Corey Behrens found a first year 1982 LeBaron convertible in the Netherlands, a milestone car. It was the first convertible sold by a domestic manufacturer since Cadillac ended its run with the 1976 Eldorado. I say “sold”, because these were not “built” by Chrysler, meaning that it was a factory sanctioned conversion by Cars & Concepts of Michigan. And a somewhat crude one, to start with, lacking a rear side window. Not quite as bad as the Seville Roadster we saw yesterday, but not exactly up to the standards of Cadillac’s final Eldorado.
The rear side windows appeared in 1984, one year after the Town and Country version with its fake wood planking showed up. That didn’t help, in my eyes, but to each their own. Lee Iaccoca obviously disagreed, but then we did on just about everything.
These pre-turbo era versions were powered by either the base 2.2 L Chrysler four making 84 hp or the optional 2.6 L Mitsubishi making 93. Pick your poison.
I may not have been a fan of the T&C, but these made a lot of sense, and they were very influential, in reviving the convertible market in the US. They were a handy, compact size, which made so much more sense than the giant open barges of yore, considering that sitting in the back seat of one with the top down at any speed above walking was a form of CIA-approved torture.