By this point, you've seen the latest and greatest pieces in the right column and you're wondering, "Is he writing yet another column about Chrysler products?" The answer is yes, though I don't think it'll continue much longer, since there's always a past General Motors product foible to discuss on Clunkerture.
While I was looking through the comments of that minivan piece I wrote, where I pointed out ways you could afford a spec-Miata on the side if you had children, one person wrote how they had a 1993 Plymouth Voyager with the 2.5-liter 100 hp inline-4 K engine mated with a manual transmission. First off, I was surprised that 1993 Plymouth Voyagers will still around, since I thought many of them were gone because the automatic transmissions had all broken, whose repair estimates would be greater than the van's value.
But I hadn't gotten to the manual transmission part. Once I read that, I had to do some research if a manual transmission minivan actually existed in the United States. And it turns out that Chrysler indeed did offer a manual transmission. On a minivan.
Also, the manual was available on the first-generation Chrysler minivans as well, but only on the four-cylinder models. If you wanted a sporty Chrysler minivan with a manual (and a five-speed one at that), you had to get the Voyager with the turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-4 that made 150 horsepower. However, it wasn't a popular engine, and though it seems like fun, it'll be a challenge to find a Chrysler minivan with that
On one hand, I'm not surprised that five-speed manuals were offered on Chrysler, considering the base engines the manual was offered with. With only 100 horsepower on the 2.5 liter and only 96 horsepower (with only a four-speed manual) on the older 2.2 liter inline-four, a Chrysler automatic of the period was simply not going to make the most out of that power.
Since they were also sold in Europe as family vehicles, manuals would be needed to lower the price and make the fuel economy much easier to stomach, especially since the automatic ones could be considered thirsty there, and not enough to deal with the meager power.
Now finding photos the interiors of manual-equipped Chrysler minivans was difficult. The top image of a second-generation Voyager is from a Mopar forum where a member was trying to sell his minivan, while the one below (of a first-generation Chrysler minivan interior) is from Flickr. Unfortunately, I don't think both are for sale anymore.
Yes, I know you've gotten sick of me talking about Chrysler products by now, but you have to admit the fact they offered a manual minivan in the United States was pretty cool, if only to spare us from the automatic transmissions breaking in favor of a clutch replacement instead. Judging by how many Chrysler minivans have gone to the junkyard with transmission issues, you couldn't have gone wrong with the manual. The 100 horsepower engine in it, on the other hand, is another story.