Sorry, George Costanza.
Back in the early 1980s, not long after Lee Iacocca became Chrysler CEO, the American automaker launched a car and platform which saved it from death. And no, it wouldn’t be the last time Chrysler had a near-death experience. That model was the Chrysler LeBaron, built on the new front-wheel-drive K platform. The LeBaron was also sold as the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant, as well as the Chrysler Town & Country (pre-minivan). All of them were terribly, yet almost wonderfully, ugly.
Hey, it was the early 80s. Standards were different. But the fact of the matter is that it was Iacocca, soon to also introduce the world to the Chrysler minivans, who saved the day. The K cars were so successful they managed to stick around until 1995.
They were also influential in forcing Ford and GM to ditch the larger, rear-wheel-drive platform in favor of FWD platforms of their own. But the Chrysler LeBaron, made famous once again in Seinfeld when George Costanza thought he bought actor Jon Voigt’s old LeBaron convertible, has earned its place in automotive history (George did buy John Voigt, the dentist’s, old car). Motor Week has just republished its original 1982 review of the LeBaron convertible and it’s just so 80s-tastic. And, for the record, host John Davis is awesome.