That Riviera Touch

Flushed with the spoils of acquisition, Chrysler made bullish noises about their Bolognese connection in 1987 with this prescient concept.

1987 Chrysler Portofino Concept. Image: promotor.ro

Thirty years ago to the month, the Chrysler Motor Corporation (as was) purchased Italian supercar manufacturer, Nouva Automobili F. Lamborghini. Acquisitions by US automakers were in full swing by the late 1980’s, with GM having taken control of Group Lotus the previous year in addition to Chrysler’s 15.6% stake in Allessandro de Tomaso’s Maserati business. At the 1987 Frankfurt motor show, the Pentastar proudly displayed this, the Portofino concept. Continue reading “That Riviera Touch”

Slowly Spun Cerulean and Azure in the Rays

Another bang from the past, this: the much-lauded but penultimately and then ultimately rather awful Chrysler Stratus

Tom Gale thought this car the bee´s legs.

Whenever I get a chance I take random bike rides or walks around Basel. For many Anglo-Saxons it’s an unknown city, perhaps one that causes confusion as it reminds them of silly toff first names or green leafed herbs used in pesto. Perhaps it suggests a certain degree of Mittel-European obscurity. To some Switzerland is a bit obscure and Basel is a part of that, making it extra exotic. Continue reading “Slowly Spun Cerulean and Azure in the Rays”

World Cars 1984 (3): Chrysler Executive and Cadillac Cimarron

In the third of a short series, I will remind readers  of what was on sale in 1984, courtesy of the much missed “World Car Guide”.

1984 Chrysler Executive: source
1984 Chrysler Executive: source

In this little delve into the World Car Guide I’ll take two attempts to dress mutton up as something finer. The Chrysler Executive and Cadillac Cimarron saw two companies desperately or cynically trying to pass off low-end platforms as much finer vehicles. The Cimarron is famously awful and there might still be a retired executive alive who looks into the mirror every day and sees the face of the man who signed off Cadillac’s least good car. Continue reading “World Cars 1984 (3): Chrysler Executive and Cadillac Cimarron”

Over the Transom: The Last Gasp of the Shutlines Theme

The Chrysler 300M front end needed serious revision. As it stood it was crudely executed. This diagram shows an alternative schematic break up of the front wing, headlamp and bumper.

It´s schematic. The actual refinement of this would take some considerable time.
It’s schematic. The actual refinement of this would take some considerable time.

In essence, the graphics asked questions the engineering department could not deal with and the actual solution defeated the graphics. It is tempting to say the graphics were not really feasible. Continue reading “Over the Transom: The Last Gasp of the Shutlines Theme”

Unforgetting: 2003-2007 Chrysler Crossfire

One of these cars flashed past me today, prompting this small item. Now that I come to think of it, there was one parked on my road a few years back. It was the Chrysler Crossfire (2003-2007).

2003 Chrysler Crossfire. In 2003 it cost £1000 more than the faster Nissan 350Z: yakmee.com
2003 Chrysler Crossfire. In 2003 it cost £1000 more than the faster Nissan 350Z: yakmee.com

We all have small car moments, don´t we?  For reasons unclear, our synapses fizz and fuse a little harder when we see a car and forever more the image, time, feeling and moment are irremovably etched on our memories. It´s a wholly random process, note. Some of my car moments involve worthless heaps of mediocrity. The Chrysler Crossfire is taking up some of my limited and diminishing RAM with a set of memories related to seeing one parked in a shopping centre somewhere in Mainz. I was with a friend who was working in the car industry. Seeing a Crossfire in the metal offered a chance to talk shop.  We had both been reading about the Crossfire which had generated a considerable buzz. There it was, on a stand and we both peered closely at the point on the bodywork where the feature lines cross-over. The surface didn´t look right. I winced. If you recall, the name of the car was supposed to Continue reading “Unforgetting: 2003-2007 Chrysler Crossfire”

Unforgetting: 2007 Dodge Caliber

Or Calibre, if you are writing using British English. I only remembered this one because I saw an example other day. I didn´t know what it was so I thought it must be one of those Chrysler things. Or Dodge things. Or maybe a Plymouth. Whatever.

2007 Dodge Calibre interior. Image: Edmunds.com
2007 Dodge Calibre interior. Image: Edmunds.com

There was a time when American car interiors were cherishably bad. They might have been a bit careless but they had a humour and brio to them. The Calibre´s is simply bad and dispiriting but is a great example of when simple (good) becomes banal (not good). All the great simple designs have a twist or an inflection or a grace note. This set of straight lines (above) is Continue reading “Unforgetting: 2007 Dodge Caliber”

Something Rotten in Denmark: 1998 Chrysler Stratus

The Chrysler Stratus: all the bad qualities of American cars, Japanese cars and European cars rolled into one unappetising shape. In 1995 these cars had the power to thrill.

How to sell a car´s charms
How to sell a car´s charms

This car has two claims to our attention today. The first is that in the cold light of day, it is hard to believe this car and its almost identical stable-mates were nominated on Car & Driver´s 10 best list. I wasn´t aware of this at the time. The second reason I´m drawn to it is because it was the first car I was ever paid to review**.  I wrote 1000 words and saw the editor chop out 200 of them, more or less killing the nuances of the text stone dead. I wanted to write a Continue reading “Something Rotten in Denmark: 1998 Chrysler Stratus”

Something Rotten in Denmark: 1991 Chrysler LeBaron 3.0 V6

After a bit of a dry spell, Something Rotten in Denmark has this rather over-valued money pit to present, a 1991 Chrysler LeBaron 3.0 V6.

1991 Chrysler LeBaron 3.0 V6
Rust: 1991 Chrysler LeBaron 3.0 V6

Much like the Rover 620 from last week we are shown a photo of the dark side of the car. You can make out the brightwork and the general top heaviness of the car but there are other things not so visible. For example Continue reading “Something Rotten in Denmark: 1991 Chrysler LeBaron 3.0 V6”