1979 Plymouth Horizon: The "small wonder"
America's highways welcomed a small wonder of a vehicle during the 1970s when the Plymouth Horizon was released. The 1979 Horizon offered a variety of styles and choices that compact auto buyers loved. Buyers could choose the type of car they wanted while still remaining within the "compact automobile" range. The Horizon was deemed a "small wonder" because it offered so much in a subcompact car.
A brief history of the Plymouth Horizon
There was an international launch of the Horizon in 1977. The American and European models were very similar in exterior style, but underneath the surface were a number of distinctions. Many other American car makers had been releasing performance-based cars with V-8 engines, but fuel regulations pressed hard on the industry, demanding that engines be manufactured that were better for the economy. Chrysler's answer was, of course, the Plymouth Horizon. It was a compact car with good fuel economy, but still had all the features buyers wanted. The Horizon saw success well into the 1980s.
Many packages for the choosing
There were two main Horizon models for 1979 and several package options. The four-door Horizon was the base model. It had great engineering features for smooth handling such as front-wheel drive, a transverse engine, radial tires, rack-and-pinion steering, and tuned suspension. The four-door Custom Exterior Package offered hood and fender moldings and wheel-opening moldings.
The four-door model also had several premium packages. One was a "Premium four-door exterior" with bright hood moldings, a fender, drip trough, upper door frame, body side and liftgate, and deluxe wheel covers. The "Premium four-door exterior package with Sport Stripe" was an option meant for those who wanted a "sporty" look but still wanted all the conveniences of a four-door vehicle. It had a unique sport stripe trim option with a blacked-out lower body.
And yet another package offered for the four-door Horizon was the "Premium four-door Wood-grain Exterior." It was a more elegantly-styled car with a wood-grain body side and a lower liftgate panel that was a lighter color. It featured extra body moldings as well as deluxe wheel covers.
Horizon TC3 packages
The Horizon TC3 was a sporty, 2+2 hatchback model that had aerodynamic styling, a sport mirror, wheel trim rings, bright trim, and more. The "Premium TC3 Exterior" package came with bright moldings along the side windows, bright and black rub strips in the front and rear, and deluxe wheel covers. It also featured louvered quarter window appliques and could be ordered with two-tone paint as well.
Another package was the TC3 Sport Package, which included unique body accents, TC3 decals, mirrors and accents, louvered quarter window appliques, black moldings, painted Rallye wheels, rear spoiler, and a black four-spoke steering wheel. It also had a Rallye instrument cluster with clock, tach and trip odometer.
Horizon's standard equipment for all four-door and TC3 models
The standard engine was a 104.7-cubic-inch four-cylinder engine with a four-speed synchronized manual transmission and front disc brakes. The engine was also available as a two-cylinder with an automatic transmission.
The Horizon also had rack-and-pinion steering, Iso-Strut coil spring suspension with anti-sway control, an electronic ignition system, and a diagnostic plug for the engine electrical system.
On the inside, there was a heater and defroster, cigarette lighter, dome light, rear window defroster, a sun visor, coat hooks, a bin-type glove box, upper-level ventilation, and a molded hood lining.
Four-door model features
Additional standard features for the four-door models included an AM radio, a folding rear security shelf, unique body-side vinyl molding, roll-down rear door windows and radial tires. For those long family get-a-ways, the four-door model had a spacious trunk with 10.5 feet of luggage space.
TC3 standard features
For the TC3 models, features included wheel trim rings, AM/FM radio, a locking glove box, electric remote hatchback release, body-side dual pin stripes, sport mirror and more. For those who wanted the elegant "wooden" look on the inside, the TC3 Hatchback came with a wood-grain “appliqué” instrument panel and three-spoke luxury steering wheel.
The Horizon was available in a number of colors, including Pewter Gray Metallic, Codet Blue Metallic, Nightwatch Blue, Light Cashmere, Bright Yellow, Teal Frost Metallic, Flame Orange, Turquoise Metallic, Format Black, etc.
Features for safety
Plymouth made sure their cars were developed for safety. Some of the safety features included side door guard beams, safety-rim wheels, fire retardant interior trim materials, energy-absorbing steering wheel, padded instrument panel and sun visors, dual throttle return springs, back-up lights, disc brakes, a uni-belt restraint system, a hazard warning flasher, and many others.
The Horizon might have been a subcompact car, but it wasn't lacking in all the important areas. It offered great features and both a family and sporty version to appeal to all sorts of auto buyers. With all the packages offered, buyers could get their Horizon however they wanted it - without spending a fortune.