15,700 Original Miles: 1984 Chrysler Laser XE Turbo

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The car we choose to be our escape pod is as wild and as varied as the people living on the Earth itself. Some of us take that definition quite literally, investing in an overland vehicle that can go anywhere, and at anytime. Others go for the standard issue classic convertible with lots of chrome and prodigious amounts of power. European sedans are good choices to, if you seek an air of sophistication and quiet speed. But what if your chosen escape vehicle is something many of us wouldn’t see coming – like a Plymouth Laser? That’s exactly what happened in the case of one owner who kept the turbocharged Laser’s use so limited, it only racked up 15,450 miles. Find it here on Hemmings with an asking price of $10,450.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Boot for the find. The Laser is an interesting choice as your fair weather vehicle, owing to its economy car roots and list of features that generally made it feel more upscale than it really was. More impressive is that this Laser would fall into the hands of owners two and three who also committed to keeping the miles down and the cosmetics in excellent condition. The Laster was intended to be an upmarket offering from Chrysler, so you can certainly see how a pair of empty nesters could be convinced that this was the car they wanted to live out their retirement years in style.

And, to be fair, the Laser was an appealing packing for an American car shopper who didn’t want the standard-issue Mustang. Chrysler was actually offering a range of interesting choices thanks to its relationship with Carroll Shelby and its affinity for turbocharging. If you wanted to step it up, you could still find yourself a LeBaron loaded to the hilt with leather and fake wood trim. None of these qualities may impress us today, but coming out of peak malaise era? It’s certainly possible to see how a low-slung coupe wearing copper paint and deeply bolstered bucket seats could earn some followers.

This one really does have all the bells and whistles, including the perfect-for-the-80s Voice Message Center. The 2.2L Turbo 1 engine is said to be in good health, and that the turbo spools right up, with the three-speed automatic shifting crisply through the gears. The seller notes the Laser has been recently serviced with all OEM parts, including new tires, fan belts, plugs, wires, rotor, and cap, along with all new fluids including a full transmission and coolant system flush. The end result is a turnkey car that likely won’t appreciate very much, but will also be a usable classic for years to come. So, does a minty Chrysler Laser embody your image of a perfect weekend driver?

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  1. Mark_KMember

    I bought one of these new in 84. It was gorgeous, comfortable, and cool. It looked great on the back of tow trucks, which came to visit it at least twice a week. Thankfully I lived at the top of a hill so I could get it started while I fought with Chrysler about taking it back. Caveat Emptor! This car has low mileage for a reason; it won’t stay running long enough to put any miles on it. You’ll notice the seller makes no reference to ‘runs great’ or ‘runs more than 5 minutes at a time’.

    Like 23
    • Curt Lemay

      Yes, I also am aware of the turbo troubles. Plus, it is an auto, why did they even make those? Color? Yechh! Chrysler had good engineering, but they didn’t do like Honda does, and see it through to the end to make perfection. A bad Daytona broke me of my Chrysler addiction and turn to off shore cars.

      Like 7
    • Rantinan

      To steal from Jeff Foxworthy. You might be a laser owner if you know your local tow owner on a first name basis. Sounds like yours was even worse than my Aunt’s

      Like 0
  2. Superdessucke

    Sporty K-car. Chrysler got a lot of mileage out of that platform. Minivans to sports cars.

    Like 0
  3. Raintinan

    “Laser the amazer as it was sold here”….. Or perhaps not. My aunt had one and weeeelllll… she’d commute instead. As a teacher. With books, and marking and shiz in a suitcase. Rather than pull out the Laser. Which I think tells us what we need to know in this circumstance, yes? Was replaced with a Mazda hatch in fairly short order. Certainly amazed at how ridiculously noisy it was when we took it on a weekend trip down the peninsular, and how loud the cassette player (which was its self rather noisy) had to be up to be heard. For 10 grand i can think of a LOT of cars that come through here i;d rather have.

    Like 0
  4. Daniel Wright

    Turbo Troubles? That is the tip of the iceberg with these. I guarantee half of those miles are one-way trips home from the dealership.

    Like 7
  5. Kyle

    I had a 1986 Chrysler Laser in black with all the options including T-Tops and the digital dash and Voice Message Center…it was a fun and comfortable car….the only engine issue I ever had was if we got a really windy snow storm it would pack the timing belt cover full of snow while it was parked. It would jump time when you tried to start it. Happened twice.

    Like 4
  6. Vance

    A guy I played softball with bought one, just like this one but blue with a gray interior. They were everywhere then, the voice messaging was fun at first, and then you wanted to murder it. I will never forget it announcing, “Your door is ajar”, and saying no my door is a door. Fun cars, haven’t seen one in years .

    Like 4

    Your door is ajar. :) Was my 1st car. Same yr w checkerboard seats. Sat in garage 2 weeks before tried to drive it cuz I didnt know how to drive a stick. :) Miss it

    Like 1
  8. Gary Rhodes

    Sorry, my posts are long winded, but here goes: I worked a a CPD dealer in the 80’s and we had almost zero issues, other than head gaskets with the 2.2’s. I had a little old lady customer that looked like Aunt Bea’s little friend Emma? with the gingham dress on The Andy Griffith Show. She was a real sweetheart that you just wanted to hug. She had to be 70 of she was a day and she had a maroon manual shift one. I asked her about her choice of vehicles and she said her son told her not to buy it and she said she told him to mind his business and she would buy what she wanted. She looked up at me and said she had it up to 125 mph once before she got nervous! I walked her out to her car one day and watched/listened to her go down the road and am sorry to say she drove it better than I did when I test drove it.

    Like 14
    • DN

      Never apologize for stories like this! Thanks for sharing!

      Like 4
  9. Steve Clinton

    Didn’t do anything for me then and doesn’t do anything for me now. But not many 1980’s cars do.

    Like 1
  10. t-bone BOB

    Located in Rupert, ID

    Like 0
  11. Ralph

    I hated these! Would do stereo upgrades and T Top leak repairs on these.
    Got to the point after being told “my door is a jar” that after a few thousand times of hearing this I would start to say something back to the speaker about the sexual behavior of the car’s mother.
    These cars totally sucked, and I am a MOPAR guy.
    Run away fast, and don’t ever allow your door to become a jar. Just not natural…

    Like 3
  12. Rich

    These were great, fun little cars. I currently own two Daytonas, and a Shelby Charger. These cars were no worse than anything else offered by the big three back then

    Like 0
  13. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    How did I know it would be an automatic?

    Like 0
  14. PRA4SNW

    There is obviously a big love/hate relationship with these cars, and Mopars of this age in general.
    The 2.2T in my GLH-T never gave me a single problem.

    This one has low mileage due to that auto sucking all the fun out of driving it.

    Like 2
  15. Rob

    This is awesome except for two very unsightly flaws: the brown exterior and the brown interior! Yuck. If it wasn’t for the colors I would be jumping on this. Loved these cars!

    Like 0
  16. Norman Phillips

    Mine was a stick shift and the only trouble was having to reweld the front engine mount to the frame. The torque would brake the frame mount. Getting third gear rubber didn’t have anything to do with it, I’m sure. Sold it when we moved to Florida. The back window earned the reputation “Red Neck” on tall folk riding back there. Decent fuel mileage too. Just remember to cool/down the turbo before shutting the engine off.

    Like 0

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