End of a roaring V8 era as the last Chrysler 300C rolls off the line

Published Dec 12, 2023


It’s the end of an era for Chrysler’s large rear wheel drive sedan lineage with news that the last 300C has rolled off the assembly line in Brampton, Ontario.

While an earlier series of 300 models were sold in the 1950s and ‘60s, most people will know the modern line-up that was first introduced in 2004 and redesigned in 2012.

The revival of Chrysler’s rear-wheel drive sedan lineage, which also spawned the Dodge Magnum wagon and Charger sedan, was made possible by the brand’s merger with Mercedes to form Daimler Chrysler in the late 1990s.

Effectively the reincarnated Chrysler 300 models used many components from the Mercedes E-Class of the time and even a few from the S-Class.

The 300C was introduced to South Africa in 2005, with a 3.5-litre V6 model priced at R350,000 and a 5.7 V8 Hemi retailing at R430,000. The second-generation of Chrysler’s big sedan, which had a more conventional design, also made its way to Mzansi but quietly departed when the Chrysler brand was discontinued locally in 2017.

The 2004 Chrysler 300C was a head-turner in its day, with its squared off shape and swanky front end inspired by the Chrysler Chronos concept car of 1998. The production model was designed by Ralph Gilles and it replaced the front-wheel drive Chrysler 300M.

Interestingly, following Chrysler’s merger with Fiat to form FCA, the 300C also spawned a new Lancia Thema, in what was nothing more than an embarrassing rebadge. Although the Sebring-based Lancia Flavia was probably the biggest embarrassment of them all and no doubt proved the final nail in the coffin of the storied Italian brand that modern day owner Stellantis is still trying to revive.

But enough about Italian cars. The Chrysler 300C, though also offered with V6 powertrains, remained primarily a Hemi V8 powered brute throughout its 19 year life cycle.

The final version of the 300C used one of the most potent normally aspirated variations of the somewhat iconic pushrod V8 engine, producing 362kW and 644Nm.

The 2023 model year 6.4-litre Hemi sedan, introduced as something of a ‘final edition’ in 2022, could run from zero to 60mph (96km/h) in 4.3 seconds and flatten the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds. The final model can be told apart by its black honeycomb grille with tri-colour 300C badging as well as red four-piston Brembo brakes and Laguna black leather interior with 300C logos.

Alas, the 300C is not quite the last Chrysler product to offer a V8 engine. The Dodge Challenger muscle coupe is still technically for sale in the US, albeit also on its deathbed following the 2023 model year.

It is also going out with a bang, as the final “Last Call” supercharged SRT8 model thrashes out an insane 764kW.

“Chrysler brand is proud to mark the legacy of the Chrysler 300C as a true automotive icon, one of the original muscle cars representing bold American luxury,” said Chris Feuell, Chrysler brand chief executive officer.

“As we celebrate the last HEMI-powered 300C off the line with our Brampton team members, we’re also excited to work together as Chrysler brand moves forward to a sustainable all-electric future as part of the Stellantis Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan.”

IOL Motoring