Pick of the Day: 1982 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible

With all the love we’ve been giving full-size Chrysler Corporation C-bodies, especially the last of the convertibles, it only makes sense to have our Pick of the Day be the car that brought the convertible back to America: the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron Mark Cross Edition convertible. It is listed on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Orlando. (Click the link to view the listing)

Nineteen eighty-one was a pivotal year for the Chrysler Corporation, likely the most pivotal year since the Chrysler brand was introduced in 1925. After Lee Iacocca joined the company and negotiated a government loan to save the company from the brink of financial collapse, his main task was ushering the K-car platform for 1981. For Plymouth, that meant the Reliant, while Dodge offered the Aires. Though badge-engineered, the Chrysler LeBaron that was introduced for 1982 appeared more distinct and, thanks to Chrysler’s place in the hierarchy, luxurious. Initially available as a two-door and four-door sedan, the LeBaron was eventually joined by a station wagon and convertible then joined the stable.

Though Chrysler dealers continued to offer the New Yorker (ironically, known as the LeBaron only a few years before) and Cordoba, plus the Cadillac-fighting Imperial, it was the LeBaron that set the future for the Chrysler brand. Some of the features that distinguished it from other Chrysler models included front-wheel drive, and standard 2.2-liter “Trans-4” inline-four with four-speed manual transaxle. Later in the model year, an OHC Mitsubishi 2.6-liter Hemi became available, only with TorqueFlite. Chrysler claimed that the LeBaron was “… like no other cars from America, Europe, and Japan.”

The major distinguishing feature of the LeBaron from its Plymouth and Dodge cousins was its quad headlights, which surrounded a fine waterfall grille. Out back, horizontal taillights with fine horizontal moldings created a semi-hidden effect, while a chrome molding on top of the taillights stopped short to expose back-up lamps. The effect gave the LeBaron a fancy look that further distinguished it from Plymouth and Dodge’s K-cars.

Interior appointments is where Chrysler distinguished the LeBaron from its lesser cousins. “Few cars offer LeBaron’s high mileage, luxury, and room for six,” Chrysler claimed. While it was once said that there would never be a small Chrysler, times change, and this was the sacrifice Chrysler was making for its own survival . . . and apparently the public was on board. A special Mark Cross Edition package for the convertible gave the LeBaron the kind of interior furnishings that you’d expect from a Chrysler plus a whole lot more: 2.6-liter four, TorqueFlite, air conditioning, power steering and brakes, leather and vinyl bucket seats with console and arm rest, dual seat-back recliners and matching carpet, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows and door locks, remote deck release, white power convertible top, tinted, tilt steering column, cruise control, intermittent windshield  Color choices were either Mahogany Metallic or Pearl White.

This Pearl White 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible with the Mark Cross Edition package has only 2,100 miles on the odometer. As you’d expect from a car with this mileage, the paint, top, and interior are in original condition. If you’re a child of the 1980s and are looking for something special that captures the zeitgeist of the time, this $21,900 LeBaron is a nice find.

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.