Junkyard Gem: 1983 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country Mark Cross Convertible

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When Lee Iacocca took the helm on the Chrysler Company in 1978, the corporate gave the impression to be doomed. The corporate’s solely fashionable front-wheel-drive vehicles both came from Japan or had been developed from Chrysler Europe’s Simca operation, inflation was raging, and Center Japanese battle a yr later sent fuel prices skyrocketing for the second time within the decade. Iacocca secured authorities loans to maintain the corporate afloat till autos based mostly on a brand-new front-drive platform might attain showrooms. These have been the K-Cars, debuting in the 1981 model year, and so they saved Chrysler. The LeBaron was the ritziest of the early Ks, and right now’s Junkyard Gem is an instance of probably the most prestigious LeBaron of 1983, present in a Colorado automobile graveyard final summer season.

The most cost effective doable 1983 Okay-Vehicles have been the two-door Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries, priced at $6,577 (about $19,959 in 2023 {dollars}). The 1983 LeBaron Mark Cross Town & Country convertible had an MSRP of manner greater than twice as a lot: $15,595, which involves round $47,327 right now.

The LeBaron identify got here from a coachbuilder that Chrysler eventually devoured, and it was utilized to the most glamorous Imperial models for many years. The LeBaron did not turn out to be a mannequin identify in its personal proper till the 1977 mannequin yr, when a thick coat of bling was slathered onto the midsize Dodge Diplomat. That technology of Chrysler LeBaron stayed in manufacturing via the 1981 mannequin yr.

The City & Nation identify goes way back in Chrysler history, too. The very first Town & Country was a woodie wagon—with actual wooden— that first appeared as a 1941 mannequin. Over the a long time that adopted, the T&C identify was utilized to sedans, coupes, wagons and convertibles, some with wooden (or “wooden”) trim and a few with out, with solely wagons getting that designation from 1969 via 1982. Starting in 1990, the Chrysler City & Nation identify went on minivans, and that is the place it remained through 2016.

The paneling on this automobile is plastic, but it surely was extra convincing (when new) than most of the fake wood found on Detroit cars of the era.

Convertibles made an enormous comeback for American automobile corporations through the early Nineteen Eighties, after a lot wailing and gnashing of enamel over “the last convertible” 1976 Cadillac Eldorado (it wasn’t the final convertible you might purchase new right here, even at the time). The LeBaron convertible went on sale for the 1982 model year, and new drop-top LeBarons remained accessible right through 1995. Lee Iacocca himself drove an ’86 LeBaron Town & Country!

Chrysler provided Mark Cross leather-based in a lot of its vehicles throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. The once-glorious two-tone hides on this automobile have been totally ravaged by the Excessive Plains solar by now.

The inside “wooden” is much less convincing than the outside “wooden.”

The bottom engine within the strange 1983 LeBaron was Chrysler 2.2-liter straight-four rated at 94 horsepower and 117 pound-feet. When you received the Mark Cross bundle, nevertheless, your LeBaron received this 2.6-liter Mitsubishi Astron engine; it produced simply 93 horses however provided a extra helpful 132 pound-feet. For a short interval, “HEMI 2.6” badges have been utilized to some early K-Cars with this engine (the Astron has hemispherical combustion chambers).

LeBarons with 2.6s had necessary automated transmissions in 1983.

Pc geared up!

The odometer reveals slightly below 30,000 miles, however I think it has been turned over a minimum of as soon as.

The anti-Pebble Mine sticker is of relatively recent vintage, so this automobile was being pushed even after the Colorado local weather had its manner with the convertible prime and inside.

These vehicles have been fairly uncommon, although that is the second one I’ve found throughout my junkyard travels of the final decade or so.

A really good one can be worth real money, however this automobile was too far gone to be value restoring.

This is probably the most well-known LeBaron City & Nation convertible in historical past.

This is the second. It was owned by John Voight, you realize. 

Did Ricardo Montalban pitch the LeBaron convertible? Sure, he did. Mark Cross leather-based was a lot nicer than Corinthian Leather, in fact.

The 1983 LeBaron was thought of so upscale in its day that one options in the comic strip that Alex Cox created to pitch the film venture that became “Repo Man.” Word that Otto was referred to as Stu to start with.

Computerized robots carry out over 800 welds.

Lee himself featured in some LeBaron advertisements.

The evolution of vogue through the lifetime of the Chrysler LeBaron via 1983.



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