Adventures in Freedom: The Chrysler 300 Hemi C
9 January 2000Return of the All-American V-8, Rear-Wheel Drive Luxury Performance Convertible
DETROIT -- DaimlerChrysler today unveiled the Chrysler 300 Hemi(R) C, a four-passenger V-8 rear-wheel drive convertible, at the 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The quintessential Chrysler, this concept combines contemporary design, elegance, luxury and legendary Hemi-power. "This vehicle explores a direction we might take if we were to return to an all-American V-8, rear-wheel drive luxury performance car such as the famed '57 Chrysler 300 C convertible," said Tom Gale, Executive Vice President - Product Development and Design. "The epitome of motoring elegance and affordable luxury, the Chrysler 300 Hemi C concept adds the heritage only this company can offer: a powerful V-8 Hemi engine." The prototype all-aluminum 353 cubic inch (5.7-liter) pushrod V-8 engine features hemispherical combustion chambers and two spark plugs per cylinder. Its estimated power of 353 horsepower and 353 lb.-ft. of torque is delivered to the rear wheels via a robust four-speed automatic transmission. The powerful V-8 Hemi engine has improved fuel efficiency and emissions through seamless automatic deactivation of four of the eight cylinders during highway driving and deceleration. A hydraulically shifted lost-motion feature deactivates the valves while the motor management system interrupts ignition and fuel supply to those cylinders. The system maintains full engine performance for acceleration and overtaking. The concept's independent suspension has modified MacPherson struts in front and an aluminum five-link coil-over-shock rear set-up. For increased body stiffness and crisp ride and handling characteristics, a unique structural door latch design is being developed for the Hemi C concept. Fourteen-inch ventilated front and rear disc brakes with four-piston calipers, 19-inch front wheels and tires and 20-inch rear wheels and tires amply live up to the Chrysler 300 Hemi C's estimated performance. Reflecting its Hemi heritage, the vehicle will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and clock a top speed of 160 mph. In a thoroughly modern way, the Chrysler 300 Hemi C design pays homage to the legendary '57 300 C. Terrific proportions, a monocoque profile with pronounced wheel flares and a seemingly endless hood are some of its design characteristics. Said Joe Dehner, Senior Design Manager and responsible for the exterior design: "It is as if we stretched the body around the V-8 Hemi engine. The concept's rear-wheel drive set-up allowed for a minimal front overhang, while the front fender air exhaust ports and the centrally placed chrome twin exhaust pipes signal its performance. And similar to the world's best-selling convertible, the Chrysler Sebring, this concept is a true four-seat convertible." Elegance and affordable luxury are reflected by the concept's clean, sleek and athletic lines. The sculpted hood focuses attention on the high-placed Chrysler winged badge and enlarged 300M-style chrome grille. A center peakline runs from the front to the rear and works with the raked chrome bodyside moldings to give the Chrysler 300 Hemi C its chiseled appearance. Dehner's loving attention to detail is shown in the front and rear light units that provide a visual link to the 300M, the sculpted chrome door handles and the center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) wrapped around the Chrysler winged badge. The Chrysler 300 Hemi C interior is in harmony with its refined exterior. Mimicking the chrome bodyside molding, a wedged California walnut molding links the instrument panel to the hard-cover tonneau with integrated automatic roll-over bar. An understated monochromatic taupe-based color palette and purposeful use of chrome enhances the elegant atmosphere in the concept car. Adjustable pedals guarantee a comfortable seating position for short and tall drivers. "The design and execution of this interior emphasize craftsmanship," said Lance Wagner, Senior Design Manager and responsible for the Chrysler 300 Hemi C interior. "That is apparent in the California walnut application on the steering wheel, the chrome details, the leather-tailored seats, the one-touch power top and tonneau cover and the location and fabrication of the Chrysler winged badges, the ignition in the instrument panel and the gated gear shift." The concept comes equipped with a driver "Infotronic" system. This unique feature includes a global positioning system, a trunk-mounted "plug-and-play" laptop computer, Internet access for real-time weather and traffic information and e-mail. A fingerprint scanner hooked up to a tiny camera provides added security, important in any vehicle and especially in a soft top convertible. The vehicle will not function if the driver's fingerprint and picture don't match the system's information. The Infotronic system is directed by voice commands or through its liquid crystal display in the instrument panel. Voice commands also control the vehicle's audio, climate control, diagnostics, phone and security systems and the driver's home security system. "The straight-line power of the '50s and '60s has been replaced by a balance of crisp handling and sophisticated performance," said Gale. "Yet the Chrysler 300 Hemi C still reflects the same philosophy and pedigree of those early letter series cars." The Chrysler 300 Hemi C concept is custom painted with a Frosted Mocha Pearlcoat finish and rolls on custom Goodyear tires.