By on November 5, 2012

We might as well follow up last week’s Aries K wagon Junkyard Find with another member of the Chrysler-saving K family. I’ve been intermittently fascinated by the E-Class, so this Crusher-bound example in Denver caught my eye.
We laugh at the idea of a blinged-out K-Car with a vaguely Benzified name today, but the E-Class boasted a tremendous amount of interior space for its fairly small external dimensions, and the ride was much nicer than that of, say, the Diplomat-based ’82 New Yorker.
The E was bigger and plusher than the mechanically similar LeBaron, but not quite as luxurious as its de-Diplomat-ized ’83 New Yorker sibling. GM and Ford had nothing that could compare to the combination of fuel economy, interior space, and bling-per-buck of this car, though their rear-drive V8 machinery would obliterate the (non-turbo-equipped) Chryslers in a drag race.


No mention of Corinthian Leather, but it was an option on the E-Class.
Instead of the traditional Whorehouse Red Quasi-Velour™ interior seen in so many Detroit cars of this era, this car has Bodily Fluid-Friendly Blue Quasi-Velour­™, straight out of the pages of a custom-van supply catalog.
I might need to go back and buy this tasteful emblem.

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61 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Chrysler E-Class...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Opulence!

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    Luxurious armstrong window controls.

  • avatar
    kilgoretrout

    This was the last US industry car my parents bought, in 1984. At 75K, with a slipping transmission, failing brakes and trim pieces falling off everywhere, they traded on a new ’89 Accord & have owned Honda & Toyota ever since. Textbook case.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      My parent’s last one was an ’85 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo. If it had made it to 75,000 miles, they’d have kept buying them. My mother’s 1979 Horizon is remembered as a great car. Sure, it needed numerous suspension component repairs, rattled from day one, and was sold for $575 with 66,000 miles needing a water pump and all brake wear parts replaced, again, but it is still remembered as a great car. It was Especially great when compared to the ’85 Dodge that came next. My parents both started driving American cars in the early ’60s, and starting when it is wet out or when the engine is hot was enough to impress them until various imports raised their expectations. Previously, cars with more than about 50K miles weren’t trusted on long trips. We’d pile into the new one, even if it was small and the ‘old’ car was huge.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I assume that your E-Class had the “indestructable” torqueflite 904, right?

      I grabbed a Toyota when the same thing broke on my Horizon at 90k.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Was definitely not the 904. The 904 was the downsized RWD Torqueflite which I’ve had the pleasure of grenading no less than 5 of.

        The 904 was indestructible behind the slant six, not so much behind a small block V8.

        You might argue the A413 was based on a Torqueflite, but so much was changed and downsized, they really didn’t have a whole lot in common with the 904.

      • 0 avatar
        kilgoretrout

        It was whatever transmission came with the 2.6 Mitsubishi Four. All I know was it was quickly worn out.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        The slant six, now that was a terrific engine.

        The 2.6 Mitsu engine had a “strengthened version” of the torqueflite called “A470″, according to wikipedia.

        Forget what I said about the 904, that was probably a decent transmission when used properly.

        With that I apologize to Moparman and Goldenhusky, all three of us were wrong apparently.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Loving the totally unnecessary digital font on the “fasten seat belts”. This probably had the Atari-like “MMMMMnnnn Don’t FOR-get YOOOR keys” bitching betty voice box to go along with it.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    ew, a 2.6.

    • 0 avatar
      Hoser

      Tell me about it. That 2.6 was the worst part of my otherwise pretty nice 85 New Yorker. That goofy Mikuni carb with spaghetti bowls of vacuum lines plus the goofy Jet valve system was a nightmare. I never could get mine to idle just right. When the head gasket blew, it went to the boneyard rather than have to deal with those vacuum lines or the silent shaft chains.

  • avatar
    prancingmoose

    Buy an emblem?
    That’s what jeans pockets and the bottom of your toolbox is for!

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Took a gorgeous(?) ’87 Dodge 600 version of this gem in on trade once on a Passat wagon. 120k miles, blue on blue, carrying a salvage/rebuilt title from California – from 1989, no less! Though you could see some ripples in the bodywork, the car ran and drove brilliantly and left me very impressed for its power (turbo 2.2l), spaciousness, and the fact that every electrical option from the seats to the mirrors to the A/C STILL WORKED!

    We used it as our service loaner and Pasco’s finest subprime customers had the joy of leaping back into the shoes of a midlevel AT&T sales rep when they needed transportation overnight. One poor guy who bought an Axiom from us drove the little 600 for four months while we tried to find parts to rebuild his direct injection Axiom.

    I took it myself as my ‘its-funny-to-myself’ demo and regaled others on how it was a true Hemi and also that if you like the Chrysler 300, well, this is TWICE the car.

    I ended up selling it our detailer for $400 and $400 worth of details. Last time I saw it, it blew a head gasket but was still driving with a love seat strapped to the roof.

  • avatar
    DeadFlorist

    Were those early 80′s Chrysler clear hood ornaments glass or plastic? I have a very early childhood snapshot memory of one of them, which at the time struck me as the coolest thing ever. Like some sort of exotic jewel.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      It was plastic of some sort, possibly acrylic.

    • 0 avatar
      JLGOLDEN

      I had a collection of the gorgeous “Chrysler crystals” back in high school. Source: Ahem…undisclosed. The hood ornaments were remarkably easy to snap loose from their spring mountings: One swift, direct pull upward. Snap. And karma had its way with me, as I have a 1990-induced scar on my right hand, when that trusty “swift pull upward” resulted in fracturing the chrome pentagon ring. Slice. Bleed. Whine.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m surprised with all the digital goodness and faux futurism Chrysler put in these, there wasn’t a Star Trek edition, the films being so popular at the time. I don’t see Cadillac or Lincoln of the period going near such a thing, but I could see a Dodge 600 Enterprise edition (although I suspect a good many were Enterprise Rent-a-car editions, ha a pun!).

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m surprised at the manual windows on this high-end E-Class Mercedes-like vehicle.

    There’s one of these sitting at a gas station service area around here, beige in color with the bordello interior. Looks like it might be in running condition, perhaps a tasteful employee’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @CoreyDL: This particular car is not that high up on the equipment level matrix. At best a mid-level car, not the top model. Unlike cars of the last 10 or so years, where they all come with all of the power accessories standard, those items were reserved for the top models. Or as an add-on to mid-level models. The top level cars in this line usually had a very brougham-y vinyl roof added to them.

      My wife’s uncle had one of these back in the day. He bought it for his wife after a particularly good year, and that car did have all the “toys”. Including power windows and the brougham 1/4 vinyl roof.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    You want luxury? Here! Have this Plymouth Reliant with a Dodge 400 front end slapped onto it!

    Was the E-Class name to compete with Mercedes?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The midsized Mercedes in the US when this car was released were all diesels. I think the advertising compared it with the 300D. Mercedes later renamed their midsized cars E-class to try to steal this K-car’s thunder. When Mercedes-Benz automobiles wore the letter E prior to 1994, it denoted that the car’s engine had gasoline fuel injection.

      The E-class was longer than a Reliant. The Caravelle, 600, and E-class were E-bodies with longer wheelbases and different side glass than the standard K-cars.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, well, well; it’s about time one of these showed up on here.

    I found a very nice 1984 E-Class at our corner Dodge dealer and just HAD to show the car to wifey. At the time we owned our 1981 Reliant and a 1975 Dart Lite.

    When wifey saw the car and after we took a ride in it, she said we just HAVE to buy this car! we did.

    Ours was gorgeous – silver with that classy two-tone scheme of gun metal blue hood and thin area just below the belt line. Roof and trunk were silver. Bluish-gray interior. Very nice wire wheel covers.

    Seats were outstandingly comfortable, carpeting thick, power windows, 2.2L, auto, A/C, tilt, AM/FM radio but no cruise for some reason, nor power seats. I added a cassette player a few years later. This was about 1989 or 1990.

    Nevertheless, that car was beautiful. We owned it for 8 years, selling it when a piston burnt. If I knew or had reliable resources to fix the car – this was 1994, in Ohio for 2 years, I would have done so, for the next owner fixed the engine and drove it for several more years. Looking back, I wish I would have gotten it fixed, as it was a delight to drive – a cruiser, not a corner-carver, to be sure!

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      No tape player? Thats an odd feature to exclude on a luxury car.

      I did the same thing on my Horizon, never understood why Chrysler held off on tape players until the 90′s, when the very same radios could be had with tape players.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Yeah, but you know what? NOBODY had a radio that was easier to use with those HUGE buttons! They were visible from the air!

        Correction: The Dart Lite was a 1976, not a 1975. Slower than molasses, but such a cool-looking car, our kids referred to it as “The race car”!

      • 0 avatar

        it had huge buttons, but was absolutely abysmal in sound quality. Both of Dad’s 87 and 94 Dakotas got quickly switched out to a Delco unit that I had laying around. Press-fit radio!

        Even Dad who normally only cares that it get AM talk shows griped loudly about the pathetic sound that came out of the 4 speakers in both trucks. More than once in the rain I couldn’t hear the radio at all over the sound of the rain hitting the glass.

      • 0 avatar

        Interestingly though, the upgraded stereos Chrysler did offer at this time were usually quite good. My parents had an ’88 New Yorker with the Infinity unit (with a tape & CD deck) and it was superb. Best thing about the car.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        WRT the radios: My Lancer Turbo had the AM/AM Stereo/FM Stereo but no tape deck in my uplevel car. That was still the way things were done back then. Many, many levels to upgrade to. Again, not like today, where EVERYTHING is standard…

        +1 to Zackman, those Mopar radios were actually USABLE when operated while wearing gloves. Try that today! @Texan: My Dakota had horrible sound insulation. It was the truck, not the radio! LOL

        Yes, the Infinity stereos were great, almost as good as the aftermarket boxes that were available back then. IIRC, they had the joystick so you could more easily bias the sound to one corner of the car or the other. That was a neat toy, but I wasn’t going to spring for it on my Lancer.

        Over the 11 years I had my Lancer, I never bothered to upgrade the radio. Unfortunately, for all of the noise (heh) made about AM Stereo back in the 80′s, I could only find ONE radio station in Atlanta that actually broadcast in AM Stereo. It was a classical music station (without traffic broadcasts, though), I would occasionally tune in to it, it sounded pretty darn good. But I guess the momentum wasn’t behind it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Its crazy how despite the many features in modern cars, we’ve forgotten how to make them usable.

      Even GMs old touchscreens were far better than what they make now, they didn’t need patching to work!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The people who developed those systems actually gave a hoot if they worked, I’m here to tell you few in the software business actually care if the products work properly. Its all about making the deadline, completing the sprint, and rolling out the new features so sales can sell an upgrade. That’s the game and its disgraceful.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        At 28:

        I’ve heard something like that before, but thank you for the insight, it explains quite a bit on how and why so many software programs and webpages seem to be as buggy as they are these days.

        As far as I can tell those “new features” seem to simply be different lay-outs a portion of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Technology is a funny thing. Most of the people I work with are my age or younger (I’m 31) and this is what we’ve seen, but a few weeks back we inherited an older guy and his equally older QA (both late 40s/early 50s), and they very quickly took to criticize how things were being run in our overall dept and point out how important functional, not feature driven, software is to a product. My previous job had a number of engineers (real deal, Elec Engineers, Mechanical Engineers) in that age group, who felt the same way. They all feel C++ can conquer the Earth, DOS was the height of computing, and Apple has gone way downhill since OS9… and you know what they are right.

        My former employer sells a pharmacy robot which picks something like 90 million med doses a year in 270 hospitals all over North America, written in C++ and runs on DOS to this day. Nuclear plants being built in China as we speak run C and a UNIX derived operating system. A major insurance carrier in the state I interned for still runs a Medipac mainframe for bill processing. These are systems which have proven the test of time and will continue too for years to come.

        Personally, I blame the dot com burst, too many smart people got paid heftily for vaporware and since then they all want paid well for little to no work, with no pride put into their product.

        Saying in the industry, “its not a bug, its a feature!”

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Its those old engineers that I admire in the technology world, the ones that’re often ignored in favor of trendy young guys.

        Again, your posts have made an interesting read. I thank you for them.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thanks for the compliment. I thought you might enjoy this, its part of a dated documentary (about ten years old) about Pittsburgh where the Robot-RX is shown (specifically the APS2 12ft, or the ‘big robot’). I worked with two of the guys in it during my time, the very Italian gentleman with the porn star mustache is an excellent home-brewer. The second video shows the APS4 with envelope system at KUHA I personally worked on in 2010/11 and the newer ProManager (a.k.a Blister Robot) I also worked on but its not nearly as impressive… it requires too much manual intervention and has other limitations such as a requirement for blister packed meds (we built a packager for the APS robots, you can package liquids, syringes, pills, whatever with it)

        http://www DOT youtube DOT com/watch?v=Kp-zYwCvq7s

        http://www DOT youtube DOT com/watch?v=APmmDrwa7Nw&feature=related

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Trust the car with the plastic Pentastar. No don’t, they were awful when they were new and havent gotten any better with time. One and only one should be preserved (if that is possible) as an example of how not to build a car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I can’t think of any car that would more exemplify the 80s than a mint Chrysler E-class with a Turbo 4 installed in it. You could have a nostolgia night at the drag strip with that sucker.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I dig the “crystal” hood emblem. Specially because I’m pretty much sure that pedestrian crash regs killed it.

  • avatar
    CarolinaGreg

    My then girlfriend and now wife of 11 years had an 85 LeBaron 4 door, the 2nd cousin to this e-class, back in 1999. What I remember best about it was the bench seat in the front (manual no less) that was this same “bodily fluid” absorbent color. So when we went anyhwere and she drove, my knees were in the dash, as it wasn’t a “split” bench. And it was the same “luxurious” edition, but didn’t even have power windows, locks or a tape deck (OK, i’m carbon dating myself here). Car also had a full vinyl top, that the NC sun had not been kind to, and had taken on the smell of an old swimming pool. AHh, good times.

  • avatar
    Hoser

    In addition to my own 85 NYer, one of my friends in HS had an ’83 E-class. Red exterior and red cloth interior. It was impeccably maintained. If anything started to cause any kind of problem, it was off to the dealer to get fixed. Any hint of wear was set back to as-new.

    I went off to college a thousand miles away and one day he told me the E-class blew a head gasket and was done. He traded it in on a new 95 Neon to replace it. The dealer gave him $200 for the E-class.

    $200. I told him a a day and a case of beer, we could have had it perfect again. I would have given him $300 and pimped it around a few more years.

    I bleed Ford blue now, but the EEKs were pretty good cars for what they were.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      “$200. I told him a a day and a case of beer, we could have had it perfect again. I would have given him $300 and pimped it around a few more years.”

      No doubt, what a waste. He got robbed…


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