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