The Call Of The Lebaron
Why Chrysler Lebarons? This is the question friends and gearheads ask me. The Lebaron Convertible isn't a collector's car. More "fun" may be had from a soft-top sports car...or so say the pundits.
I like my Lebaron for several reasons. 1. The J body Lebaron is the last iteration of the "coke bottle" design. In fact it is probably one of the last cars of the 20th century that didn't follow the Honda aerodynamic "form follows function" design philosophy. Park a Lebaron convertible under a shade tree on a hot summer day and just sit back and meditate on its lines. Take a few sips from the glass of ice tea in your hand. Let the design engulf your senses. The lines of the car are classic American. You have the long wedgy hood and short rounded trunk. These are connected by the voluptuous curves on the lower edges of the doors. A real yin/yang of male and female lines. Then there are the hidden headlights and retro classic grille. The hidden lights provide a cleaner design on the front of the car. The retro classic grille gives a hint of luxury. I am reminded of the Lincoln Continental Mark series.
2. The car is simple to work on. Much of the technology and parts are derived from the K-Car parts bins. Plenty of room in the engine compartment. Easy to read computer codes.
With the top down the J body Lebaron becomes what is called in the industry a personal luxury car. Though in function it could be considered a family convertible since there is useable back seat, I feel like I am in my Big Chrysler out for a day of open motoring. The wind in my hair, Eric Clapton's blues cranked up on the stereo, and the turbo winding out with a just audible whine. The blue-green digital dash winks at me as it continually updates the driving parameters...55 mph, 56 mph, 53 mph...
Though I am driving a K-car based vehicle, I feel that I am in a big 300D from 1958. The legacy and bloodlines are there. (At least in my head!) Maybe it's just a male thing, but I feel that the car is a total package of beauty and brawn. (It's not going to win many drag races, and my car has a turbo 4, not a V-8 Wedge or Hemi.) Just the right amount of power to zoom down country roads, and to cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway on a spring morning or the Boulevard after dark.
Maybe what draws me to the Lebaron is that it's not a truck or an suv/minivan. The CAR is low to the ground, there is only a minimal size trunk, and room for your significant other and two children. That's it...1-4 people surrounded in metal and plastic. A trunk for your cooler or picnic basket, and away we go! Totally impractical. No 4WD and high clearance...you don't need it on the dry asphalt. No gas guzzling V-8. Don't need it. Plenty of power from the turbo 4 and it guzzles gas too. (24 mpg in mixed driving.) The impracticality of selfishness...here I am in my bright red convertible. Look at me.
Why do YOU like Lebarons or convertibles? Click on "Comments" and let me know.