CC Capsule: 1982 Dodge 400 Convertible – Pepperoni Wheels Make Everything Better

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(first posted 9/19/2013)    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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

1982 Dodge 400 Convertible-04

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.

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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?

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