IN: Wheelstanding your 5.0 Mustang
OUT: Coming down from a wheelstand in your 5.0 Mustang and seeing the front struts burst through the hood
IN: Old-timey-looking dashboards with classic supplementary instrumentation
OUT: Welding a late-model dash into an earlier-model car
IN: Five-spoke wheels
IN: Six-spoke wheels
IN: Seven-spoke wheels
OUT: Four-spoke wheels
OUT: Three-spoke wheels
OUT: Two-spoke wheels
IN: Taste O' Trivia
IN: Muscle Car of the Month
OUT: Quote of the Month
OUT: Winner of the Month
IN: Estee Lauder supermodel Carolyn Murphy
IN: Estee Lauder supermodel Liya Kebede
IN: Estee Lauder supermodel Elizabeth Hurley
OUT: Writing items like this just so we can run photos of Carolyn Murphy, Liya Kebede, and Elizabeth Hurley
IN: Mercury Meteor
OUT: Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
IN: Four-wheel-steering pickups
IN: Four-wheel-steering SUVs
OUT: Four-wheel steering because your rearend is tweaked
IN: M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank
OUT: Toyota pickups with .50-caliber machine guns mounted in the bed
Chrysler's Fastest Sedan
[Photos 116-0308.SCUP 4A through 4D on disc]All that mid-'90s "cab-forward" styling has been banished from Chrysler-and it's about time. The new theme is "classic proportions," and the Chrysler 300C concept car shown at the New York Auto Show indicates that "classic" means "shouldn't have changed in the first place." And the 300C is only a slightly disguised version of the next Chrysler 300 that goes into production next year.
The classic proportions are possible because the 300C uses a classic drivetrain configuration: a Hemi V-8 up front powering the rear wheels (any similarity to the original '55 Chrysler 300 is purely intentional). In this case, it's the new 5.7L Hemi introduced in the Dodge Ram pickup, but with an aluminum block to go along with its aluminum heads. Chrysler isn't talking about output for the car version of the Hemi, but we're hearing that 380 hp is in the ballpark. Behind the Hemi is an electronically controlled five-speed automatic from the Mercedes parts warehouse feeding a limited-slip differential. The suspension uses short and long arms up front and a five-bar multi-link system in the back, but to the great disappointment of hard-core Mopar enthusiasts, no torsion bars.
From every angle, the 300C looks the way a big, confident American sedan should look. That grille kinda/sorta looks like the '57 300C's, the windshield isn't raked back like a rocket ship, and the greenhouse is squat over the car's big shoulders and 20-inch wheels. If the production version comes out this bold, it will be the best-looking Chrysler sedan since ... well, ever. The interior carries over the themes of the outside with a restrained use of wood trim and chrome rings around the vintage-looking instrumentation.
Chrysler's new rear-drive platform should produce a host of new vehicles including, if we're very lucky, a new Dodge Charger. Maybe the musclecar isn't dead after all.
T-Bird Es Muerto
@bc:Ford has announced that it will conclude production of the revived two-passenger Thunderbird after the 2005 or 2006 model year. The retro-styled, $35,000-plus T-Bird was supposed to sell in quantities of about 25,000 a year, but sales have been disappointing. During 2002, just 19,085 were sold, and through the first three months of 2003, just 4,065 had been put under buyers' butts.
The current T-Bird isn't a bad car. But as with the very first T-Birds back in 1955, Ford has discovered that there just isn't much of a market for a two-passenger luxury convertible. Now that it has relearned its lesson, will Ford, as it did in 1958 with great success, bring out a four-passenger T-Bird to succeed this two-seater?