No Termites: 1981 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country

You aren’t going to get stuck by a splinter on this black beauty, but that asking price is definitely going to hurt! Try to think of it as getting two vehicles in one to lessen the blow: a luxury car for the city and an enclosed truck for the hills. Fake wood, Corinthian leather, 318 V8, its all there on this 1981 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country found here on craigslist in Monticello, Indiana for $15K.

Before Chrysler went full K car, these LeBarons were about the only thing selling at Mopar dealerships. They couldn’t give away Cordobas, Imperials, and New Yorkers in 1981. There were plenty of competing mid-size RWD wagons, but if it had to be luxurious, this Town & Country was about the only game in town. And what a brave person who decided to buy this expensive family truckster from a manufacturer that was teetering close to the edge of oblivion. Maybe they were swayed by Lee Iacocca and his optimism to buy a better car? More than likely it was a lot of cash on the hood that moved this soon to be extinct model.

Seller claims vehicle is all original and maintained since day one. It is nice to see a Chrysler woody wagon in something other than cream or white. Since there doesn’t seem to be much fading on the packing crate body panels, the shiny black paint seems likely to have been factory applied. Ditching the wire wheel covers is an easy fix since Mopar was good about offering a myriad of aluminum wheel choices. Rear wiper is a rare option, but that tail gate has some fit issues. Chassis shots show undercoating and no rust. All badges are present, as well as factory air deflector, cornering lights, and a wood grained luggage rack.

If the sight of red guts make you queasy, then look away! Everything you see and touch is covered in red plastic, carpet, leather, and vinyl. Nice touches include working door courtesy lights with lenses, a stain free luggage area with retractable cover, 8-track player, plenty of wood and chrome to the match the exterior, and every available electronic goodie. Driver’s seat shows some wear and the original mats aren’t present, but you can’t duplicate this originality.

Under the hood is one of the greatest engine and transmission combinations ever. There is a reason why millions of trucks, police cars, coupes, sedans, luxury cars, GTs, SUVs, muscle cars, and more received a 318 V8 and Torqueflight. Just be sure to ditch the Lean Burn ASAP. If you made it this far, I wholeheartedly agree that $15,000 is a lot of money for a forgotten 80s Chrysler. But where else can you find a vehicle that ticks so many different boxes and yet hauls so many boxes? If you can find a better car, buy it!

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Comments

  1. elrod

    I can see this ending up in a museum. It certainly is a statement car from the 80s. Those were some dark times. Leave the wire wheels. Nothing is going to save this thing anyways. Might as well go for the Full Monty. What a time machine! When we hit 88 mph, some serious S*&T is going to happen!”

  2. chad

    Like a ‘down sized wagon’. Still has the ‘biger’ engine.
    Wish it was the LTD/Marquis…
    sure got me thinkin tho!

  3. Poptheclutch

    Don’t think so for that kind of money I’d rather buy that blue trans am.
    Might not haul anything and are totally two different vehicles. Honestly though if you put them side by side.
    I wouldn’t put my hard earned cash on a station wagon!

  4. dirtyharry

    I am a car lover, but I when I see this, all that comes to mind is Clark Griswold and his “family truckster.”

    • Mikes hot rod shop

      Dang, you beat me to it.

  5. Jorge Garcia

    Two friends had these wagons and both of them (the wagons not my friends) developed differential/rear end problems. As I remember it was expensive repair so both of my friends got rid of their T&W wagons. Nice looking example but $15k is way way way too much. If anyone is stupid enough to pay that kind of money, for this wagon, they deserve a spot in a museum for stupidity.

  6. craig m bryda

    Front smacks of Fifth Avenue styling.

  7. Maestro1

    Corey, I agree with you but the price is absurd. And the front end is really ugly.
    Even if this car needs nothing the price is out of line. But if he Seller is willing to enter reality then it’s a great buy, and will provide very good service and room.

  8. Travis

    What a hoot of a car. I️ have the same feelings about this car s the AMC Pacer. We used to call them spacers. This is the ultimate mock up of a Woody wagon sold to the masses. Well not masses… theee weren’t that many made

  9. Rustytech

    It looks like the 5th Avenue because it is a 5th Avenue. The Griswald cat was a Ford. This is a perfect size wagon, and would make a great grocery getter. This price though is extremely high IMHO. 5th Avenues from these years routinely sell for under $6,000, add a premium for the wagon, maybe $8,000.

  10. Pete in PA

    My ex’s uncle had one of these. White, of course. Tan interior IIRC. Never drove it. But my dad bought two New Yorker Fifth Avenues as new cars; an 83 and then an 85. I liked the square styling but OMG were those things DOGS! The smogged 318 was pathetic in that application. Really, really awful with a driver and 3 passengers with the a/c on. The interior looked nice enough but it was somewhat cramped and the ergonomics were terrible. You couldn’t adjust the power seat with the door closed — no room to access the control switch!
    And the mirror control joystick was all the way at the front of the door panel. You couldn’t reach it from your normal driving position and I have long arms. Lean front, adjust; lean back, check; lean front, adjust; lean back, check; repeat as necessary. If those bad memories didn’t kill my interest in this wagon the wildly optimistic price sure did.

  11. CFRapoza

    I had One Brand New in 81, Root Beer Brown with Tan Leather. Beautiful car BUT It just would not run, The 318 Lean Burn lived at the Chrysler store more than my Garage. Kept it only 6 months

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