Warehouse Find: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron

chrysler1986

Although the 1986 Chrysler LeBaron isn’t exactly desirable by today’s standards (or even 1986 standards), it’s amazing how often it appeared in TV and the movies. Right off the bat I can think of a Seinfeld episode where it had a prominent role, and of course the classic film, Planes Trains and Automobiles, where a LeBaron became a key player in an unending and mind-boggling journey across Middle America. While that hasn’t necessarily increased its value, a car like this low-mileage example here on craigslist in Chicago for $2,500 is a rare sight, especially without wood paneling glued to the sides. It’s certainly been preserved, but a factory turbocharged version is the one I’d hold out for if I wanted to own a vintage LeBaron. Have you ever driven one? What would you pay for this car?

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Comments

  1. Patrick McC.

    If Volvo offered a convertible in 1984 (same year as our family GL with quad headlights), this is what it would look like. It does appear that it actually is the turbo charged 4 cylinder. I’m not fond of really any post 1975 cars; I own a ’70 Beetle and a ’64 Midget. Yet I feel strangely attracted to this car – maybe it’s the Volvo in my veins…

    • jim s

      please post a photo or two of your cars to the site. thanks.

  2. STEEL CRAZY

    Mom always said if you don’t have anything nice to say keep your hog jaws shut. Well this looks like one of these times.

    • Jason Houston

      You mom never went on an Internet blog. All opinions are welcome, complimentary or not.

  3. Bruno

    Wow, this brings back memories. My mom bought one of these brand new. It wasnt a vert but a hardtop with the turbo. Wasnt what you’d think for a turbo car. But it was still fairly comfortable.

  4. Booya

    For the times, they weren’t <> bad. Of course our standards were pretty low.

  5. grant

    When I was a young army MP, we actually used these as patrol vehicles. Biggest POS I’ve ever driven. This should be sent to the crusher and never spoken of again…

  6. Chris in Nashville

    I wouldn’t pay more than the cost of an item from the McDonalds dollar menu for that car… Would rather drive a Lada or Yugo!

    • Jason Houston

      The McDonalds so-called ‘dollar menu’ is crowded with rubbish that costs way more than dollar. When I drive a junk Yugo I’ll eat garbage at McDonalds. Meantime, I’ll take an American convertible over McDonalds any day of the year.

  7. Tim

    Ugly, yes, but the k cars were some of the best cars ever built. They’re 30 years old now and loads still on the road. They saved Chrysler, and while not fast or really great at anything, they were ok at everything. I’m getting a little tired of the constant negative reviews of cars on this site, old and new. A spot of rust and it’s garbage Etc. You rip them all to pieces. Is this a site for people passionate about the history of cars, or a place for one or two guys to voice their bias? I really love barn finds, but let’s try to keep an open mind. Not everyone likes every car, but if someone loves a pacer or a rolls for whatever reasons, I respect that equally.

    • Jay

      Couldn’t agree more, Tim.

      • AlphaRoaming.com

        “Loads still on the road”? I haven’t seen one in dry sunny Silicon Valley in a VERY long time. Maybe in the less affluent Central Valley….

    • taxijohn

      Here Here, for every vehicle out there, no matter what, there is someone who loves them & that is the beauty of being a fan of older vehicles. Me I love BL products in the uk, Lada’s. & yanks with straight sixes in!!! so you see there is now’t as strange as folk.

    • moosie Craig

      I’m with you Tim.

    • Jason Houston

      I live in So. Cal. and there are more, in fact, than Mustangs or Camaros of the same era.

  8. Barry T

    Did the car come from the factory with the driver side door fitting so poorly I wonder?

  9. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    $2500 for a drop top with low miles, a drop in the bucket on any resto. Looks like a fun summer driver to me. Are those pillows in the back seat?

    • Jason Houston

      You got my vote there.

  10. Mark

    The Craigslist ad says it is a Turbo.

  11. Scotty G

    I bought a year-old LeBaron convertible in 1987 in silver, a Mark Cross leather edition with the 2.6 Mitsubishi engine and it was a fantastic car without one problem. Of course, I only owned it for two years. It was quite a thing to give someone a ride and see the look on their face when they heard, “your door is ajar”, “your lights are on”..

  12. Jason

    Crush it.

  13. Tom

    As a car nut who’s taste borders on the eccentric, I can only be offended at the naysayers when it comes to the K car convertibles. Recently took mine to a show with mostly Mustangs there, and drew much attention from many car lovers.
    To each his own……mine is a Turbo, get’s out of everyone’s way, and offers great bang for the buck.
    Highly recommend these!

    • Jason Houston

      I lived in Palm Springs when these were new, and the T&C was the proud “car out front” for every upscale resort along the strip. Nice, attractive cars, always. Just sorry there aren’t more survivors.

  14. Tom Member

    Love these! Long forgotten and under appreciated, these cars get more smiles per dollar and are just cheap enjoyment !

    • Jeff Staff

      Thanks for sharing photos of your car – I totally dig it. Glad there are some open minded folks on here….that’s what makes this hobby so much fun.

    • Jason Houston

      Detroit had been out of convertibles for a decade, the foreign stuff wasn’t worth mentioning, the after-market saw-tops looked like hell without quarter glass, and wood-trimmed cars were ripe for a resurrection. It was the right car at the right time!

  15. Steve

    I have a friend who used to have the hardtop turbo version of this car. It gave her so many problems she called the “Anti-Chrysler”.

    • grant

      Lol that’s funny

  16. Jack Wyman

    Disclaimer: Tom is a dear friend of mine. But his white convertible is a beautiful car in beautiful shape. He has, as he said, drawn considerable attention at shows. I know because I’ve been there. What he was too modest to mention is that he recently took First Place in his class at a Mustang show. That’s pretty cool. That night, while we were at a restaurant with our wives, a lovely 20-something lady went crazy for this rare perfectly preserved original.Fortunately for Tom, his wife got in the passenger seat!

    Appreciate all old cars that are well cared for,

    Jack

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