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What no Lebaron Turbo?

Referencing 7 turbocharged cars where boost and lag are worth … the … wait | Hagerty Media

I was surprised that the mid-80s LeBaron turbo did not at least make honorable mention. A buddy of mine has one, and while working through an engine performance issue, I was driving it around with a vacuum/pressure gauge installed. I had largely resolved the performance issue and took it out for the first time with mostly full power available. I stabbed the gas, and after the obligatory lag, the needle jumped from the vacuum side of the scale to about 10 to 12 pounds of boost... and I felt a level of push I just was not expecting from a K-Car. This thing was a true sleeper, and not terribly bad looking either.

I scanned the article again and noted that the cars were largely exclusively European. I get that America's early experimentation with the turbocharger are somewhat limited, but I can think of at least two other candidates for consideration off the top of my head


To be honest Turbo cars were lacking for several decades. Back in the 60’s-Mid 80’s they were all far from what they should have been. 

Most were not durable and many felt fast just because so many other cars were so slow then. 

Even the Porsche was no where as durable as we have today. 

After the mid 80’s the water cooled housings, the synthetic oils and the better electronics really improved the turbo engines. 

Then the advent of oil cooled pistons with direct injection has helped raise boost levels much. 

The LNF 2.0 Ecotec I owned for 10 years was 300 HP and ran 23 psi of boost daily on pump gas with no failure. The block and head are the same units John Lingenfelter raced with up to 1300 Hp before breaking the head. 

Many today still hold mistrust of the Turbo engines and still spread false info about them mostly due to the early models. 

So e of the trouble was we just did not have the better materials and computers. Some of it was some automakers just took the cheap way out. 

The LNF turbo was way under appreciated. In the Solstice with the GM tune it held 340 FT LBS and GM ran a full season with their drift car at 500HP with no failures. It only has pad rods, pistons and cam upgrades. 

Community Manager

That article was republished from Hagerty UK (there's a little note at the bottom), hence why you didn't see turbocharged American cars. 


Ahh... makes sense now. Wasted a good rant

Community Manager

Still a good rant in my book, even though I am a 2.3 Turbo Ford fan I can appreciate your sentiment. 

New Driver

I own a 85 Dodge 600 Turbo convertible.I enjoy the Turbo.  From what I read, only 5600 were produced, fewer Turbo versions. 

Here is a good articlebon the turbo development