Rare Rides Icons: In Memoriam, The Chrysler LX Platform (Part III)

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Thus acold successful our Chrysler LX level coverage, we’ve discussed 2 designs that ne'er made it past the moving conception stage. The archetypal of those was the Airflite, a Crossfire-styled hardtop hatchback, portion the 2nd was the larger Nassau which was besides a hardtop hatchback. Neither of them had pillars, and some focused connected the future of car design. 

Journalists made incorrect predictions astatine the debut of some concepts and stated that the Airflite (in 2003) previewed the upcoming 300’s styling, portion the Nassau (in 2007) was a sneak peek astatine a caller styling absorption for the 2008-ish revamp of the then-current 300. While those assumptions were wrong, a never-debuted Nassau plan from 2000 was the existent genesis of the 300’s styling. And it appeared connected the caller LX level successful 2005. 

The LX was derived from the deceased front-drive LH platform, which arsenic we cognize was benchmarked to the AMC-generated and Renault-derived Eagle Premier. Chrysler aimed for merchandise differentiation with its caller platform, and immoderate wrong the institution knew that portion its erstwhile front-drive LH cars were successful, each mainstream shaper offered that benignant of merchandise arsenic well. 

Chrysler recovered successful its probe that the consumer’s content of a rear-drive car was astir ever associated with a higher price. Product improvement realized it could marque much nett connected each car and get the differentiation it desired with a rear-drive platform. It was not arsenic casual to person Chrysler’s engineers of the determination to rear-drive, arsenic they preferred to marque a caller mentation of the front-drive LH. 

In the precocious Nineties Chrysler began specified a development: a revised instrumentality connected the LH to transportation Chrysler done the mediate and second portion of the 2000s. However, the institution reached the extremity of its independency days astatine the time, arsenic successful 1998 it merged with Daimler-Benz AG and became Daimler-Chrysler AG. Shortly aft the merger, absorption decided to telephone the LH a time and driblet further development. 

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For its part, the LH level was designed truthful it could easy swap betwixt front- and rear-drive. In the end, the persuasive merchandise radical (and Daimler with its execution of LH development) came to an knowing with the engineers connected a rear-drive platform. Though it was successful mentation a merger of equals, the absorption astatine Daimler stated it was besides important to prevention wealth and to usage things Mercedes-Benz had already engineered. 

As mentioned above, what happened, successful the end, was a derivative of the LH platform. LH was reworked to beryllium rear-wheel thrust and utilized a beforehand suspension that Chrysler developed “itself” (see below) portion its rear suspension was from a modern Mercedes E-Class (W210, 1995-2003). Mercedes besides provided a 5G-Tronic five-speed automatic, which was a caller diagnostic of the E-Class successful 1997.

However, determination is not agreement betwixt sources astir conscionable however overmuch parts sharing determination was betwixt Mercedes and Chrysler connected the LX. While Chrysler claims to person developed the front-end suspension itself, different sources suggest the treble wishbone setup was derived from the S-Class (W220, 1999-2005). Further, it’s besides suggested the little power arms successful the LX suspension were taken from AMG’s E55, and are interchangeable betwixt the 2 cars. All-wheel thrust examples of the 300 utilized the Mercedes 4MATIC strategy from the E-Class and its transportation case.

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Other assertions of Mercedes parts usage see the driveshaft, differentials, the ABS system, compartment electrics, motor modules, and the steering. It doesn’t extremity there, arsenic the 300 featured the cruise power stalk from the E-Class, arsenic good arsenic spot power buttons, HVAC internals, and its wiring harness. Again, accusation varies depending connected who’s answering the questions.

Less up for treatment were the platform’s caller dimensions. The translation of the LH level into LX brought with it an summation successful wheelbase. The 300M of 2004 utilized a 113-inch wheelbase, a afloat 7 inches shorter than the 120-inch wheelbase of the consequent 300. 

Despite the longer wheelbase and however the cars looked connected the outside, the 300M and 300 were the nonstop aforesaid length: 197.8 inches. Width shrunk by .3 inches, from 74.4” to 74.1” with the determination to the LX platform. The wide tallness of the caller 300 was 58.4 inches, a leap of 2.4 inches from an LH 300M. Chrysler made the LX cars taller to springiness them a much distinctive shape.

Said distinctive signifier was a referential one, arsenic penned archetypal by Tom Gale and past finalized by Ralph Gilles and Freeman Thomas. Thomas was caller to Chrysler from Volkswagen and was appointed VP of Daimler-Chrysler’s Advanced Product Design Strategy. Gale retired earlier the Nassau conception made the determination toward accumulation arsenic the 300. 

The caller 300 was penned arsenic a modern mentation of the classical C-300 of 1955. The Imperial-adjacent 300 was besides designed by Virgil Exner and shared akin looks to the autarkic and upscale Imperial. Rather than recognition the unreleased Nassau plan of 2000, Chrysler made a notation to the Chrysler Chronos of 1998 (above). We’ll permission it up to you to determine which is person successful looks to the accumulation car. 

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The 300’s bold styling was led by its ample ovum crate grille astatine a clip erstwhile the oversized grille was conscionable arriving to its modern usage. With Chrysler’s golden ribbon logo sporting ample wings, the 300’s look appeared astir vertical. Large headlamps were rounded connected the extracurricular and crisp connected the wrong and recessed somewhat from the grille. 

The sedan had a ample one-piece beforehand clip that included the bumper cover, little valance, and grille. Upper trims (SRT8 shown) had ample fog lamps astride immoderate aerial inlets successful the little valance, and headlamp sprayers acceptable into bumper-like trim underneath the headlamps.

Elsewhere, the 300 was strong, solid, and blocky looking. The ample hood was astir level prevention for a insignificant powerfulness bulge and curved down to conscionable the headlamps. Fenders besides wrapped astir the headlamps and past headed toward the rear. The 300’s quality enactment was interrupted by precise beardown beforehand instrumentality arches but was different astir horizontal.

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The broadside illustration of the 300 had a minimal magnitude of decoration, isolated from its doorway hitch portion and a trim sanction badge astatine the beforehand fender. Upright and formal, the 300 besides looked hunkered down and sporty. Chrysler succeeded successful its notation to the Fifties “gentleman’s musculus car” that was the 300.

The rear extremity sported a precocious deck, and a elemental and squared-off trunk lid. It had a beardown quality enactment astatine its little 4th that was akin successful effect to the broadside quality line. The trunk besides sported a ample Chrysler logo and a trim designation badge connected occasion. Below, determination was a precise elemental bumper with minimal trim oregon decoration, conscionable cut-outs for the exhausts and a spot for the licence plate. 

A handsome-looking car for the 2000s, and surely much appealing than astir (or all) of the alternatively mushy-looking second-generation LH cars. It besides succeeded successful looking antithetic from astir thing connected the roadworthy astatine the time. Next clip we’ll person a look astatine the interior accommodation of the 300, and speech astir trim and mechanical details.

[Images: Chrysler]

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