A break for electronic aids
Bernie Vollmers opens the door of his barely 10-year-old Chrysler and steps over the blue-lit door sills. The memory function maneuvers not only the seat and steering wheel into their preset position, but also the pedals. He runs his fingers over the shift gate and starts the engine. Someone tips a few liters of super into the Hemi and the spark plugs cause seismic explosions in the concave combustion chambers. What’s now running impatiently in neutral sounds like a real American legend. Bernie buckles up, puts the car into drive and presses the button on the dashboard that turns off the stability programs. Other performance cars have it too, and just like in AMGs (which most people don’t know) the tiny helpers won’t be completely disconnected of course; but they give you a lot more freedom …
Muscle cars are dead – long live muscle cars!
When muscle cars died in the US, nobody there believed in long, comfortable and powerful sedans with plenty of space at a low price. And then came Chrysler. Eying AMG and BMW’s M Division, they took a car from their standard production series and added some serious beef. Street and Racing Technology Director Dan Knott had the 5.7-liter standard Hemi rebored to 6.1 liters and its compression increased. The block got one single central “sharp” cam for the 16 valves made of light metal. Half as many valves as usual but twice as many spark plugs. The reinforced crankshaft produced melodious 6,400 revolutions per minute. No electronically controlled valve opening times. And no clutch pedal. The 5-speed automatic transmission reworked by SRT provided reliable service, and when shifting gears at full throttle in the red speed range it gave off a meaty roar from the exhausts.
A little more of everything?
What lifted the factory-finished 300C SRT8 above all its popular competitors was its price. For 50,000 euros you’d get this fully equipped new car, a lowered tower of strength, providing smooth acceleration with its torque of 569 Nm, not restricting the top speed at 250 km/h like the Germans – but only at 265 km/h. In the land of speed limits these were only academic values, but those who had spent so much more money for German luxury were obviously extremely irritated. And this tank had a real mean look about it. Bernie treated himself to black headlights and fog lights with H7 Night Breaker Unlimited and Osram original H1 lamps – which you can only see if you turn them on, that is. If not, everything just looks black.
Bernie at the wheel beams like a little boy sitting in a bumper car for the first time. He plays around with physics as if Einstein’s postulates never existed. I notice the low-profile tires on the huge rims which know a story or two about the roads they have traveled on. Stepping on the accelerator, Bernie casually mentions that they’re 22-inch beauties (255/35). The over 5-meter-long sedan gives off a roar that would put many a racing car to shame. This car simply delivers more in all areas than its ship container design would suggest. Boy oh boy, Mr Knott, you’ve done some serious work there, haven’t you? Hard to believe.