Nicest One Left? 1985 Chrysler Laser

lasera

If the Dodge Daytona is too commonplace for you, may I suggest this 1985 Chrysler Laser here on craigslist? It has only 66,000 miles from new and looks to be equipped with all the good stuff Chrysler Corp. offered in that year’s model: a turbocharged powerplant with a 5-speed manual transmission. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Chevy_55 for the find! 

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When Chrysler introduced the Laser, it was trying to lure younger shoppers into the showroom. While the performance scene of the late 80s was still recovering from the beat-down the malaise-era applied to high-horsepower vehicles, cars like the Nissan 300ZX and Toyota Celica were making it possible to experience decent speed and handling for not a lot of money – and Mopar needed a contender.

laserd

The Laser was introduced with features including the aforementioned turbocharged 4-cylinder, sport bucket seats, and even a Special Handling Suspension which beefed up the bushings and firmed up the shocks and struts. No word on whether this example has that option, but given it’s fairly loaded up otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

laserc

One of my favorite 80s features are the rear-window louvers, which seems like a requirement when owning a hatchback of this vintage. This example also sports the trick digital dash, which wasn’t the only 80s-fantastic technology on display: drivers also were treated to electronic voices warning them of a door that was ajar and other alerts. It all adds up to a vehicle that is firmly in touch with the era in which it was made, and makes for an affordable sports car that didn’t stick around long. Are you ready to go back in time with this short-lived model?

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Comments

  1. MH

    My dad had a new 4 door laser when they came out. Biggest piece of junk ever. Give it back a short time later. Then he bought a dodge Monaco. That was a good car.

    Like 1
    • gord

      i think you mean a lebaron? never was a 4dr laser
      btw those do not look like stock rims offhand, but still nice for a turbo car

      Like 4
      • MH

        Now im confused. It was a maroon 4 door 80’s Mopar car. Laban does not sound familiar. Hmmm, I’ll have to ask him.

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      He may be thinking “Lancer”, which was the Dodge version of the LeBaron GTS.

      • MH

        Yes it was a lancer. It was a fancy car for the time, but sadly it was junk.

  2. DA

    Couldn’t have been a laser. Laser was only offered as a 2 door coupe.

    Like 1
  3. Greg W

    my father had a red chrysler lazer its was a 2dr hb and those rims on the car above are aftermarket

  4. AMC STEVE

    Not worth that kind of money no way no how. These cars blew head gaskets like toilet paper, it’s in nice condition but I’d say $3500 tops. And that’s partly because of the wheels.

    • james burton

      shops would put felpro gaskets on them that blew ever 15,000 mils. and dumb ass’s would put reg. gas in them to save mon. when it planly stated to use 91 oct. fuel. i’ve owned 5 laz. or daytonas and i was the man to see around here to get one fixed right. i’d make one wear out a 5 lt. stang. at anytime. the last one i owned was a t-top aut. car. would bark the tires shifting into 2 gr. mine was intercolled with a m.p. comp..liked to break axles tho.

  5. Blueprint

    Chrysler had the squared-off LeBaron and the swoopy LeBaron GTS 5-door back then. The Laser was only offered in this sporty 3-door coupe style. Extra trivia: the Laser was badged as a Plymouth in Canada. The nameplate was later moved to an Eagle Talon clone.

    My Dad had an ’84 Chrysler E-Class “talking car” and it proved fairly reliable!

  6. swm

    My ex had one – the 5 speed was aptly described as `a stick in a bucket of rocks`.

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Yes, the cable shifter in the Omni/Horizon/024/TC3/Charger/Laser (I could go on. . .) was about the worst I’d ever driven. In those days I was a big fan of the Rabbit, and while those were linkage operated the bushings would go to hell on them and they’d be Chrysler sloppy. Fortunately, $10 and about (40) minutes time would repair the slop on the Rabbit; there was never any hope for those poor Chryslers.

      As an interesting footnote: the early Horizon and Omni used the VW Rabbit 1.7L engine and transaxle, albeit with a Chrysler variant cylinder head and intake manifold. Funny that they’d introduce a car to compete with the Rabbit (and they looked a lot the same!) and have it powered by the Rabbit engine.

      • Steve C.

        Maybe that was because Chrysler made the 4-speed transmission for those 1.7L Rabbits. The Rabbet was the first car that VW made in the US and Chrysler’s New Process Gear plant in Syracuse, NY was the OEM supplier of the VW designed transmission.

        BTW, the Omni/Horizon/024/TC3/Charger shifter was rods-and-bushings like the Rabbet. The K-Car and later used a cable shifter. The 87+ Daytona/Laser had a different shift-fork design inside the transmission totally fixed the bad shift quality.

  7. ToniM

    I had the Dodge Daytona with the turbo. Mine was an automatic. And it had the louvres. They were the look back then but they were a bit of a pain. They were heavy as all get out so they overpowered the air shocks that held up the hatch. I essentially had to put it up and then balance the hatch on my head while I got stuff in and out. Or prop it open with a broom handle. I had the head gasket issue. And a bunch of other issues. To be fair however, I got the car in 1995, 10 years old and with 70K on it already. It stranded me more than any other I ever owned though. It finally committed automotive suicide one day three years later when a fuel hose suffered dry rot and sprung a leak. Fuel landed on the engine and caught fire. The turbo grill on the hood came in handy though for alerting me to the fire when the flames came through it. I think I did get it up to about 110K before it gave up on me.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      I think that the suicide was a common ailment on the Chrysler Turbos. Ex-wife lost (2) LeBaron turbos the same way; I didn’t understand why she liked those horrible cars so much, still don’t.

      • ToniM

        What saves that car from being my least favorite one I ever owned was the Plymouth Neon that came along later. I got what I paid for with that one. Had the head gasket issue with that one too. I love Mopars, I really do–the classic ones–but I have had the worst experiences with the two I owned.

    • james burton

      the hood luv. was good for meltting the snow off the hood while the eng. was running and the water would run down thru the lover drain right into the timing belt cove then when you turned the eng. the water would freeze locking up the timing belt and when you went to restart it pow the belt would slip or break leaving ypu stranded in the cold dead of winter. they had a recall on these to replace the rubber fuel hose just for the fire reson.

      • ToniM

        If the recall was issued prior to 1995, the previous owner(s) obviously never had it fixed. I kind of wish I’d known about it. I was actually a bit upset. The AC was out on it (joy with a black car), the tape player was intermittent, and the cruise control worked when it wanted to, but I’d gotten to the point where I’d replaced enough stuff under the hood that I had that thing running great when the fire happened. If nothing else, all I could think of was all the new parts that went with it. I’d just put a new battery in there a couple of months before.

  8. Steve

    Bought a Shelby Turbo Z for one of my kids. It was a basket case when we bought it, but was similar in appearance to this one with louvers, buckets, 5 speed stick. Fast car!

  9. ToniM

    I do have to admit though, for all it’s problems, the turbo was a lot of fun.

  10. AlphaRoaming

    Mopar also embraced Mitsubishi. Happy to say I bought an ’85 Conquest instead of a warmed-over K-car.

  11. josh h

    For that price it should come with Stepfanie Kramer.

  12. keith

    my 1988 dodge Daytona Shelby turbo z

  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I remember seeing a lot of these (Lasers and Daytonas) on the road back in the day, they were quite popular. I don’t think I’ve seen one in about 10 years.

  14. Allan

    I had a Laser for a couple of years. When the head gasket blew, I stuffed JB Weld into the seeping hole and it held for the rest of the time I had the car. I slammed the shifter from second into third during a particularly hard “pedal to the metal” episode. The linkage popped out mid-shift and I found out quickly that I was still in second gear when I let the clutch out. The engine was screaming. I seem to recall some $5-10 piece of plastic holding the linkage together was the “cure”. I still fondly remember the torque steer as the turbo started to build some decent pressure.

  15. Chris McCarney

    My laser has 47,000 miles on it and is equally clean, holy shit I think I have the nicest one left.

  16. Chris Johnson

    I have a restored 86 Laser XT and love it! Flash red, 5 spd, turbo, louvers, and factory performance package. Fast but great mileage. Always a popular car at local shows.

  17. Amy Evertsen

    Please someone help me find one. I’ve been searching for years and have yet to find a good running 84 to 86 Chrysler Lazer

  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    It took me less than a minute to find this one on cargurus.com:
    https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?sourceContext=carGurusHomePage_false_0&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity=d1551&zip=03106#listing=203963153

    There are plenty of search tools out there. If it’s for sale, you can find it.
    Good luck!

    • Amy

      Yes I email the dealership. Looking for red or black first

  19. amy

    anyone no where I can find one ?

  20. Chris

    My father is the original owner of a 1984 Chrysler laser turbo. He ordered it from the factory to spec and it only has 6,310 original miles on it. Always garage kept.

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