IF YOU HAVE KIDS (emphasis on the plural), as the second child begins to crawl and the stuff she needs merely to survive, let alone be happy, on a trip to the grandparents seems to require its own set of luggage—which your firstborn already has… you should have anticipated this—you come to a realization: What did I get myself into? Followed by: Man, do I really need a minivan? And then, finally, when the existential despair sinks in like a Go-Gurt stain: me.
Other options exist, of course. The S UV can do the job for many a family, and you can feel better about your new state of domesticity under the shield of a car that was intended to do rough-and-tumble things beyond your Costco run. But that seems to be a bigger cliche than the minivan parent these days. Our hang-ups about minivans are really hang-ups about being perceived as a “family man” or a parent who cares about his children— and that’s not really progressive, is it? What does move things forward is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. Not through faux-SUV styling but by being pleasantly, surprisingly refined.
There’s the panoramic moonroof. The lie-flat, stowaway seats. The noise-canceling speakers. The adaptable cruise control. The built-in vacuum cleaner. In coming months, there will even be a plug-in hybrid version with an estimated 30-mile all-electric range.
Will the Pacifica abolish minivan shaming? The ability to modify the societal insecurities of dedicated parents is a lot to ask of a car.
But it sets an example by fully embracing what it is, no justification necessary. Although the V-6, when it needs to, can show off a surprising bit of tire-squelching giddyap just in case you need to be reminded: This is fun.
Back in ’55, Chrysler debuted their mighty 300 “Letter Car.” The most powerful automobile of the year, the 300C kicked off a new genre of gentleman’s hot rod that was to last for more than a decade. Chrysler cleverly marked annual model changes with letters, running from the 300B in 1956 all the way through—the letter I excepted—to this 300L in 1965.
“Red hot and rambunctious” is how Chrysler sold the 300F. It may be one of the strangest slogans of any American automaker, but the 300F really was red hot and a serious flying machine that could better 140 mph (225 km/h).
Why can’t they make cars that look this good anymore? The ’57 New Yorker was the first and finest example of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” policy. With the average American production worker earning $82.32 a week, the $4,259 four-door hardtop was both sensationally good-looking and sensationally expensive.
In 1950 Chrysler was celebrating its silver jubilee, an anniversary year with a sting in its tail. The Office of Price Stabilization had frozen car prices, there was a four-month strike, and serious coal and steel shortages were affecting the industry.
The Chrysler 300 name has been around since medieval times —well, the 1950s then — reappearing periodically on different Chryslers ever since. The latest 300 hit the streets as a full-sized luxury saloon in 2004, after impressing the previous year’s New York Auto Show as a concept car. The concept was for a sporty rear-wheel drive performance car built on the LX platform that derived from the discontinued Mercedes E-Class.
They were near-identical twins. Built on Chrysler’s G platform (a shorter version of their old warhorse K platform), the new Dodge Daytona and Chrysler Laser launched simultaneously in 1984 to replace the Chrysler Conquest. Their restrained but eager styling made them two of the best-looking sports coupes ever made in America, an appreciation they have never relinquished. Continue reading “Chrysler Laser XT – 1985”
Despite the bold ‘300’ in the title, this was no return of the fabled Chrysler 300 letter series of luxury cars that had been produced from 1958 to 1965 (or to put it another way, from A to L), though some consider the Chrysler 300 Hurst to be an honorary member of the elite 300 club. What is indisputable is that Chrysler press releases at the time did boldly refer to the `Chrysler 300H’. Continue reading “Chrysler 300 Hurst – 1970”
The Chrysler Corporation was going through a bad patch in the 1970s, and cast around for new ideas to revive fast-flagging fortunes. In the 1960s Chrysler had very publicly declared that the company would never, ever produce anything less than a full-size car. Promises, promises! But by the time a new decade rolled round with an accompanying oil crisis it was a case of needs must. Continue reading “Chrysler Cordoba 300 – 1979”
Don’t jump into a modern Chrysler Town & Country people carrier and think you’re driving the real thing. That was introduced by the Chrysler Corporation in 1941, representing the company’s entry into a burgeoning market sector that would – to the regret of many – last for barely a decade. For this was ‘woodie’ country and Chrysler’s offering was the most elegant example ever – a station wagon with all-steel roof, plus varnished sides and twin side-hinged rear doors in contrasting wood (a light ash frame and darker Honduran mahogany panels).