Whether you love it or hate it, the K-car is one of those automobiles that changed the course of automotive history. With their uncommon for-the-time front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder power, compact exterior dimensions, spacious interiors, and fuel efficiency, the K-cars were a total 180 for Chrysler. Their instant success saved Chrysler from certain death, and made front-wheel drive popular in the mainstream family sedan class.
The basic K-platform would soon be adapted to underpin a number of different vehicles sold throughout Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth lineups. In fact, nearly every new Chrysler car from the K’s 1981 introduction through the early 1990s would be based on the humble K-platform. Some of these K-spawned platforms would even be replaced by new K-based ones over the course of its run.
Eleven in total, they included the E-body mid-size sedans (New Yorker/600/Caravelle), the G-body sports coupes (Laser/Daytona), the S-body minivans, the H-body mid-size hatchbacks (LeBaron/Lancer), the P-body compact hatchbacks (Shadow/Sundance), the J-body LeBaron coupe and convertible, the C-body mid-size sedans (New Yorker/Dynasty), the AA-body mid-size sedans (LeBaron/Spirit/Acclaim), the Q-body TC by Maserati grand tourer, the Y-body luxury sedans (Fifth Avenue/Imperial), and the AS-body minivans. In addition to their basic underpinnings, numerous other components were shared across the board.
The K-cars may not have been class-leading in terms of style, quality, or performance, but they had numerous merits that made them one of the most defining cars of the 1980s. While some of our international readers might not have ever experienced a K-car in the metal, I think it’s safe to say that most North American readers have at the very least, personally known someone who owned a K-based car. My best K-car memory is of a dark red Dodge Aries sedan, owned well into the late-’90s by my elderly next door neighbor, Mrs. Sorensen.
So on to the Question Of The Day: What’s your favorite K-car variant? This of course can be a regular K-car, or one from any of the aforementioned K-based platforms. I personally have several favorites, such as the K-body LeBaron convertible, E-body New Yorker and Caravelle, the Sundance, and the Imperial. My all-time favorite though, is a tie between the G-body Daytona and Laser, and the J-body LeBaron, particularly the 1987-1992 years, with the concealed headlights. So, what’s your’s?