Quick, what was the cheapest new convertible Americans could buy in 2006? If you guessed “Chrysler PT Cruiser” ($19,890 MSRP) you’re right, but the Pontiac Solstice cost just 25 additional bucks. After that came the likes of the Miata, Mustang, New Beetle, and so forth, all priced below $25,000 in their most affordable ragtop versions that year. The Chrysler Sebring was the cheapest midsize convertible in 2006, with a price starting at just $26,115 (about $39,005 in 2022 dollars), edging out the Toyota Camry Solara SE by 825 bucks. Here’s one of those roomy-yet-reasonably-priced Chrysler convertibles, now absolutely used up and residing in a Colorado self-service wrecking yard.
Chrysler sold Sebrings from the 1995 through 2010 model years, in three generations. The convertible version appeared early on, starting in 1996; it started out on the same platform as the now-long-forgotten “Cloud Cars” (Chrysler Cirrus, Plymouth Breeze, Dodge Stratus), then moved in 2007 to a Mitsubishi/DaimlerChrysler-developed platform that went under everything from Outlanders to Avengers. That makes today’s Junkyard Gem one of the newest American members of the Cloud Car family tree, though GAZ built Sebring-derived Volga Sibers in Russia for a few more years.
By the time it got to this place, it had become a total hooptie. Rattle-can paint, duct-tape trim repair, the works. Just 16 years old, but it’s done.
The baling-wire repair to the torn convertible top shows ingenuity on the part of a former owner.
Plywood appears to be keeping the roof from collapsing.
Because so many Sebrings were invisible fleet cars, it’s easy to forget that a convertible even existed. In fact, the Sebring was the best-selling new convertible in America in the middle 2000s.
When the 24 Hours of Lemons race series first went to Sebring International Raceway in 2014, I used my vast powers as Chief Justice of the Lemons Supreme Court to get entry fees waived for Chrysler Sebring race cars. We got two Sebrings that year, both convertibles.
The base Sebrings for 2006 got the 2.4-liter straight-four out of the just-discontinued Neon, while the Touring, GTC, and Limited trim levels got this 200-horsepower DOHC V6 (originally developed for the Chrysler LH cars) displacing 2.7 liters.
Early U.S.-market Sebrings could be purchased with five-speed manual transmissions, but a four-speed automatic was mandatory by the time this car was built.
This is one of those junkyard cars that really needed some olfactory assistance. Next stop: The Crusher!
The Sebring begs to be driven.