No Reserve Turbo: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

The Chrysler LeBaron convertible has been deemed “collectible” by some automotive pundits over the last few years, so it’s no surprise to see the seller of this example pushing it as a potential collector’s item. I’m not sure where this started, as there’s not a whole lot about these cars other than their mild case of infamy that made them particularly good at any one thing. Still, if you’re looking for an emerging classic to use as a quintessential summer car, a LeBaron of this vintage certainly belongs on the list. The LeBaro is listed here on eBay with no reserve and bidding to just over $2,100.

The LeBaron featured here was used as a summer driver by a snowbird that spent the warmer months in one of New Hampshire’s fine lake communities. The owner then drove the droptop back down to Florida when the cold weather began lurking, thus keeping the body in fine shape. The LeBaron sports the classic look of fake wire wheels – otherwise known as hubcaps – over whitewall tires. Of course, you don’t get the top-shelf treatment with woodgrain trim going down the sides, but this isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. While the fake wood is indeed a classic look, the cleaner appearance without it is far from a bad thing.

The seller notes the top is getting a bit tired, which is a phenomenon I’m currently encountering with my 1999 BMW M3 convertible project. What I hadn’t considered before buying it is the whole mess of issues that come with a soft top, especially one like mine that has been neglected. The costs start to add up while you’re trying to preserve the existing convertible top, and get downright expensive if you have to pay someone to install it. Regardless, it’s hardly a problem if you don’t use the car year-round, and really only becomes a major concern if water is getting inside – and based on the condition of the interior, it doesn’t look like it.

The seller notes the LeBaron is equipped with the preferred 2.2L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which by most accounts, was perfectly respectable for what it was. It certainly offered better performance than the naturally-aspirated models, and if it was good enough for cars that wore the Shelby badge, it’s certainly perfectly fine for a LeBaron convertible. Some issues are present, including a non-working A/C compressor that was removed and a broken driver’s door strap. Recent work includes new ignition components, tie rods, and fuel lines. What say you – is this LeBaron a smart choice for a collectible summer cruiser?

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  1. S

    Though I am not a fan of K cars, this car really has a lot going for it. The white seats and door panels against the burgundy carpet, dash, and console provide a really nice contrast and look good! The turbo 2.2L with the louvered hood is a big plus. With 102,000 miles, it seems to be in better shape than you’d expect. The gauge package is also a big plus here. No dummy lights. Lots of nice power options. Note to seller – please clean the white walls before taking photos! It will make the whole car look nicer.

    • Major Thom

      “Gauge package”? It’s got a temperature gauge and a volt meter, just like the K cars it was derived from. Nothing to get too excited about.

  2. Tommy Kiefer

    I redid a 98 M3 convertible with a cloudy rear plastic window. I replaced the top with a dark gray one for about $400 they’re not really expensive and it really brought the car up to a newer look

  3. charlie Member

    Whether these will be ever worth a lot of money is questionable, but, they are, to my mind, good looking, and my experience with K cars, other than rust, they are reliable and cheap to repair. To my mind the preferable ones are dark green with tan leather, but this is just me, and for the money, you can buy 5 of these instead of one ’67 Mustang, and you can drive it without fear of losing your investment to a drunk driver who T bones you at a light. Top down fun.

  4. Steve Bush Member

    To me the quarter windows on this one make it look somewhat better/classier than the similar 1982 model here. Probably not bad for a cheap convertible but for a used small convertible would prefer something more sporting like a Fox Mustang or BMW 325 or even the Celica GTS featured here. As for a Chrysler convertible, love the 1969-70 300.

  5. Jack

    Don’t know about that 36 year old 2.2 with the turbo. I had a brand new 85 Plymouth Caravelle with that engine and turbo. Big ole 4 door that could beat the pants off the kids in their Camaro’s and Mustang’s, until the turbo blew at 48,000 miles. Trade in time.

    • Ken Jennings

      2.2 turbos had a weakness due to cheap head gaskets. Fried a lot of pistons. Too bad, otherwise a good design. In the early 80s, magazines were calling the 2.2 the “small block of the 80s” Compared it to the 283 Chevy, high praise indeed. Motor Trend did a spread on the new turbo Lasers/Daytonas and said they were the car that the new Camaro and Firebird should have been. Of course, everyone expected gas to keep going up in price.

  6. Rusty Nail

    The 1st pic shows a reflection on the paint which looks like a fade from ice blue on top to a white. I know it’s a reflection, but would look really good on this car with a medium to light blue convertible top.

  7. Claudio

    There was absolutely no pleasure driving these
    Bad braking and bad handling
    Forget accelerating !
    So if you buy this for fun you will be greatly disapointed…
    Had the identical car and drove my kids to ice cream on hot summer nights , it was a slow and safe commute
    I hated the car but love the pics and memories with the kids
    I cant get the kids back to younger days so the car is useless to me !

  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $2958.

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