At the recent Southward Car Museum Open Day in Paraparaumu, Drive Life was invited to take along the Chrysler 300 SRT we were testing for the week and get the public’s reaction on the car. Yes a totally unscientific survey, but hey we take these opportunities when they present themselves.

I didn’t ask people to hold back on their comments – good or bad – and so was surprised at the almost 100% approval of the car. There were some things people commonly mentioned, for example about 75% of visitors loved the clock – a nice analogue face with a white background.

2016-southward-car-museum-300-srt-drivelife-7

There were other common things people did not like. Most who sat in the driver’s seat did not enjoy trying to put the foot brake on – it’s really high and your leg needs to go at an awkward angle to push down on it.

Most positive comments were also on the style – people loved it, with just one not loving it at all. Even the colour impressed people. Yes just another grey car, but with those 20” wheels and low profile tyres, it looks smart.

“I’ve always loved them,” said Craig from Manukau, Auckland, who drove down just for this event. “It just looks sinister and I love the colour. I don’t know much about the SRT but the way it just sits there is amazing.”

SRT fan Craig, from Manukau in Auckland.
SRT fan Craig, from Manukau in Auckland.

Similar comments from Gordon of Titahi Bay, Wellington. “Man! That looks amazing with that bulgier body and those flared arches. The wheels mate nicely to the body.”

Jo from Whitby in Wellington was not so generous with his praise. “I hate it. It’s a Chrysler! It’s brutish and American,” he said. Jo’s friend Grant, also from Whitby loved it “for all the reasons Jo hates it. It’s just so gangster and those 20’ wheels make the car.”

On the left, Grant who loves the SRT and friend Jo who hates it. Both hail from Whitby
On the left, Grant who loves the SRT and friend Jo who hates it. Both hail from Whitby

“It is GEORGOUS!” exclaimed Anne from Napier. “It has one sexy ass on it and I simply love the styling.”

Anne from Napier
Anne from Napier

Peter from Levin also loved the styling. “It’s a pretty God damn cool car and I love the Hemi.”

Peter from Levin
Peter from Levin

14-year old Ryan from Paraparam also loved the car, and when I let him in the driver’s seat, just let out a long “nice.”

Ryan from Paraparaumu
Ryan from Paraparaumu

A German visitor to the Southward Museum Open Day was a man called Raufer. “Is it an Audi?” he asked. Since the SRT only has SRT badges on it, an easy mistake to make? Once Raufer said this I did take a look and noticed the Audi look, especially at the front. He had no idea it was an American car and was visibly shocked when he heard this. He was even more shocked when I asked him how much he thought it was worth. “150,000 Euros,” he said. Miles off!

Steve from Wanganui sat in the driver’s seat and like many, loved the leather. Not shiny, slippery leather but a nice grippy suede in the middle with leather on the outside.

Steve from Wanganui
Steve from Wanganui

Fraser from Porirua in Wellington also loved the car, especially the carbon fibre parts inside and the LED lights. He was taken by the analogue clock, as were many.

All in all a successful day for the SRT. It was many people’s first look at the new model, and judging by the response, Chrysler have a winner on their hands.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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