4,455 Original Mile Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

When your back is to the wall, you tend to take some chances.  That is exactly what happened as Chrysler clawed its way into solvency in the early 1980s.  Their K-Car platform became the basis for a number of new models, including the first domestic convertibles since 1976.  Production of these convertibles, which began in early 1982, soon took off.  This 1986 Chrysler LeBaron convertible being sold on eBay out of Scottsdale, Arizona is a great example of these popular cars.  This 4,455 mile droptop is in stunning condition has just one problem: a repair on the Carfax report.  Is that why bidding is currently at a low $3,716, or is the market for these as soft as their convertible tops?

The success of the K-Car should recieve a lot of the credit for turning the tide at the Chrysler Corporation.  Sadly, these innovative cars weren’t enough.  Still at the edge of bankruptcy, the company unveiled a more luxurious version called the Chrysler LeBaron in 1982.  As they were able to retire more and more of the heavier rear wheel drive cars in their lineup, cars such as the LeBaron and others took their place.  Still, Chrysler needed help attracting customers into the showrooms.  The idea of offering a convertible was claimed by Lee Iacocca to be his idea, and a subcontractor was used to rush these newly minted drop tops to the showroom floor.

Corporate production began later, and with that came improvements in quality and structural integrity.  By the time this particular convertible came off the production line, Chrysler was selling thousands of these relatively low priced drop tops.  Other companies scrambled to keep up and claim a piece of this neglected market.  However, it was Chrysler LeBaron and Dodge 600 convertibles that were a common site on streets in the eighties.  They may not have saved the company.  Yet they did make Chrysler a lot of money and brought customers into showrooms that also had other cars to sell them.

The convertible you see here is almost showroom new.  This Bronze Golden Pearl Coat painted beauty has just 4,455 miles on the odometer and the condition of the car backs that claim up.  With options such as air conditioning, an AM/FM cassette player, convenience package, and the upgraded 2.5 liter engine, this was also a fairly well equipped car.  Recent repairs include motor and transmission mounts, an air conditioning compressor, and the labor and supplies to convert the a/c system to R134 type coolant.

There is also the case of the Carfax report.  The report lists a sideswipe accident on September 12, 2018.  While the damage is obviously repaired, the seller states that there is slight evidence of paintwork on the right rear quarter panel.  The paintwork is also described to be of very good quality.

Inside is a very well tended interior complete with vinyl seats.  For those who never grew up with vinyl seats in a sunbelt state, you really missed out on a treat.  Nothing on the planet retains more solar heat.  To add to that, nothing on the planet is more capable of transferring that heat to human flesh in a shorter amount of time than old school vinyl.  Most of these cars spent their life with the tops down, prematurely aging the interior and offering the most dreadfully painful torture imaginable to the uninitiated.  Still, they were fun cars.  Risk and reward relationships were looked at differently in the eighties.  Everything didn’t come with a warning label back then.

Under the hood rests Chrysler’s warhorse 2.5 liter engine.  An upgrade for the 2.2 that originally came out with the K-Car, the increased engine displacement in these inline four cylinders gave a needed boost of torque and horsepower to these slightly heavier convertibles.  The 2.2 turbo was a popular option, but people just looking for a cruiser were probably better served with this normally aspirated engine.

When you consider their popularity when new, the lack of survivors in excellent condition, and the relatively interesting history of these cars, a LeBaron convertible in this condition and with such low mileage should be a hot collector car.  Too bad these haven’t caught on.  For a new collector, you can’t get much more fun for a lower price.  Parts are relatively plentiful, and they are good looking cars.  This car is a bargain despite the reported problem on Carfax.  Hopefully someone will buy it cheap and spend a lot of time next summer with the top down and a smile on their face.  I just hope they get a set of cloth seat covers in the meantime.

Is the market hard on cars with problem Carfax reports, or are these cars just not catching on with collectors?

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Comments

  1. Stevieg

    I had one of these once. Looked good on the outside & nice “Mark Cross” interior. Mine was turbo too. Rusted badly underneath.
    I’m not a little feller, but back then (about 20 years ago) I was fairly thin. I had a good friend who was seriously over 600 pounds. He & I took that car on a road trip to some property he owned up north about 5 hours away. My not knowing the underside was rusted, I thought the car was fine. By the time we got there, the body was twisted to the point where we couldn’t open the doors.
    Fun cars, but I don’t think I would want another. I like gas mileage but I think I prefer a land yacht for a convertible…or maybe something sportier.

    Like 6
  2. Fred W

    Wasn’t this Jon Voight’s car?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist!

    Like 14
  3. Sal

    Very nice future collectable, though I doubt it will ever be worth much money.
    If I didn’t live in snow country and already have two drop tops, I would be very interested in this car.

    Stevieg kind of hit the nail on the head. Until you’ve owned a drop top (and have gotten to an age where you appreciate just cruising around), most people prefer their convertibles be fast.

    Which is a shame….

    Like 3
  4. Don T.

    Many years ago, one of my borrowers at the bank came in with a worn leather jacket and a long silk aviator scarf. When he left I watched him leave. What was he driving- an old Jaguar XKE or MGB? Nope, a Chrysler LeBaron convertible just like this one. After that he became known in the loan department as the Baron von ________.

    Like 4
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      LOL! Great story Don. My banker has the same sense of humor. She is great to work with.

  5. John D.

    I had a convertible in the ’80s with vinyl seats. Yes my top was always down. I tried to park in the shade but tilted the seat backs forward to keep the seats cool. Or else I threw my beach towel over the seat if I wasn’t at the beach. Warmed thighs was the price of admission for that ride.

    This car seems like a great bargain. The 2.2 was under powered, especially without the EFI. The 2.6 was barely better. Many people didn’t want the harshness of the turbo. So the 2.5 makes this the package to have. I always enjoyed the 2.5’s I drove.

    Like 2
    • ken tilly UK Member

      In Africa just about everybody that had a convertible with vinyl seats had a sheepskin taped over them. I don’t remember the underside having any effect on the vinyl either.

  6. On and On On and On Member

    Low admission price + seemingly great original condition + high fun factor (ragtop and high end model) = a great way to get involved. Will it gain tons of value, probably not. Will it loose tons of value, probably not. Will it drain your wallet, probably not. Just my take. No harm, no foul. Try to find a decent daily driver that will last 2 years for this much………..Who’s the guy always looking for a car for his niece?

    Like 5
    • On and On On and On Member

      Now near 10grand and no title yet…….I retract my opinion on purchase

      Like 1
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        You just bought a ragtop! And the guy looking for a car for his niece is Ken Carney, just below, great guy. Good timing. US $8,850.00 [ 45 bids ]
        Reserve not met with 16 hours to go. Nice rig but to much cabbage for me now. You and Sweety Pie have snow up there now?

        Like 1
      • On and On On and On Member

        Snowed in Hayward 3 weeks ago! I’m in Lodi enjoying the Corvair. Yes, Ken seems like a nice guy, I enjoy his posts. This car is no deal at $9000.

        Like 1
  7. Ken Carney

    Now this would be perfect for Mom!
    She had an ’86 model with the turbocharged engine and all the toys.
    It was a fun little car, until a defect in
    the turbocharger caused it to burn to
    the ground in the fall of ’93. Afterward,
    Pop got her a white Dodge 600 ragtop
    with dark red leather interior. And while
    it wasn’t as nice as the LeBaron, it did
    have the EFI engine in it that didn’t catch
    fire like the turbo unit did. I’d love to buy this car for her so that she could drive
    her LeBaron one last time before her
    dementia makes it impossible for her to
    drive a car at all. She’s doing fine right
    now, but there’ll soon be a day when we’ll
    have to take her keys from her. That’s
    why this car means so much to me.

    Like 4
    • MICHAEL WALTER

      Ken… sorry to hear about your Mom.. I’ve had a 1990 LeBaron Convertible with the V6 and it is fun to drive. Am thinking about thinning the herd so let me know if you or your Mom would be interested.. thanks.. Mike

  8. Jwinters

    amazingly, the radio still works!

    Like 1
    • ken tilly UK Member

      And after only so few miles I should be surprised if it doesn’t.

  9. charlie Member

    The next version, the “bean shaped one” should be a collector car, if a convertible, with real leather, and the V6, it is the bargain of the old cars – British Racing Green, with tan leather, and a tan top, they were all automatics, but the Chrysler 3 speed automatic of the day was pretty good, and the V6 after the first few years, was pretty good too.

    And, the real problem with convertibles is that they are (with a few exceptions like Mercedes) are just too windy at 75 mph. I drive mine around town, rarely go more than 55 with the top down, wife won’t drive it, does not want to ride in it, it messes up her hair. But I love it.

  10. James Earl

    The comments regarding the vinyl seats could also be applied to $65,000 BMW X3 fake leatherette seats.

    Like 2
  11. bikefixr

    Now at $9k and reserve unmet. I love the K-cars, but I can get a much better spec low mile car at an auction for $9k.

    Like 6
  12. moosie MOOSIE

    QUESTIONABLE TITLE !

    On Oct-29-19 at 09:27:28 PDT, seller added the following information:
    I have lowered the reserve. We are waiting for the trust to provide title, but we are agressivly ready to sell. We have multiple estate cars coming and we need to make room.

    Like 6
  13. Andrew Franks

    What’s not to like? But not at Nine Grand.

    Like 4
  14. Del

    Car is valued around 3500 by NADA

    So add 1500 for low mileage

    So 5 grand value. Bidding at near 10 gs

    Go figure

    Like 1
  15. Davey

    I am more interested in that big old Ford Texaco tow truck in the background.
    Beauty Wally. Is it for sale?

    Like 1
  16. Bob McK Member

    Are you guys crazy? This is a $2500. Car. You will be so unhappy after you dump a lot of money into this. They were cheap when built and everything attached to them falls apart. I know, I owned a low mileage one myself.

    Like 1
  17. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Ended with Reserve Not Met at $9550.
    The seller needs to contact the high bidder and sell this thing. That’s probably a record amount, especially considering the title issue.

    Like 4
  18. David Ulrey

    If it ended at $9550.00 with reserve not met, the seller really is living in fantasy land. Sure it could be a cool and enjoyable car and even get more rare than it currently is but these are almost assuredly never going to be worth a small fortune. Price it accordingly and let a new owner enjoy it.

    Like 2

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