22k Original Miles: 1978 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country Station Wagon

Rightly or wrongly, the Chrysler LeBaron released in 1977 is considered the company’s First Generation model. That is technically correct because it was the first time the company applied the badge to anything but an Imperial. This generation also brought the buying public vehicles like the 1978 LeBaron Town & Country Station Wagon. Our feature vehicle is one of those wagons, and it possesses a lot of positive attributes. The seller recently unearthed this one-owner classic as part of an estate sale. They discovered that the elderly original owner parked it in 2012 with 22,900 miles on the clock. They have revived this classic ready to head to a new home. It is listed here on eBay in Omaha, Nebraska. The bidding sits at $5,128 but remains short of the reserve. Barn Finder Larry D’s classic radar has worked overtime to spot this one, so thank you so much for that, Larry.

I may incur the wrath of some readers, but I’ll stick my neck out and say that the Town & Country is not the most attractive station wagon on the planet. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the styling. I find the plastic for the faux timber siding to be heavy and slightly cumbersome. I’m sure someone in the company’s Styling Department thought it was great, but I believe the vehicle would have looked more elegant with narrower plastic strips. The fact the plastic on this T & C has warped in places hasn’t helped its cause. I’m unsure whether the fault is repairable or if the new owner may need to hunt for replacement plastic. Moving beyond that criticism, the vehicle’s Camel Tan paint generally looks pretty tidy. It shines nicely, and there are no problems beyond the usual bumps and marks you expect on an unrestored classic of this vintage. The Chrysler came under the care of the good people at Ziebart early in its life. While that hasn’t allowed it to remain 100% rust-free, its problems are confined to two small spots on the driver’s side lower front door and the rear wheel arch on the opposite side. The floors are clean, with nothing beyond the occasional spot of dry surface corrosion. The trim looks excellent, and there are no issues with the tinted glass.

The original owner selected the safe route by ordering this LeBaron with the mid-level 318ci V8. It should send 140hp to the rear wheels via a three-speed TorqueFlite transmission. They added power assistance for the steering and brakes to remove the physical effort from the driving experience. The modest power figure means this wagon doesn’t threaten traditional muscle cars but should cruise comfortably at freeway speeds. The seller indicates it has a few needs, including new tires. They believe that at least two may be original, meaning I wouldn’t trust them much above walking pace! This Chrysler also features Electronic Lean Burn to improve fuel economy. The system could be troublesome, and the seller indicates it makes this wagon sluggish. The new owner might find someone to successfully remove the system to unlock additional performance. Its original owner parked the wagon in 2012 with 22,900 miles on the clock. It remained in hibernation until recently, and the seller includes a collection of paperwork that may confirm the odometer reading. The buyer receives the Owner’s Manual, Warranty documents, and the original Window Sticker.

The elderly original owner splashed plenty of cash on this LeBaron, loading its interior with almost every optional extra. The buyer receives air conditioning, power windows, power locks, leather trim, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM stereo radio. The leather upholstered surfaces look excellent, with no wear or physical damage. The rear cargo area is amazing and barely looks like it has carried a load. The seller says the headliner is drooping, but it would be worth investigating this to see whether it might be repairable. Otherwise, this interior needs nothing.

If anything surprises me about this 1978 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country Station Wagon, it is the subdued bidding. Classic wagons generally attract intense action, but we’ve only seen three bids over two days. The odometer reading on this car is not unprecedented, and while the vehicle has some shortcomings, I believe it will probably need to hit $12,000 before passing the reserve. With its faults rectified, it could command a value of $17,000. If you’re looking for a classic station wagon, maybe this is the one for you.

Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Plastic colors make cladding look odd indeed. Had Ford done this, they could have had a Tudor Tudor. Olds, a Palais Calais. Chevy, a Kings Wood Kingswood.

    Like 6
  2. alphasud Member

    I was taken back when I saw this posting. Back when I was still in high school we would roll up to my grandparents house and this was parked in the driveway and the Pinto Squire in the garage. Grandpa had issues with the first one and traded it for a newer one in dark blue. He was definitely a long roof guy even after the kids moved out. If he was still with us he would be cool, hip, and on top of the curve. Hard to write without becoming emotional.

    Like 18
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Speaking of Ferris Bueller…..

    Like 3
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    That looks more like a Family Truckster than a Family Truckster.

    Like 11
    • Tbone

      Stole my thunder

      Like 4
    • fliphall

      Off to Wallyworld?

  5. Paul Ravitsky

    My high school history teacher owned 1 of them, but his had the alloy wheels. It was cream colored outside, same interior color inside. Like that 1, it had all the power features.

    Like 2
  6. Grant

    The 318 was the way to go in 1978, by then the poor 225 SS was a mere shadow of its former self. The 2bbl helped some, but never again as good as it was stock in say, 1971. Never liked the fake wood on the sides of cars. I like real wood from decades earlier, but only if it was properly cared for.

    Like 2
  7. Uncle Buck

    I know it’s not the family trickster but ya think ya hate it now wait till ya drive it. Yikes it’s ugly. But if I was in the market I’d buy it just for those seats .

    Like 5
  8. Bick Banter

    I love the old school yellow Ziebart plugs in the doors and jambs. Not something you see anymore.

    Like 1
  9. Frank King

    This looks similar to the 1976 Dodge Aspen wagon I bought new.

    Like 1
    • Miguel - Mexican Spec

      The front sheet metal does interchange.

  10. Stan

    Ziebaert worked good 👍

    Like 2
  11. Mikefromthehammer

    Current bid is $6,056, with no mention of a reserve bid.

    Like 2
  12. Dave Brown

    It’s very nice! I like the colors and the T&C trim. However, I never saw a wood paneled one with the standard hubcaps. The nice ones that I remember had the Premier style hubcaps. And I do remember the optional alloy wheels as well. Somewhere, i have the ‘78 LeBaron brochure. I’ll look again.

    Like 2
  13. flynndawg

    ugly…

    Like 1
  14. DC

    I had one in green with green interior…loaded…but, man was it S L O W….lean burn should have been titled no move…worst invention for Chrysler ever…it would’ve moved faster and better with their venerable old slant 6…gas mileage was decent at 19-22…all the interior fell apart before it hit 100k miles…

  15. Joe DiCicco

    I have a 1984 Lebanon convertible. Love it.

  16. Big C

    You could use this to tow around that plastic wood sided K-Car LeBaron featured here a couple of days ago.

  17. Terry Bowman

    Had a 76′ Cordova with the Lean burn and a 86′ Chrysler 5th Av that also had it. Both were slow off the line, but they had a good top end. The reason being slow as some here say is they were designed for fuel economy and also had a low gear rear end, some were in the 2.70’s I believe.

  18. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    The advantage to Mexican cars is the gas crisis never hit Mexico nor did the smog crisis, until later, so the ’70’s cars did not have the fancy tricks the US cars had. There was no Lean Burn nor any Variable Venturi carburetors. I don’t think they even had smog pump on the engines.

    Like 1
  19. George Louis

    The wide plastic trim was similar to the wide wood trim models of the late 1940’s. The plastic wood trim has a metal base frame and the plastic is molded around it. These pieces were made by a Supplier, Davidson Rubber Company in Farmington, New Hampshire. I know as I was the Follow Up Supervisor at Group Production Control that had the Davidson Rubber Company as one of my Suppliers that I responsible for making sure we had the parts required to build these cars. The Davison Rubber Company also supplied padded instrument panels and door armrests for our vehicles as well.I believe the Davidson Rubber Company dated back to 1857 and in the 1970’s to the 1990’s was a McCord Company as well.

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