If you loved that cinematic gem The Sound of Music, you’ll remember Julie Andrews warbling those jaunty lyrics to “So Long, Farewell.”
Sing it after me: “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night.” Catchy, right?
Fast forward to today, and Andrews’ lament could be the theme song to Chrysler’s iconic 300 full-bodied sedan. After an impressive almost 20 years of production, it’s finally heading to that automotive junk yard in the sky.
But not before it gets a rousing send-off. Last year, Chrysler announced it would offer a limited run of 2,000 very special 300C models, powered by a honking 6.4-liter Hemi V8, making it the most powerful 300 ever. At $56,595 apiece, it was also something of a bargain.
At the time, Chrysler’s marketing folks cooed about all 2,000 cars being snapped-up within 14 hours of the “final edition” being announced.
Truth is, most of those 2,000 orders were likely placed by Chrysler dealers. A quick search of the MotorCloud car selling website shows that there are still more than 200 available, the majority with single-digit mileage and, amazingly, still selling at MSRP.
But why the heck would anyone want to buy a car that’s now as wrinkly as Keith Richards and as technically advanced as that Sony VCR player gathering dust in the attic?
Simple; it’s still a blast to drive, and a true last hurrah to big American V8 muscle before we’re all driving cars with a plug.
I’ve just spent a joyous, nostalgia-filled week behind the leather-wrapped wheel of one of the last 2,000 300Cs; a big, brash, coal-black example with all the suited-and-booted style of Jason Statham in The Transporter.
Of course, this run-out 300C is all about nostalgia. I see it appealing to sedan lovers who owned a 300 in the past and want one last fling before it’s gone for good. To others, the attraction will be its retro style and tire-fryin’ V8 performance.
And after 20 years, this thing still turns heads as it rumbles along, still accommodates five in comfort and luxury, and still has a trunk Tony Soprano would approve of.
Stand-out features of this new 300C include black-painted 20-inch rims, a big, shiny-chrome 300C badge on the black, honeycomb grille, racy-red four-piston Brembo brake calipers, black exhaust tips, and lots of dark-chrome accents.
Inside there’s more black leather than Ozzy Osborne’s closet, splashes of carbon fiber, and lots of silver contrast stitching on the super-cushy, armchair-like seats. The 19-speaker Harmon/Kardon audio can crank out AC/DC hits loud enough to impair hearing.
But it’s what’s under the hood that provides the icing on the triple-layer cake. The 6.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 cranks out a galloping 485 horseys and 475 torques which is enough to punch the 300 from zero-to-60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds.
No, its V8 is not as insanely potent as the 807-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that powered Dodge’s Charger Hellcat sibling. But it’s a step-up from the 425-horsepower 6.1-liter in the much-loved 300C SRT-8 that was dropped in 2015.
Me, what I love about this last-of-the-last 300C is its Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde split personality.
Wanna have fun? Stomp on the right pedal, light-up the rear wheels like Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, and listen in awe to that growling, roaring, thundering, and yes, magical, V8 soundtrack.
Or just cruise along in relaxed, refined, mile-eating comfort, enjoying all that stump-pulling torque, and instant response.
And this old-new 300 can still carve curves with surprising precision and agility, courtesy of mile-wide rubber, active-damping suspension, and well-weighted, responsive steering. And it still rides with limo-like smoothness.
Yes, it’s showing its age through its teeny infotainment screen, its old-school analog dials, and some cheap-looking plastics. But everything else feels decidedly fresh.
There’s still time to snag one of these last 300Cs before they’re gone. And you won’t be disappointed. As any teen will tell you, vintage is cool.