At $8,995, Does This 2004 Chrysler 300M Measure Up?


At $8,995, Does This 2004 Chrysler 300M Measure Up?

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 300M was dubbed the “5-meter” car due to its overall length being under that number, allowing it to appeal to European buyers. Let’s see how much appeal this still-big American sedan has now.

The consensus regarding yesterday’s 1988 Toyota 4X4 Pickup was that, just as a little kid imagines evils underneath when being tucked into bed, the truck might harbor dangers down below. Its bed certainly showed signs of rust, even if the rest of the truck’s top side appeared relatively unscathed by time and its onerous odometer reading. That all caused some consternation in the comments, but the truck’s $4,000 price tag won enough of you over to grant the somewhat rusty Toyota a solid 56 percent Nice Price win.

Do you ever wonder where all the popular stuff goes after it’s no longer popular? iPods used to be pretty much everywhere, from gyms to long airplane flights to family dinners involving angsty teens. That all seemed to stop when the iPhone was introduced, and now you rarely see iPods out in the wild. Where the heck did they all go?

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This sort of forced obsolescence happens in the automotive world all the time. Take today’s 2004 Chrysler 300M as a prime example. Upon seeing it, I’ll bet your first reaction was, “Wait, they built these all the way up to 2004?” I know, right?

The 300M was one of Chrysler’s LH cars, introduced in the early ’90s and carrying through a second generation to 2004 when the last of the line—the 300M, its sister, the Chrysler Concorde, and Dodge’s Intrepid were finally replaced by the Daimler-parented 300 and Dodge Charger. Those superseding cars featured available V8 power in a capable and comfortable RWD chassis clothed in sexy mob boss bodywork. That stood in stark contrast to the cab-forward “Neon-on-steroids” look of the LH cars they supplanted. As such, the LH cars have received short shrift in people’s memory banks, which is a shame because they, especially the 300M, are kind of cool.

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Internally, the 300M was called the “5-meter” car as its overall length was critically set to appeal to the European market where the company hoped to make greater inroads after some success exporting Jeeps. Here in the U.S., it was the lightest and shortest of all LH models but offered just as much interior space as its siblings, with both wheelbase and cabin length being the same as the almost foot-longer Concorde and Intrepid.

Stateside, the only drivetrain to be offered in the 300M was Chrysler’s 3.5-liter SOHC 12-valve V6 mounted longitudinally and backed up by a four-speed automatic transaxle. Europeans got a 2.7-liter engine because everything is smaller over there. Massaged specifically for the 300M, the all-alloy 3.5 makes a healthy 253 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. Other notable specs include independent suspension and disc brakes all around, along with plenty of power accessories in the cabin to make the car feel fancy.

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This one is a true survivor. Sporting just 45,622 miles, it presents almost as new. The Graphite Metallic paint appears to be without flaw, and neither the chromed factory wheels nor the headlamp covers show their age. Adding to the plusses, the 17-inch Ironman tires look to be fairly fresh acquisitions.

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In the cabin, it’s much the same story. Yes, it’s alarmingly plasticky in here, but that’s pretty much par for the course on any American car of the era. Some wear is evident on the leather of the driver’s seat and on the steering wheel and shifter, but nothing is truly off-putting here. The back bench appears to have never been used.

Overall, it comes across as a big, comfortable old-school cruiser. According to the ad, it car comes with a one-owner history, no disclosed mechanical issues, and a clean title. What might such a forgotten blast from the past be worth?

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The dealer offering the car asks $8,995 for its purchase, and CarFax, where it’s being advertised, calls that a “GOOD VALUE.” Ha, ha, silly CarFax. We don’t abide by that company’s opinion; we make our own snap judgments.

To that end, what’s your take on this 300M and that $8,995 asking? Does that feel like a deal? Or, for that much, should this cab-forward Chrysler go back to being forgotten?

You decide!

CarFax Classifieds out of Gaheysville, Virginia, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to GreenN_Gold for the hookup!

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