Stunning Survivor: 1985 Chrysler Laser XE Turbo

During the latter part of the 1970s and into the 1980s, the automotive industry underwent a substantial change. For North America, the catalyst for this could easily be traced back to the original Oldsmobile Toronado. This car clearly demonstrated to manufacturers the space efficiency available from a front-wheel-drive configuration. It led the charge that eventually saw the production of vehicles like this 1985 Chrysler Laser XE Turbo. This car is a stunning survivor and seems to need nothing. It presents superbly and would suit the buyer seeking a classic in as-new condition. If you feel tempted, you will find the Laser located in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $8,900, but he leaves the option open for interested parties to make an offer. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Darrun for spotting this gem for us.

The owner claims that most of the Desert Bronze Metallic paint that graces this Laser’s panels is original. He admits that he has had the hood repainted due to peeling clear coat. The paint shop has done an excellent job matching this, and it is hard to pick it from the original. The car holds an impressive shine, and its overall appearance is well above what you might expect to find on an original survivor of this age. The panels are as straight as an arrow (“Laser” straight?), with no appreciable dents or marks. Rust is not an issue to be considered because this car is spotlessly clean. The plastic trim has survived in remarkable condition, with no cracks or damage visible in the supplied photos. The factory alloy wheels show no evidence of any marks or stains, while the glass is perfect. It would not be stretching credibility to say that this car looks like it has only recently rolled off the showroom floor.

Lifting this Chrysler’s hood reveals a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine that, with the benefit of a turbocharger, pumps out 146hp. That power finds its way to the road via the front wheels and a three-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is probably the only disappointment because it will sap the Laser’s ultimate performance. This fact is graphically demonstrated when you compare ¼ mile ETs. In automatic form, this Chrysler should cover the distance in 17.4 seconds. If the original buyer had chosen the manual transmission, that figure would drop to 16.1 seconds. However, it’s not all bad news with this classic. The owner says it runs and drives exceptionally well and is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel. He has recently replaced the power steering pump and steering rack and performed a fluid change and tune-up. That leaves little for the buyer to do.

Many cars from the 1980s demonstrated similar traits when it came to considering their interiors. Manufacturers were turning more towards plastic trim pieces, and these were prone to significant deterioration due to exposure to UV rays. Our feature car hasn’t suffered those dramas, and the interior presents beautifully. The cloth upholstery on the seats is excellent, with no evidence of significant wear or stains. The door trims and dash are in a similar state, while the carpet is spotless. This interior doesn’t just present well because it comes loaded with luxury extras. These include air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a tilt wheel, cruise control, power mirrors, and a premium AM/FM radio and cassette player. That’s all the comforts of home in a package that makes a positive visual impression.

One of the Laser’s funkiest features is the gauge cluster. It is an all-digital affair and is perfect for anyone wishing to channel their inner Luke Skywalker. The only issue that the owner notes with this feature is that the tachometer sometimes doesn’t illuminate. Otherwise, everything works as it should.

For potential buyers seeking a classic car that they can enjoy immediately, this 1985 Chrysler Laser XE Turbo has to be a strong contender. It presents impressively and makes a stunning visual impact. It remains original and unmolested and should turn heads wherever it goes. Chrysler sold 18,193 examples of the Laser XE during that model year, but finding a good one today can be a battle. The BIN is well above what you might expect to pay for a tidy vehicle, but its price is not unprecedented. It could be worth making a respectable offer on this classic because you could be driving away in an absolute gem at an affordable price.


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  1. flmikey

    Had one in the 90’s…super fun to drive…mine had a stick, but I have found that turbo’s with automatics keeps the boost up, and some are actually faster than sticks…Buick GN’s would be a good example of that…nice find!

    Like 10
  2. Bingo Zombies

    I am to desire this car

    Like 5
    • Jace F.

      I also agree.

      Like 4
  3. DRV

    There are not too many practical daily driver “collectable” cars out there. It’s price is right with good gas mileage and cheaply insured if you keep it under 5k miles a year.
    In the world of wheels these are a standout and not in a bad way, and the shapes define the period .

    Like 6
  4. Keith

    Digital dash is the scary thing. Very,very expensive to repair if you can even find someone that does it.

    Like 12
  5. Phil

    For a minute, I thought those were Jaguar “pepperpot” wheels. They aren’t. They are very similar though.

    Like 2
  6. Dave

    The only caveat is that you run good turbo-rated oil in it and remember to allow the engine to idle for a few minutes before shutting it off so that the oil doesn’t coke up the bearings. Shell Rotella or Mobil Delvac would be a good choice.

    Like 8
  7. Steve Clinton

    Looks good but I pass.

  8. OldCarGuy

    I think the car that “demonstrated … the space efficiency … from front-wheel-drive” would be the Austin Se7en/Morris Mini Minor, which numbered some 5,500,000 produced, the last of which rolled out on October 2, 2000. Voted, in 1999, the second most influential car of the 20th century, it was outvoted by the Ford Model T as the most influential. It lost the “most ugly” vote to the Toronado. :>))

    I think a Mini would almost fit into the Toronado engine compartment.

    Like 1
  9. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I had this powertrain in a 86 Lebaron GTS and it was indeed kind of fun to drive. I had no powertrain issues over five years and 60k miles of ownership (I never let it “idle down” before shutting it off). Somehow the angular styling on this car comes across fine today, and those funky wheels still look cool to me. Is there a history of instrument cluster failure, or are we just assuming that the electronics will eventually fail? This could be a unique car to own.

    Like 7
    • Dave

      The electronics will indeed fail and in time become unobtanium. Today’s computer-dependent cars will not last 50 years.
      In the 1980s Japanese ham radio manufacturers sold some wonderful radios. Today most of them are silent due to failures of their “brains”, the microprocessors which gave them their abilities. They still have issues with this today. I just got rid of a 2002 Kenwood TS-2000S due to its microprocessor having failed.
      Ford set the “standard” for this with its “Duraspark” electronic ignition system in the 1970s. When the ignition module died and left me stranded in my 1977 F150 I bought two and carried a spare. My job in field service was taking me places in West Virginia that you didn’t want to be stranded in because the bear-to-human ratio was sharply in favor of the bears…and wolves…and big cats!

      Like 1
      • joenywf64

        Not sure if you also carried & threw some dawg bisquits, would a wolf start wagging its tail & be your friend. lol

        I would have put in a pts & condenser distributor – i drove to work for 25 years with a couple of points & condenser strait 6 chevy cars & never got stranded due to ignition.

        On an OBD1 car(no countless # of body control modules like on OBD2 modern cars) even as late as ’91, if it has few options & no antilock brakes or adjustable suspension or digital gages, there would be ONLY an engine computer & a computer for the trans(if automatic).
        On the ’91 manual 3 dial climate controlled automatic 3000gt, the 2 computers had capacitors that eventually leaked & caused stalling, failsafe into 3rd gear, etc.- but you could get home – the computers are still ez as pie to find(& replace) used(even a later model OBD1 computer may fit!) – or rebuilt with much better capacitors. & not all that expensive either.
        I would think a non turbo ’85 Laser with few options & analog dash would be just as ez to keep on the road today.

        I just bought 1 of these stereos off of ebay for $17 delivered!
        & it has 60 watts per channel!, light weight, compact size. I just listen to music on a USB stick. The display is hard to see,
        in daytime with sunglasses on, but i dont really need to see it. Wish they had this stereo & flash drives in the ’70s-’90s instead of the aggravating cassettes & 8 tracks that all jammed, broke, lost clarity, etc.

  10. jwaltb

    Nicest one left!
    K car POS.

  11. Abi

    Seller accepted someone’s offer.

    Like 3
  12. Brad460 Member

    Not surprised at all that it sold quickly. They weren’t excellent cars but oh so 80s tech. Kudos to the past owners for keeping it so nice. Someone got a great piece.

    Like 3
  13. Moparman Member

    Very nice, but why is it missing the matching ribbed trim that surrounded the side marker lights on both sides? GLWTA!! :-)

  14. Big Bear

    I remember working at a Chrysler dealership when this was too Laser model…and I drove them. It was fun watching the dash lights move. If you did a brake rev it would fly off the line real fast. But down side back then the dash board had to be send out to be fixed. (We had a exchange program)Also replace many turbos for two reasons. Owners keep forgetting to idle down for a bit before shutting down. And premium fuel owners used 87 to us it was a no no. This one is beautiful condition and wheels are in great shape. Good luck to the new owner.🐻🇺🇸

    Like 1
  15. joenywf64

    Not sure why so few Lasers left – rusted away? But didn’t 16 yr OLDER ’69 camaros rust just as fast, if not faster? I don’t get it. Not sure the reason for such a long front overhang, espec on a front wheel drive car. Same with the Mustang II, tho it’s rear wheel drive. Must have been a styling trend back then – from 1 extreme to the other – now look at the front “overhang” on a contemporary Camaro …
    This is maybe to insure as much damage to the body & mechanicals, radiator, etc. as possible from the least violent impact?

    • bone

      80s cars just didn’t seem to get saved like in previous years. A lot of time it was something like a head gasket that would relegate it to the junkyard , it just seemed like a death sentence back then, it just seemed to make more sense to replace the car.I think al ot of the 80s plastic didn’t hold up well either, making cars look worn out before their time

  16. Jeff Bryan

    I had a 1989 Chrysler LeBaron Premium Turbo coupe which replaced the other LeBaron coupe and Laser the best car I had gave me 220,000 miles until an intoxicated driver hit me head on loved that car.

  17. Stan

    Turbo any/Chrysler is cool 😎

  18. DON

    I’ve often wondered if this car and its Dodge sister would have been more successful if it had been made rear drive and have a 4 ,6 and 8 cylinder option like the Fox body Mustangs. Similar is size and light , these could have been a 5.0 competitor .

  19. Tony

    Hi all, I am the new owner of this gem! I accidently came across this article after I bought it, so that’s kinda cool.
    I had 2 of these cars years ago. First a 1984 Gold Laser Turbo with 5 speed in 1986. Sold it when I had a baby coming late 1987. Then another Gold one in 1995. They lost their value so bad that they were great cars for a cheap price back then, especially a dad with little money!
    I now have a 2017 Mustang GT that I ordered new and have customized completely, I will be placing it in it’s last car show this coming April ( a national Mustang show in SC). It has 750 HP at the engine and I love driving this beast.
    Now I decided last spring to look for another car to take to car shows and Cars & Coffee events. I wanted something unique and that was not as popular as say….a Mustang! Lol! And after 8 months of looking everywhere online I got an email from one of my saved searches on Ebay. And I loved this car from the second I saw it. I made an offer and we came to a fair deal. I am having it shipped to me now and hope to put my hands on it next week!

    Like 2

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