Words by Matt de Prez @mattdeprez
Photography by Rowan Cullen @rowancullen
When you buy a car I expect there will be a few things you overlook, for example when I bought a BMW E46 a few years ago I picked up a coffee on my regular commute: this led to a few panic stricken moments where I frantically scrabbled around the interior before coming to the realisation that it doesn’t have a cup holder.
I’m sure some of you have bought cars and not checked the insurance or tax costs before purchasing, I’m also sure some of you have bought cars an then realised they are totally impractical for your requirements.
Sometimes we buy cars with our heads, in which case we end up with Golf diesels or estates. If we buy with our hearts we end up with the likes of an Alfa Romeo or classic BMW. Often it works out for the worse and many hours /pounds are spent slaving away in the garage.
When it came time to renew my daily I knew it would be a heart purchase. I wanted something rare, something different and something ridiculous…. Oh and it needed to be a V8. Jaguar S-Type R? Too golf clubbish, MG ZT 260? Not fast enough, BMW 545i? Too bland.
Step forward the all- American, Austrian built, German engineered dream. The Chrysler 300c.
Firstly, its enormous. The length and width are essentially those of the average supermarket parking space. Parking isn’t the easiest task but more pertinent is how the Chrysler tackles country lanes.Thankfully the Bentley-esque front end intimidates oncoming cars enough for them to pull over.
Lets talk about power. The 5.7 Litre V8 benfits from Chryslers HEMI namesake. In standard form it pumps out 340BHP and 387lb ft or torque. Perhaps not electrifying figures to read but that power comes from very low down and exceeding 4000rpm the V8 finds an extra lease of life. It’s best to describe the 300C as brisk, it always feels adequately quick especially in gear.
So how does that huge body handle the corners? Well it’s lighter than you think thanks to aluminium panels. The floorplan is actually that of an old E-Class merc and the steering is nicely weighted unlike many cars from the land of the free. Body roll is noticeable and the soft springs don’t offer the composed ride of a 5 series but it grips the road and is far more ‘chuckable’ than you would expect.
Leaving roundabouts sideways requires nothing more than a kick to the gas pedal and the ESP system, despite not being totally distiguishable, allows a healthy amount of oversteer and wheelspin. Of course if you own an american V8 you will try to do burnouts and the Chrysler is happy to oblige, a bit of brake pressure and heavy throttle will spin the tyres up for as long as you dare.
There’s a bunch of nostalgic design cues too, the steering wheel is huge like that of a 60s muscle car and the small wheels wrapped in huge profile tyres give the Chrysler a decent stance. Many opt for the mesh Bentley grille but I prefer the original Chrysler squared grille another link to the 60s muscle era.
Unsurprisingly it’s not the cheapest car to run, a lot of parts have to come from the USA, it uses a stupidly thin oil and coolant that no one stocks, fuel economy is well there isn’t any and there are 16 spark plugs to change when the time arises.
It is easy to work on however, and build quality is rather good. Interior plastics look worse in pictures than real life.
Everything aside, this car makes you smile. It makes your passengers smile. It makes passers by and your neighbours scared for their lives and for those reasons it’s just… EPIC.