From the get-go, Chrysler LeBaron models were luxury vehicles that have directly competed against the industry’s luxury brands like Cadillac, Lincoln, and Packard. Their body was manufactured by LeBaron while the chassis was made by Chrysler. LeBaron was among the most sought-after coachbuilders in the 1920s and 1930s. Founded in 1920 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, it has provided various vehicle manufacturers with bodies for their luxury cars.
Chrysler was able to purchase LeBaron, along with its mother company Briggs Manufacturing, in 1953. The first Chrysler LeBaron models to be introduced after the company was bought by Chrysler were the top-of-the line Imperials, which were manufactured from 1957 to 1975.
The LeBaron took great pride in being known as a legendary model in Chrysler’s history. From the time its name was used by Chrysler in its Imperial model in the early 1930s to the final production models released in 1995, the car didn’t disappoint. Its being able to satisfy the need of its American customers made the LeBaron one of Chrysler’s longest-running nameplates.
Mid 1930s: Airflow Imperials
It was in the mid-1930s when Chrysler added an “Art Deco” design into its automotive line. This high-end CW series, which was called Airflow Imperials, was supplied by LeBaron. Because of poor sales, the Airflow line was restyled, influencing Chrysler to move to more mainstream yet conservative styling for the next two decades.
1957 - 1975: The Imperial LeBarons
In 1955, Chrysler has launched the Imperial as a separate luxury vehicle. Two years after, the top-of-the-line Imperial models were named Imperial LeBarons and were slotted to compete with Packard, Cadillac, and Lincoln. These models were outfitted with luxurious amenities that were believed to be ahead of the time. Even when production of Imperial was pulled out in 1975, the LeBaron name remained for another two decades.
1977 - 1981: The first-generation LeBaron
The Chrysler LeBaron that was introduced in 1977 was the car to carry the name alone, thus considered as the first-gen LeBaron. Built on an M-body, this model was aimed to be an upscale version of the Aspen and was offered in coupes and sedans. A Town and Country station wagon using this legendary nameplate appeared in 1978 and, in 1981, a limited edition “Fifth Avenue package was introduced. After the 1981 model year, productions the M-body coupes and wagons was discontinued while the M-body sedan was rebadged as Fifth Avenue for 1983.
1987: J-Body Chrysler Lebaron Coupe and Convertible
The 1987 LeBaron, which was made on the J platform and offered as a coupe or convertible, came with a modern and more aerodynamic design than its predecessors. For 1990, LeBarons got a redesigned interior and, two years after, both coupes and convertibles were available in “sport package”.
The last LeBaron sedan rode on the front-wheel-drive AA platform. It featured a relatively spacious trunk and a standard driver’s side airbag. It could also sit up to six passengers. Production of the LeBaron sedan was shut off on December 9, 1994.