I was recently given the opportunity to part out a 1981 Diplomat. The car was very rusty, and the engine was seized (the mighty leaning tower of power), but it had very low mileage (52K). All I could think of is the start- er and alternator, which look similar to what’s on my ’66 Belvedere and ’72 Barracuda. When I got home, I noticed that the starter is larger than what’s in either of my cars. I just know that you’ll explain why that is, and if it is something I should hold on to.
Yes, it is a keeper. That’s a 1.8HP Chrysler/Indianapolis built starter. The 1.8 HP version (all your oldies are 1.5 HP) was introduced in 1975 to crank the harder-starting smogger big-blocks and 360s. For 1981, it came in for several improvements (mostly durability-related), and became the standard RWD starter across the board. This was as good as it got in Mopar-built starters, it continued in production, virtually unchanged, until replaced by the “Nintendo” PM starter in 1988.