Would you believe that the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 might not be the most excessive Mopar product of the past 40 years? Sure, four-figure horsepower and promises of eight-second quarter-mile passes is bonkers, but there’s one over machine that makes people’s jaws drop all over town. A 1984 Chrysler Executive Limousine just sold on Bring A Trailer for $10,555, a strong yet still reasonable price for one of the most conceptually outrageous vehicles Detroit ever put into the world. Forget a Rolls-Royce, here’s a K-Car built for the Fortune set.
In case you aren’t familiar with the K-Car, be it due to age, geography, or some other factor, it was a Hail Mary that worked. In the 1970s, Chrysler was, to use a technical term, a broke-ass company drowning in red ink. To turn things around, they brought in the godfather of the Mustang, Lee Iacocca, where he struck a deal with congress for a bailout loan before dropping a massive effort of simplifying vehicle structure across brands, known as the K platform.
Starting with the midsize Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant, variants of the K platform would eventually underpin everything from sport compact cars to minivans, turning the automaker around and securing profits for years. However, only one K-Car can be the true king, and that’s the Chrysler Executive Limousine.
If you haven’t seen one of these magnificent machines in person, here’s some perspective on their absolutely cartoonish proportions. Measuring 210.4 inches from stem to stern, this thing is 2.2 inches longer than a brand new long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class, all while being 2.5 inches narrower and 3.5 inches lower than a new Corolla Hatchback. The result is a full-on limousine that fits in places a new Cadillac Escalade ESV won’t.
Granted, it certainly won’t hike up its skirt and high-tail it out of situations like an Escalade ESV, mostly because this rolling monument to Lee Iacocca is powered by a 2.6-liter Mitsubishi 4G54B four-cylinder engine with hemispherical combustion chambers. Yep, this thing has a Hemi. Interestingly, this was the engine that made vibration-smoothing balance shafts famous, as even Porsche would go on to license this tech from Mitsubishi. Think smooth, but definitely don’t think fast.
Indeed, once American Specialty Cars was done chopping up LeBarons to make factory-commissioned limousines, a few eccentric rich people got the ultimate K-car. Even up front, the focus on luxury is strong. Whoever’s driving will be cosseted by power seats, button-back velour upholstery, a digital dashboard, and more woodgrain than the average IKEA kitchen. However, as with any limousine, the real party is in the back.
Not only do rear seat occupants get a metric buttload of legroom and upholstered footrests, there’s also velour everywhere and a full partition with a power window to seal off hijinks and offer some modicum of sound insulation. Need to take two more passengers? No problem, jumpseats fold down from the partition, and you can entertain everyone with rear compartment stereo controls. Look, it was the ’80s, don’t expect screens crammed everywhere they could possibly fit.
Obviously the market for ultra-luxe stretched K-Cars was rather small, so these cars are properly rare. With only 1,698 production examples ever in existence, you stand a better chance of seeing a Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer or a Lamborghini Countach than a Chrysler Executive Limousine. It’s genuinely amazing that 1,491 homes were found for these four-cylinder limos, although the ’80s was a different time, and if one of these was good enough for Frank Sinatra, it’s probably good enough for you.
When you drive a Chrysler Executive Limousine, you are making a statement. Nobody knows what exactly that statement is, but it’s provocative. The people know that you make the Dos Equis guy look like an average Joe as you radiate eccentricity from every facet of your being, driving a rolling monument to American excess that also happens to be an economy car with a four-cylinder engine, torsion beam rear suspension, and rear drum brakes.
America has made many jaw-dropping things in the past 247 years, and this is one of them. The Hoover Dam, the KFC Double Down, The Chrysler Executive Limousine. For $10,555, this isn’t the cheapest Chrysler Executive Limousine to have ever sold, but can you put a price on glorious absurdity? You just know that whoever won this auction is absolutely stoked, and we’re 100 percent here for their stretched K-Car intrigue.
(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)
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