It’s not easy to come up with a list of 1980s cars that most enthusiasts would consider “collectible,” but the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible probably belongs in the conversation. It may never go down alongside the ’32 Fords, ’57 Chevys and Hemi Mopars on any all-time collector rankings, but the ’82 LeBaron ragtop had plenty going for it. First, and most obviously, it was a convertible in a decade where droptops were not really in style, particularly when it came to larger cars. Chrysler had been totally out of the convertible game for many years — in fact, nobody had made a domestic convertible since the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado — but the fabric top was finally back in ’82 for the LeBarons. The LeBarons were also noteworthy for their front-wheel drive, which was a first for Chrysler. The model was moved to the Chrysler K platform for the model year, making it about 800 lbs. lighter and about two feet shorter than its predecessor. That gave the LeBarons really good gas mileage for the time (between 25 and 40 mpg) and made them appealing to a wide audience.
- Brian Earnest (full story)