By on October 25, 2012

The Chrysler E-Class— based on the K platform and built for the 1983 and 1984 model years only— wasn’t quite as opulent as the car we associate Señor Montalban with today, but it talked!


Montalban sold Chrysler products for nearly 15 years. Some had soft— not rich— Corinthian leather, some didn’t.

Going from a ’75 Cordoba to a woodie K-car wagon? ¡Dios Mio!

Electronics so advanced, it even monitors itself… to keep you secure.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

47 Comments on “1984: Ricardo Montalban Introduces Us To The Future...”


  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    I’m a K car fan. That 82 convertable is an especially handsome looking little ride.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Amazing that they included the limo in the mass-market TV ad. Who buys a limo based on a commercial?

    I had a girlfriend who had one (a hand-me-down). That croaky computer voice was an interesting idea but very annoying. Why didn’t they use Ricardo’s outstanding voice? That would have been awesome!

  • avatar
    thalter

    The limo was there not to sell limos, but to give a “halo” effect to the rest of the product line and hopefully distract you from the fact that they are warmed over-K cars.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    KHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    It’s totally appropriate that the ’83-’84 E-class talked, because that was about the same time as Knight Rider…but KITT probably had more interesting things to say than “your door is ajar”.

  • avatar
    kmoquin

    I expected pictures of a red Volare wagon with a canvas roof and no doors.

  • avatar
    hifi

    I always got these cars confused. The K-Car, the E-Class, the LeBaron and the New Yorker always looked basically like the same car.

    I can’t believe this was 30 years ago. Design-wise, some new cars today don’t look much more sophisticated than these. The current Camry for instance doesn’t look like it was designed in this decade.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      K-Car referred to the platform, not the model. Most Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth models introduced in the 1980s rode on some variant of the K-Car architecture. Referring to the E-Class models as “K-Cars” would be like calling the Chevy Malibu an “Epsilon Car” or the current Chrysler 300 an “LX Car”, it’s just identifying the model based on the platform it’s built on.

      Where Chrysler may have created some confusion is that they were so proud of the engineering behind the K-Car platform that when it first came out, they added a “K” suffix to the names of the first two models built on it – the Plymouth Reliant K and Dodge Aries K – which were the only K-Car models actually publicly marketed as such, and dropped the “K” badges after a few years anyway.

      The E-Class sat above the New Yorker in Chrysler’s model hierarchy. It had a 10-inch longer wheelbase (113.3 in vs. 103.3 in) for more legroom. The whole point was that with the discontinuation of the RWD R-platform models in 1981, Chrysler was left without a credible full-size model, and due to cost cutting and downsizing, lacked the ability to engineer a new one. All they had to work with was the K-platform, which couldn’t be enlarged enough to create a true full-size, but could be stretched a bit to create a larger midsize model as a stop-gap, until a proper full-size architecture could be engineered later on.

      • 0 avatar
        roger628

        The E-Class was BELOW the New Yorker, not above it.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        The E-class and the (FWD) New Yorker are the same car, with different roof treatments and other trim differences. (The 113-inch-wheelbase New Yorker of that era was the 1982-only RWD LeBaron-based version, which in turn was derived from the Aspen/Volare cars of 1976. When the FWD New Yorker began production, the RWD car was still offered but was renamed Fifth Avenue.)

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I want the Eddie Murphy edition talking car.

    Say man, someone stole your battery…

    I say we go get the mutha f….

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    I owned an early 80s Nissan Maxima (RWD, in-line six) that had the voice announcer. “Driver’s door is open” and other BS. They used a woman’s voice that sounded like one of my nagging ex-wives. Thank God they provided a switch to disable it! Another gimmick.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Didn’t those Nissans say, “your door is ajar”? I don’t know how easy it was to disable it if you hated it, but one sign of a grey market re-import was a disabled voice on those Nissans. The models exported to Latin America had the voice removed because it was in English and not Spanish, and some people re-exported those models to the US because supply in the US was constrained.

      No, seriously, it’s not a jar, it’s a door.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Talking cars were all the rage for a time in the ’80s. BL also incorporated the feature into the Austin Montego & Austin Maestro (as well as the badge-engineered MG Montego & MG Maestro derivatives). BL, Nissan, and Chrysler all dropped it once customers realized how annoying it was to actually live with on a daily basis. Another gimmick that probably sounded a lot better in focus groups than in reality.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “BL, Nissan, and Chrysler all dropped it once customers realized how annoying it was to actually live with on a daily basis. Another gimmick that probably sounded a lot better in focus groups than in reality.”

        I can’t even stand the voice on a nav system. Every time I give it another chance, I end up killing it again within 60-90 seconds.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Now the LeBaron sedan in the second video is what a 4-door coupe should look like.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      40 hwy, 26 city on the K-body LeBaron? Really? I mean, sure, that’s pre-revision of the numbers, but still. That must have been one hell of an overdrive gear.

      That’s a big change from the M-body that I remember well.

      No idea why Chrysler dumped the LeBaron name in favor of Cirrus (ahh, the cloud cars…), Sebring, and now 200. Like Town and Country, “LeBaron” had been used in the Chrysler family for quite a while, first as an independent builder and then later as a trimline on the Imperial.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Probably helped mileage tests quite a bit not diluting the gas with ethanol too.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I had a K and could get 35 if I nursed it….and there was no overdrive gear. Just the bulletproof tranny based on the A904. Arguably the most durable FWD trans of the era. If you had a 2.2 engine, you didn’t even get a lockup TC. For that you had to step up to the 2.5…

        My mom had an 84 NYR with the silent shaft Misu engine. The torque/power characteristics of that engine were poorly matched to the trans.

  • avatar
    High-brid

    32 MPG highway, 24 city…not too shabby.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    You bought a car because it belonged to Jon Voight?

  • avatar
    Hoser

    The seats in that era Chrysler E-bodies are some of the best I’ve ever sat in.
    My ’85 New Yorker seats were the BEST of anything I had before or have had since.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The NYR seats were great. I installed a set from a crashed NYR and installed them in my K. Correct color as well. Also added the overhead console, door trim, rear trunk release, dash parts…I had a “Luxury K”….I seriously contemplated swapping a turbo engine but would have lost bragging rights for being well over 200K on the original drivetrain so I didn’t do it.

  • avatar

    I actually owned one, a hand-me-down from my folks. Silver with a blue velour interior. My dad had died and for some reason, I think an alternator or something, my mom wasn’t driving it and it was just sitting in their garage and we needed another set of wheels. I don’t recall it took more than replacing the bad component and giving it a jump start to get it running. My youngest kid, who is now getting her driver’s license for the first time at 24, says she wants to retrofit whatever car she gets with a gizmo that says “A Door is Ajar” (perhaps because she heard her dad say many times, “No, a door is a door”. It was her older sister’s car, briefly after she got her driver’s license in high school. Typical issues of mid-’80s Chrysler products, but for the most part reliable. Actually, it was a fairly comfortable car, much nicer riding than the shorter wheelbase K cars. Not a bad job of turning a front driver into something your Granpa wouldn’t mind driving. Also, not an ugly car. I remember the faux crystal pentastar hood ornament.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      A friend of mine had the Dodge version, the 600, and wow, it made his Volare look good. Unending electrical issues. One time, it got towed to the dealer, “fixed”, he got about 10 miles down the road, died, got towed back, “fixed” again, and it died almost as soon as he pulled out of the dealer’s driveway. It spent a lot of time on the back of a tow truck. The dealer (!) felt sorry for him and gave him a deal he would have been insane to refuse on a new Caravan, which he had for 16 years and it was as good as the 600 was bad. I always wondered what happened to that car…

  • avatar
    michaelfrankie

    So, how much are we talking about in today’s dollars?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I am not embarrased to say I too liked the K Cars , they were the right car at the right time , sold well and many are still running .

    To me , the drop tops best utilized the K Car’s good looks .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “Going from a ’75 Cordoba to a woodie K-car wagon? ¡Dios Mio!”

    The ¡Dios Mío! part was classy.

    Embarrassingly, I forgot the ASCII sequence for this character: ¡

  • avatar
    loki993

    What no fine Corinthian leather?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India