There was a time when V8-powered rear-drive four-door sedans like the Chrysler 300C ruled the American road. Powerful, spacious, and capable of gobbling up miles and miles and miles of highway in one great big bite, these were the de-facto standards of American motoring—until the various and sundry fuel crises stepped in to throw salt in their game.
People are so fickle—give them a reason to look in another direction, and they’ll turn their back on you so quickly, you’ll wonder if you were ever loved at all. And so it came to pass, the large rear-drive V8-powered sedan came to represent everything wrong with the American auto industry.
And yes, we’ll admit the genre did do its part to contribute to that loss of favor. Large also means takes up a lot of space, and powerful (back then) also meant “consumed a lot of fuel”. Not a very good look when people are literally lining up and hoping to get gasoline. Eventually though, the crises subsided, technological breakthroughs made it possible to have a large rear-drive car with both a powerful engine and reasonable fuel economy, and so the large rear-drive four-door sedan is now making a bit of a comeback.
Arguably the model responsible for proving what was possible in that regard is the Chrysler 300. Taking advantage of the relationship Chrysler had with Daimler-Benz at the time, the underpinnings from the W210 Mercedes-Benz E-Class models (offered between 1995 and 2002) were used as the foundation for the model (as well as the Dodge Charger and the Dodge Challenger). This gave the 300C terrific road manners in addition to everything else.
When the model debuted in 2005, with old-school styling, a brace of powerful, yet fuel efficient engines, room for the entire family, and a delightful driving experience, a large, rear-drive V8 powered sedan had people lining up once again—but this time to buy one of the cars.