My Car Quest

August 5, 2020

The Chrysler Crossfire – Back Under the Spotlight

by Wallace Wyss –

Back in 2014, Hagerty, in an article on five used cars they thought had classic potential named the Chrysler Crossfire among them. This was a car borne out of the marriage of Daimler and Chrysler, basically a reskin of the Mercedes SLK roadster of the time.

Actually it was built on an obsolete Mercedes SLK 32 AMF first generation frame and not the new one being used on the Mercedes at the time, which was to me a condescending move by Mercedes, as if to say: “well, these third world countries they don’t need the newest thing.”

Chrysler Crossfire

It came with four cylinder or V6. Hagerty seemed to think the money should be out on the V6. Hagerty praised it, saying: “The 2006 Crossfire SRT6 is undoubtedly the greatest lovechild of the affair between Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz in the early 2000s. While the standard Crossfire coupe and convertible were offered from 2004-2008, the SRT6 was only available in showrooms in 2005, and as a factory special order in 2006… AMG supercharged V-6 laying down 330 hp to the rear wheels.”

Chrysler Crossfire

Hagerty bemoaned that this V6 only came with an automatic, “making it the only model in the Crossfire lineup not offered with a 5-speed manual.” Classics World website, in a 2018 article, also explains how much Mercedes changed the car underneath: “The upper front control arms are taken from the W210 E-class, while the lower control arms are from the C-class saloon, as also used on the first generation SLK. The multilink rear suspension is again borrowed from the SLK, but revised and modified by Chrysler to allow for wider 9×19 inch wheels at the rear, while the fronts sat at 7.5×18 inch. To accommodate for the wider wheels – and add to overall rigidity – the rear has a thicker anti-roll bar compared to the SLK, as well as firmer damping. The brakes are taken straight from the SLK, too.”

They praised the handling: “The Crossfire does well in handling tests. Car and Driver noted that in their tests, the Crossfire suffered less from understeer than the 350Z, arguably a direct competitor, also featuring a V6. Critics have suggested that while the rear is sticky and makes the car feel planted through the corners, inducing small slides is possible, as well as transferring the weight through apexes by letting the rear slide, but it feels snappy and uncontrolled; whereas cars like the 350Z allow you to play with the rear much more.”

Chrysler Crossfire

HAGERTY LIKED LOW VOLUME

They base their rarity claim on under 2000 being offered in the US “Fewer than 1,500 were produced, making this model quite rare.”

I concur because for instance that is very close to the number of Mercedes Gullwing coupes (1485) and a little above the number of Ferrari Daytonas. Anytime you go get close to 1000 cars you are getting near the rare category. There were over 60,000 Crossfires made but they weren’t cherished at first and are fast being forgotten.

BADGE SNOBBERY

Why did it plummet so low in value (we have seen a coupe for $6000). A British website feels it is “badge snobbery.” Classics World’s Matt Bell saying,

“I get the sense the above question is down to badge snobbery. Socio-economic status is very important to folk in the UK. We like one-upmanship, we like to feel that we’re important, show off our achievements, but we do this through items like cars. I know you know exactly what I mean here. We look at a Kia, or a Dacia as knock-off cars, maybe even Skoda to some extent.

A more modern example, and carrying more relevance in this case: take the upcoming Toyota Supra and BMW Z4. Both cars will be the same, with the same engine and body but both will be badged by their respective companies. My guess is that the owner of the BMW will be seen as the more affluent higher achiever of the two. That’s exactly the case with the Chrysler Crossfire and Mercedes SLK. The Merc driver will be seen as having done better in life, shall we say.”

Chrysler Crossfire

I disagree. I have seen SLKs on Craigslist for $3000, below the Crossfire. That all Mercedes design just looks like a toy car, a car for Barbie, not like a real car. To drive one, for a guy, it’s like saying “you’re not man enough to drive an SL.” But the Crossfire doesn’t come across as too small but just right.

Classics World’s writer didn’t like the styling, saying “The Chrysler is an odd one in my eyes, being neither pretty nor ugly. From some angles it works, from others it doesn’t quite work. But as a package it’s good. It’s certainly a whole lot better than Chrysler’s other attempts in the UK…namely the PT Cruiser.”

I agree, I talked to the original designer,and originally the prototype was more art deco, even with a split windshield. But at least 80% of his conception came through to the production car, a record for Detroit. So it’s a distinctive design statement. I miss that they didn’t make the metal surround of the cockpit in chrome, in black it cheapens the car. The grooves in the hood are an unneeded gimmick. But the beauty of the interior makes up for it. I lament that if you ordered the V6 you got a spoiler looking like it was lifted off some economy car, four cylinder roadster has an automatic extended spoiler.

The only two things that give me pause now are the probable drying up of body panels in Chrysler dealers, so if you prang one it’s going to be a long search. Plus there is one electrical part that Chrysler dealers charge a horrendous price for where in a Mercedes it’s half the price. If I got the car cheap enough I might buy this part in advance and keep it in the trunk.

Chrysler Crossfire

But the problems didn’t deter owners of real classic cars. It’s the zeal of the community that makes a car collectible and judging by the response to our nearly 4-year old article in My Car Quest, there’s people that recognize the car’s value…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a former collector, having had in his stable two Mercedes Gullwings, a Porsche 356 and a Ferrari GTC/4. He is presently assembling an anthology of fiction short stories centered on cars.

 
 
 
 
 

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Summary
The Chrysler Crossfire - Back Under the Spotlight
Article Name
The Chrysler Crossfire - Back Under the Spotlight
Description
The Chrysler Crossfire is a desirable classic and collector car that is still affordable and well loved by those lucky enough to own one.
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Comments

  1. Angelo Taylor says

    Getting ready to buy a SRT6, choice of 3…for the future, will the 18 in front rims also work on the rear? Tryinmg to save money on future aftermarklet ri ms and tires

  2. Wallace Wyss says

    The club forum will answer back.After you buy it tell the asking prices so we’ll know how much they came down to

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