Review: A week with a Chrysler 300C

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

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AS an exemplar of taste and sophistication, Rover’s P-Series cars had few peers. Consider the P4 – smooth and sophisticated with a driving experience that yelled class, it’s a classic that still stacks up today. The same very much holds true with the P6 – and in V8 form, it’s quick enough to give fright to aggressively driven turbodiesels even today. But out of the lot, the one that still carries the most resonance with car enthusiasts is the P5. Powered by V8. In chop-top Coupe form…

Because Rover ended up climbing into bed with Jaguar following the formation of BLMC in 1968, it was never again allowed to build such a caddish range-topper. The XJ-Series Jaguar became BMLC’s flagship, leaving Rover to slot in beneath the Browns Lane company; and poor old Triumph squeezed out of existence entirely. However, the sad fact remains that in automotive pecking order, Rover sat higher than young upstart Jaguar for many years.

Thoughts of the P5B were brought to the fore following a drive of the recently facelifted Chrsyler 300C. It’s a car that many pundits (myself included) likened to the old school Rover, mainly because of the imposing styling and chrome-laden front end. And following a quick look around, it’s an easy comparison to make.

Could you imagine Margaret Thatcher alighting a 300C and striding purposefully into Number 10? Of course not. With the 300C, she’s more likely to be stuffed in the boot…

However, spend a little time with the 300C, and those Rover-Chrysler comparisons are soon thrown out of the window. Firstly, whereas the Rover oozes class and good taste, the American car has a brooding malevolance that strikes fear into the hearts of other motorists – are there guns in the boot, or aren’t there? It’s a 50/50 chance. Secondly, the Rover’s build quality was magnificent – with the highest quality wood and leather creating an exotically fragranced interior that was good enough for heads of state – and their hard worked Prime Ministers. The 300C, on the other hand, is laced with essence of sandwich box…

But the main comparison is disposed of with one simple question – could you imagine Margaret Thatcher alighting a 300C and striding purposefully into Number 10? Of course not. With the 300C, she’s more likely to be stuffed in the boot…

Nope, as good as the 300C looks, it’s no P5B.

In fact the nearest I think you could get to that in a 21st century car is the much-missed Rover 75 V8. And even that wasn’t screwed together nearly well enough. Truth be told – there probably will never be another P5B, and rightly so…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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