Thanks to compounding traffic problems causing me to take some really odd detours to get home the other night, I stumbled across something I hadn’t seen in years: One of the last of the Chrysler LeBarons. Not only one of the last LeBarons, but of the AA variety-not exactly a common bird even back in the time…
This one wasn’t flawless, but it was in remarkable shape for a 25ish year old car in the salt-encrusted environs known as Metro Detroit. The big damage I saw almost looked like the aftermath of a forced entry some years ago.
Even the glass (or plastic, or whatever) hood ornament survived, making it through the early 2000s and the all-too-frequent theft of hood ornaments back then.
I didn’t spend a ton of time scrutinizing the interior, but it, too, looked to be in good shape. A bit lived in, but nothing a decluttering wouldn’t solve. I do wonder what sins are hiding under those towels, but given the rest of the car I’m wont to believe they’re old school seat protectors instead of replacement upholstery. I mean, it can’t be by accident they’re a perfect match for the interior!
My first car was a LeBaron, of the H-Body GTS variety. That car, and its J-Body relative, made sense to me. The K version, with the available turbo convertible, made sense to me. I realize that Chrysler applied the name to multiple unrelated cars over the years, sometimes simultaneously.
The AA LeBaron, though? I don’t get it. It always struck me as a pointless shameless rebadging years after it had gone out of style. I mean, is the AA a reference, a wink-and-a-nod, to the GM A-Bodies so infamously immortalized on the cover of Fortune a decade earlier? I have literally no idea what differences there are between this LeBaron and the Dodge Spirit and Plymouth Acclaim it allegedly stood over in the market. No, this LeBaron does not make sense to me.
But here we are, 24 or more years on. Despite not apparently offering anything different or even more than its AA brethren, the Spirit of this LeBaron sure seems to have found Acclaim with its owners over the years.
And at this stage, I don’t care that it makes sense. I’m just happy to see it, and I wish it and its old-school seat protecting owner well.