Snap up some modern American muscle in the form of the Chrysler 300C, while you can afford to run it...
I know what you’re thinking: the Chrysler 300C is already a big thing, and a somewhat preposterous and ungainly one, too. True, it’s not the ideal car for tackling a trackday at Croft or a record-breaking run up the Futa Pass, but with oil prices plummeting, pump prices dropping and the government’s admission that promoting ‘low emission’ diesels was a mistake, has there ever been a better time to splurge on a shameless, gas-guzzling muscle car?
Well, probably. But if you believe in the old American adage that ‘you can’t beat cubes’, you probably won’t need much persuading that there really ought to be a Hemi-engined 300C on your drive, even if it is only there so you can annoy your neighbours by doing rolling burnouts every time you leave the house.
While ‘cooking’ V6 petrol- and diesel-powered 300Cs look absurdly out of place on UK roads, the Hemi versions at least have the punch to match their trans-Atlantic appearance.
In 5.7-litre form you get 340bhp, a 0-60mph time below seven seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. If that’s not enough, you can opt for the more rare SRT8 with 6.1 litres, 425bhp, 0-60mph in 4.9sec and a terminal velocity of 168mph. It’s a machine that’s sniffing around the territory of BMW M-cars and Audi RS models, only at a fraction of the price. And, admittedly, with a fraction of the handling and finish.
Now, we’re not suggesting that a Hemi-engined 300C actually has huge potential as an investment, but with these specifications and the model’s relative rarity in the UK, it’s surely set to become one of those cars that many of us wished we had bought when we had the chance. And if you go for the unfeasibly capacious estate version, you could even start up a high-speed funeral service to offset the fuel costs.
Vauxhall Monaro - This Vauxhall take on the muscle car was essentially a rebadged version of Australia’s Holden Monaro. Coupe body, V8 engine, six-speed manual and up to 493bhp – all from just £9k. Superseded by the VXR8 saloon.
Lotus Carlton - Controversial in its early-’90s heyday thanks to an unrestricted 177mph top speed, made possible by its 377bhp twin-turbo V8. Just 950 built, and only 320 in right-hand drive, so prices can now nudge £40,000.
Bentley Turbo R - You could buy a 300C and fit a ‘Bentley’ grille – or just buy a Turbo R for under £10k.
Words: Simon de Burton/evo Magazine