Much of the automotive press went absolutely ape over
the press events for the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster, particularly the writer who deemed it the Sexiest Car of the Year and compared its rear end favorably to Melania Trump’s jeans-clad hindquarters. Closing in on two decades later, the Crossfire’s image has fared about as well as memories of the DaimlerChrysler “merger of equals,” which makes a first-year Crossfire Roadster an excellent Junkyard Find.
When Mercedes-Benz engineers developed a new platform for the SLK-Class, it occurred to the suits in Stuttgart that it didn’t make sense to just throw out all the tooling for the previous R170-based SLK, and so a Chrysler two-seater was designed to slip over the mid-1990s-vintage SLK’s chassis. Crossfires were built for the 2004 through 2008 model years, and just over 75,000 rolled off the assembly line.
That assembly line wasn’t located in Michigan, though; Karmann built the Crossfire at its Onsabrück facility.
Hey, doesn’t that decklid emblem look a lot like the early-1990s logo for the Crossfire board game? And let’s not forget the Cross-Fire Injection system on 1984 Chevrolets.
The good news for Crossfire buyers was that the Crossfire was a lot cheaper than its SLK 320 first cousin. List price on this car started at $38,920 (about $56,900 today). In 2005, the base and Limited Crossfire got a 3.2-liter Mercedes-Benz V6 rated at 215 horsepower, while the Crossfire SRT-6 had a supercharged version with 330 horses.
The base Crossfire had a mandatory six-speed manual transmission, which sounds like fun, while Crossfire Limited buyers could choose between the six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic. This car has the automatic.
The coolest— or maybe the stupidest— feature on the Crossfire was the retractable decklid spoiler. The spoiler, which has a mechanism of satisfyingly complex Teutonic design, extended at speeds above 65 miles per hour… or when the driver hit a switch on the center console. Because I am an inveterate hoarder of weird junkyard stuff, I bought the entire spoiler mechanism off this car; look for it on a future junkyard-parts boombox. I also bought a cylinder head from a 1937 Hudson Terraplane on that day’s junkyard mission, because who wouldn’t?
The main reason I’d gone to the junkyard that day was to examine this Crossfire as a potential parts donor for the car a Colorado 24 Hours of Lemons team is building for the 2022 race season. You’ll be pleased to know that many components from today’s Junkyard Find will live on in racing glory on the first-ever Lemons Crossfire.
I think Céline Dion was more persuasive when she was selling the ’90 Shadow/Sundance in Quebec.
If you wanted to look sexxxy to beautiful young urbanites and drive 150 mph, the Crossfire Roadster was the best choice!
For links to nearly 2,300 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
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