While walking back to my car after attending the recent Hooters show (home of the surrey-topped Cushman and other CCs you’ll see here a bit down the road), what did I find? A first-year K-car convertible, right from the dark days of 1982, when 85 mph speedometers ruled the land. When the Cimarron and Cadillac HT4100 V8 debuted. When Pontiac discontinued the B-body Bonneville and Catalina–shame on them! Actually, at the time of its debut, the little K-car ‘vert was a nice little pick-me-up for American motorists.
And this was no Del Griffith-approved woody LeBaron; no, this was a Dodge 400; unlike the Broughamier LeBaron, a model now likely forgotten by most of the country. The Dodge saw only 5,541 copies, while the “LeBroughamon” sold in 3,045 standard models and 9,780 fancier Medallion versions.
These convertibles were not exactly cheap by 1982 standards, so I guess most folks figured they might as well get the top-of-the-line version. With its mini-Mark grille, whitewalls and extra chrome, the LeBaron was the more traditional choice.
The 400, on the other hand, attempted a slightly more European flair–or at least as much of it as early-1980s Detroit could muster: blackwall tires, fender vents (shades of 2013), bucket seats, etc. The 400 also got a mini-Mirada grille color-keyed to the paint–all minor trim shuffling, but enough to give each car a unique appearance.
And I would take the “pepperoni” alloy wheels over the rattly wire-wheel covers any day. I believe they were not available in 1982, so these have likely been swapped from a Dodge Daytona or Chrysler-frickin’-Laser.
I am quite sure this is an inaugural ’82; it had no rear quarter glass, which was added in
’83 ’84, probably due to complaints about the 1982’s gigantic blind spot with the top up.
This one has rather faded paint, but otherwise looks decent. It’s nice to see one of the early K-car convertibles, since even the ’90s LeBarons are getting pretty scarce around here. I wonder if it still tells the owner that the door is, in fact, not a door but a jar?