“Why sit around waiting for a summer breeze to come up when you can create quite a stir yourself?”
1986 was the last year for Chrysler’s Town & Country convertible. Basically a special version of Chrysler’s LeBaron convertible, the Town & Country was first available in 1983, and was intended to remind potential buyers of the classic (and valuable) Town & Country convertibles of the 1940s. It was not especially successful, selling only 3,721 units in four years, with only 501 sold in 1986.
Like all LeBarons, the Town & Country’s front and rear fascias, headlights, grilles, and taillights were all updated with a more rounded and aerodynamic look in 1986. The center-mounted brake light mandated for all 1986 vehicles by U.S. federal law was mounted atop the trunk lid. Inside, the standard digital instrument cluster was redesigned for better legibility.
Also for 1986, a fuel injected K 2.5-liter inline four producing 100 bhp replaced the carbureted 2.6-liter four built by Mitsubishi as the base engine. The optional fuel injected Turbo I 146 bhp 2.2-liter turbocharged inline four remained for an additional $628. Both engines were paired with a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic. Mileage with the base engine was 23 city/25 highway by the standards of the day (20/23 by 2014 standards). The Turbo I was rated at 20 city/24 highway—not a big price to pay for a significant percentage of extra horsepower.
The base price for 1986 was a non-trivial $17,595 (about $37,600 in today’s dollars). For that money, you got halogen headlights, dual horns, power brakes, wire wheel covers with locks, and the Town & Country’s distinctive white ash moldings and teak appliques on the body sides. Inside you got a very attractive Mark Cross leather interior along with air conditioning, power mirrors, power driver’s seat, and the Ultimate Sound System AM/FM stereo cassette with graphic equalizer and six speakers.
Options included the $302 Deluxe Convenience Package (cruise control and tilt wheel) and the Power Convenience Discount Package (power windows and power locks).
These eighties Town & Country convertibles are being collected, but by a very small set of collectors. I have recently seen nice examples at several AACA judged shows. You do see them for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors: as I update this in June 2015, there’s a white 1986 Town & Country with 82,000 miles for sale for $6,500.
Of course, these convertibles also started Chrysler’s long tradition of making convertibles that might occasionally be sporty, but were not sports cars—a market niche they only just exited with the demise of the Chrysler 200 convertible.
I still like what Chrysler was trying to do, and I appreciate how these cars look. Make mine White, please, with that killer Almond/Cream leather interior.