Over the years, Chrysler and its sister companies have come up with some pretty unique cars. Ranging from luxurious to retro, classic to sporty, the brand has been involved in producing a seriously diverse set of vehicles.
The Chrysler brand that you know today has a long American history of trying new things and pushing the boundaries of automotive making, and sometimes the results have been pretty crazy.
And along the way, there have definitely been those rare, distinct models that flew below the radar. This is a look back at a few of the one-of-a-kind Chryslers that you’ve probably never heard of.
Chrysler 300 SRT
The 300 is Chrysler’s flagship. It’s their lineup’s swankiest, most dressed up model, and it’s been promoted by the likes of hip hop star Dr. Dre, rock legend Iggy Pop, and famous designer John Varvatos. Obama even owned a 300C when he was a senator in Illinois.
Typically when the 300 comes to mind, people think of a plush ride, lavish interior, and top-of-the-line amenities. It’s the kind of car you’d like to roll up to a red carpet in.
But did you know that for the past several years, a high-powered SRT version packing 470 ponies has also been in production? Didn’t think so.
With its 6.4-liter HEMI V8, the Chrysler 300 SRT is a rare and impressive animal that’s unlike any other luxury sedan on the market. If you’re shopping around for a used Chrysler 300, this is the model to track down.
It can hit 60 miles per hour in under five seconds, and it has a top speed of 175 mph. But it also offers totally precise handling thanks to features like its standard Launch Control and available adaptive damping suspension.
Inside fully decked out models, you’ll find high quality Laguna leather upholstery with exclusive SRT badging, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel also wearing the SRT name.
Reengineered to deliver awesome power without relinquishing any of its high end design, this Chrysler will blow your mind. Who thought luxury could be so thrilling?
Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo
Okay, so a typical PT Cruiser isn’t hard to recognize. Its totally unique styling, upright seating, and unbelievable cargo capacity have created a soft spot for it in the hearts of Americans. And many were truly sad to see the model retire.
But one thing the PT was not widely known for was having a ton of punch. It provided a smooth, well-powered ride, but consumers expressed they were looking for more zest.
So in 2003, Chrysler came out with the turbocharged GT model. With over 50 added horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque, the PT Turbo found itself a new audience.
Chrysler also invested in a number of other nice upgrades including 17-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, a tuned suspension, and upscale interior accents.
The turbo version was a hit with existing fans, and it also drew in a new crowd of people that were pleased by the seemingly sedate model’s surprisingly peppy ride.
This sharp looking rear-wheel drive sports car first emerged at an auto show in 2001 and entered production in 2004.
When Chrysler originally brought the Crossfire onto showroom floors, it was only offered in its coupe form. But the following year, a roadster variation was also introduced.
The model was named for the character lines on its side, which, when paired with the fastback design of the coupe, gave off a particularly retro vibe.
Much of the Crossfire was actually taken from existing Mercedes models. The platform was borrowed from the R170, and the engine was a Mercedes Benz 3.2-liter SOHC V6 engine that delivered 215 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque.
Drivers were impressed by the car’s quick acceleration and impressive top speeds, even in base model versions.
But it was the SRT-6 models that truly left people with their jaws hanging. The Crossfire SRT-6 was fitted with a supercharged engine that produced 330 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.
There were also other mods that were specific to the sporty trim level including specialized suspension and brakes, a rear spoiler, and a font fascia air dam.
Only a few thousand of the SRT-6s were sold, making them unique finds now. Who knows? Maybe someday this distinct Chrysler will become a classic.
In the meantime, you can find used models at low prices, and if you pick one up, you’ll definitely be in for a really entertaining ride. Not to mention that you’ll certainly turn a few heads.
Originally sold under the Plymouth name, the Chrysler Prowler was an outrageously retro hot rod produced in the late ’90s and early 2000s.
As the story goes, Chrysler’s engineers were allowed to create a sportster in any form they wanted, and the Prowler was the result of their wild creativity. What they came up with was a total throw back that made drivers feel like they had been transported back in time.
The roadster’s transmission was located in the rear and linked to the engine via a flexible driveshaft, a setup that’s been used in Corvettes and Porsches. The internal layout helped to make the rear-wheel drive Prowler well-balanced.
Much of the Prowler’s body was constructed with aluminum to help reduce weight and keep the car agile.
When the two-door roadster originally hit the scene in 1997, it could accelerate from 0-60 in 7.2 seconds. But when the Prowler was reintroduced in 1999, it had been reworked to increase its speed and was able to shoot to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds.
On an interesting side-note, a Prowler from 1998 was sealed in a mausoleum in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a sort of time capsule.
The carefully preserved car will be removed and returned to Chrysler in the year 2048. It’s hard to imagine what people will make of it by then.
The Conquest is a bit of an odd case because it was marketed under so many different names. It was first manufactured and sold by Mitsubishi, and the model was called the Starion.
Mitsu kept the Starion as part of their lineup from 1982 to 1991. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi also partnered with Chrysler to sell renamed versions of the model in North America.
The Starion went on to be marketed with different badges from Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth. And the Chrysler version was known as the Conquest.
The Conquest was really a turbocharged Japanese sports car. And it was actually one of the first modern turbocharged performance cars to come out of Japan with electronic fuel injection.
The two-door rear-wheel drive Conquest could seat four and was set up as a hatchback. Two body styles were offered off and on throughout the car’s tenure.
There were narrowbody and widebody versions, and the widebodied ones were actually broken down further into two different variations.
One used the narrow body, had less horsepower, and was non-intercooled. But the high-performance intercooled widebodies were really the ones to look out for.
The Conquest came with some big perks, like a limited slip differential and antilock brakes, as part of the standard package.
Over time, as the Conquest’s design and mechanics became more refined, its popularity as one of the best, most affordable sports cars grew. Car and Driver even called the Starion a “whale of a good time.”