What is it about Chrysler Laser Turbos and Eugene? This is the second one I’ve spotted, and I still see the the other one regularly. And these are the only two of their kind that anyone has ever shot and posted at CC. And they both have the “Swiss Cheese” wheels; presumably that was standard equipment on the Turbo.
But unlike the older woman driving the other one, there was a young woman behind the wheel here.
Parking Lot Outtake: 1984 Chrysler Laser Turbo – What Kind Of Person Is Still Driving One Today?
This is the car I wanted BAD during a brief period of 1984-85. It may have only been a jerk salesman at a dealership who kept (or saved) me from the experience. The only 5 speed Turbo Laser they had was in the showroom. I asked to drive it. He said he could do that – If “you will commit to me that you are ready to buy a car today.” He did not understand that he had just pushed my “screw you” button. In a call to the sales manager later, I got an apology and an invitation to drive the car if I would come back over. Thanks, but no. And here we are nearly 40 years later with me wondering what my life (and COAL series) would have been like if I had been less stubborn.
I’m less chicken of little turbo motors today. In the 80’s I was.
Soo DeeDee McCall lives in Eugene now, eh!
A similar Laser was also driven by the main character in the 1985 movie Gotcha!
My sister had an ’86 Laser XE Turbo, and hers didn’t last past 1990, so I’m amazed to see any example of these still on the road.
Or Auggie made it afterall!
I had a high school pal who would today be described as “on the spectrum” but was a savant at photography. Shortly after graduation he set himself up as a commercial photographer. While the rest of us were driving cheap beaters, this guy went to the local Chrysler dealer and bought one of these for cash money. People are amazing…
Dad’s LeBaron GTS was fun to drive, with the turbo lag giving way to a punch, and the sense there was a cop car with siren following you from a distance. When I inherited it in the late ’90’s, I bought an extra set of 16-hole pasta strainer wheels, including an NOS one, and they are still in my storage space. The manager spied them through the window and, being an Quadrifoglio fan, asked me if they were for an Alfa Spider.
Chryco cars seemed a bit chintsy, right through to the end of the K derivatives. Maybe it was the plasticky touches and chromed plastic, but they never exuded any automotive “gravitas”. We had a bunch of them, and liked their feeling of nimbleness, but something about the way they were put together said, “one from column, A, and one from Column B”.
I had some seat time in a later Daytona with the T tops and maybe it was a lack of experience at in cars for me at the time but I remember it felt shockingly responsive when tossed, yet simultaneously felt like the whole entire car was made of rubber. Added to the experience really, I’m certain Miata would run circles around it if you involved a stopwatch and cones but that Daytona still has me smiling and laughing from the empty parking lot shenanigans we had in it.
Ah, good ‘ole Lido trying to work some of his Mustang-magic by slapping a sporty, Porsche-like 924/928 body onto the stodgy K-car platform.
The biggest problem was how it was just another nail in the Plymouth coffin when, instead of making it an ersatz, FWD ponycar from that division, tried to go upscale (i.e., charge more money) by making it a Chrysler, instead.
Plymouth got the DSM sourced Laser coupe at least for 1990 MY, but was too late for the brand.
K car underpinnings aside I really liked the styling of these, it’s very derivative in that it’s a jumble of Mustang, F body and Porsche 924 but I actually think it looks better than all three, and in that classic Chrysler way of managing to not be mistaken for anything else… well except the badge engineered Daytona.
Why the laser wasnt a Plymouth confounds me. The Chrysler brand poaching the Cordoba is one thing, the brand needed SOMETHING smaller than a C body in the 70s, and the luxury image fit Chrysler better than it did Plymouth, but a 80s sports coupe? I guess one could argue Plymouth had the Omni Turismo, but so did Dodge the Charger alongside the Daytona.
Which is my next question, how did the performance and pricing compare between the Charger/Turismo and Daytona/Laser? I never imagined them being all that different despite coexisting with each other for a few years.
+1 Imagine being one of the handful of people who wanted a new Cordoba coupe for ’84 and being presented with the “new style” personal luxury Laser. A very, very different car and concept.
I also love these Chrysler G-bodies and also am curious about the performance disparity between these and this L-body coupes as equipped with the same power trains.
Don’t forget about the Mitsubishi Starion, sold as the Dodge and Plymouth Conquest from 1984 and then as the Chrysler Conquest from 87-89 and overlapped everything as well.
And the Challenger (and Sapporo), although 1983 was the last year for that one (the Mitsu built one I mean)
But let’s take 1986 as an example year when I was in 11th grade…The Charger was the runt of the litter, clearly based on the Omni, then the Daytona K-car was a step up and somewhat “better”, and then the Conquest which was well regarded in general (and RWD for bonus points letting it compete with Supra, RX-7, and the Z) but relatively rare, most people that wanted a Starion just went to their Mitsu dealer, although in rural Kansas I guess Dodge maybe moved a few. That’s how the hierarchy went in the high school parking lots of the day anyway.
Either way, if you wanted a sporty (looking at least) 2-door coupe/hatch, Dodge seemingly had you covered!
In high school later years, my best buddy purchased a tan ( ??) Dodge just like this with the turbo and manual. He ended up getting another one down the road which I think was black (much better looking). Anyhow, at that time I was driving a 1986 Chevy Cavalier Z24 with auto. Of course, I thought that I was the sh*t and had the best car. So one night we got “discussing” who’s car was faster. Naturally, I thought because mine was a V6 that it would be faster than some puny 4 cyl turbo.
That night I had my behind handed to me by my best bud with his not so puny turbo 4!! haha. Good times.
Always liked these early Daytonas and Lasers, haven’t seen a Daytona or Laser here in about a decade.
Also liking the side-mirror view of Paul’s trusty Ford truck.
The lasers had wheel options..I believe the “Swiss cheese” wheels are also called pizza wheels by many. I prefer the “cathedral style” wheels. I recently picked up an 84 xe laser barn find with 24k miles and a talking dashboard.
It’s FUN to drive and one of my favorite purchases ever!
Jake, we need pictures and a write up !
Still a sharp-looking car. One of my favorite shapes of the 80s.
I drove a couple of used turbo models when I was shopping for my first car in 1988.
They were automatics, though, which I think ruined whatever fun the turbo boost would have been.
Loved these cars to death and planned to buy one as a loyal Chrysler Product owner. A chance encounter at the airport rental counter put me in an Aero-era Thunderbird. A far better and more solidly built car, better equipped, very sporty, lots of power. It sure beat the Iacocca 4 cylinder K-Car Coupe. I never looked back and had it for 12 years and 185,000 miles. Can’t say that for one of these which is why there’s hardly any of them on the road. Sharp cars they were, just like KITT, they had a digital dashboard and they talked. The only problem was their intelligence level was not very high. They said things like your door is a jar, and your rearview mirror is a can opener.