Chrysler overreaches on this memorable journal commercial.
Give Chrysler credit score for hubris. If a carmaker goes to match in promoting its automobiles to different autos, it could as properly shoot for the celebrities. And, on this advert for the brand new LeBaron GTS, Chrysler went large.
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1986 Chrysler LeBaron GTS
New for 1985, the LeBaron GTS was born of humble inventory, sharing its fundamental structure with the Chrysler Company’s common Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant “Okay-Vehicles.” By this time, just about every part within the Chrysler steady was Okay-Automotive derived, a factor with was each good and unhealthy.
Confusingly, Chrysler bought a non-GTS LeBaron, with was nothing greater than a gussied-up Dodge Aries with leather-based trim, a lot of pretend wooden cabin trim, and wire wheel covers.
The GTS was one thing extra, nevertheless. The GTS boasted a chic design, specifically tuned suspension, and nifty—and European cool—hatchback physique. Obtainable with a 146-horsepower turbocharged 2.2-liter engine and a 5-speed guide transmission, the GTS held its personal in site visitors, and by most accounts was first rate dealing with.
However a European look and a spunky engine can solely take you up to now, and sadly, the GTS’s Okay-Automotive ancestry restricted the automotive’s final enchantment. Whereas the GTS arguably regarded European, and dealt with OK, it didn’t come near matching European luxurious sedans by way of efficiency or refinement.
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However, just like the proud mom of an under-performing little leaguer, Chrysler went excessive in its print promoting—and in TV adverts—and in contrast the GTS on to the compact Mercedes-Benz 190E, and the midsize BMW 528e. each of which have been extraordinarily properly regarded on the time.
The print advert features a chart demonstrating the GTS’s superior efficiency in acceleration, braking, and dealing with. I gained’t get into how, however the analysis course of which yielded stated numbers might have been—and certain was—designed to indicate the Chrysler in the very best gentle.
That stated, up to date buff-book opinions of the GTS have been typically form to the automotive, noting that it was a significantly better automobile than the Okay-Automotive derivatives it was associated to. Nevertheless, those self same opinions additionally famous the next:
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Moreover, the GTS was shod with rear drum brakes, inexcusable on a automotive being in comparison with wonderful European sport sedans. Additionally, the GTS’s sold-beam rear axle appeared low cost and crude in comparison with the Mercedes 190E’s refined multi-link association.
The one class by which the GTS clearly trumped the competitors was worth. A properly geared up 1986 GTS listed for round $13,000, significantly much less that the BMW 528e (about $27,000) and the 190E (about $31,000). Whereas the comparability put for within the advert is patently absurd, at the very least it known as consideration to the GTS itself. Customers on the time wouldn’t have related any Chrysler product with premium European autos, in order that advert at the very least raised shopper consciousness of the GTS’s meant mission—albeit with a dose of absurdism.
Be aware that Dodge bought a really comparable automobile known as the Lancer. The GTS and Lancer have been accessible from 1985 via 1989. All instructed, about 188,000 LeBaron GTS discovered consumers, few of whom truly cross shopped their Chryslers with a Mercedes or BMW.
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1986 Chrysler LeBaron GTS Gallery
(Click on under for enlarged photos)
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