Saturday, January 3, 2015

1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop

The 50 Worst Cars of All Time

As the North American International Auto Show kicks off in Detroit, TIME and Dan Neil, Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, look at the greatest lemons of the automotive industry


The glamorous Imperial marque was, by the late '60s, reduced to a trashy, pseudo-luxury harlot walking the streets for its pimp, the Chrysler Corporation. By 1971, only the Imperial LeBaron was left and it shared the monstrous slab-sided "fuselage" styling of corporate siblings like the Chrysler New Yorker and the Dodge Monaco. Appearing to have been hewn from solid blocks of mediocrity, the Imperial LeBaron two-door is memorable for having some of the longest fenders in history. It was powered by Chrysler's silly-big 440-cu.-in. V8 and measured over 19 ft. long. The interior looked like a third-world casino. Here we are approaching the nadir of American car building — obese, under-engineered, horribly ugly. Or, it would be the nadir, except for the abysmal 1980 Chrysler Imperial, which had an engine cursed by God. The Imperial name was finally overthrown in 1983.