Lee Iacocca was instrumental in turning the Chrysler Corporation around in the 1980s and ’90s. But he had a problem with the Chrysler brand in particular. He felt the brand didn’t have a firm focus or consumer base. He wanted to rid Chrysler of its “blue collar” image to compete with Cadillac and Buick. The plan was to partner with Maserati and create a type of sports car (via Motor Trend).
The Chrysler TC was based on the LeBaron and shortened quite a bit. Instead of having a usable backseat, the car is a two-seater. The engine was a traditional Chrysler power plant and much of what the car had to offer wasn’t unique. There were also many recalls that affected the earlier models. All this combined to create a luxury car that no one wanted. Thus, the TC went to the garbage bin pretty quickly after launch.
Dodge was deep into the NASCAR circuit in the mid-2000s and the Intrepid sedan was the body that the company chose. To commemorate this and the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove a Dodge car sponsored by Budweiser, the company commissioned the Intrepid R/T. In addition to a much larger motor, the Intrepid R/T also got the exterior treatment. This included a ground effects kit and larger wheels (via Car & Driver).
The performance of the Intrepid wasn’t breathtaking but wasn’t bad either. The sedan was still reasonably sized and competitively priced. These R/T models haven’t held their value at all, but drivers still see them from time to time. The R/T model was sold until 2004, when the Dodge Magnum replaced the car. If you’re a Mopar fan, the Intrepid R/T can still be a steal.
Once again, we’re back to the Mitsubishi partnership. Here we have the Stealth based on the Mitsubishi 3000GT. The Dodge variant was far less well known, which means the prices on these come down all the time. The Stealth R/T had the twin-turbo engine and a luxurious interior. When you compare the Stealth to the Toyota Supra of the same time period, their performance was comparable (via Car & Driver).
Drivers won’t get an exotic riding experience but the Stealth can definitely hold its own. The later model Stealths were much better looking with a modern exterior. Dodge never marketed the Stealth all that much, so the owners usually took care of them. The Stealth might be one of the most unique sports cars to carry a Dodge badge.
The original Avenger – not the new model that failed in the late 2000s – was a great car. With a two-door design, it boasted a seemingly modern exterior and a lot of performance. The large V6 engine propelled the car with authority. The styling was quintessential Dodge from this time period, and it still holds up (via Edmunds).
Although the first generation of the Avenger did not sell well, the car has a loyal following. Many of the parts under the hood come from Mitsubishi. The performance won’t knock you off your feet, but it’s no slouch either. The best part is that a used Dodge Avenger can generally be found for extremely low prices. These cars were fairly reliable and required little maintenance to stay on the road.
The original Sebring coupe was a unique car when it hit the market. Utilizing the same platform and body as the Dodge Avenger, the car had a more upscale look. The luxury continued inside with wood trim and leather seating and there was an optional sunroof. The V6 engine in this car also drove amazing, considering what else was on the market. Chrysler made sure to incorporate a large trunk that can hold just about anything (via Car & Driver).
The original Sebring won’t win any style debates, but the car is handsome. Coupled with the decent list of standard features, you can’t go wrong. The Sebring was one of the more underrated cars in the 1990s. Its strong styling and excellent performance make the Sebring a one-of-a-kind bargain.
Believe it or not – and you might not – the Chrysler 300M was a great car. At a time when the market for sedans was heating up, the 300M was welcomed relief. It was a luxurious sedan with a chiseled exterior appearance and a reasonable price tag. This was also before cars cost an arm and a leg and the 300M was reasonably equipped. There was even a performance model with a few unique features (via Car & Driver).
Because the 300M shared its body with the Dodge Intrepid, the interior was spacious. This 300M can comfortably seat four people on a trip. The interior was some of Chrysler’s best work from this time period. The quality of the materials was top-notch and still holds up today.
Chrysler knows how to release a car at the wrong time and the Aspen was released at the wrong time. The luxurious SUV hit the market during one of the worst economic recessions in history. Gas prices were sky high. Also, this SUV was based on the Durango, which itself was quite aged by this point. Consumers weren’t blind to the fact that this was just another Durango (via Motor Trend).
The Hemi V8 engine was a nice touch, and the interior was very upscale compared to the Dodge. Depreciation has been harsh to the Aspen, and you can snag one of these for nothing nowadays. Many luxury features in the Aspen were later adapted to other Chrysler vehicles.
Chrysler built many cars during the ’90s, but one of the most unique was the LHS. The large luxury sedan boasted one of the best interiors around. The high-quality leather was stitched throughout the car. The LHS is one of the last full-size American sedans made. With that came the fact that you could seat six people in this. The performance wasn’t bad and gas mileage was decent (via The Truth About Cars).
You won’t win a race in the LHS, but it drives like a dream. Especially when you take the big beast on the road or on the highway. The LHS was built for a while before being discontinued. You can find these for very low prices, and you’ll have a great car that’s comfortable to drive and enjoy.
Much like the Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T, there was also a Durango version of the truck. The Durango had some advantages, one of which was the seven-passenger seating. The performance of the 5.9 R/T is seldom matched to this day. The interior was roomier than it looked, and the cargo space wasn’t bad either. Because the Durango is an actual truck based SUV, it handles off-road conditions perfectly (via Auto Trader).
The 5.9 R/T is much easier to come by than the Dakota version. These were available in a few cars, and it won’t take much to get it on the road. The Durango was always a handsome SUV model, and the 5.9 R/T makes it even better. You won’t find a seven-passenger SUV like the Durango even nowadays.
Finally, the rarity that was the PT Cruiser GT. What was once one of the most popular cars on the market, the PT Cruiser quickly became outdated. The car was an attempt at Chrysler to catch in on the popularity of the VW New Beetle. Buyers immediately responded to the car, and initial feedback was positive. The PT Cruiser Turbo came out a few years later and it did the job right (via Hagerty).
The styling of the PT Cruiser turbo was also fairly easy to figure out. The interior was roomy, and there’s a huge aftermarket community dedicated to the car. Chrysler did a great job with the original PT Cruiser, and the car can be a lot of fun. The PT Cruiser was a cultural phenomenon in many ways, and the car is still popular today.