Junkyard Find: 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Limited Roadster

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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™.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Christopher Christopher on Feb 27, 2023

    After owning a super rare Subaru Forester Sports XT for 13 (!) Years, it was time to purchase another vehicle. After looking at 6 unmitigated disasters that were the used cars I looked at, I happened across a one owner, low mileage (57k) 2004 Crossfire. After a test drive, and realizing a number of features were not functioning in the car, I made a low-ball offer on the car to the dealer. And, lo and behold, I am now the owner of said car.I have owned this car for almost exactly a year, and have put 12k miles on it (60 mile/day commute to work) and wanted to share what I've learned.

    First, and most importantly is that this is a very polarizing car people either love it or they hate it passionately. When I purchased the car there wasn't a scratch or a dent on it after a year of people going out of their way in parking lots to smash their doors into the car, it's definitely got some dings on it now. And yes I'm one of those people that Parks 10 miles away from the entrance so people don't go anywhere near the car but in my case it was a moot point. Second, this car is still amazingly fun to drive. As a lifelong gearhead this is the only car I've ever owned that I'm not thinking about modifying it. I MIGHT put a cold air system on it, but, I'm trying to get as much use as I can out of this vehicle. Third, and most importantly, it's a Mercedes-Benz products so if things go bad expect them to be pricey. Even maintenance cost on this car not cheap for example this car has one of the largest oil sumps I've ever seen on a vehicle, other than a diesel truck, at 8.5 quarts. And of course you have to use a specific type of motor oil that only three companies make (0W-40)- as a former USAF jet mechanic I've always done the maintenance on my cars which is good because the price of said items is over $100 as I write this. That being said because it's not a forced induction system, and because 90% of my mileage is done on the highway the oil lasts much longer.

    all in all for $6,500, I'm VERY pleased with my purchase! It gets a decent mileage I actually put snow tires on it and I'm driving it currently as my daily and it does amazingly well with the Right tires (Continental Viking contacts).

  • Don Mcbean Don Mcbean on Feb 28, 2023

    I bought one about a year ago for 3k…2005

    power blue roadster 6 spd with 73k on it… love driving it and the heads it turns… wondering what maybe the future collectible value… let me

    know what you guys think!

    • Randy Randy on Mar 08, 2023

      Don- I have a pretty good track record at picking future collectible cars. A 2005 Crossfire hardtop with 64k miles being offered by a local dealer caught my eye the other day. It appeared to be in very good shape and the asking was $8400. I read up on it a bit and I was impressed with its engine size, specs and options offered. It certainly was not an inexpensive offering starting at almost $40k. It has a very distinctive look to it and it's got those Mercedes SLK roots. I could definitely see this becoming collectible in the years to come. Its got that look. I think you made a good choice. Of course the SRT is the real hot one to have in this line with its 330 HP and 5.0 second 0 to 60. I saw one of those offered for $10k with 104k miles. Might be worth paying the extra amount now for the SRT to maximize your future benefit potential.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I use a now discontinued Kuhmo AT tire that is surprisingly good in the snow, even in 2WD. However since most of my driving is on road, I'm going to look for a more highway friendly tire for smoother quiet. I'm sure it can still handle the forest roads leading to my fishing spots.
  • MaintenanceCosts So this is really just a restyled VW Fox. Craptacular tin can but fun to drive in a "makes ordinary traffic seem like a NASCAR race" kind of way.
  • THX1136 While reading the article a thought crossed my mind. Does Mexico have a fairly good charging infrastructure in place? Knowing that it is a bit poorer economy than the US relatively speaking, that thought along with who's buying came to mind.
  • Lou_BC Maybe if I ever buy a new car or CUV
  • Lou_BC How about telling China and Mexico, we'll accept 1 EV for every illegal you take off our hands ;)