The K-car chassis was nothing if not flexible, and to prove it, consider the 1990 Chrysler LeBaron Landau.
As you can see, the K-car got squished into the shape of a midsized pseudo-luxury car, plopping onto Chrysler lots for the 1990 model year. Please enjoy this rare Chrysler promo film of K-to-LeBaron transformational production techniques:
The LeBaron Landau would (at first) appear all too similar to the homely Dodge Spirit or Plymouth Acclaim, but the LeBaron was far and away more luxurious. Just how luxurious was the 1990 Chrysler LeBaron Landau, you ask? Feast your eyes:
Would you just look at that fine polywood dash finish? (It may even be Corinthian polywood, but I’d need the VIN to check.)
We also see the decadent digital gauges complete with the ability to show US or metric units. The shift indicator is helpfully indicating which selection you must make for the tow to ACME Transmissions to have the Utradrive 4-speed rebuilt for the 2nd time. Two rebuilds does seem like the wrong number, but remember, this car only has 115k on it. Give it time.
Ah, that’s the stuff. Button-tufted velour. Chrysler did this type of interior as well or better than Ford or GM, in my humble opinion.
Cadillac? Mercedes? Hugh Hefner’s basement divan, you ask? No, this is still our LeBaron Landau, believe it or not. Please enjoy rolling up your windows by hand, because Chrysler owners never forget their roots no matter how fancy things may look on the outside.
Though tidy in dimensions, Chrysler didn’t let that keep them from encrusting the LeBaron in almost every conceivable luxury appearance item to let the world know you’d arrived. We have the waterfall grille, chrome body side molding, the crystal Pentastar hood ornament, the V6 plaque behind the front wheels, chrome mirrors, 4 hubcaps, lights…uh…
There is no luxury without engineering. Chrysler’s known that for over 60 years. Mitsubishi must’ve also known it, because that’s who engineered this 3.0 liter, 141-horsepower V6. Truth be told, it was a pretty good mill as long as you didn’t mind having to dirty your hands on the pictured 710 cap fairly often only to have people assume you’d taken a second job as a crop duster.
Not much to see back here, except the Chrysler exclusive padded vinyl quarter top spilling over onto the doors turning a quarter window into an Opera Window, and the appearance of full-width rear lighting. Seems to me it could use some fender skirts, but they’re too old-fashioned. Gotta stay current in the 1990s!
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief attempt at having the LeBaron Landau class this joint up, but we’ll have to leave it here. I’m headed to Waffle House for dinner.
(Thanks to CCer Mike Butts for the photos!)