Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The second generation of the LeBaron dropped the rear-wheel-drive and became an upmarket version of the Dodge Aries.
In 1982, the oil crisis was still printed on customers’ heads, and they started to look for smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. But that didn’t mean that they were ready to give up on comfort features or to brand image. Chrysler understood that and offered them an upscaled Dodge Aries: the LeBaron. The car was available in four body shapes: a coupe, a convertible, a sedan, and a station wagon.
The design team imagined the vehicle with the same boxy-shape as its siblings from Dodge and Plymouth. The customers considered its squared double headlights and the grille with thin, vertical slats as a premium statement. On the other hand, Chrysler was an upscale brand on the market. The thick C-pillar and door frame resembled older Chrysler Imperial shapes in the rear, while the taillights were wide.
Inside, Chrysler K-platform allowed an adequate room for four average-height passengers, focusing on the front ones. The dashboard and the instrument cluster followed the same boxy shapes as from the exterior. Even the dials were squared, and a big analog clock was placed next to the speedometer. The tachometer was irrelevant.
Under the hood, the carmaker installed a choice of three, four-pot engines. The small, 2.2-liter displacement was unusual for a premium vehicle, but the customers asked for fuel-efficiency. Chrysler introduced a five-speed manual later on, but the LeBaron started its career with a 4-speed manual and an option for a 3-speed automatic.