Chrysler Executive Limousine

Normal people, like you and me, don't have a need for a vehicle like this . 

So who does?

Executives? Politicians? Discreet livery services?

These days, you'd have a German sedan like the S-Class for this purpose, or for the more discreet maybe a Lexus LS, now, a Hyundai Equus or Kia K900.

When you think about it, the badge doesn't matter so much if you're only going to sit in the back; even less so since you'd likely have a few nice cars gathering dust at home.

It's a market that, strangely, Lee Iacocca thought would be a perfect market for Chrysler to get into. As the (hilarious) RegularCars review of a period Chrysler New Yorker explains, Iacocca was the master of making the best from the Chrysler recipe book. The Executive Sedan and Executive Limousine are the ultimate examples of this simple strategy: make do with what we've got.

(And we don't have much!)

Here's the menu:

  • Chrysler Executive Limousine = stretched Executive Sedan
  • Executive Sedan = stretched New Yorker
  • New Yorker = stretched LeBaron
  • Lebaron = Dodge Aries / Plymouth Reliant K-Car

To build the Executive cars, Chrysler partnered with American Sunroof Corporation, or ASC, a firm familiar with such conversions. The cars went in as standard LeBaron coupes, with LeBaron sedan front doors mated to custom LeBaron coupe doors for the rear, finishing off with a LeBaron rear section.

Over its production run, there were a few changes over the Executive range—grilles, rear lights, etc.—that you can learn about on your own. ;)

Introduced in 1983, the two Executive cars were 90 per cent similar, with the major differences being the added length of the Limousine, which included a centre divider—complete with power sliding privacy glass, fold-down jump seats (sans seatbelts), additional air conditioning vents, storage compartment, rear stereo system, and some additional overhead lights. 

Buyers had, of course, the choice of velour-like "luxury" cloth or leather seating surfaces. 

The power to move such decadence was the choice, depending on year, of either the big Mitsubishi-sourced (carbureted!) 2.6-litre 4-cylinder engine with about 110 horsepower. In the last year of production—the Sedan had been dropped—a very tuneable 2.2-litre Chrysler 4-cylinder was fitted to the Limousine, with 146 horsepower and around 160 lb-ft of torque. The only transmissions offered were 3-speed automatics.

Does that mean you could probably plop in a later 224-horsepower version of the motor, as-offered in the Dodge Spirit R/T? Probably!

Despite the absurdity (or perhaps because of it) I was shocked to read that the Limousine, not the Sedan, was the best-selling Executive car. 

Not including two prototypes, total Executive production from 1983-1986 was 1,698 units; the sedan was on-sale for only two years, with a take rate of just 12 per cent.

On the domestic front, only Ford had a suitable competitor to the Executive cars in the Town Car. While the standard Town Car outsold the Executive range by a silly margin, to get a stretched Town Car a buyer had to go elsewhere and have his own mini-limo constructed at great expense.

They're very rare machines, but have a certain charm as being the only factory limousines this side of a Mercedes-Benz Pullman; because of this they're kind of a Pullman for the Proletariat.

Already rare, time will tell if any survive long enough to be considered collectible. Pebble Beach 2065, anyone? 

Sources / Recommended reading