My Car Quest

August 10, 2020

Marketing: Cars Detroit Should Have Built – Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept

by Wallace Wyss –

Chrysler unveiled this daring concept–the Chrysler 300 Hemi C–a four-passenger V-8 rear-wheel drive convertible, 20 years ago. We still have the four door sedan but never the convertible.

“This vehicle explores a direction we might take if we were to return to an all-American V-8, rear-wheel drive luxury performance car such as the famed ’57 Chrysler 300 C convertible,” said Tom Gale, Executive Vice President – Product Development and Design, who was a champion of the car.

Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept

Appealing to the performance market was a prototype all-aluminum 353 cubic inch (5.7-liter) pushrod V-8 engine featuring hemispherical combustion chambers and two spark plugs per cylinder. Its estimated power was 353 horsepower and 353 lb.-ft. of torque delivered to the rear wheels via a robust four-speed automatic transmission.

They also mentioned automatic deactivation of four of the eight cylinders during highway driving and deceleration, a system which deactivates the valves while the motor management system interrupts ignition and fuel supply to those cylinders. The system maintains full engine performance for acceleration and overtaking.

The car had independent suspension has modified MacPherson struts in front and an aluminum five-link coil-over-shock rear set-up.

Fourteen-inch ventilated front and rear disc brakes with four-piston calipers, 19-inch front wheels and tires and 20-inch rear wheels and tires were all part of the package.

Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept

They claimed the vehicle would sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and clock a top speed of 160 mph. They claimed the car was a homage to the ’57 300 C with pronounced wheel flares and a seemingly endless hood.

Ironically though they emphasized the enlarged 300M-style chrome grille that seems to be the weakest feature of the design in retrospect. It had a hard-cover tonneau with integrated automatic roll-over bar. Adjustable pedals guaranteed a comfortable seating position for short and tall drivers but they don’t say if the front seats were movable.

It seems quaint now when they talk about a global positioning system, a trunk-mounted “plug-and-play” laptop computer, Internet access for real-time weather and traffic information and e-mail. It’s clear that electronics have come a long way since the year 2000.

A fingerprint scanner hooked up to a tiny camera provides added security, important in any vehicle and especially in a soft top convertible. The vehicle will not function if the driver’s fingerprint and picture don’t match the system’s information. Hey, what if you tell your relative to go get the car? Voice commands also control the vehicle’s audio, climate control, diagnostics, phone and security systems and the driver’s home security system.

Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept

“The straight-line power of the ’50s and ’60s has been replaced by a balance of crisp handling and sophisticated performance,” said Gale, “Yet the Chrysler 300 Hemi C still reflects the same philosophy and pedigree of those early letter series cars.”

Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept

I find the side vent very au courant (just saw them on an Aston yesterday) and like the general profile. But all they did was use the features on a Sebring but we missed the rear wheel drive and the size and stance. Conspiracy theorists might contend that since Daimler owned Chrysler at the time they did not want to build a car that would skewer Mercedes sales.

Whatever the reason, it was not built, I say it’s not too late to bring back this size and shape but they need a stronger grille and a few more speeds on that automatic. I can see it being marketed as a $45,000 car fully loaded, sort of BMW 6-series competitor.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR Wallace Wyss is a former Detroiter who worked in advertising there only to switch to magazines on the West Coast.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Summary
Marketing: Cars Detroit Should Have Built - Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept
Article Name
Marketing: Cars Detroit Should Have Built - Chrysler 300 C Convertible Concept
Description
They claimed the vehicle would sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and clock a top speed of 160 mph. They claimed the car was a homage to the '57 300 C with pronounced wheel flares and a seemingly endless hood.
Author

Comments

  1. Build it, but put a “stronger” crease down the side, and add the larger grill. Too many four seat convertible sales being lost to BMW, Mercedes and others with little to no competition from the USA.

  2. Rob Krantz says

    The design has aged well. I always liked the Sebring convertible design…the late 1990’s version was the nicest looking IMO. A little freshening to bring it up to a more current design philosophy and with modern electronics etc., it would be a winner.

  3. Fingerprint scanner, voice control and the other features are actually pretty impressive to me for that time period. The basis for a 2020 version of this certainly exist in the Challenger platform. Time for a new concept, yes? Thanks for a great article! Do you have more under the ‘Cars Detroit Should Have Built’ heading?

  4. wallace wyss says

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I am also doing Cars Detroit Should Not Build. I don’t know why more automakers don’t sell a design they decided not to build because sometimes 75% of the engineering’s already been done, It would be more affordable for a start-up than coming up with an all-new design.

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