March_1983_Time_Magazine Lee_Iacocca

No Foolin’! Iacocca-faced LeBaron Model Will Haunt Your Collection!

Ron Ruelle model car hall of fame
by Ron Ruelle

If you’ve been anxiously awaiting Tesla’s long-in-development self-driving car to appear on the roads, do we have some good news for you! A famous anthropomorphic automobile is coming your way soon in miniature!

Long before Pixar’s Cars, or even the clay-animated Chevron commercials, the world has dreamed of living, self-driving cars.

We’re talking cars with some personality. They’re self-aware, sentient modes of transportation. We want it all!

My Mother the Car was an early pioneer of the concept in the 1950s. Herbie the Love Bug was “alive,” but he only talked in beeps and headlight flashes. Heck, Thomas and Friends gave us the UK version of this trope in railway form. Transformers kinda did that, too. And Susie the Little Blue Coupe… I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Somewhere in the middle of all this was Lee Iacocca, head honcho at Chrysler in the early 1980s. During hard times, Chrysler got a bailout from the U.S. government and paid it back years early. Under his tutelage, the company turned things around in short order with the new K-Cars. In March 1983, he was immortalized on the cover of Time, with his face peering out of the front of a LeBaron faux woody ragtop.

Lee_Iacocca diecast
So the fine folks at Milloway House are releasing a 1/43 model of this incredible design, complete with Iacocca’s mug in the grill. Early versions were supposed to have his lower jaw bob up and down until cost overruns scuttled that majestic bit. At least that’s what we were told. You never know with the internet, right?

March_1983_Time_Magazine Lee_Iacocca

It was, of course, not the first time Iacocca had appeared on the cover of Time. In April of 1964, he graced that magazine’s cover as well as Newsweek with the brand new Ford Mustang. Fitting that 60 years later, we see him again of all days, April 1.

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