Rare Mopar: 1984 Chrysler Laser Turbo

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In the late 1970s, Apple, Commodore, and Tandy introduced machines that would revolutionize the world. By the mid-1980s, two million consumers owned Apple computers, and nearly everyone else wanted to. The techno-craze infused automotive design as well. Instrument clusters were digitized, colorized, and kinked around in surprising ways. Cars talked. Turbos regaled many a boy-racer body shell. Meanwhile, imported cars of all types were chomping up market share like Pac-Man eating dots. Over at Chrysler, management decided it was time for a European-style “personal luxury coupe” with a heavy dose of technology. In 1984, it introduced the Dodge Daytona and its upmarket twin, the Chrysler Laser. The Laser came standard with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder normally aspirated engine, but if you ticked the right box, your Laser was delivered with a turbocharged version of the same mill. Despite solid performance from the turbo model, a luxury interior, and sleek styling, the Chrysler product proved challenging to own. High oil consumption, blown head gaskets, electrical gremlins, and a host of other issues plagued the cars. Still, a few survived with low miles. Here on craigslist is one of these, a 1984 Chrysler Laser Turbo, listed at $9600 and located in Port Townsend, Washington. We have PRA4SNW to thank for spotting this rare one!

With 142 hp from the turbocharged four-cylinder, the Laser scooted from zero to sixty in less than 8.5 seconds. This car comes with a five-speed manual; a TorqueFlite automatic was also available. Though parts of the suspension were somewhat rudimentary, the set-up struck a good balance between handling and comfort, appeasing the older clientele that Chrysler aimed to capture. This car has 54,000 miles on the clock.

This interior is velour, though Mark Cross leather was also available. One tear is evident in the console lid vinyl, but the dash and other surfaces are free of flaws. Speaking of the dash, 1980s cars were known for their Electronic Voice Alert – a computer that would warn the driver in a synthesized voice of issues such as the famous “Your door is a … jar”. Today, a cult of restorers fascinated with early voice synthesizers have learned to rebuild EVAs. Chrysler offered EVA as an option, so not every Laser has it. An aftermarket stereo sits neatly where the original was, but the original unit is with the car, along with a host of manuals. The air conditioner has been converted to R134 and is said to work well.

The wheels have been replaced, but its originals do come with the car. Neither set is the performance-package “pizza” wheels, revered among owners and nearly impossible to find. Cosmetically, the car has held up remarkably well, lending credence to the mileage on the odo. No one knows how many Lasers have survived their short 150k unit production run. A few have cropped up for sale recently – prices hover in the $10k area for nice examples. The price here is probably on the button. What do you think, is the Laser a future classic?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Oh, no! Another really nice one. I’m already watching an immaculate 85 w/ leather for $8,900! I lusted after these when they were new, and now…too many nice choices are popping up at the same time, and I’m already trying to downsize LOL!! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 11
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      I know, I know. I didn’t even have these on my radar, I kinda like the Conquest, but after investigating, I fell in love!

      Like 8
    • Jeffery Wallace

      I bought this car new in 85 and it was a great little car. The 5 speed was awesome. The 2.2L turbo was peppy. Unfortunately, I dozed off coming home from work at 2:00 in the morning from Chrysler on my hour and a half drive and cleaned out a ditch which ended at a sign on the side of the road. I replaced it with a 86 Dodge charger that I put 150,000 miles on. I found one the other day for $7500 with 60K on it, but it sold before I got to it. I never had any mechanical problems with these cars. The 2.2 turbo was a good engine as long as you kept them serviced and followed the service manual service intervals. That’s the problem most people don’t.

      Like 2
      • PRA4SNW

        Sorry to hear about your Laser accident. Same thing happened to my GLH-T that I bought new in ’86. Had it for a fun year and then I fell asleep and hit a phone pole. An angel must have been steering because it hit on the passenger side (so glad I was alone) and literally wrapped the car around the pole. Crazily, the engine was still running.

        Lesson learned, no more driving while exhausted.

        Like 1
  2. Grant

    THose were really comfortable seats for either long distance driving, or going around corners. Has the head gasket been replaced with a metal one on this car? If not, you will wish that it had. Shame on Chrysler for saving a few bucks per car and using cardboard gaskets that caused owners so much misery.

    Like 4
  3. Big C

    The Chrysler design team must have snuck into the Ford Styling dept, when the fellas were out to lunch. This looks like an 1984 Mercury Capri that went in the dryer and shrunk.

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      The front end of this Laser has some 3 gen Camaro front end resemblance too.

      Like 3
  4. Maggy

    Did a lot of head gaskets on these turds in the day.At least when they had the aluminum cam cover they wouldn’t leak oil up top compared to the non turbo stamped steel ones.Had one in a k car that was religiously taken care of with 200k plus and it was a good winter beater. Glwts.

    Like 5
  5. SirRaoulDuke

    Love the big boost gauge on these. Such a gimmick, but an effective gimmick! My wife’s Mazda CX-9 and it’s forced induction 310 lb-ft of torque would blow the doors off this Laser, but there’s no boost gauge to entertain me.

    Love the red interior; listen carmakers, MAKE INTERIORS FUN AGAIN.

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      Forget about FULLY colorful interiors, even tho you could once get them on cheap cars < $2000! I guarantee u will never ever see that again, especially when GM would not(COULD not?) even restore its priceless firebird III turbine's interior with the proper ORANGE color interior – it's now black – the worse color for a car with clear bubble tops!

      Also forget affordable new entry level TWO door cars that are not pony cars – let alone one with leg room in the back seat for 2 more friends like
      on this Laser.
      & who will make an new entry level TWO door ELECTRIC car for single people?
      Good luck finding a working 2 door GM EV1.
      Or even a …

      Like 1
    • jwaltb

      Thanks so much for introducing your wife’s car in this post. We’re so proud of both of you.

      Like 0
      • SirRaoulDuke

        What a comedian; don’t quit your day job.

        And here’s the point: today’s cars, even big crossovers and trucks, are far quicker than most of the sports cars of the 80s. But they are not fun in a whimsical way, it’s all so serious and grayscale. Much like the late 50s gave us styling elements based on the age of jets and space, 80s cars gave us styling elements based on fun new consumer technologies, thus optional digital gauges that looked like arcade games. Being a car enthusiast isn’t just about power and speed, it’s also about styling, art, and appreciation of a period. Knight Rider and the “turbo boost” button (even if that isn’t how turbos work lol)? It’s dumb period fun, and that is what that big Chrysler boost gauge represents. Subaru XT6 with the crazy interior and the digital package? Awesome…even if objectively it’s a pretty sh!##y car compared to today’s automobiles. This hobby is supposed to be fun.

        Like 1
  6. Susan McKee

    Boyfriend at the time had a Daytona with the hidden headlights. That was a good looking car.

    Like 2
  7. DON

    I know Chrysler was relying on its K car front drive platform for nearly everything back then, but I still think this could have been a nicer car if it had been designed as a RWD platform like the Fox Body Mustangs and made available with a 4 cyl, v6 or v8.

    Like 4
    • The Other Chris

      Yeah, I agree. But these were really fast and fun for the time.

      Like 3

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