In the very same week as I was sampling the Chrysler 300C SRT8, a letter appeared in the Wall Street Journal accusing Detroit of making cars that "are simply not cool."
How some people do cling to their beloved cliches!
The 300C SRT8 is one of the coolest cars I can think of. And even at the as-tested price of $48,395 it represents an eye-opening value.
Helped by a highly suggestive stance, the SRT8 offers irresistible visual provocation. Drivers of the regular 300C can’t keep their eyes off this crouching Chrysler. At a stoplight, the guy next to me in the Subaru WRX scrutinized it very carefully. Even the ladies in my wife’s knitting circle wanted to know what it was. And they probably disbelieved the answer. Aren’t Chryslers supposed to have fake wire wheels? Aren’t their roofs supposed to be vinyl, like a Barry Manilow record, like Lee Iacocca’s heart? This object before their eyes was simply too virile, too chiseled, and too naked.
I never dreamed a Chrysler would be so much fun. Grabbing hold by the mane for a couple of thrill rides, I found the SRT8 to be set up with beautifully calibrated suspension, steering, and brakes, not to mention the impressive and refined powertrain. So I nabbed a couple of my car guy friends and suggested they come along for a ride. One of them has since e-mailed, saying, "That was a really hot car you were driving. That kind of car shouldn't really be allowed on the road. That car has trouble written all over it!"
He’s right; the 300C SRT8 should be featured in a rockabilly song. In fact, these lines from "Hot Rod Lincoln" ring true:
Now the fellas thought I'd lost all sense;
The telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
Like the car in the song—which was a Model A that was gagging on a Lincoln V-12 engine—the SRT8 would indeed drive a father to drink. Unlike the Lincoln, it would also drive a mother to drink. Maybe all the maiden aunts in the family, too. When you back it from the garage, the Aurora Borealis should be winking upon it. The snow you wipe from the windshield should taste like confectioner’s sugar. This is a very special car.
And it proves something.
If you're writing to the editor, rely on facts, not cliches.