no wait, $5.”

XMA0891: “The last time I came across one of these, it was abandoned deep in the woods of northwestern Maine. Same color! Must’ve been the only other one Plymouth sold.”

Roger: “The Cricket was a disaster… total junk. I was the parts manager in a Chrysler Plymouth [dealership] when they came out. They were impossible to get parts for. We had several of themthat sat for months waiting for parts.”

Ben T. Spanner: “Shortly after they left the sales lot, they returned to the service bay.”

Madmatt: “I don’t think that any Cricket ever turned over to 122,000 miles, so judging by that alone I would say it’s totally original.”

Had a Wagon: “As far as I can tell, their main contribution to the U.S. auto market was to make Chevy Vega owners feel better about their purchase decision.”

1971 Plymouth Cricket rear brochure
FCA
1971 Plymouth Cricket

All harsh, and all hysterical. We thought we’d have a little fun of our own as well, and asked the Hagerty team to share their uncensored thoughts.

“Even if the price were $1, the appropriate response to an ad for this polished turd is well… crickets.” — Eric Weiner

“The Cricket was dead on arrival, and only a V-8 could fix it. Still, it came in a two-door hardtop, and the fact that I kind of dig that scares me.” — Brandan Gillogly

“It has a bizarre mash-up of ’70s Japanese design cues, except with none of the Japanese quality. Just the stuff of British-fueled nightmares.” — Kyle Smith

“Judging by the psychedelic brochure art, Chrysler expected you to go on a whole different type of trip if you were planning on enjoying the Cricket at all." — Brett Lirones

Have a Cricket memory of your own? Share it in the Hagerty Forums below.