Junkyard Find: 1985 Chrysler LeBaron Woody Convertible

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1985 chrysler lebaron woody convertible

While Chrysler made a bewildering array of vehicles based on the staving-off-bankruptcy K Platform, only four models could be called pure K-cars: the Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Dodge 400, and Chrysler LeBaron. All the rest, from the Town & Country minivan to the Imperial, were based on mutated K hardware.

Here’s an example of a fully luxed-up LeBaron convertible, featuring body trim made from the stately trees of the Magical Petrochemical Forest, spotted in a Phoenix self-service wrecking yard.

Detroit had a long tradition of phony woodies going by 1985, but this stuff took the phony part to the next level. Note the grain on the “pegs” here.

With the 2.2-liter turbocharged engine under the hood, though, the power in this car wasn’t phony. 146 horsepower was a lot in 1985, particularly in a 2,530-pound car. Manual transmissions were available in the early K-LeBarons, in theory, but I have yet to see one.

We may laugh at a barely-over-a-ton luxury car with not quite 150 horses and so much mock wood, but plenty of Chrysler shoppers saw these cars and said, “Yes, I must have this!

This one has suffered its share of bleaching and general deterioration in the Arizona sun, and would have cost $15,000 for a restoration that would have resulted in a $2,500 end result. Chrysler appears to have dropped the “Corinthian Leather” name by 1985, but you could still get the stuff in cars like this.

We have seen numerous K-cars in this series, including this pair of early-1990s LeBaron convertibles, this 1989 Plymouth Reliant America, this 1982 Dodge Aries wagon, this 1986 Aries sedan, this 1981 Dodge Aries wagon with HEMI 2.6 badges, this 1988 Dodge Aries wagon, and this 1983 Dodge Aries sedan.

Of course Ricardo Montalban did LeBaron ads!

Join the conversation
2 of 53 comments
  • Safeblonde Safeblonde on Oct 26, 2017

    Avis got about $500 from me renting one of these in Florida in the 1980s. Nice work when they could get it.

  • Ls1nova71 Ls1nova71 on Jan 14, 2018

    I know its been 3 months and being a self serve salvage yard, it's probably already been crushed, but can anybody tell me if this car is still there, and the name of the yard? I really need some parts from this car!

  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”