Rides from the Readers: 1989 Chrysler LeBaron GTC TII
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, email@example.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured vehicle is a 1989 Chrysler LeBaron GTC convertible. The LeBaron nameplate may be among the longest-running in Chrysler’s history, but the cars it’s graced have varied greatly. The first LeBarons, produced in the 1930s, were coachbuilt beauties to rival offerings from Packard and Lincoln. Between the ’50s and the late ’70s, LeBaron resurfaced as the top-tier trim on Chrysler’s luxurious sub-brand, Imperial. Today’s LeBaron hails from the line of LeBarons made directly under the Chrysler name, a succession of mid-sizers first introduced in 1977 riding on Dodge’s F-body platform. Today’s 1989 model comes specifically from the third generation (counting from the nameplate’s re-reintroduction in ’77) and sits on the J-body platform, a distant Chrysler derivative of Dodge’s K-car structure.
Reed Miller’s LeBaron, however, is no typical snoozy mid-sizer. A select number of 1989 LeBarons received a heavy dose of Shelby goodies thanks to their close relationship to Dodge’s Daytona—specifically, the performance-oriented Shelby Daytona. Less than 1000 GTC convertibles, like today’s featured car, received the Turbo II (TII) package, which blessed the 2.2-liter turbo-four with 175 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque via a 12-psi blower. Engine internals were upgraded, too, with a forged crankshaft and connecting rods and heavy-duty main shaft bearings. Power went to the front wheels through a five-speed Getrag manual and a four-pinion differential. A set of 16-inch wheels hid 11-inch disc brakes plus Shelby springs and sway bars. These upgrades didn’t come cheap, though: the GTC TII stickered at $20,844—nearly $44K in today’s dollars.
“It may not be a Cuda, Challenger, or a Charger,” writes Reed Miller, “but my LeBaron GTC convertible is a performance Mopar in its own right. We all don’t look alike, and neither should our cars.”