The Chrysler 300C – Gearhead Phase pt. IV

June 7, 2006

I have to admit that I loved the looks of the 300C at first sight. The huge doors and small windows brought back memories of classic chopped street rods, and the stance said “aggressive” all over it.

Up close, the car was even more appealing. The damn thing was HUGE. You really do not realize just how big this car is until you get close to it.

They put the room to good use, too. I not only have trouble being too tall for little roadsters, I even have problems in sedans. When I decided I wanted the Lincoln LS a few years back, I had to do a fair amount of shopping around for a V8 model that didn’t have the sunroof — since I typically end up in the headliner of cars with sunroofs.

Not in this thing.

I got in and had about 8″ of room overhead. The rear seating area is even immense; I could ride comfortably in the back for hours (not that I plan to, mind you.) There’s enough room in the trunk to haul a six-pack of dead bodies — or at least the spoils from a major run to Costco.

The styling is great — about the only thing I didn’t really care for was the Chrysler “house grill”, a style that never much appealed to me. But the dealer had already swapped the stock grill on the one I was looking at for a nice aftermarket mesh grill.

Of course, none of that matters compared to the “h” word. Growing up around cars in the 60’s and 70’s, “Hemi” is a word that conjures up magic. Big ‘ol cars like the Magnum Chargers that still managed to be scary fast.

Of course, I was doomed when I decided to take a test drive. Here was a nice looking car that hauled ass. What’s more, it was big enough that when it was hauling ass, it only needed to make one trip.

The ride was good for an American sedan — it wasn’t a 7-series BMW or anything, but the bones of the Mercedes E-Class chassis showed through, along with more than a few other good Euro luxury wagon features. The price was even right — particularly compared with Euro sedans.

So, I went home and scratched my head, and did some thinking — maybe it was time to get rid of TWO cars, and buy a daily driver that was also a great toy to drive.

Compared to the abortive XK8 plan, this deal just fell together. My eldest needed a decent car, and I put him together a deal on my Lincoln that was both quite a bit cheaper than he could buy it on the street, and quite a bit more than I was offered for a trade in. Going down a car made enough difference on insurance that my monthly payment on a 2006 300C vs. a 2002 Lincoln was a wash.

So, I bought me a Chrysler.

Of course, being a great car doesn’t mean there wasn’t substantial room for improvement, a topic we’ll be returning to a few times in the near future, I’m sure.

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2 Responses to “The Chrysler 300C – Gearhead Phase pt. IV”

  1. Scott W on June 8th, 2006 9:10 pm

    Hey Chuck, I appreciated the article on the Chrysler 300. I can relate to your concerns about finding a car that fits you. I have the same problem, except even more so – I’m seven feet tall and 330 lbs. So last summer I bought a 300C, and it’s by far the most comfortable car I have ever owned. And contrary to what those VW Passat ads say, I got plenty of hugs from my daddy. If I had the megaphone in those ads, I’d be yelling, “Because I don’t fit in your Passat!” In any case, I’d encourage any really tall drivers to check out the 300 with the power memory seat and (IMPORTANT) the power adjustable pedals. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  2. Chuck Lawson on June 8th, 2006 10:08 pm

    Hi Scott;

    Yeah, I’m on the hefty side a bit myself, and I do love the memory seat; I didn’t do the power adjustable pedals — I kind of wish I’d have checked one out with them on just to see what it’s like, but the stock peddle placement seems to work fine for me.

    The Passat ad is a hoot — not the least of which because the 300C has the same grill mine does 🙂 Entertainingly, the same day I test drove the 300, I stopped at a VW dealership with the idea in mind of test driving the new GTI. Well, nobody at the VW dealership could be bothered to wait on me, so I blew ’em off and ended up at the Chrysler dealer. VW’s loss, my gain, I suppose.

    So now down to the important question — have you done any modding on your 300? I can’t seem to leave mine alone, which I suppose is a good part of the fun…

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