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The Chrysler LeBaron Convertible that Tried to Kill Me

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author photo by Will Kinton April 2017

Everyone can probably remember the single worst car they've ever driven. For me, that was my friend's Chrysler LeBaron convertible. Sure, I've driven quite a few "bad" cars in my life, but, none have tried to actively kill me while driving it. This LeBaron tried to do just that -- multiple times.

My friend and I were on our way back to Blacksburg from northern Virginia after spring break or a long weekend at home, driving down Interstate 81. Just as it was dark, my friend (who is not Jon Voight, to be clear) passed off driving duties to me. Of course, I didn't expect the LeBaron to drive like a Mercedes S-Class, as the ragtop was more of a rag than a top, and it was in a pretty bad condition and it didn't cost my friend more than $1,000. But when we started off again with me behind the wheel, I quickly realized that a) I was in for an eventful drive and b) my friend was risking her life every time she got behind the wheel of this thing.

You see, this LeBaron had a tendency to decide on a new direction of travel at random points, often in the direction of trees or trucks. The steering was numb and uncommunicative in the first place, but it was almost as if the steering wheel itself would fall asleep at the wheel, requiring me to constantly fight to stay in my lane. This problem was compounded by the fact that I-81 is primarily a four-lane interstate that cuts through mountains and valleys, and is infamous for the number of tractor-trailers that use it. These trucks constantly try to pass each other, leading to situations where the entire interstate grinds to a halt behind a truck going 55 mph attempting to pass another truck going 54 mph.

This makes traffic unpredictable, requiring you to be on your toes even when your car actually works. I'm pretty sure I spent the entire drive on the edge of my seat, hoping that the steering wouldn't fail me at the exact time I'd need it the most, because there was no way this car would have helped us survive any collision.

We finally made it back to Blacksburg without dying, and I slept hard that night. I've driven in intense rain storms and snow storms, and my daily commute takes me on the Capital Beltway every day, but that was the most stressful drive I've ever taken. My friend continued to use that car until it finally died maybe a year later, but honestly, I don't know how she was able to do it. I've been in my fair share of cheap and crappy cars, but none were as bad as that ridiculous Chrysler LeBaron. I still hate that thing, even if it's probably scrap by now. Good riddance.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Chrysler LeBaron Convertible that Tried to Kill Me - Autotrader