By on May 4, 2020

Rare Rides previously featured the last rear-drive Town & Country wagon, a model closely related to the sturdy and reliable M-body Dodge Diplomat. Today’s wagon is a sign of its times: It’s front-drive, efficient, and based on the K-car platform (like 98 percent of Chrysler’s offerings for the years 1981 through 1995).

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The M-body seventh-generation LeBaron Town & Country linked above was a short-lived product offering. Available only between 1978 and 1981, its short life came down to changing fortunes at Chrysler. By the early Eighties, ChryCo was out of money, launching minivans, and in the midst of switching up the rest of its product to front-drive.

After the 1981 run of rear-drive Town & Country wagons, the Chrysler factory at Newark, Delaware switched its production line over to front-drive K cars. All eighth-generation Town & Country wagons were made in Newark, bearing model years between 1982 and 1988.

The luxurious Town & Country wagon shared its panels with the new and plebeian LeBaron wagon, but maintained exclusivity via copious vinyl wood cladding like in prior Town & Country generations. There was also a Town & Country convertible, which marked the first time that badge graced a drop top since 1968.

Town & Country vehicles used the same four-cylinder engines as found in other K cars, which ranged in displacement from 2.2- to 2.6-liters. All engines were Chrysler-sourced apart from the 2.6, which was donated by Mitsubishi. Unique for an American-branded wagon, a turbocharger was also available on the 2.2-liter engine. The only transmission offered was a three-speed automatic.

By 1988 the family wagon was on the way out, mostly due to the minivan offerings Chrysler pioneered in North America. After one last hurrah, the Town & Country wagon disappeared permanently. No vehicle used the name in 1989, but in 1990 a new type of vehicle wore the Town & Country badge: a minivan. And it kept the wood paneling, too.

Today’s Rare Ride is for sale in Cincinnati. With just 58,000 miles traveled since 1986, it’s about as clean as they come. A knowledgeable dealer seemingly attributes the Town & Country as the ultimate K-car (wrong) and the car which saved Chrysler (also wrong), and asks $9,995.

[Images: seller]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

30 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1986 Chrysler Town & Country Wagon – Adventures in Vinyl...”


  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Is that dealer serious??? $10,000? What Cincinnati dealer has this little gem on the lot? And 58,000 miles is as dubious as Al Bundy’s repainted Dodge with a dozen miles on it. I’m a child of the 80s, and there’s no way I’d part with $10,000 for a K-car wagon.

    And kids, that’s called a non-split bench seat. That means when your 5’2″ grandmother is driving, her 6’1″ grandson riding shotgun is about three inches from the dashboard eating his knees. Speaking from experience…

    Although if I ever got confused about what is left and what is right, it’s in HUGE letters under each arrow to let me know. Thanks Chrysler!!!

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Actually, Corey, I am curious what dealer has this. Third picture down, black MX-5 RF in front of the Shaggin’ Wagon. The Mazda dealer by me just sold their 2019 black MX-5 RF Club during this quarantine so I’m looking around. If that’s a 2019, and the price is right, I might be interested!

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Mr. McGuire wasn’t wrong.

  • avatar
    ajla

    For $10K+ on a ChryslerCo vehicle of this era imma need some Maserati, Shelby, or Cummins badges.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is that more than the original sticker price?

    If it was a turbo model and 1/2 the price I’d be interested.

    • 0 avatar

      My thoughts on the price also, Dan. Still, even if the mileage is 100K more, the car is in very good condition (at least cosmetically). And, yeah, 5 grand is a more reasonable asking price. At this point in the game future repairs are going to be, shall we say, somewhat difficult possibly which would factor in on my thoughts to purchase. Even if it were a Shelby Charger, of which there was one last year in my area for sale which sorely tempted me, dealing with future repair costs is a negative.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Thanks, now you made me happy that I bought a Taurus wagon

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    A lot of plastic trees from the Resin Forest had to die for that ugly car. I can’t imagine anyone getting all misty longing for a nostalgic ride in this POS. Hard pass

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Note the misalignment of the gauge cluster bezel particularly on the right side oil light and right side blinker.
      My grandfather owned a Dodge Aires K that he liked. Unfortunately someone in the Miami area also liked it and stole it from a shopping center parking lot.
      I drove a few of these as government issued vehicles particularly the last 88-89 ones that seemed well built. They were ok for their era but well above a comparable GM X-body.
      But $10k for this, that’s well into Maserati TC or very mint nice LeBaron turbo convertible price range. I think the recently listed nice Shelby GTS was priced not much more than this.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Isn’t stealing a K-Car the ultimate in loserville?

        • 0 avatar
          StudeDude

          The ultimate in Loserville is stealing a GM X car.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          My gramps was getting up in years around 90 when it was stolen. He actually passed the license renewal but he got nudged not to purchase another vehicle though he did have his eyes on one.
          Me and other family members were bemused since it was Miami and thought it probably ended up on a ship overseas or parted out.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    I think the old Newark plant used to build the Dart/Valiant once upon a time.

    Yeah, the asking price is pretty funny.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Fun fact: the old mechanicals speedometers on these moved backwards. As you can see from how far apart the numbers are, if you reversed fast enough then the needle would point at that 85. FYI: the K Car chassis is REALLY squirrelly when you do this down a residential street at 3am.

    The other fun fact was the odometer did, in fact, go down if you had the patience and room. It takes a lot of patience to make it go down by one or two tenths. This is also a fun thing to try at deserted streets at 3am.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      Actually no car handles properly when driven fast in reverse. The front suspension alignment settings are all wrong for that. I experienced that as a teen driving my 66 Comet backwards around the block with my girlfriend in the car. Kids do crazy stuff.

      Years ago dishonest used car dealers would disconnect the speedometer cable from the transmission and attach a high speed electric drill. After many hours they could roll back 30,000 miles or so.

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    I remember these, my mom had a white one for a couple years back in the early 90s. Nothing to write home about.
    Not even nostalgia would let me get one of those for 10K, I’m thinking more about 3K for it.

    And by the way, not only this vehicle had nothing to do with saving Chrysler nor being the ultimate K-Car, the radio seen on the pictures is mismatched, that one looks like a late 90s Chrysler radio. Someone willing to pay top money won’t overlook that fact

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I know I’m gonna regret this, but….what is the ultimate K-car?

    • 0 avatar

      The EEK Imperial of course. Longest and most expensive, with sun visor telephone.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Hahahahaha! Yeah, plus it had a waterfall grille before anyone had heard of such a thing… and so many other attributes!

        This T&C wagon is in the top ten though. Too bad about the roof rack, that’s a missed opportunity for a vinyl half-roof.

        I wonder if it would make the overall vehicle better or worse if one substituted the wagon quarter windows for body panels with opera windows inset?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          ” plus it had a waterfall grille before anyone had heard of such a thing…”

          I have a 1940 Lincoln Continental here that begs to differ

          https://assets.hemmings.com/blog/wp-content/uploads//2018/08/604940.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Wasn’t the Daytona a K variant? If so, one of the Shelbys.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The Daytona/Laser twins were K-car based but on a shorter wheelbase. Same with the P-car Shadow/Sundance. Any of them with the turbo are peak K-car.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Waterfall grilles were a big thing in the 1937 model year….

          If this is one of the K Cars that had decent build quality (there were some) this might just make a fun hobby ar at $5K or less .

          -Nate

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Ferris Bueller’s mom (who had it goin’ on, by the way) drove one of these. Awesome.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I’m going to take Lee Iacocca’s advice here.

    “If you can find a better car, Buy it!”

    As I can’t think of a point in history this thing was worth 10 grand, shouldn’t be hard.

    If I were this dealer, I’d put it on bring a trailer.

    Value based on sales there looks to be 5-7ish and they are known to represent the top end of pricing. 10k is delusional.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Remember the massive rear end sag on these things, even when new? Apparently 1980s bumper height requirements only applied to the front, because lots of cars, including the 1980s VW Scirocco, had the low-rider look: nose pointed to the sky with 4×4 fender gap, tail pointed to the ground and seemingly riding on the bump stops.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m sure its clean for its age but what was the intended lifespan of one of these out of the gate? 80K? I realize no one is really going to be DD’ing this but I wonder if this isn’t museum grade (which I don’t think it is) who is buying this for any reasonable amount of money let alone the insane $10K stickered?

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ToolGuy: Peak Automotive Industry = Probably Not Right Now
  • la834: > “the Bronco II’s main competition coming from General Motors via the S-10 Blazer and S-15 Jimmy....
  • ect: I acquired an ’87 Jeep Cherokee as a company car. It was head and shoulders above the Bronco II.
  • bd2: Kia could have done better if they had more inventory of models like the Telluride (which was vastly outsold by...
  • ect: Ditto, Tim. Reality is that, as I joke with my friends, it’s hard to tell what’s a weekday and...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber