: Chrysler 300M?



I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-07-11, 12:33 AM
I know some of your have had 300M's, or have had long term experience with them. What do you think of them? Are they a pretty cool car to own?

I'm not thinking of doing anything soon, but I've taken an interest in them recently. I'm NOT a Chrysler/Mopar guy at all, and I really don't like "cab forward styling", but I liked these when they came out in the summer of '98 (I remember being very excited the first time I saw one at a Chrysler display at a big fair around the 4th of July in '98) Seeing as how my dad had that '57 Chrysler Windsor when I was a child (the downmarket sister to the 300C), I've always liked the old 300's and when they resurrected the name in '99, I was very excited for it.

I was looking on YouTube last night at some 300M videos, and it was Motor Trend's "Car of The Year" for 1999, so that only adds to it's credibility. Apparently they were a very good handling car for it's size, but especially for a FWD setup. And they also had a very roomy, luxurious, beautiful interior, with very comfortable seats and all sorts of amenities.

The 3.5L SOHC V6 makes more horsepower than my Supercharged 3800 OHV V6 (250 v. 240), but the torque isn't quite the same (250 lb/ft v. 280 in the 3800). The 300M is quick, but not the tire-shredding torque monster like the supercharged 3.8....0-60 in the 300M is in the 7.5 second range, 6.7 second range for the GS. But the 300M has a nicer interior and probably drives better and more "solidly", while handling tighter.

The 300M's exterior isn't dated after 12 years, unlike all the other cab forward LH Chryslers. From some angles, in some lights, it very closely resembles the new Chrysler 200. I wonder if that isn't intentional on Chrysler's part...

Are they reliable cars, or a giant -hit-or-miss- like the 98-04 Seville? Do they really drive much smaller than they are? Are they really that great?


I need to get out and find one to drive.

Here's some pics of a decent '01 on ebay.
http://static.automanager.com/c/018757/e6811c9dddd54894aa9920d9340ad4d3/cbd04cae0a_640.jpg

http://static.automanager.com/c/018757/e6811c9dddd54894aa9920d9340ad4d3/073503b92d_640.jpg

orconn
04-07-11, 12:46 AM
I drove a Chrysler 300M back in 2000, at the time we had the '97 Regal GS with the sport suspension. I was looking for something to replace the Regal. My memory of the 300M was that it was subpar both in the way it drove and in the quality of the interior. I quickly crossed it off my list of possible purchases. Both the Lincoln LS V-6 and the Catera were far superior and if I remember correctly around the same price. I too had been attracted by the way the car looked, but was really disappointed in the car's quality.

ga_etc
04-07-11, 12:55 AM
Until a couple of months ago a friend's mom had one. They had it for quite a while. As far as I know it served them well until it developed an electrical gremlin that made her decide to trade it in.

And the interior in them is quite striking. I wonder about the trans in them though. It got a manual shift mode when that concept was still kinda new. I think it was standard in the 300M and Intrepid R/T, optional in the Eagle Vision TSi.

Playdrv4me
04-07-11, 01:01 AM
They are decent, but like all Chryslers from that era, reliability is very hit or miss and the interior has a LOT of big plastic pieces. It looks good, but doesn't feel substantial. The 3.5 is a good motor, but apparently they do have their share of HG failures. 2004 Special Edition 300Ms are the best ones to get.

Aron9000
04-07-11, 02:00 AM
My neighbor traded in her 2001 300M on a brand new Hyundia Sonota. Said that the 300 was giving her too many problems.

I personally think they are ugly, just like every other cab forward Chrysler, Dodge Intrepid, Eagle or whatever. The styling just screams 90's bloated jellybean to me, probably one of the worst automotive design fads ever.

They are very nice and roomy inside and have a huge trunk, but I can think of a bunch of other full size sedans from that era I'd rather own.

Playdrv4me
04-07-11, 02:03 AM
Hell, pretty soon 300Cs will drop enough to be a much better alternative to the 300M.

ga_etc
04-07-11, 02:16 AM
I liked the 300 Jim had as a rental at the meet. I could live with one of them.

Jesda
04-07-11, 02:25 AM
They're a joy to drive because they feel light on their feet. All of the LH cars fly around corners with the agility of much smaller cars, but refinement isn't up there with Cadillac, Lincoln, or Buick. The early to mid 90s LHS, Concorde, and Intrepid were fairly dependable, but the 300M suffered from bad head gaskets (not a Northstar nightmare to replace, since its a longitudinal V6), transmission problems, early interior wear, and electrical gremlins.

I picked one out for a friend a few years ago and its been nothing but trouble, requiring a new transmission and engine at 120k. His dashboard cracked (never seen a car do that since the early 90s) and the leather has split seams and rips all over. The Daimler acquisition ushered in an era of engineering and design shortcuts.

Its beautiful though, and if the resale value keeps dropping, I'd consider a 300M Special.

Playdrv4me
04-07-11, 03:24 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59HY7NjzIbU

Seeing that video, and everything you got in the 300m Special for 32k... I came to the startling realization that those may have been the bargain of those last few years. I certainly can't say with a straight face that the STS Luxury Performance honestly offered $20,000 more "goodness" even with as much as I like them. The interesting thing is that 2002-2004 M Specials now, sell for as much or more than the equivalent year STSs.

Jesda
04-07-11, 03:29 AM
0-60 in 7.2s is a little bit faster than the 98-01 Seville STS. The exhaust sounds really nice.

Aron9000
04-07-11, 04:13 AM
0-60 in 7.2s is a little bit faster than the 98-01 Seville STS. The exhaust sounds really nice.

Really? I thought those N* cars were quicker, like 0-60 in the mid six second range and a quarter mile time of 15 seconds flat or maybe 14.9@95mph.

Jesda
04-07-11, 05:57 AM
Really? I thought those N* cars were quicker, like 0-60 in the mid six second range and a quarter mile time of 15 seconds flat or maybe 14.9@95mph.

The lighter 93-97 Sevilles did 0-60 in just under 6.5. The weight gain in 1998 affected acceleration.

ryannel2003
04-07-11, 12:20 PM
http://www.youtube.com/user/cadillacseville00#p/a/u/1/cSFIYi_hux8

I've seen a few other Seville's that could do it in that time as well. I thought the SLS's did the 0-60 in the mid 7's?

slowstang305
04-07-11, 12:34 PM
Yes, I highly doubt their 0-60 times were below 7 seconds.

Bro-Ham
04-07-11, 12:49 PM
Chad, You are sure patient with your car fantasies. :) If I were in your position I'd focus on double payments on that Regal so you have the monthly payment albatross off your back and own one solid car outright. Then tightly manage your budget and save up $ in a fun car account to blow on the cool cars that come your way or that your dreams lead you to. :)

V-Eight
04-07-11, 01:35 PM
http://www.youtube.com/user/cadillacseville00#p/a/u/1/cSFIYi_hux8

I've seen a few other Seville's that could do it in that time as well. I thought the SLS's did the 0-60 in the mid 7's?

Not quite the same car, but the ETC did it in 6.7 or something like that, didn't it?

ryannel2003
04-07-11, 01:42 PM
I never saw any acceleration times for the ETC's, but I would imagine they would do it in a similar time.

Jesda
04-07-11, 02:05 PM
ETCs were faster because they continued to be built on the older, lighter platform.

ejguillot
04-07-11, 02:35 PM
The problem with the 300M (I owned it's predecessor, the Eagle Vision TSi, before my current STS) was the transmission: VERY fragile. In 12 years and 174K miles of ownership, the trans in my Vision was rebuilt twice. Also, the real reason the 300M Special only got a 5 HP bump over the standard 300M: the trans was at its absolute power handling limits. Read a story once about a prototype 300M with almost 300HP from the V6, and the trans didn't even last 20K miles.

Playdrv4me
04-07-11, 03:32 PM
Yea that's a really stupid Chrysler weakness. Never have figured out why they can't put together a transmission that isn't made of tissue paper.

Doesn't matter anyway, as much I like them, I remember now why they never beat out the Seville in my searches. Autotrader shows a grand total of 7 300M Specials under 5k in the entire country, and they are either beat to shit or have a bajillion miles. People really abuse those cars so the used market is worthless.

ejguillot
04-07-11, 04:40 PM
Yea that's a really stupid Chrysler weakness. Never have figured out why they can't put together a transmission that isn't made of tissue paper.

They knew how to once upon a time... Chrysler transmissions had a bulletproof reputation until the intro of the A604 FWD 4 speed in 1989. No surprise that the trans in the 300M is a direct descendant of that POS. They might as well be made of glass.

ted tcb
04-07-11, 10:42 PM
I had a 2004 Concorde Limited with the 3.5L motor.
Nice looking car, gold with taupe leather and 17" chrome rims.
It was a big, unrefined car with lousy build quality. Lots of hard plastics everywhere.

I traded it for a 2001 STS, and on my drive home, I couldn't get over difference in refinement and NVH levels.
Also, the STS used nicer interior materials ... which is really saying something, because the chirping armrest on
my STS' drove me nuts.

I may purchase another STS one day, but I would never consider buying another LH car. The ride quality was
just ok for a big car, lots of wind and road roar, and many cheap touches.
Didn't like the Infinity stereo, and the sunroof cover always required a bit of force to close the final few inches.
The chrome rims were simply chrome caps, whereas the STS had the real deal.
No feature programming or onboard diagnostics (just the Mopar "key dance").
Very limited function trip computer.
The leather was basic grade, and the switch gear basically came out of the Chrysler parts bin.
Those little things made the car feel entry level at best.

I may purchase another STS one day, but I'll never revisit an LH platform Chrysler product.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-08-11, 01:14 AM
After reading this thread, and all the negative reviews of the reliability and build quality, I've gotta say my interest in the 300M has weaned.

ga_etc
04-08-11, 04:00 AM
I never saw any acceleration times for the ETC's, but I would imagine they would do it in a similar time.


ETCs were faster because they continued to be built on the older, lighter platform.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr4M919eug4

Jesda
04-08-11, 04:26 AM
Damn

Jesda
04-08-11, 04:27 AM
After reading this thread, and all the negative reviews of the reliability and build quality, I've gotta say my interest in the 300M has weaned.

Seems like the best time to buy one was brand new as a cheap lease. Enjoy 3 years, hand it back, move on, and let the second owner deal with the transmission.

ejguillot
04-08-11, 10:41 AM
Pretty much. In defense of the LH cars:

The handling was very good for its size, in some ways better than an STS (being 400lbs lighter helps)
The Infinity stereo I had in my Vision was great, again better in some ways than the Bose in my STS (no front speaker rubbing problems) and at least as good overall.
The price point for my Vision when new was 1/2 that of a same year STS. Something has to give at 1/2 the price.

hueterm
04-08-11, 12:35 PM
Yeah, I have to disagree w/the haters. My Dad's '99 was one of the first ones in St. Louis. It has about 120K miles now, with pretty spotty maintenance. The only problem was the A/C compressor and the yellowing headlights. It has never been garaged, and the paint still looks as good as it did new. The drivers side outer bolster is cracked, and a couple of the speakers are buzzy, but all in all, it's been very reliable.

With normal driving, I wouldn't be afraid of one. Now, I wouldn't drag race one, like Austin posted w/his ETC -- but that's another matter...

ryannel2003
04-08-11, 04:00 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr4M919eug4

Jesus christ. I recorded a time of 6.2 the first time; definitely faster than I thought

JimmyH
04-08-11, 04:17 PM
300M is still the only chrysler that ever piqued my interest. I never rode in one, but my uncle had three Chyrsler LH. They rode nice. You could mash the throttle with no hands on the wheel, and it went mostly straight. Try that in another front driver. But they kept breaking. He finally gave up and bought a used Mustang. If that doesn't tell you how bad the Chryslers were, nothing will :lol:

http://www.cooleywire.com/jimmyh/pics/gif/nochrysler.gif

orconn
04-08-11, 05:39 PM
I liked a lot about the LH cars, Especially the Chrysler LHS. It is a shame that after putting Chrysler back on the map the cars were so problem prone that they couldn't help the crumbling of Chrysler!

JimmyH
04-08-11, 07:01 PM
LH=Last Hope. didn't work too well.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-08-11, 07:17 PM
hahahaha, good one Jimmy. Never thought of that one.

JimmyH
04-08-11, 07:25 PM
can't take credit, read that one in a car rag

billc83
04-08-11, 08:28 PM
Wasn't the LHS supposed to be Chrysler's flagship sedan at the time? The 300M/Intrepid/et al were FWD, but wasn't the LHS RWD?

I was quite infatuated with the cab forward design when I was younger. The Intrepid, especially, I thought looked very sleek. Never really wanted to own one, especially after reading some reliability ratings.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-08-11, 08:35 PM
No, the LHS was always FWD, but it was Chrysler's flagship. Chrysler sold a New Yorker off the LH platform from 1993-96 as well, and it looked almost identical to the LHS, except it had more chrome, different wheels, bench seats w/ column shifter, different seat pleating patters, softer suspension and a MSRP thousands lower than the LHS. It was the typical american full size luxury sedan, whereas the LHS was distinctly european.

orconn
04-08-11, 09:01 PM
No, the LHS was always FWD, but it was Chrysler's flagship. Chrysler sold a New Yorker off the LH platform from 1993-96 as well, and it looked almost identical to the LHS, except it had more chrome, different wheels, bench seats w/ column shifter, different seat pleating patters, softer suspension and a MSRP thousands lower than the LHS. It was the typical american full size luxury sedan, whereas the LHS was distinctly European.

The difference between the New Yorker and the LHS was vaguely similar to the difference between the SLS and STS. If you needed room the LHS was an interesting choice back in the late nineties. Unfortunately, my friends who bought them had poor lick with the cars reliability. One friend returned his to Chrysler under the California "Lemon Law" and ended up with a Mercury Grand Marquis. He had been an Olds 98 owner for the previous 20 years that I had known him.

Jesda
04-08-11, 09:15 PM
The LH platform was designed so that if market conditions changed, production could be fairly easily switched to rear-wheel drive without developing a whole new platform. They never did that, and instead developed a whole new LX platform in 1997. The LX cars were supposed to hit the market in 2002-2003, but the Daimler takeover forced the adoption of several Mercedes components, which required some modification and delayed the car's launch.

The first-generation LH cars were derived from Eagle Premier. Some parts in early Intrepids actually say AMC on them.

JimmyH
04-08-11, 09:34 PM
Olds 98 FTW!!!

http://www.cooleywire.com/jimmyh/pics/cars/mycars/79Regency.jpg

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-08-11, 09:35 PM
I saw one of those '79 Ninety Eight Coupes yesterday, it was a medium brown interior with the matching velour pillow top seats, and it had the Regency package.

JimmyH
04-08-11, 09:38 PM
Mine had genuine leather Burgundy seats. And the factory trailering package. Not many cars of that area had LSD. 3 speed automatic. Can you imagine? In today's world of 8 speeds :lol:

hueterm
04-08-11, 09:49 PM
My '70 GP is a 400/4bl/3spd. If you have to downshift into second when passing, then you're REALLY passing....

Playdrv4me
04-08-11, 10:06 PM
Oh dear.

ga_etc
04-09-11, 04:48 AM
My '70 GP is a 400/4bl/3spd. If you have to downshift into second when passing, then you're REALLY passing....

Passing EMPTY...

hueterm
04-09-11, 01:29 PM
Yeah, 8-10 MPG is about all you can expect in town.

JimmyH
04-09-11, 01:49 PM
9mpg is about what I got with the regency

ThumperPup
04-11-11, 12:19 PM
I drove a 300m for a few weeks rented it when i was in Nebraska visiting a friend on vacation i enjoyed it
but just not a car i would want to own reason why
every chrysler i or my folks have ever had
tranny has goen between 90-115k it has always start to slip and run out the door faster then my dog when she gets loose lol
i won't own another chrysler unless i pay small money for it and its just for joy like a convertible
or unless its brand new with one of Chryslers lifetime extended warrantys
My dad with the Minivans atleast 3 that i can remember my mom with the 2000 Seebring
me with a 94 lebaron 96 seebring each one had the tranny rebuild or gone bad and went to the junkyard sometime before it hit 115k
a few of them went around 85 or 90k i think
yeah not saying a car should last for ever bcause things go bad but for a problem that is so comon not a chance id get a 300m and own it unless i picked one up for a 1000 dollars

ltdltc
04-11-11, 02:48 PM
This is the only LH car I thought looked cool.

http://i.imgur.com/U6Q68.jpg

The Vision was pretty rare too, never saw many of them and they had a sleeker look then the other LH cars.

JimmyH
04-11-11, 03:14 PM
A guy here at work has a first gen Intrepid. It looks like it has been through hell. But I gotta tell you, it has held up very well for him. He has had to put money into it, but it's been little repairs here and there. Nickel and dime stuff. Nothing major ever. And on top of that, he bought it as a rebuild. It was totaled and repaired. It's hard to argue with the value he has gotten out of the car.

Stingroo
04-11-11, 05:17 PM
That Eagle car thing looks very trapped in the 1990s.

Also lol - it has Goodyear Eagles on it. I c wut dey did dere.

JimmyH
04-11-11, 05:20 PM
eagle talon TSi ftw

ejguillot
04-11-11, 05:23 PM
This is the only LH car I thought looked cool.

http://i.imgur.com/U6Q68.jpg

The Vision was pretty rare too, never saw many of them and they had a sleeker look then the other LH cars.

Mine was like that, only in the bright platinum metallic paint with gray leather interior. Very nice back in the mid 90's.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-11-11, 07:27 PM
Mine was like that, only in the bright platinum metallic paint with gray leather interior. Very nice back in the mid 90's.

The Visions...were those the most "european" of the LH cars? They look sleeker than an Intrepid, and were the better lookers IMO. What were their competitors? Mazda 929/Millenia? Maxima?


That Eagle car thing looks very trapped in the 1990s.

Also lol - it has Goodyear Eagles on it. I c wut dey did dere.

Every Eagle Vision had a copy of Hotel California sold with it and some had Don Henley's autograph on the hood.

orconn
04-11-11, 09:19 PM
I remember the Eagle Vision, and I guess some of the Jr LH cars, coming in a kind of iridescent paint that kind of looked like eel skin and changed color as the sun reflected differently on it. Later Thunderbirds could be bought with the same kind of eel skin paint.

Actually I bought my Alfa Romeo 164S as a result of my curiosity about the new Chrysler LH cars. I had reached the end of my endurance with putting up with the Audi 5000S's expensive failures and my son and I were out looking for a new car to replace the Audi. We had been looking at several candidates, when I said, " lets drop by the Chrysler dealership and check out an LHS." The prime criteria that this new car had to pas was whether it would hold two upright English saddles without causing them to be compressed and leaving sufficient room for additional tack. At the time some Chrysler dealers were also Alfa dealers, and as luck would have it, there was a bright red Alfa Romeo 164S sedan sitting off in the corner of the showroom. The Chrysler LHS failed the saddle test, so I told the salesman to open the trunk on the Alfa. Like Cinderella's slipper, the saddles fit just fine! As it turned out this particular car was a leftover from '92 and it had a ZF automatic transmission (one of the best kept secrets was how great this trans was). The car had a sticker price of $33,000., as the agency had long before satisfied the demand for Alfa Romeos in central coastal California they really wanted to get rid of this car (which had been in inventory for a year and a half) and they could see they had a "real" potential buyer! They offered to sell me the car for $19,900. plus tax. I was well aware of Alfa's reputation for repairs, but as part of the Chrysler association the car came with a 48 month bumper to bumper warranty (this was first of its' type in the U.S. market, several years before Cadillac offered a 48 month warranty). I loved the way the 164 looked and had always loved the way Alfas drove and since I had an Alfa (only) dealer in Beverly Hills, nearby, I decided to take the chance. Best car decision I ever made, the Alfa 164S turned out to be the most reliable car I have ever owned and without a doubt the best "all around" car I have driven. I owned the car for ten years and only got rid of it after I moved to Virginia because qualified service on the Alfa was sketchy at best. Just another example of automotive serendipity that payed off in years of enjoyment!

gdwriter
04-11-11, 09:25 PM
3 speed automatic. Can you imagine? In today's world of 8 speeds :lol:Betty's Powerglide was two whole speeds. One shift at 15-20 MPH, and you were done.


My '70 GP is a 400/4bl/3spd. If you have to downshift into second when passing, then you're REALLY passing....I'm not sure if I ever managed to get Betty to kick down into passing gear, but I do remember doing it with my '64 Impala in high school. Had I not been wearing my seatbelt, I'm certain I would have been flung into the back seat. And that was with just a 283/2bl.


Yeah, 8-10 MPG is about all you can expect in town.Putting in the THM700R4 dropped highway RPMs by 800-1,000. Still getting only 11-12 MPG in town, but on my trip to Seattle last month, I got 16 MPG on the highway.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-12-11, 12:48 AM
I really need to find an Alfa Romeo 164 brochure. That would be a neat addition to my collection.

Stingroo
04-12-11, 12:49 AM
I have a friend who owns one of those. He LOVES it. It's his obsession sort of like the wagon is mine.

orconn
04-12-11, 01:09 AM
I have a friend who owns one of those. He LOVES it. It's his obsession sort of like the wagon is mine.

His obsession is entirely understandable, which is why I listed an Alfa 164 as my first choice for my time machine dealership order!

Stingroo
04-12-11, 01:18 AM
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/41089_103200429739652_100001490862364_23956_259918 6_n.jpg

That's his. I have to admit, even I really like that car. His is undergoing extensive modifications right now.

Jesda
04-12-11, 03:13 AM
The Alfa reminds me of the Saab 9000, but more awesome and less dorky.

http://www.automobile.com/images/stock-photos/lifestyle_gallery/hash/2/b/4/5ab6945f73c7bc506c5374b639ae41a06415f4b2.jpg

If you can look past the hard cheap plastics and the ugly steering wheel, the interior of the Vision was smartly and cleanly laid out.

drewsdeville
04-12-11, 03:22 AM
I think the steering wheel doesn't look too bad for the '90's. A lot of manufacturers had a hard time making aesthetically pleasing steering wheels as air bags became standard.

Look at what Cadillac had:

http://images.autocatch.com/1800731014ac08dbd01269-640x480.jpg

Jesda
04-12-11, 03:41 AM
My 92 Seville had what I call "the bread loaf"

Aron9000
04-12-11, 03:41 AM
Mercedes Benz had pretty cool looking airbag wheels when they first came out. I kind of like how they're "bus sized" as well.

http://germancarsforsaleblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/0031.jpg

Rodya234
04-12-11, 05:12 AM
My 92 Seville had what I call "the bread loaf"

Gotta love the loaf :yup:
http://carimages1.everycarlisted.com/images/cadillac-deville-wabasha-mn_32777_A2073A_6.jpg

DouglasJRizzo
04-12-11, 07:42 AM
A friends has a Dodge Intrepid. about 250k on it and it held together quite well. it doesn't have the substantial "feel" to it that a Ford or GM would have but it help up ok.