Another first this week with this Chrysler 300C. Not only is it the first-ever 300C Shed of the week, it’s the first-ever Chrysler Shed. Remarkable really when you consider that 2024, or next year as some of you might call it, will be the 100th anniversary of Chrysler as a car manufacturer. The name died in Europe in 2014, three years after the second generation 300C came out as the Lancia Thema. The Lancia badge had dissolved into a small pile of rust in the UK 17 years earlier, so we didn’t get the Thema/300C at all.
We very much did get the 2005-on, gen-one 300C though, in both senses. When our Shed was registered in June 2006, the 300C was doing more than OK here. Some described its looks as ‘a Bentley in a bad mood’. They definitely had a distinctive gangsta vibe that made even milquetoast types feel double hard behind the wheel.
You won’t be surprised to hear that our 300 hasn’t got the 5.7 Hemi V8 or the SRT8’s 6.0. What do you expect for £1,595? It has a 3.0 diesel. Don’t rush for your bargepoles though. The diesel in question is the very acceptable Mercedes-sourced OM642 3.0 V6 which in the CRD bunged out 215hp and a meaty 376lb ft of torque, enough with the 5-speed auto to make it faster than the 3.5-litre petrol 300C.
Our CRD failed its MOT in February on marginally low rear tyre treads, a weak parking brake and a front number plate ‘illegible inscription’, which is grandiose DVSA-speak for the registration number. For some reason, the last MOT tester in February recorded the mileage (currently at 166k) not in miles but kilometres. Presumably, the owner had switched the trip meter to metric for Euro-jaunts, which the CRD was rather good at. Despite its 1,920kg of burly it could deliver 34mpg or more on a gentle throttle, giving over 500 miles between fills, unless you were constantly trying to achieve the 7.4sec 0-60mph time and 143mph top speed in which case your stops would be a lot more frequent. It’s Euro 4 so not ULEZ compliant but the road tax is a not too horrific £395 a year.
Ah, you say, but what happens when things go wrong? Well, heavy cars generally chomp through suspension components and the 300C ticked that box. Just about all the advisories on the MOT history have been for suspension or other consumables. Elsewhere the twin particulate filters could get clogged up if the car wasn’t given the occasional Italian tune-up and/or the injectors weren’t running properly. The timing chain stretched, oil cooler seals, EGR valves and turbo actuators could play up, and exhaust manifolds were a bit fragile. In its defence, these were faults you could mostly see coming. They were far from exclusive to the CRD which, generally speaking, was robust and reliable.
The equipment level was good and the leathery interior had a certain style to it if you could manage to ignore what Chrysler openly and indeed proudly called the ‘patented faux tortoiseshell’ on the wheel and gearknob. We are told in the ad that the radio doesn’t work. There’s a 300C specialist in Rhyl, North Wales called the Custom 300C Shop that will probably be able to get you a new one, if that’s what’s needed, along with all the other parts you might ever need and a few others you wouldn’t but somehow quite like the look of.
Our car seems to have some sort of towbar on it. The braked towing weight is 2,000kg and the boot holds 500 litres too so there’s plenty of practicality there. Plus it’s a rear-driver that steers nicely, although the tight turning circle that you normally get in an RWD car isn’t present. More importantly, Barack Obama owned a 300C, although his one probably wasn’t a diesel.
This car is for those of you who dare to be different. The inside bolster of the driver’s seat looks like it’s been attacked by a sharp implement. Shed will not be offering any prizes for the most creative guess as to what might have happened there. Still, do feel free to have a go, but only if you’re hard enough.
1 / 7