A successful, well-built automobile can come from almost anywhere; every platform, however humble, can be adapted to a quality luxury or performance vehicle, if the will is there. This was not something that was thought to include Chrysler‘s G platform, which was a close, albeit shorter relative of the infamous K platform, of K-car fame. The 1985 Chrysler Laser XT was an exceptional car, made even more so because of its dubious parentage. It was also a more luxurious version, or close mechanical twin, of the higher-performance Dodge Daytona. While I personally find it bland and unattractive, it’s undeniable that the Laser XT featured clean, relatively aggressive lines, and just enough visual cues to suggest that a powerhouse lurked under the hood.
The Laser XT was fitted with a relatively powerful, 2.2-liter turbocharged straight-four engine, producing 146 horsepower. While this was nothing compared to what the Daytona would have in subsequent years (post 1986), it was enough for a 8 second 0-60 time, and a 115 miles per hour top speed. As affordable, locally-produced coupes went, this was not a bad deal at all.
After 1986, Chrysler initiated a redesign of the LeBaron – another K-car holdover – as a real sports car, thus eliminating the Laser’s niche. It continued to live in the form of the Daytona, which remained in production until 1993.