a mercedes slk in disguise!

In the early 2000s, in 1998, the Daimler-Chrysler marriage was in good shape. An alliance that benefited the then planetary ambitions of the German group; at the same time, Chrysler is using Mercedes platforms to refresh its image and lineup, which still includes the Voyager, Neon, etc.

The Chrysler 300 C is a small coupe that will take over the platform of the Mercedes EW 210 Class and use the undercarriage of the first generation SLK. Styling studies for the bodywork show an exotic car with a long hood and a chunky rear, like something out of a 1950s comic book.





Changing the direction of the door, carving the front wing and widening the rear wing gave the name to the two-series car: Crossfire. The rear end, which tapers off the saloon, is reminiscent of the Buick Rivier Boat tail of the 1970s. Picture of Chrysler

Loss of substance

The designer who worked on the 2001 concept car was Eric Stoddard. If the prototype attracted attention at the shows, the last Crossfire lost the originality that it could have achieved in the ease of industrialization after Andrew Dyson, who changed the image.

Obviously, profitability and production constraints come first; moreover, the car will not be produced in the USA, but in Osnabrück, Karman, which has a contract for 20,000 copies per year for 5 years.

However, Crossfire throws some! The hood, under-the-bubble headlamps, chunky rear end and twin square exhausts are sensational.



The Crossfire concept had a bit of a Chevrolet Corvette edge in the interior with this symmetrical dashboard.  Note the most beautiful techno-effect metal center console.  Picture of Chrysler

The Crossfire concept had a bit of a Chevrolet Corvette edge in the interior with this symmetrical dashboard. Note the most beautiful techno-effect metal center console. Picture of Chrysler

40% Mercedes spare parts

At Chrysler, we only care about aesthetics. Mechanically it is something else. If the platform was taken from the SLK, under the hood, Chrysler made its market across the Rhine; only one engine is available, the top trim for the states: Mercedes V6 3.2 liter 218 hp, the SLK 320’s…

As for the transmission, it’s mostly automatic, which should please the American motorist; in this case, the 5G-Tronic Mercedes. A 6-speed manual transmission is available: Mercedes… As for the interior, when the Chrysler goes into production, it will take over the SLK’s dashboard in its own way.



We remove the roof of the coupe and replace it with a canvas hood, or how to easily get a roadster.  This roadster was only 33 kg more than the coupe.  Picture of Chrysler

We remove the roof of the coupe and replace it with a canvas hood, or how to easily get a roadster. This roadster was only 33 kg more than the coupe. Picture of Chrysler

Crossfire struggles to deceive

Launched in 2003 in high-profile (limited) production, the Crossfire has attracted more than 35,000 customers and is on track to sell out. From the second year, growth began to decline: 28,000 sales, then 12,500 in 2005. An entry-level trim was offered in 2004, followed by a roadster in 2005; No removable roof like the SLK!

But a canvas hood with electric control (neither insulated nor lined). That year, 18,501 roadsters will find buyers. This is also the year that the sporty STR-6 version of the coupe was released.

Here again, Chrysler will be shopping Mercedes: 3.2 l V6 of the AMG version; block in the menu has 332 horsepower, combined with the only automatic box.

However, given the feel of the automatic gearbox, it is not at all sporty… Only top speed and acceleration (4.8 seconds for 0-100 km/h) remain. In 2006, 4805 Crossfires will find their buyer.

Extinguishing crossfire

Suffering happens; Between the 2008 crash, restructuring and, above all, the Daimler/Chrysler divorce, the Crossfire disappeared after selling 76,014 copies.

The chain’s last release intervened in December 2007; it will take a few more months to sell the last copies. At the end of 2007, the American investment fund Cerberus Capital Management bought 80.1% of Chrysler from Daimler; the end of a poorly controlled merger.

In France, Crossfire was sold in 1207 copies, which does not make it a very popular car. More common… Across the Rhine, you can find a used car for not much more than around €10,000. If you feel like…

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