Budget Rad Era: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Mark Cross Turbo Convertible – SOLD!

Jan 2020 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

February 5th Update:  Offered at just under $1,000 it’s no surprise to us that the listing for this ’86 Chrysler LeBaron convertible we first featured on January 23rd is already SOLD!

While Chrysler’s various K-Car alternatives equipped with either the standard Mopar 2.2 or Mitsubishi 2.6 Liter weren’t much to write home about, models optioned with the 2.2-liter Turbo I such as this 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Mark Cross Convertible recently listed in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey actually provided decent acceleration. A review of the NADA Guides Collector Car Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller’s asking price of $999 falls below the “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $1,380, $2,640, and $3,960, respectively.

As part of its rebuilding plan, for 1982 Chrysler moved the LeBaron brand from the aging rear-wheel-drive platform to the contemporary front-wheel-drive “K” platform, where it became upscale brand’s lowest-priced offering. Part of the launch included a convertible version, bringing to the market the first factory-built open-topped domestic vehicle since the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado.  While the early convertibles featured only door side windows and a plastic backlight, by 1984 convertible production was brought back in-house and featured rear quarter windows and a glass convertible top window that gave the interior a more open feel.  Also introduced in 1984 was Chrysler’s 2.2 Liter Turbo I engine. By 1986 this engine featured electronic fuel injection and a computer controlled waste gate which provided 146 horsepower and a 168 foot-pounds of torque.  While that doesn’t sound like much today, keep in mind the Mustang 5.0 Liter of the period managed only 200 horsepower.

Having owned an ’86 LeBaron GTS four-door-sedan with this engine, it was a lot of fun mashing the accelerator just to hear the Garret T03 turbocharger spool up.  Selecting the turbocharged powertrain combined with the Mark Cross interior easily had this car pushing $20K when new.  The console-mounted cell phone is further evidence a more affluent individual who wanted an American convertible bought this when new.  While the interior could use a refresh, the exterior still looks very presentable and features a new top.  This is a great way to enter the collector car hobby on a budget as parts are plentiful and the 2.2L turbo responds well to performance upgrades.  Given the parade of K-Cars we witnessed and RADWood East last June, you will be welcomed with open arms.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1986 Chrysler LeBaron Turbo Convertible, Mark Cross Leather Edition, needs brakes and calipers, running condition, power roof and windows, new tires and new roof with glass window, garage kept, original owner, 145,000 miles – need to make room for new car

Do you have a K-Car story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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