CC Outtake: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Turbo Convertible – K-Scrumptious

1986 Silver Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

I was riding the bus one day, on my way back home. As we passed a central crossroads in my hometown, I caught a glimpse of this undoubtedly K-car, its angles hard to miss. parking in a dirt patch between the houses and the street. “Okey”, me thinks, “So Mr. Shacham has bought another classic. Sure doesn’t fit the rest of his stuff”.

Now I should explain; it was parked in close proximity to where said Shacham used to horde his cars. He since downsized- just, for I was missing one of the Cougars and the Pontiac but could still easily recognize the Mustang, Renault and the other Cougar which were covered, as well as the Scout parked with two wheels on the sidewalk. So you see, getting another classic isn’t beyond this collector. Oh well, as the bus rolled on I said to myself: “I don’t remember Chrysler having a convertible Aries or Reliant” and thought nothing of it. I was never a fan of these downsized cars anyway (even if their importance in saving Chrysler was vastly important), so not too knowledgeable with their history.

But on the next day I had to take the bus again, and as traffic was tightening around the same area (and stepping off to complete the short journey on foot seemed a far better  idea), I decided to get off at the next stop- yes, the stop right next to the K-car, which, as I was about to discover, isn’t a Dodge nor a Plymouth- and if we’re to believe, doesn’t even have a normally aspirated engine. Here’s the first look:

1986 Silver Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

In the background you can see the pathway that takes me towards my home and through the street where Mr. Shacham keeps his classics. That Peugeot 3008 Mk. 1 is parked exactly where his International Scout used to park, so naturally I assumed this Chrysler belongs to our collector.

1986 Silver Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

A bit angular, isn’t it? Obviously, I was mistaken/unawares, and this is a LeBaron, almost identical to its lesser siblings. All of these K-cars are proportioned to look much larger than what they are, and best viewed from the side (top photo). Truth be told, I think all of these 1980s American cars are. Have you looked at any midsize G-bodies recently? Put them next to a modern Mazda CX-5 and they shrink; much less a LeBaron of this generation.

But hold on- what’s that on the front fender?

1986 Silver Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

Now that’s got to be worth something, or does it? I don’t know. I guess borrowing the turbo unit from one of the Chrysler Laser/Dodge Daytona of the same era seemed like a good idea, with some PR beneficiaries. The extra cooling inlets atop the hood did not escape me:

1986 Silver Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

The turbo reminded me of the “real” thing, shown in two ads I published before in this post:

1985 Dodge Shelby Charger Ad

1985 Chrysler Laser Ad

1986 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible Interior

Inside it’s Corinthian (?) leather, enhanced by plastic galore. The instrument panel is as angular as the outside, and just look at that stereo head unit and the AC controls. I hope it is still functioning. Wonder if this is one of the “talking” cars, with prefixed audible warnings and info being heard occasionally.

As for the sign; well, you guessed it- it’s for sale, with details such as “collectable” and “private import” added for further interest. I can’t say that is Mr. Shacham’s car, but certainly the owner of this LeBaron has recently imported a classic in order to sell it and make a profit. Whether this is the right car to do it with remains to be seen; on one hand, they never sold any LeBarons in Israel, but they did sell other K-cars (with very small numbers), and certainly there was no turbo whatsoever. On the other hand, in Israel it might be rare as a Dodo but that still doesn’t mean it’s lust-after material. Still, there’s a saying in Israel: “For every bucket there is a rag”, so there might be a happy buyer for this car. Before I move to the back, here’s a 1980s reminder:

1986 Chrysler Safety Messege


1986 Silver Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

One last look at the back of what is really a late 1970s styling. This LeBaron is indeed registered as a Collectible Vehicle, but as I searched through the Israeli DMV database, I was surprised to discover its license was not in order; it last went through the DMV annual test on November 24th, 2019, and was valid to drive on the road until June 30th, 2020. So, essentially the story changes to that of a private importer who, apparently, got shorter and shorter with funds and now has to sell in order to rescue him\herself from ill fate. Certainly not our Mr. Shacham?! Surely not…

More on the 1980s LeBaron Convertible can be learned in this excellent COAL post by 83 LEBARON