Chrysler limousine offers plenty of class at a (relatively) low price

It may be an upscale road car for the security analysts, stockbrokers, Hollywood types, and business executives who are buying it, but I can tell you right off the bat that the stately Chrysler limousine works just fine in a campground, too.

Perhaps that's because you don't really expect the Chrysler limo to be as ''limo-like'' as some of the competition.

The point is, you can have a lot of fun behind the wheel of such a car, and you don't have to limit it to the ride to the office or formal business functions.

If you're in the back and want to be alone, you can always close the privacy window between the front and back compartments, telling the driver beforehand: ''Home, Charles,'' or ''take me to the bank.'' You see, there's no phone connection between the front and the rear.

Equipped with a Japanese-built 2.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine and Chrysler's own 3-speed automatic transmission, the limo is a practical option for the person who wants class but doesn't want to pay an arm and a leg to get it.

The limo begins as a 2-door LeBaron, or K-car derivative, in Chrysler's St. Louis assembly plant. Then the American Sunroof Company adds 2 1/2 feet to the body, gussies it up with comfort items and frills, and zounds! A limo is born.

When the program was put together a few years ago, the availability of fuel was a lot less certain than it appears to be today. The Chrysler executive suite thought of it more as a ''penny-pinching'' alternative to the conventional business limousine.

Then when it went into production a year ago, the automaker saw a market demand of maybe 900 a year - and it may be just about on target. In 1985 it could be a little higher.

Priced at $22,467, the Chrysler limo weighs just over 3,100 pounds, a few hundred pounds and thousands of dollars less than the sharply downsized Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy Five Limousine

Standard, noncustomized limos aren't what they used to be, anyway. Cadillac has lopped almost 26 inches and some 1,200 pounds off its Fleetwood for '85.

Built on a 131-inch wheelbase, the Chrysler limo is advertised as seating up to seven people. For a very short distance, that's fine, but those two jump seats in the back will soon convince you to get out and walk.

The trunk is fully carpeted and deep (just fine for a tent, sleeping bags, pans, outdoor cookstove, lantern, and all the other necessities for a campout).

But there are negatives as well. The ''Tiffany image,'' for example, is marred by the sight of all those screwheads on the cloth-covered pillars as well as the pliable plastic on the instrument panel itself. Is that any way to treat a thoroughbred? Yet remember the cost of the car before filing the complaints.

And while the ride is quiet and soft as befits such a car, and the driver controls and instruments are well placed and easy to manage, the visibility leaves a lot to be desired. Because of its extra length, there are ''blind spots'' on both sides of the car that require some care before changing lanes on the roadway. Also, the space seems a little too scant for the driver.

The Chrysler Corporation limo, however, does show the distance the surging automaker has traveled over the last several years in its retreat from the precipice.

Let me ask: Would you be willing to drive a Cadillac limo, any Cadillac limo, through the takeout line at a fast-food restaurant?

With a Chrysler limousine, why not?

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