All of us know what a sensation Chrysler convertibles were in the 1980s and much of the 1990s. Even though coupe and convertible versions of the K wisely gave way to the J-body in 1987, they remained popular until the end, but most were used up and discarded long ago. This immaculate brown Dodge 600, from the last year of production, therefore immediately caught my attention. It seems like all of these were red, white or silver cars in LeBaron trim; even when new, a brown 600 convertible like this one was not seen on every corner.
This ad, showing off the 1986-only facelifted nose, says all you really need to understand the K-convertibles’ popularity. Though our brown car is not a turbo, it benefited from the respectability afforded to the entire line by the blown versions. Modestly styled and clattery they might have been, but from a distance you couldn’t automatically assume they were slower than what you were likely to be driving in those days.
It helped that despite being such mundane cars, there was little else on the road like the K-convertible. That it took a while for others to respond to the minivans makes sense, but family friendly convertibles were an American tradition and only Chrysler had them. With most of them ordered fully loaded, it was clear there was money to be made selling mainstream ragtops. People bought these cars because they genuinely wanted them. From the looks of this immaculate car’s interior, it’s getting regular use by a younger person, most likely a college student.
It’s rare for such a modestly conceived car can be so dolled up and still be taken so seriously. The original Ks were somewhat classless and that’s part of what makes them so cool in retrospect. The lack of turbo power keeps this from being the ultimate K, but this car’s new-for-1986 balance shafted 2.5 at least offers 136 lb-ft of easy torque to complement its full 100 horsepower (even in 1986, it could’ve been much worse).
Even if this car has the base 2.2 liter, the wide variety of optional turbo power plants would make a resto-mod quite easy. In fact, this would make an ideal candidate, since some minor repair to the convertible top is all that is needed to keep it in perfect shape.
Whether it will stay in such shape is anyone’s guess. The sight of those Goodyear Invicta GL tires takes me back a good twenty years, meaning this car has been in storage for a long time. Kudos to whomever had the good sense to keep this car sheltered. No doubt this has more cachet for the youngster driving it today than it would have during my late teens and early twenties.