• Jun 18, 2008
Unloved as they are, let's give Chrysler's K Car its due. Thirty years ago, the K represented a sea change in the Pentastar lineup. Not only did the K and its derivatives return Chrysler to the black, the architecture proved versatile enough to underpin basically the entire lineup, from minivans to LeBarons to turbocharged Daytonas. Southern California now has an official K Car club – fitting, as that's likely the only place you could find an early '80s Chrysler without lots of rust. Club membership is open to the entire swath of cars that share this similar architecture, known as the "EEK" models, so you won't get kicked out for showing up in a Caravelle instead of an Aries. Now's the time to hunt one of these cars down if you're looking for a cheap, enjoyable way to get into the hobby. They're available for a song, don't yet command any respect (perhaps they never will), yet the K Car is edging its way toward official classic status regardless of what some traditionalists might argue. The K Cars are nearly classic, they're historic and significant and worth saving. The hobby must live on after all the boomers are buried in their Tri-Fives, and a Reliant would be a great way to show an interested kid the basics.

[Hemmings Classic Car - sub req]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anybody remember the Maserati K-car ? "Special K" . Isn't that what killed DeTomaso,the founder of Maserati ?
        • 6 Years Ago
        That car is probably not in the Maserati Hall of Fame.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Chrysler TC.

        I remember it. Had the Maserati "trident" etched in the round porthole window of the top!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice! We had an original baby blue station wagon. Standard, with a bench seat, so a crazy L shaped shifter. This was early enough on that the back windows didn't go down at all, just a little vent to open ( to reduce cost? to make the back seats more spacious? to REALLY irritate kids? ) Good times.
      • 6 Years Ago
      man....this is almost as bad as that nostalgic article about the Dodge Caravan a while back. How can anyone get excited over a brick with faux wood paneling?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Eh. . . it's pretty much a jeep with new sheetmetal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't know that anyone is getting excited. Just acknowledging that when Chrysler was on the ropes back then, they found a way to quickly begin issuing a variety of models from one platform. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that. Cars were pretty crappy in general at the time...the Taurus was a couple years off, so GM and Ford didn't have a lot that was a whole lot better than the K. Even today, it takes Ford way longer to get new models out, even ones based on existing platforms. Chrysler may not be making the stuff people want to buy right now, but they still can turn out variety quickly (where the heck did the Dodge Nitro come from?)
      • 6 Years Ago
      One of my first cars was a 1984 Dodge 400 convertible (in 1999). Red Vinyl interior off white exterior. I remember it used to talk when the door was open or you were low on fuel... then the transmission blew up and I donated it. Fond memories of my youth from that car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      a buddy of mine used tro have an Aries...we beat the piss out of that thing and it never died!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This club is definintely for losers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How dare you talk about Autoblog that way.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think they all play Magic the Gathering when not polishing the old Lebaron. Do you use Minwax on the wood?
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is a club for just about everything. The K most certainly deserves its place atop a podium in the annals of history. Cerberus can only hope to come up with its own modern K car to save it now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Im in the process of restoring an '86 Daytona Turbo Z C/S right now. Let me tell you, parts aren't exactly common these days.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How can you make it through this entire write-up without a single Jon Voight reference?
        • 6 Years Ago
        crap it was the FIRST name that was spelled different not the LAST.
        • 6 Years Ago
        you mean a John Voight reference? ;-)

        While definitely a defining moment in US history and the salvation of Chrysler in the 80s, that is not what defines a collector vehicle. That is defined by its individual performance or looks. K-cars on the whole do not do it. Daytona, yeah I see as a car club vehicle. Lebaron Convertible, yeah well ANY convertible is a collector at some level and the last ones were kind of nice before the bloated Sebring conv. Reliant K, not so much.
          • 6 Years Ago
          He was talking about Sienfeld when George purchased John Voight's car but thought it was the actor Jon Voight's.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Just drivin' around in Jon Voit's car!
      • 6 Years Ago
      After hating the K platform cars for many years I love them now somehow.
      They strike me as neat little cars and I always feel happy to see them on the streets in good shape.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OH MY GOSH!!! My first convertible!! 1986 LeBaron with out the 'wood' trim on the side. What a beautiful and classy car that was. Thanks for the pic, Autoblog!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great. How long until somone tries to hock a movie car replica from Planes Trains and Automobiles (post fire/wrong way driving) on eBay?

      Now that there is a "demand" for K-cars, it might go for a goodly sum.
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