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1984-1986 Chrysler Laser

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86 Chrysler Laser XT

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984  The G-Body Chrysler Laser and its corporate cousin, the Dodge Daytona debuted onto the automotive scene on October 1st, 1983. These cars would become one of the best-looking, and most sophisticated sport coupes that Chrysler would ever build. All Laser's had 2+2 seating, with a rear hatchback, and were front wheel drive, powered by 4-cylinder engines. Whereas the Daytona emphasized boy-racer street performance, the Laser emphasized European luxury, and was intended to be an "executive personal luxury coupe". The Laser was sleek, low-slung, and aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of only .35. The car had a large rear hatchback, with a rear spoiler standard on all Lasers. The car looked like it was going fast even when it was standing still.

 

The Laser came in 2 models, the base Laser, and top of the line Laser XE. All Lasers featured dual action Iso-Strut mounts with progressive rate jounce bumpers with a front sway bar. As the bumpers are compressed, they become firmer, resulting in less body roll and brake dive. The rear suspension featured nitrogen charged shocks with a tubular sway bar mounted inside the rear axle, and a track bar mounted alongside the rear axle. There was an optional handling package available on the Laser XE which featured higher rate springs (120 ppi front, 240 ppi rear), higher rate control arm rear bushings, and gas charged front shocks.

 

The standard power brakes on all models were front disk and rear drums - 4-wheel disc brakes were never available on the Laser. Front disks had 54mm diameter pistons with 255mm vented cast iron rotors. The rear drums measured 220mm x 40mm. Standard tires on all Laser were P185/70R14 steel belted radials. Optional on the XE were P195/60R15 Eagle GT performance tires.

 

Unlike the Mopars of old, which used huge gas guzzling V-8's to give their cars high performance, performance in the Laser was provided by 2 high-tech four-cylinder engines, displacing 2.2 liters and featuring a Single Overhead Cam (SOHC), and standard electronic fuel injection. The base 2.2 liter engine, with single point electronic fuel injection, was more for economy than performance, with an output of 99hp and 121lb/ft torque. The fuel economy figures of the motor were actually quite impressive - 24 mpg city, and 40 mpg on the highway (with the 5-speed manual). The hot engine was the 2.2 liter turbo motor, which was optional on both the Laser and Laser XE. Using multi-point electronic fuel injection, and a Garrett AiResearch TC-3 housing assembly, Chrysler then designed the compressor, turbine housing, and wastegate assembly. Providing up to 7.5 pounds of boost, the turbo 2.2's output was 142 hp and 160 lb/ft torque, good for 0-60 times of 8-9 seconds. One of the great features of the turbo engine was the water coolant passage that was designed around the turbine bearing. This helped prevent the bearing from being destroyed if the car was shut off soon after hard performance. This greatly improved the durability of the turbo engine.

 

There were 2 transaxle choices on the Laser. Standard on both models was a 5-speed manual, with gear ratios of 3.29, 2.08, 1.45, 1.04, and .72 (overdrive). The clutch on the manual measured 215mm in diameter on the standard engine, and 228mm in diameter behind the turbo. Optional on all models was a 3-speed automatic, with gear ratios of 2.69, 1.55, and 1.00. A four-speed automatic was never available on the Laser. The top gear ratio for the 5-speed was 3.56, 3.02 for the automatic.

 

The interior of the Laser emphasized luxury, with a leather wrapped steering wheel standard on all models, and leather seats optional on all models. All Lasers came with bucket seats and a center console. The 1980's was a time when car companies went crazy over fancy gee-whiz electronics, and were putting digital readouts into many of their cars. The Laser was no exception. While the dash of the base Laser used the normal electro-mechanical needle gauges, the Laser XE's dash was all digital, with readouts for the speedometer, tachometer, odometer, temperature, oil pressure, voltage, and fuel. Although impressive looking, these digital dashes would prove to be very expensive to repair, since usually the entire computer would have to be replaced. Also standard on the Laser XE was an electronic monitoring system, situated near the top of the center console. This monitoring system checked 22 separate functions on the car, such as an open door, low fuel, or a blown taillight, and would give a digital readout of the situation, along with an audio message made by a synthesized voice. Standard on the XE, and optional on the Laser, was an electronic navigator, which would give information on mileage, miles traveled, distance to destination, and elapsed driving time. Again, a fun toy to play with, but expensive to fix.

 

1984 Engine Specifications

2.2 Liter (135 cid) inline-4

2.2 Liter Turbo (135cid) inline-4

compression ratio

9.0:1

8.1:1

horsepower

99 @ 5,600

142 @ 5,600

torque

121 @ 3,200

160 @ 3,200

 

1985  The Laser was a hit in 1984, with nearly 60,000 Lasers being built, so 1985 was primarily a carryover year for the Laser. Four new colors were added, with all cars now coming with clear coat paint as standard. An optional tire size for the base Laser of P195/70R14 was added. The standard tire size for the Laser XE was increased to P205/60HR15. A new electronically controlled wastegate in the turbocharger now allowed the maximum boost pressure to increase to 9.0 psi for the automatically equipped cars (8.0 psi for the 5-speed cars) for short periods of time. The power output for the Turbo 2.2 increased to 146 horsepower, and 168 lb/ft torque. The overall top gear ratio for the 5-speed cars was also upgraded to 2.57.

 

The Laser XT package (see 1986) was not even mentioned in the Chrysler literature until 1986, however, the package became available late in 1985. A total of 3,452 Laser XE's carried the XT package.

 

1985 Engine Specifications 2.2 Liter (135 cid) inline-4 2.2 Liter Turbo (135cid) inline-4
compression ratio 9.0:1 8.1:1
horsepower 99 @ 5,600 146 @ 5,200
torque 121 @ 3,200 168 @ 3,600

 

1986  Big changes to the Laser came in 1986, making this the best year for the Laser. The first was the availability of T-Tops to all Lasers. With the T-Tops came power mirrors, power windows, and map lights. The T-Tops were removable glass roof panels with locks, and storage bags. The rear cargo area had tie downs for storing them when not in use. A total of 4,966 Lasers had T-Tops.

 

The second change was the introduction of the 2.5 liter engine. The 2.5 liter was a 2.2 liter motor with longer connection rods. However, this engine ran smoother thanks to new counter-rotating balance shafts that were driven at twice the engine speed by the camshaft. With a SOHC and single point electronic fuel injection, the 2.5 liter put out 100 hp and 136 lb/ft torque.

 

1986 also saw the introduction of the Laser XT. The XT was actually an option package on the Laser XE. The XT provided you with the turbo engine as standard. A special suspension, available only with the XT, provided performance gas charged shocks and struts, and larger solid front and rear antisway bars, with P225/50VR15 tires. The electronic monitoring system on the Laser XE was replaced with a turbo boost gauge on the Laser XT. Interestingly, the digital dash that was standard on the XE was replaced with the electromechanical gauge cluster from the base Laser on the XT. The body of the Laser XT was also given its own unique wrap-around front fascia, giving it a larger, more squared off front air dam. Lower bodyside sill spoilers were also added, squaring off the sides. These changes made the Laser XT the most aggressive looking Laser ever.

 

Unfortunately, 1986 would also be the last year for the Laser. This is really too bad, because the Chrysler Laser was truly one of the great performance cars of the 80's, and one of the greatest performance cars that Chrysler ever built. A total of 147,396 Lasers were produced. Beginning in 1987, the Dodge Daytona would be updated, and continue the legend.

 

1986 Engine Specifications 2.2 Liter (135 cid) inline-4 2.5 Liter (153 cid) inline-4 2.2 Liter Turbo (135cid) inline-4
compression ratio 9.5:1 9.0:1 8.1:1
horsepower 97 @ 5,200 100 @ 4,800 146 @ 5,200
torque 122 @ 3,200 136 @ 2,800 170 @ 3,600

 

Laser Production

Laser

Laser XE

Laser XT

Total

% Production Change

1984

33,976

25,882

n/a

59,858

 

1985

32,673

14,741

3,452

50,866

-15.02%

1986

21,123

8,560

6,989

36,672

-27.90%

 

Powertrain Options

Laser

Laser XE

Laser XT

2.2 Liter

Standard

Standard (n/a 86)

N/A

2.5 Liter

Optional - 86

Standard - 86

N/A

2.2 Liter Turbo

Optional

Optional

Standard

The 5-speed manual was standard on all cars, with the 3-speed automatic optional.

           

Specifications Year Laser Laser XE
Length (inches)   175
Width (inches)   69.3
Height (inches) 1984 52.3
1985 50.3
1986 50.4
Wheelbase (inches)   97
Curb Weight (lb) 1984 2550 2569
1985 2613 2665
1986 2,587 2,691
Fuel Capacity (gallons)   14

   

Color Availability   Laser Laser XE
Garnet Red Pearl 84, 85 X  
86   X
Mink Brown Pearl 84, 85 X  
Beige Crystal Coat 84 X  
Gunmetal Blue Pearl 84, 85 X  
86   X
Radiant Silver Crystal 84, 85 X  
86   X
Gold Dust Crystal 85 X  
86   X
Golden Bronze Pearl 86 X X
Ice Blue 86 X  
White 86 X X
Flash Red (XT only) 86   X
Black   X X
Two-tone Color Packages
Garnet Red Pearl/Radiant Silver Crystal - 84,85     X
Mink Brown Pearl/Beige Crystal - 84     X
Saddle Brown Crystal/Black - 84     X
Gunmetal Blue Pearl/Radiant Silver Crystal - 84,85     X
Radiant Silver Crystal/Gunmetal Blue Pearl - 84,85     X
Black/Burnished Silver Metallic - 84     X
Black Crystal/Radiant Silver Crystal - 85     X
Desert Bronze Pearl/Black Crystal - 85     X
Gold Dust Crystal/Cream Crystal - 85     X
2-tone colors were dropped after 1985