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"POLARIZING" DESIGN


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Alrighty. Two-three years ago, it was about Chrysler's huge success with the 300 and the entire buzz of 'polarizing design'.

It became all about, 'if you want to have a hit in the car market, you can't just have vanilla designs. Good designs will often offend many people, but if your design is polarizing it means you can achieve a greater passion level for your products....'gotta have it' factor (copyrite, C/D).

Now, as we look back and see the disaster that is called Chrysler, its safe to say they bet the farm on polarizing design too much, and it may be their demise. Most folks won't consider an LX car, it's a 'pimpmobile' or 'gangsta car'. At best, its for a graying white man who may lack something between his lower limbs.

Love or hate, strong reactions, can drive sales of a particular model or brand when times are good. But now, when the relevance of each model matters even more in a new era where the market is forgiving of excess models and brands.....

Has polarizing design become a complete liability? Are people avoiding polarizing cars, especially with tough economic factors?

Is Chrysler's downfall largely to blame for their polarizing model stylings? Did they voluntarily check themselves out of volume market segments by alienating large chunks of the car buying population from cconsideration because of 'unsafe' design?

Has the public charicature of what a car like the 300, or Magnum, or Charger is, far overshadowed the fact that the car itself is actually a very good car?

Edited by regfootball
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Polarizing Design is a Liability. There are bold designs that are far from Polarizing (CTS, Camaro, Challenger). There are elements of the 300 that make it polarizing that the Charger doesn't have. The trick is to hit the nail on the head and they didn't do that.

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I would tend to argue that the Charger is even very polarizing for large segments of buyers, ones who buy frequently (i.e. women and import intenders used to camrys and stuff). Whereby some of Chysler's previous designs of the 300, Intrepid, Concorde, etc., Stratus and Sebring, etc......those were all very accepted by the mainstream. Cars that are too macho and butch like the 300, Avenger, Charger, etc. just don't resonate well with the folks who tend to populate the mainstream segments.

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I've always loved the LX cars, so I don't quite understand where you're going with this. Since we do all of the local Chrysler dealership's bodyshop work, I've seen ppl from all walks of life driving a 300. Yes, we've gotten a few with huge rims, but most owners are "normal".
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Chrysler has been very, very lucky that they have enjoyed such a great design team over the past 15 years or so. Look at the ugly crap they built in the late '80s/early '90s, coupled with their horrific engineering. Until the LH cars came out in '93, Chrysler was heading for the dustbin of history. It has ony been BECAUSE of their great designs, polarizing or not, that they have stayed in business all these years.

Toyota has had their 'quality' mantra (deserved or not), Honda that their teflon sheen and General Motors their sheer heft, but Chrysler has always been an also-ran company. If they ever became guilty of bland design, they would be gone in a flash.

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The problem with the LX cars is that they keep coming out with new ones, but the old ones haven't changed much or just get canceled. Can anyone here tell the difference between a 2005 300c and a 2009 300c without putting pictures up side by side? This is a car that if they wanted to keep sales up, they should have designed two visual updates ready to release in quick succession in the years following initial release.

Additionally, they made a huge mistake producing the down market 300. There is no aire of exclusivity when you can pick up a 300 for $19,999 + tax/tags/delivery any day of the week.

I'm not one to advocate resurrecting dead brands, but Plymouth would have been useful here if Chrysler really wanted to sell a budget full sizer.

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It became all about, 'if you want to have a hit in the car market, you can't just have vanilla designs. Good designs will often offend many people

Most folks won't consider an LX car, it's a 'pimpmobile' or 'gangsta car'. At best, its for a graying white man who may lack something between his lower limbs.

Is Chrysler's downfall largely to blame for their polarizing model stylings?

I disagree that good design will offend many people. If you want to talk architecture, for example, not everyone thinks Frank Gehry is good design while many people think Richard Meier or IM Pei are purveyors of good design. The "safer" stuff need not be vanilla.

Case in point: the wedgier (than the year before) 76 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe with its trademark rectangular lamps and waterfall grille. In its day, there was no better looking mainstream automobile. The result: 512,000 sold in ONE year. And normal people were buying them.

The association with 300/Charger is pimp and gangsta all the way. At least half of the ones I see are being driven around by some dirtbag, with windows shaded and blingy wheels. Then throw in a couple of lime colored Chargers here and there.

Their polarization runs down the line. The PT cruiser was polarizing....an obnoxious little statement of sorts. The Sebring is not well put together at all (I've rented a couple) and the 4-cylinder is noisy and the shift quality is poor.

Then, their big trucks -- I wonder what the demographic studies show for the big Dakota or Ram with the bombastic grille -- probably "third leg challenged." When you see who drives those, you say "yep." When you see who is behind the wheel of the comparable Chevy or GMC product, you can't make such generalizations. Normal people buy those.

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The 300 had a sub-par interior, not enough power in base form and was too expensive in C form for it be a mainstream model. The Magnum was a wagon, they should have never had it be the only Dodge LX at the beginning, too niche. The Charger has the same rear headroom issue the Grand Prix has as a result of the roofline. Thats just Chrysler being Chrysler.

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I've always loved the LX cars, so I don't quite understand where you're going with this. Since we do all of the local Chrysler dealership's bodyshop work, I've seen ppl from all walks of life driving a 300. Yes, we've gotten a few with huge rims, but most owners are "normal".

Yes.... I agree. The Chrysler 300 and Charger will go down in history as

absolute smash hits in a world of mediocrity and compromise!

NEVER in a million years will I consider buying a FWD Impala, SS or not,

V8 or not, never will I ever buy a Ford 500 (even the SHO) or some FWD

modern Cadillac (been there done that) maybe for my wife, NOT for me.

But a Chrysler 300 and or the (ALSO!) polarizing Cadillac CTS will def. be

in my driveway if I live long enough to afford a nice used one.

You wanna talk polarizing designs?!?!?

In the early 1950s we had the WILD radical Buick Skyark & Chevy Corvette.

In the late 1950s we had the over-the-top '59 Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Chevy...

MANY people thought the '63 Corvette split window was too much!

They bought Falcons, Fairlanes, Country Squires & Thunderbirds...

Then in 1971 I bet many thought the Riviera was hideous.

See where I'm going with this?

No one remembers the bred ad butter (make sure to not OFFEND anyone crap)

The Chrysler 300 sid F**K YOU! to convention in the process

it won recognition graced magazine covers the world wide,

has had MORE die cast models of it cast in its OWN TIME than

any other vehicle in recent memory w/ the exception of the

Corvette and Escalade.

Trying to piss all over Chrysler's success of the 300 is a lot like

spitting in the wind.

Let me say something here right now.

Overall GM is my one, true, first and only LOVE.

BUT

Chrysler is very close to my heart. The Viper, RWD cars,

Cummins powered Rams and other interesting products

like the neon-SRT4 have redeemed them, after years of

mediocrity they are back in the saddle.

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The Charger has the same rear headroom issue the Grand Prix has as a result of the roofline. Thats just Chrysler being Chrysler.

I'm pretty sure most muscle car buyers are not going to

evaluate the car based on "rear seat head room". That's

as absurd as me talking about the lack of ground

clearance and non-locking rear axle in a Saturn Vue.

Sure many 3.5 Chargers are just bought to be family

sedans, and the back seat is for the KIDS!

You want headroom? The Toyota Corolla, with the center

of gravity of a London double decker bus, has plenty. <_<

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The Charger has the same rear headroom issue the Grand Prix has as a result of the roofline. Thats just Chrysler being Chrysler.

Well, except for its praying-mantis front grille, the Grand Prix is sleek while the Charger is bloated...IMO. Polarizing can get gauged by having created two camps: the "gotta have it" and the "can't stand it" groups. I think it's safe to say many Chrysler products today would get that reaction.

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Wow, coming back to reality for a minute. Its a sedan, 4-doors and all, not a "muscle car" nobody is going to cross shop a Charger and a Mustang or Camaro. They're going to cross shop a Charger and an Impala or Malibu or Taurus or Camry or Accord. And the Charger comes up short against those cars when it comes to rear headroom and rear access. This may not be true for you, but many people take into consideration the issues with installing a carseat, getting kids into said carseat and room for the kids when they grow up.

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My daughter will be 5 in three months.

When she was born one of my daily drivers was a 1997 STS.

The roofline on those Cadillacs is low and sexy, but I'm not a

crybaby pansy and I got her in and out without it being the

end of the world.

P.S. What Toyota & Honda exactly did the buyer of the 1994-96 Impala SS cross-shop? :blink:

Enjoy all that headroom in the Prius. :wink:

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You mean the '96 Impala SS that was discontinued? The LX cars aren't a sales success, no matter how much enthusiast appeal they may have, because they're not what car buyers want. Live with it.

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You mean the '96 Impala SS that was discontinued? The LX cars aren't a sales success, no matter how much enthusiast appeal they may have, because they're not what car buyers want. Live with it.

Yes, the masses want their boring FWD generics.

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Yep, and thats why Toyota and Honda are in substantially better financial situations than GM and Ford, they did it better sooner. They can both afford failures (Tundra/Ridgline/Pilot) because the other stuff will prop them up. GM doesn't have the luxury of taking a risk, and they saw what happened to Chrysler after pouring assets into big RWD cars, they aren't going to take that same risk.

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Chrysler has been very, very lucky that they have enjoyed such a great design team over the past 15 years or so. Look at the ugly crap they built in the late '80s/early '90s, coupled with their horrific engineering. Until the LH cars came out in '93, Chrysler was heading for the dustbin of history. It has ony been BECAUSE of their great designs, polarizing or not, that they have stayed in business all these years.

Toyota has had their 'quality' mantra (deserved or not), Honda that their teflon sheen and General Motors their sheer heft, but Chrysler has always been an also-ran company. If they ever became guilty of bland design, they would be gone in a flash.

interesting take.

makes sense. still, i say with the down market as it is, people are buying 'safe' right now.

you think the OMNI GLH and the o24 and TC3 (not to be confused with mp3) weren't what saved Chrysler?

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I disagree that good design will offend many people. If you want to talk architecture, for example, not everyone thinks Frank Gehry is good design while many people think Richard Meier or IM Pei are purveyors of good design. The "safer" stuff need not be vanilla.

Case in point: the wedgier (than the year before) 76 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe with its trademark rectangular lamps and waterfall grille. In its day, there was no better looking mainstream automobile. The result: 512,000 sold in ONE year. And normal people were buying them.

The association with 300/Charger is pimp and gangsta all the way. At least half of the ones I see are being driven around by some dirtbag, with windows shaded and blingy wheels. Then throw in a couple of lime colored Chargers here and there.

Their polarization runs down the line. The PT cruiser was polarizing....an obnoxious little statement of sorts. The Sebring is not well put together at all (I've rented a couple) and the 4-cylinder is noisy and the shift quality is poor.

Then, their big trucks -- I wonder what the demographic studies show for the big Dakota or Ram with the bombastic grille -- probably "third leg challenged." When you see who drives those, you say "yep." When you see who is behind the wheel of the comparable Chevy or GMC product, you can't make such generalizations. Normal people buy those.

the blingness of the LX cars is why women avoid chrysler as a brand. there, i said it.

polarizing architecture is one thing.....people aren't buying a building for 5 year loan to drive and hope it has some resale left at the end of the ride.

now is when i make the point that people buy vanilla looking homes too.

The PT cruiser was a p*ssy wagon. You may say it was polarizing, but it had tons of 'cute'. when it came out next to the new beetle, it rivaled it in cuteness. common thread, it appealed to women. Again, i repeat, you need to sell cars women want, because women control your testes and your pocketbook. Like I said, you don't see women flocking to LX cars like they do to p*ssy little CRV's.

Note, look how 'soft' looking the new Ram trucks are. Nice trucks by the way, i saw one the other day. Good job Chrysler.

Nice point about the 76 cutlass, EVERYONE wanted those i recall when i grew up. i ended up with the buick clone, a centry coupe, when i got my college car. those 2 coupes, the regal/century and cutlass were very nice mainstream cars. the olds waterfall grille was classic.

Edited by regfootball
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Yes.... I agree. The Chrysler 300 and Charger will go down in history as

absolute smash hits in a world of mediocrity and compromise!

NEVER in a million years will I consider buying a FWD Impala, SS or not,

V8 or not, never will I ever buy a Ford 500 (even the SHO) or some FWD

modern Cadillac (been there done that) maybe for my wife, NOT for me.

But a Chrysler 300 and or the (ALSO!) polarizing Cadillac CTS will def. be

in my driveway if I live long enough to afford a nice used one.

You wanna talk polarizing designs?!?!?

In the early 1950s we had the WILD radical Buick Skyark & Chevy Corvette.

In the late 1950s we had the over-the-top '59 Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Chevy...

MANY people thought the '63 Corvette split window was too much!

They bought Falcons, Fairlanes, Country Squires & Thunderbirds...

Then in 1971 I bet many thought the Riviera was hideous.

See where I'm going with this?

No one remembers the bred ad butter (make sure to not OFFEND anyone crap)

The Chrysler 300 sid F**K YOU! to convention in the process

it won recognition graced magazine covers the world wide,

has had MORE die cast models of it cast in its OWN TIME than

any other vehicle in recent memory w/ the exception of the

Corvette and Escalade.

Trying to piss all over Chrysler's success of the 300 is a lot like

spitting in the wind.

Let me say something here right now.

Overall GM is my one, true, first and only LOVE.

BUT

Chrysler is very close to my heart. The Viper, RWD cars,

Cummins powered Rams and other interesting products

like the neon-SRT4 have redeemed them, after years of

mediocrity they are back in the saddle.

as much as the 300 helped chrysler a short few years ago, it will be their death now.

Edited by regfootball
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Wow, coming back to reality for a minute. Its a sedan, 4-doors and all, not a "muscle car" nobody is going to cross shop a Charger and a Mustang or Camaro. They're going to cross shop a Charger and an Impala or Malibu or Taurus or Camry or Accord. And the Charger comes up short against those cars when it comes to rear headroom and rear access. This may not be true for you, but many people take into consideration the issues with installing a carseat, getting kids into said carseat and room for the kids when they grow up.

first thing my wife gravtitated towards when i did the sell job on the astra for her recently ....'can you get a car seat in it, it's a small car'.

she examined the access with the wider cut of the door at the top and gave the blessing. she cited our old diamante as a car she would not comply with, because the door opening was too hard of access for the car seat. the charger has a similar door cut, so i can see why women would avoid that as well. keep in mind nearly all women hate rwd too.

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The LX cars didn't help Chrysler in the long term, but the atrocious Avenger and Sebring sealed the deal.

This.

While I didn't mind the LXes (mainly the Charger and ALL of the SRT8 versions), they weren't meant to be the volume line or the best sellers. Yet, because of what came out below them, they ended up that way.

Not having a C-car with broader appeal really hurt Chrysler too. As many Calibers as I see on the road, I know just as many people who would never have considered buying one.

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I have had quite a few female 300 owners (as opposed to drivers). The beautiful gold '08 300C, '06 300 Touring in black metallic, '07 300 Limited in metallic red, '06 300C in jade green. In fact, come to think of it, most of my 300 customers have been normal women (with a few notable exceptions, like the 300 SRT-8 owned by a construction company chief - he takes it out onto job sites, ugh, and a sexually ambiguous Latin kid with an '06 white 300C). All of my Charger and Magnum customers have been men though. Edited by ocnblu
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I have had quite a few female 300 owners (as opposed to drivers). The beautiful gold '08 300C, '06 300 Touring in black metallic, '07 300 Limited in metallic red, '06 300C in jade green. In fact, come to think of it, most of my 300 customers have been normal women (with a few notable exceptions, like the 300 SRT-8 owned by a construction company chief - he takes it out onto job sites, ugh, and a sexually ambiguous Latin kid with an '06 white 300C). All of my Charger and Magnum customers have been men though.

Climate makes a difference also....in Florida, Texas, Arizona, So Cal, etc FWD is pointless. I've seen women driving 300s, Chargers, and quite a few RWD Lexuses, Mercs and BMWs here in the Phoenix area...

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This.

While I didn't mind the LXes (mainly the Charger and ALL of the SRT8 versions), they weren't meant to be the volume line or the best sellers. Yet, because of what came out below them, they ended up that way.

Not having a C-car with broader appeal really hurt Chrysler too. As many Calibers as I see on the road, I know just as many people who would never have considered buying one.

folks, dig back into your memory. do you recall the hot sellers the sebring/stratus and intrepid/concorde/300/LHS were? cab forward, ye was.

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Climate makes a difference also....in Florida, Texas, Arizona, So Cal, etc FWD is pointless. I've seen women driving 300s, Chargers, and quite a few RWD Lexuses, Mercs and BMWs here in the Phoenix area...

RWD only on a car here in this climate a surefire guarantee it will never sell. dealers try to rid their lots of RWD cars before november so they don't rot on lots all winter.

conversely, if i lived in the south, damn straight i would get a RWD car.! there is a large part of the country that is snow influenced though.

google infiniti all wheel drive G35. infiniti had massive sales increases once they developed the AWD version. it meant their dealers in the snow states could actually keep their doors open in winter.

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RWD only on a car here in this climate a surefire guarantee it will never sell. dealers try to rid their lots of RWD cars before november so they don't rot on lots all winter.

conversely, if i lived in the south, damn straight i would get a RWD car.! there is a large part of the country that is snow influenced though.

google infiniti all wheel drive G35. infiniti had massive sales increases once they developed the AWD version. it meant their dealers in the snow states could actually keep their doors open in winter.

Even in places with snow, I'd still own RWD cars. And a 4x4 SUV for winter use. :) (That's what I did in Michigan and Colorado).

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now, imagine that you can only afford to own one car.

Yeah...that's where FWD would come in for most people. If I can only have one vehicle in a snowy climate, I'd probably stick with a 4x4 SUV, or maybe an AWD sedan.

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Nice point about the 76 cutlass, EVERYONE wanted those i recall when i grew up. i ended up with the buick clone, a centry coupe, when i got my college car. those 2 coupes, the regal/century and cutlass were very nice mainstream cars. the olds waterfall grille was classic.

My Dad bought the Cutlass Supreme new and then added an ultra-low mileage Regal of the same year that a British lady in L.A. was selling just because "it was there." The Cutlass was Olds 350 V8 powered and the Regal had the odd-firing 3.8 V6. The amount of room under the hood was absurd, but it was severely underpowered.

Now, did you have the opera-windowed coupe or the fastback coupe with more triangular rear quarter window? V6 or V8?

That Century with the opera window and the lean-back triple-slat grille was interesting. You didn't see many then and you don't see many now. Every now and then, I will actually see a 76 or 77 Regal coupe.

Edited by trinacriabob
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My Dad bought the Cutlass Supreme new and then added an ultra-low mileage Regal of the same year that a British lady in L.A. was selling just because "it was there." The Cutlass was Olds 350 V8 powered and the Regal had the odd-firing 3.8 V6. The amount of room under the hood was absurd but it was severely underpowered.

Now, did you have the opera-windowed coupe or the more fastback coupe with more triangular rear quarter window? V6 or V8?

That Century with the opera window and the lean-back triple-slat grille was interesting. You didn't see many them and you don't see many now. Every now and then, I will actually see a 76 or 77 Regal coupe.

I seem to remember also a Buick Special of those years, a coupe with the fastback roofline and the triangular rear quarter window. The Buick and Olds coupes from '76-77 seem flatter-sided than the '73-74 models, less sculpted.

I always liked the Supreme of those years, and the 442 with the fastback roofline and angled back grille. I remember as a kid for a few years my older brother had a girlfriend that drove a brown '76 Cutlass Supreme coupe w/ a tan top and interior...nice car, I remember riding around the Pittsburgh area in it in the late '70s-early 80s.

Edited by moltar
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I seem to remember also a Buick Special of those years, a coupe with the fastback roofline and the triangular rear quarter window. The Buick coupes from '76-77 seem flatter-sided than the '73-74 models.

:lol:

The Buick Special was a poor man's Regal. You could only get a V6, there were hardly any options available...in fact, there was vinyl flooring, no lighter, and black seat belts. It was the entry model.

Yes, as with the 76-77 Cutlasses, the sides were "slabbier" and, therefore, better, IMO. The proof is that sales shot up.

My favorite, just because it was the first car I really noticed, will always be the 75 Olds Cutlass Salon coupe with the smaller V8 in Persimmon (rust) / white landau / tan cloth buckets and the color-keyed rallye wheels. I'd give my left nut for one of those....well, maybe not...

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and a sexually ambiguous Latin kid with an '06 white 300C

:lol: that's hilarious

:scratchchin:

You mean Puerto Rican??? The NE primarily has Puerto Ricans and the SW primarily has Mexicans. They are nationalities...not dirty words.

Edited by trinacriabob
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I love Chrysler's better polarizing designs, the Cab forward cars and LX's.

God bless Chrysler for not being as mainstream as everyone else.

Edited by MyerShift
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I love Chrysler's better polarizing designs, the Cab forward cars and LX's.

God bless Chrysler for not being as mainstream as everyone else.

Yeah...I just wish they had done a better job with their recent compact and midsize cars.. the '90s 'cloud' cars were great looking, IMHO.

I saw a black Charger and a black Intrepid--both R/Ts--parked together in a parking garage recently...both great, distinct stylish designs, IMHO.

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My Dad bought the Cutlass Supreme new and then added an ultra-low mileage Regal of the same year that a British lady in L.A. was selling just because "it was there." The Cutlass was Olds 350 V8 powered and the Regal had the odd-firing 3.8 V6. The amount of room under the hood was absurd, but it was severely underpowered.

Now, did you have the opera-windowed coupe or the fastback coupe with more triangular rear quarter window? V6 or V8?

That Century with the opera window and the lean-back triple-slat grille was interesting. You didn't see many then and you don't see many now. Every now and then, I will actually see a 76 or 77 Regal coupe.

v6, odd firing 3.8 litre v6! actually, the f-er was smooth on the highway and had great mpg and to me, it was a very tractable usable engine, even if it lacked balls. the car was very good in snow because the front end was so light.

regarding the amount of room under the hood. no lie. the family cat used to sleep in the engine bay. one day, unbeknownst to me, i embarked on a trip and said pussy was under the hood. about a half mile from home i heard a loud noise and felt an aweful bump, much as if hitting a massive tree branch. I quickly glanced in the rear view mirror as the car shuddered a bit, and all i saw was Sylvester 'bouncing' across the pavement behind the car.

i went back to try to find pussy in the ditch, but to no avail.

best part of the story, we though pussy was dead. a few weeks later, sly returned to the farmstead. a bit of his tail and head fur was chopped off. His movement was not at all graceful.....and my God cats can give mean glances but i never got an evil staredown like i did when he sauntered past me on his homecoming. I am surprised he didn't jump me in the middle of the night.

I might have a pic of the car somewhere

Edited by regfootball
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:lol:

The Buick Special was a poor man's Regal. You could only get a V6, there were hardly any options available...in fact, there was vinyl flooring, no lighter, and black seat belts. It was the entry model.

Yes, as with the 76-77 Cutlasses, the sides were "slabbier" and, therefore, better, IMO. The proof is that sales shot up.

My favorite, just because it was the first car I really noticed, will always be the 75 Olds Cutlass Salon coupe with the smaller V8 in Persimmon (rust) / white landau / tan cloth buckets and the color-keyed rallye wheels. I'd give my left nut for one of those....well, maybe not...

a buddy of mine come to think of it had a bitchin 442, i think 75 vintage, but maybe 76. i have to check that out. it had the real fast back roof and sculpted rear fender and triangular window. my century coupe had the opera windows i think, vinyl roof, and 6 slot grille.

i think his 442 had swivel buckets. swivel and go! GM had it first!

who doesn't have the dash design of the 77 cutlass embedded in their brain?

Edited by regfootball
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folks, dig back into your memory. do you recall the hot sellers the sebring/stratus and intrepid/concorde/300/LHS were? cab forward, ye was.

I remember indeed... EVERYONE had one of the six.

I don't remember who said it in this thread, but maybe Chrysler did just stop trying...

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Polarizing design has NOTHING to do with Chryslers problems.

Their problems deal with bad/outdated over all line ups, bad quality, even worse perceived quality and not enough R&D.

If anything, the polarizing design PUT THEM BACK ON THE MAP in pop culture. And any good marketing guy will tell you that's half the battle.

Think of it this way:

Chrysler as a division had 1 or 2 polarizing designs and a slew of bad quality, poorly executed cars. In contrast, Saturn has a WHOLE STABLE of excellent products that debuted altogether, for the most part, with forgettable designs.

Who is mentioned more and talked about more in pop culture? Which division has product specific mainstream aspirational buyers (meaning NOT Mopar nuts and NOT longtime saturn/GM fans) and a HUGE aftermarket presence?

Don't think that's a fair comparison?

Then how about this: The current Scion xB verses the previous Scion xB. Which one has more sales and has more fans in the market/pop culture?

I rest my case.

And that's why Chryslers new "organic" bland designs and GM's "global generic" designs will not fare so well unless the product is a KNOCK OUT HOME RUN on the quality and ergonomics side.

If I were Ford, I'd be readying some bold designs for the next few years, because they can really cash in if the product is executed right.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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worse perceived quality and not enough R&D.

If anything, the polarizing design PUT THEM BACK ON THE MAP in pop culture. And any good marketing guy will tell you that's half the battle.

True, some people want the polarizing design. Look at the early PT Cruiser buyers and all the "dudes" in Dakota/Ram trucks.

However, the quality issue cannot be discounted.

When they gave me a Sebring convertible 4-cyl as a rental when they ran out of the economy cars and I saw what that cost versus my new LaCrosse, I thought "NFW" - no 'effin way. It was a $ 25,000 lawn mower with piss-poor build quality.

GM = Great Machines

Edited by trinacriabob
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True, some people want the polarizing design. Look at the early PT Cruiser buyers and all the "dudes" in Dakota/Ram trucks.

However, the quality issue cannot be discounted.

When they gave me a Sebring convertible 4-cyl as a rental when they ran out of the economy cars and I saw what that cost versus my new LaCrosse, I thought "NFW" - no 'effin way. It was a $ 25,000 lawn mower with piss-poor build quality.

GM = Great Machines

I had a Sebring convertible in Florida this summer....for some reason, I couldn't get a Mustang convertible at Hertz for that weekend. Ended up picking up a Sebring conv. in Miami....nasty interior plastics, and the driver's seat recline handle broke off in my hand. Ugh.

When I went back to Ohio Labor Day weekend, though, Hertz in Pittsburgh had my usual Grand Marquis available, as did Hertz in Denver a couple weeks ago. I'm always happy to float along in a Panther boat...

Edited by moltar
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I had a Sebring convertible in Florida this summer....for some reason, I couldn't get a Mustang convertible at Hertz for that weekend. Ended up picking up a Sebring conv. in Miami....nasty interior plastics, and the driver's seat recline handle broke off in my hand. Ugh.

When I went back to Ohio Labor Day weekend, though, Hertz in Pittsburgh had my usual Grand Marquis available, as did Hertz in Denver a couple weeks ago. I'm always happy to float along in a Panther boat...

You and I must be the last two left on Earth..... Last year (in my previous life) the dealer I worked at brought a couple U.S. version used '07 Grand Marquis up for sale. I would make any excuse to 'borrow' one to do errands or goof off. Other guys thought I was nuts. Well, then again I loved scooping the '03 Mini Couper S, too. Go figure.

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You and I must be the last two left on Earth..... Last year (in my previous life) the dealer I worked at brought a couple U.S. version used '07 Grand Marquis up for sale. I would make any excuse to 'borrow' one to do errands or goof off. Other guys thought I was nuts. Well, then again I loved scooping the '03 Mini Couper S, too. Go figure.

Last three...

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You and I must be the last two left on Earth..... Last year (in my previous life) the dealer I worked at brought a couple U.S. version used '07 Grand Marquis up for sale. I would make any excuse to 'borrow' one to do errands or goof off. Other guys thought I was nuts. Well, then again I loved scooping the '03 Mini Couper S, too. Go figure.

I've actually had the clerks at Hertz ask me I instead if wanted a Sable or something smaller...I usually always try and reserve a GM or TC.

I'd love to drive a Mini Cooper S....there are some small cars I really like, and though I love modern sports sedans like the CTS and various BMWs, I also enjoy the classic American land yachts...

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Yeah...I just wish they had done a better job with their recent compact and midsize cars.. the '90s 'cloud' cars were great looking, IMHO.

I agree. I had a 1996 Plymouth Breeze.

It was great looking (colour was medium fern; a grey green; that always looked best on a dank, damp day) and was fun to drive.

It was also quite efficient; averaging 28 mpg with my heavy foot while my new Volkswagen only averages 25 mpg.

It only had 68000 miles on it when I attained it, and had over 125,000 miles on it later when I finally had to give it to "car heaven". Ugh.

I must say, it was perfectly acceptable reliability wise. Never left me stranded and never had some catastrophic failure because it "was a Chrysler".

Only age related issues. Hell, the AIR CONDITIONING still worked.

I disagree that Chryslers are (were) generally inferior products. My experiences with two Chryslers were fantastic.

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Given the perspective of the day, the original 'cab forward' cars were ahead of their time in nearly every way. I rented a Neon in September '94 when I was in Victoria, BC for a week. I loved the car. Design-wise, it was leagues ahead of anything else on the road at the time - and it had a darned cute advertising campaign to go with it. However, Chrysler's nagging quality problems killed the lead that they enjoyed with this car. Hell, if the Neon had turned out to be reliable as hell, we could have a Dodge as the #1 selling car today, rather than the Civic.

I also seriously considered a '94 Intrepid when they first came out. I was amazed at the back seat room being more accomodating than my '91 Caprice at the time. I loved the look/finish of that car. There is no doubt in my mind that Chrysler was the Queen of the auto show circuit in the '90s with their exciting new designs. Where did the wheels fall off? Was it Lutz's retirement? Was it incessant tranny/a/c and other issues that Chryslers were plagued with?

As with GM, we could speculate endlessly all the 'what-if' scenarios out there.*

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Polarizing design has NOTHING to do with Chryslers problems.

Their problems deal with bad/outdated over all line ups, bad quality, even worse perceived quality and not enough R&D.

If anything, the polarizing design PUT THEM BACK ON THE MAP in pop culture. And any good marketing guy will tell you that's half the battle.

Think of it this way:

Chrysler as a division had 1 or 2 polarizing designs and a slew of bad quality, poorly executed cars. In contrast, Saturn has a WHOLE STABLE of excellent products that debuted altogether, for the most part, with forgettable designs.

Who is mentioned more and talked about more in pop culture? Which division has product specific mainstream aspirational buyers (meaning NOT Mopar nuts and NOT longtime saturn/GM fans) and a HUGE aftermarket presence?

Don't think that's a fair comparison?

Then how about this: The current Scion xB verses the previous Scion xB. Which one has more sales and has more fans in the market/pop culture?

I rest my case.

And that's why Chryslers new "organic" bland designs and GM's "global generic" designs will not fare so well unless the product is a KNOCK OUT HOME RUN on the quality and ergonomics side.

If I were Ford, I'd be readying some bold designs for the next few years, because they can really cash in if the product is executed right.

the market in terms of volume when the 300's etc came out was large enough to support the segment of the market that liked this polarizing design. a polarizing desgin with limited appeal will capture the lovers right away. and then, die just as fast. after the 'fad' wears away, what are you left with?

You do make great points about the quality of the interior and ergonomics issues drving people away. in the case of these cars, its absolutely correct.

so if your point is ultimately that people will buy great design, yes, that's true.

but, does chrysler want to be niche? they put all their eggs in one design basket. The rapper / bling crowd and redneck crowd seems to like them still, but as i said, that's exactly why it turns off the mainstream. there are what, 20,000% more buyers of mainstream looking vehicles?

CRV's, accords, camrys. Women love them. Men with little testosterone like em. But ya know, that's who buys cars and who has money in this country.

Like disco, the 300 aesthetic died hard and fast, but it was great while it lasted.

Any company that must sell products in a fashion arena must conform to some level of fad, but if you even use your saturn example, they sell half a million astras over the pond, so design clearly is not at fault there. And yet that is perfectly mainstream.

You are correct about Ford badly needing a design injection. I hope it does not compromise their recent quality rep.

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I agree. I had a 1996 Plymouth Breeze.

It was great looking (colour was medium fern; a grey green; that always looked best on a dank, damp day) and was fun to drive.

It was also quite efficient; averaging 28 mpg with my heavy foot while my new Volkswagen only averages 25 mpg.

It only had 68000 miles on it when I attained it, and had over 125,000 miles on it later when I finally had to give it to "car heaven". Ugh.

I must say, it was perfectly acceptable reliability wise. Never left me stranded and never had some catastrophic failure because it "was a Chrysler".

Only age related issues. Hell, the AIR CONDITIONING still worked.

I disagree that Chryslers are (were) generally inferior products. My experiences with two Chryslers were fantastic.

See this illustrates why american cars MUST have polarizing design to succeed.

Your Breeze sounds like it was just as good, if not better, than your VW. Yet, you feel better about owning the VW, right?

It's all about perception. Detroit automakers must go the EXTRA MILE to entice most consumers to seriously look at their products. Detroit automakers must connect on an emotional level as opposed to a logical level.

I pray that what I've said is wrong, because GME is preparing a whole slew of bland-o-generic GM products for us. But if the attractive, (or at least the Sky, Outlook and Aura are) yet bland Saturn offerings are any indication, we won't be seeing a sales surge anytime soon. The product is excellent, but the consumer refuses to look.

And in the big segments, the media encourages the public NOT to look. (Remember how the Vue got slaughtered, even though it's a great product? It's no coincidence that the Vue is in one of the hottest segments right now AND it was Saturns one saving grace and hottest seller before the redesign.)

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The 300's were great cars, with great design. The problem with Chrysler is that the rest of their lineup, was essentially craptacular.

Dodge Nitro? What the hell was that?

True.

And that is truly the problem with Chrysler. In no other product segment did they execute a vehicle as well as they did with the LX cars.

A "polarizing" design could mean many things. The 1986 E-coupes from GM were most certainly some of the most polarizing redesigns to come from GM in the recent past. In this case, we are talking about dramatically smaller FWD coupes (and the Seville sedan) that failed to carry on the sheer presence of their predecessors......and to many consumers, looked like rehashed copies of the less-expensive N-car coupes of the time.

These cars were so polarizing in their way that consumers stayed away from them in droves.

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the market in terms of volume when the 300's etc came out was large enough to support the segment of the market that liked this polarizing design. a polarizing desgin with limited appeal will capture the lovers right away. and then, die just as fast. after the 'fad' wears away, what are you left with?

You do make great points about the quality of the interior and ergonomics issues drving people away. in the case of these cars, its absolutely correct.

so if your point is ultimately that people will buy great design, yes, that's true.

but, does chrysler want to be niche? they put all their eggs in one design basket. The rapper / bling crowd and redneck crowd seems to like them still, but as i said, that's exactly why it turns off the mainstream. there are what, 20,000% more buyers of mainstream looking vehicles?

My point has nothing to do with sales, because Chrysler has PLENTY of money, so sales RIGHT NOW aren't an issue. OF COURSE $4/gallon gas and a recession are going to kill the inflation in the market for large, V8 powered cars.

The LX cars we're phenominal. The reason sales are in the crapper is because Chrysler FAILED to follow those cars up with anything as polarizing and desirable. Look at the recent introductions; the Compass and Patriot have "cheap poser" written all over them. The Caliber is awkward (which happens to be why I like it) the Sebring and Avenger are a joke. The supposed PT Cruiser refresh consisted of what, new headlights? The Durango is ugly, weird and doesn't posess nearly the character that the previous generation did and the Aspen has all of the virtues of the Durango, except with Chryslers '80s throwback' grille treatment.

Now the Jeep Wrangler..... That design has character and as a result was a HUGE hit.

My point is about marketing. Consumers increasingly ARE NOT getting the message, especially when it comes to domestics automakers and the 'name change game' that they've been playing for 10 years now. To produce a design that creates as much buzz as the LX cars initially did is a remarkable feat and qualifies as a success.

Ask anyone, ANYONE you meet on the street about the Chrysler 300 and they'll 1) know what you're talking about and 2) give you a well constructed opinion of the car (good or bad -- doesn't matter) Ask anyone on the street about the Saturn Aura and you'll get either 1) a blank stare or 2) A compromised answer to the tune of "Isn't that the newest saturn model"

The rapper/bling/redneck argument is weak at best... 1) That is a small minority or buyers 2) That's basically discrimination and racism. And such stereotypes can be applied to ANY car on the market. 3) If it makes such a damn difference with brand identity, then why can the Cadillac Escalade show up in every 50 cent video, yet Cadillac CTS sell to top executives and Cadillac DTS sell to traditional, old skool buyers? 4) Not to mention, it's good that it appeals to minority buyers since that is the fastest growing niche in the industry anyway.

CRV's, accords, camrys. Women love them.

But for different reasons...

They love them because of the name attached to them. I'd LOVE to be a Honda or Toyota salesman, because that has to be the easiest sell on the face of the planet. Now, I'm not saying those aren't excellent cars, because they are really good cars. But it's like comparing apples to oranges and Detroit BETTER realize that in a very quick timeframe.

People buy Toyota, Honda and Nissan (sadly, it rides on the success of the other two) BY DEFAULT. People buy Hyundals and Kias BECAUSE OF THE PRICE and people buy Detroit cars BECAUSE OF EMOTIONAL APPEAL. That's why cars such as the 300, Charger, Camaro, Corvette, HHR, GTO, Escalade, Enclave, H2, Mustang, Thunderbird are such huge hits (sometimes until the niche is played out) and cars like the Cobalt, G6, Malibu, Astra, and domestic minivans have such a hard time.

Is this changing, can/will it change? SURE it is as we speak but it's going to take FAR longer than the time Detroit has or it's going to take a revolutionary product to do it (Volt, anyone?)

Men with little testosterone like em. But ya know, that's who buys cars and who has money in this country.

I agree 100%

Like disco, the 300 aesthetic died hard and fast, but it was great while it lasted.

That's a chance you have to take with a design like the 300. If Chrysler were smart, it would've actually updated the looks of the cars a few years ago when it supposedly "refreshed" the car.

But ultimately, the 300 paid off big time for Chrysler. had they followed up with equally impressive (yet harder to execute for Detroit companies) product, we wouldn't be talking about GM merging with them right now.

Any company that must sell products in a fashion arena must conform to some level of fad, but if you even use your saturn example, they sell half a million astras over the pond, so design clearly is not at fault there. And yet that is perfectly mainstream.

"Over the pond" has nothing to do with america. This is a completely different environment and scenario. That's an apples to oranges comparison if I ever heard one. We ALL know that the Astra is to GME what the GMT800 trucks were to GMNA, an easy home run batted from an under handed pitch. It was TOO EASY for GME to design a successful product in that niche in that environment. I'm not saying the Astra is a bad car by any means. But it does not have the presence or significance to succeed on this continent. And the sales are showing that. This is one reason why I oppose GME designs and PCS plan to expand Saturn so much. That is a HUGE gamble that could be disaster for GMNA (and GME knows it AND likely wants it to happen, now)

You are correct about Ford badly needing a design injection. I hope it does not compromise their recent quality rep.

Ford has done excellent with some of their designs. For instance, the Flex is already eating the Traverse' lunch in the reviews based on design alone. The Fusion killed in the market and reviews (by "kill" I mean was a huge success for Ford, not in comparison to the top imports -- Rome wasn't built in a day)

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True.

And that is truly the problem with Chrysler. In no other product segment did they execute a vehicle as well as they did with the LX cars.

A "polarizing" design could mean many things. The 1986 E-coupes from GM were most certainly some of the most polarizing redesigns to come from GM in the recent past. In this case, we are talking about dramatically smaller FWD coupes (and the Seville sedan) that failed to carry on the sheer presence of their predecessors......and to many consumers, looked like rehashed copies of the less-expensive N-car coupes of the time.

These cars were so polarizing in their way that consumers stayed away from them in droves.

hey, that riviera had a TOUCH SCREEN DASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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i get a kick out of you saying I'm racist. I'm just reporting the daily driving report. All those liberal architecture student's thoughts must be bleeding into your head now............I'll laugh every time daily I see an LX car with bling wheels or dubs, tinted windows, gawdawful striping, 'billet grilles' and chrome pillars, or hues so bright it would burn the sun itself.

and that is even after i drive by denny hecker dodge every day which is by where i drop off my kid.

all the rich guys feeling inadequate about their penis size (and who use to work in the financial industry) already turned in or traded in their 300's. The status seekers are avoiding the LX cars like the plague, just as women always have.

When the fashion conscious and status seekers and women abandon a car manufacturer and they haven't chased it down with anything new.......looks like chickens are coming home to roost.

CRV's are cute and safe and tidy and unfortunately that is what rules the market these days. Polarizing will get you a splash in the press, for a bit.

Chrysler as a brand may be damaged for a decade or more because of their move to gangsta car design. Calibre, Avenger, etc. We're almost a decade removed from the 300M, latter intrepids, etc. that the public embraced so much.

Edited by regfootball
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hey, that riviera had a TOUCH SCREEN DASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All joking aside......if GM had taken that screen, continually improved it and made it more user-friendly.....well....GM could have been seen as the leader in touch-screen interfaces!

(Ironic that now most manufacturers utilize the very same screens to integrate their nav and radio systems....)

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what's wrong with disco? :unsure:

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i get a kick out of you saying I'm racist. I'm just reporting the daily driving report.

I'm not calling you racist... I just meant that it could be construed as a racist comment. You know that you're one of my favorite posters here at C&G. :) (At least I think I've said that before. But anyway, it's true.)

All those liberal architecture student's thoughts must be bleeding into your head now............

God help me if that happens. My family and friends are on strict orders to shoot me if I start acting 'liberal' in any way :D

I'll laugh every time daily I see an LX car with bling wheels or dubs, tinted windows, gawdawful striping, 'billet grilles' and chrome pillars, or hues so bright it would burn the sun itself.

I agree... A lot of them are tacky. But my point is someone liked the design enough to take the time to do that. I don't see many "blinged out" Cobalts or Camrys.

and that is even after i drive by denny hecker dodge every day which is by where i drop off my kid.

You have a kid?!?! I never knew.

When the fashion conscious and status seekers and women abandon a car manufacturer and they haven't chased it down with anything new.......looks like chickens are coming home to roost.

I don't really think any of those elements drive the core of the market though.

CRV's are cute and safe and tidy and unfortunately that is what rules the market these days.

By default, yes. The reason Toyota and Honda sell is because they're a safe bet. But Detroit WILL NOT be able to sell on that for a very long time, so they must appeal to emotion.

Chrysler as a brand may be damaged for a decade or more because of their move to gangsta car design.

The Sebring, Aspen, Crossfire, long outdated PT and less than stellar minivan replacements did as much or more to damage the division,

We're almost a decade removed from the 300M, latter intrepids, etc. that the public embraced so much.

Different drivetrain, different time (domestics still owned the market then) different public consensus.

It's a new game now. If competent engineering alone could sell domestics cars, then the Malibu, G6, Fusion, Milan and Aura would own the segment.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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All joking aside......if GM had taken that screen, continually improved it and made it more user-friendly.....well....GM could have been seen as the leader in touch-screen interfaces!

(Ironic that now most manufacturers utilize the very same screens to integrate their nav and radio systems....)

Nah, the media wouldn't allow that.

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