The two for one offer is a marketing gimmick older than the Shamwow and more compelling than than an amped up Oxiclean pitch. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe K-car offers both Town and Country, plus a but wait there's more Neon SRT4 engine. Will its price however, keep you from calling now?
Speaking of telephones, 1980 called and wanted to know how five grand sounded for a well-presented Subaru Brat from the dawn of the New Wave era. For a narrow 55% of you, it sounded Nice Price worthy, while the rest wouldn't be bothered to pick up either phone or Brat for that kind of scratch.
About the same time that Subaru was kickin' it ‘Mino-style, Lee Iacocca was chomping through fat Cubans and trying to buy some time - and government cash - to keep Chrysler from sinking like the Andrea Doria. An economic downturn and Chrysler's own twin bullets to the foot - the Aspen and Volare -whoa-oh-oh - had put the company on life support, and the only cure determined to work was
more cowbell a decade of K-cars.
Chrysler's K was a radical departure for the company's mid-size offerings, what with its transverse engine, front wheel drive, and nary a slant six nor torsion bar front suspension in sight. Despite that however, it proved to be one of the most successful platforms in Mopar history. Those original K-cars, the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant (go ahead and laugh), were honest working man's sedans, but they spawned a slew of derivatives in every niche possible - even recreating some, like small vans and convertibles, that had been abandoned years prior.
The Ks also provided a basis for upscale nameplates from years past, including today's 1987 Le Baron Town and Country woodie wagon. The Le Baron T and C originally rocked Chrysler's turbo 2.2, but the builder of this particular car has seen fit to back to the future it with a whole bunch of Neon SRT-4 speedy goodness.
According to the seller, the wagon was bought at auction after having suffered an engine fire - my guess is a failed insurance scam torching. There's no evidence of that conflagration now, but still the car comes with a much hotter engine than when new. With all the SRT-4 mechanicals, along with the luxury accouterments fitted to a fully loaded Le Baron, the seller claims this to be one kick-ass ride.
It's a common admonishment here to never buy someone else's project, but when you can see said project take shape in the build thread maybe we can make an exception. Build threads, by the way, are fascinating and I'm going to do one for everything I do moving forward, starting with my BLT for lunch. At any rate, check out the donor Neon in the thread - the one that has an almost perfect circle cave-in on the pass side - talk about leaving a mark!
That car was obviously a goner, but was generous enough to die so that others could live, and live much faster than before. From the collection of DOA Neons, this Town and Country gains not just the 230-pony SRT-4 2.4-litre, but also its T-850 five-speed and much of the brakes and the hardware that keeps the wheels from rolling away on their own. Again, the build thread explains all the updates.
The rest of the Le Baron comes across as both in better condition than you would expect a 24-year old K-car to look, and completely innocuous. The vinyl appliqué woodgrain is fade-free, although its framing pieces look a little worse for wear. But the burgundy paint still shines and the brushed aluminum and chromed plastic trim still brightly announces the car to hail from a different era. Spirograph alloys complete the stock and nondescript look, and hide the SRT-4 stopping hardware.
Inside it's a little more of a mishmash as the lurid red velour club room easy chairs now face a full set of black on white gauges out of the donor Neon, and what looks to be a mid-nineties Chrysler AM/FM cassette deck. A two-spoke wheel does turning duties while a console-mounted shifter helps you keep the engine in the torque band.
The seller claims there's over 100K on the wagon as a whole, but less than that on the drivetrain. He has used it for the past three years as a daily driver, adding nearly 45K to its total. As the Le Baron has been living on borrowed time for a while now, it's hard to judge just how many more miles or years it will have left in it.
To find out, you'd need to come up with the $6,500 the seller is asking to get into bed with this sleeper. Incongruous as it may appear, and more stealthy than an actual Dodge stealth, it's weird and wonderful in both concept and execution, and should make for a very entertaining ride.
But would you entertain that $6,500 price tag? What do you think, is that a price that would make you hope that operators are standing by? Or, is this a Town and Country that you hope to never visit?
H/T to mimalmo for the hookup!
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