By on January 24, 2022

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsMuch 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.

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, decklid emblem - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhen 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.

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, build tag - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThat 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.

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 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.

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, gearshift - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 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.

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, decklid spoiler - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 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?

2005 Chrysler Crossfire in Colorado junkyard, side strake - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 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!

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42 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Limited Roadster...”

  • avatar

    Surprised by how relatively clean the white portions of the interior appear – especially the steering wheel which I would expect would have shown some staining from body oils from the drivers hands. The seats appear to be in good shape also -at least cosmetically.

  • avatar

    Unlike most on the internet today, I don’t *hate* these (whether in coupe or convertible form). It was an SLK with a worse interior and a price discount. I know some people hate the styling but I think it’s fine.

    I was warmer on the retro T-bird though.

  • avatar

    Cross Fire Injection (also known at the time as “Cease Fire Injection”, due to its reliability, or lack thereof) actually debuted on the 1982 Corvette (5.7l), Camaro, and Firebird (5.0l).

    • 0 avatar

      Wasn’t that setup just two mundane throttle body injection units on a common manifold? Same thing that my Iron Duke had one of. Don’t remember reliability issues though, it ran better than the smog carbs of the day.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, two throttle bodies on a low-profile cross-ram manifold. GM didn’t have a large enough single throttle body for a V8 at the time, so two (with a total of 750 cfm) was a requirement. Cylinder-to-cylinder distribution in the manifold was so poor that they had to richen up the mixture, wiping out any possible efficiency gains. And to improve around-town drivability (get intake air to flow at a decent velocity to avoid fuel puddling in the manifold), they had to shrink the intake runners down so that the intake would only flow about 475 cfm. As a result, peak torque was reached below 3000 rpm, and engines ran out of breath above 4000.

        Here’s an article that ran in the Hemmings awhile back:

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I had the misfortune to drive one of these a mile between dealer locations once. The salesman thought it was awesome, even though he wasn’t trying to sell it to me. To me, it was a hideous piece of junk.

  • avatar

    How did these get a “1” VIN? Since they were assembled by Karmann in Osnabruck, Germany, shouldn’t the VIN start with a “W”?

    I still see these on the road occasionally, and they usually look well cared for.

    • 0 avatar

      I was wondering that, too. I do know that there is a rule for EU countries, where a manufacturer can use the country of its headquarters for the world manufacturer identifier (first character), rather than the place in which the car was actually built. This is why, for example, Volkswagen Touaregs have W VINs, for Germany, even though they are built entirely in Bratislava, Slovakia, and would otherwise start with U5, U6 or U7.

      But I don’t know of anything like that for North America.

      • 0 avatar

        IIRC, either MB or BMW got their hands slapped several years ago concerning VIN numbers for SUVs built in the US. Apparently, the VIN indicated that the SUV were assembled in Europe. The manufacturer got called out on the carpet and claimed they were following EURO rules on the pretense of high Euro content and the SUVs were intended for the Euro market. The US government reminded the manufacturer that US rules applied since final assembly was in the USA and to cut out the practice for fear of a penalty and possible retrofitting VIN numbers.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Murilee: you should make the spoiler deploy when the boombox hits a specific decibel.

  • avatar

    This was a good-looking vehicle back in the day.

  • avatar

    I had a co-worker originally from Belfast who acquired one of these, dove grey on black coupe. He told me bought it at the Chrysler fire sale for something like $18K brand new, I recall it being very nice but having that “dollar store” Mercedes feel as a passenger (did these come with t-tops?).

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      T-tops weren’t available on the Crossfire coupe though from looking at the aluminum roof rails it looks like it could of had them or a sunroof option.
      Jeremy Clarkson compared to the rear end to a dog taking a dump but I saw a lot of old AMC Marlin in it.
      The roadster seems like a cleaner design. You can find decent deals on these, considering the way other roadster prices have spiked they might be worth a buy.

      • 0 avatar

        “The roadster seems like a cleaner design. You can find decent deals on these, considering the way other roadster prices have spiked they might be worth a buy.”

        They may become collector’s pieces because of their history/rarity, but to me it strikes me as Mercedes ownership without the panache with some unobtanium thrown in for good measure.

        General thought: since these are the R170s, do the SLK parts drop in?

        • 0 avatar

          ‘General thought: since these are the R170s, do the SLK parts drop in?’

          The climate control, hazard and other center console switchgear knobs are from the R170 SLK.

          • 0 avatar

            Interesting, I wonder how much else? I realize this is already a Franken-Benz, but creating an even more mixed Franken-Benz appeals to me for sick reasons.

          • 0 avatar

            I suppose the 3.2 V6 is also from Mercedes and perhaps the automatic transmission if it is a 5-speed.

          • 0 avatar


            I was thinking more along the lines of body panels, trim pieces, seats, trunk, grille, dash pod components etc.

          • 0 avatar

            Basically, everything that you could not see was Mercedes OEM. Chrysler changed only the “see and touch” items.
            I had a 2004 and I loved it except for the seats. They were too tight on my thighs (and I and skinny).

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I quite like the looks of the drop top. And the steering wheel. Wonder what caused this car to go to the crusher? Also remember Clarkson referencing the back of the hardtop Crossfire reminding him of the back end of a dog when it squats to ‘do its business’.

    • 0 avatar

      This car had 236K miles and 1 accident reported. I would say any minor accident would end up totaling it.
      It looks well cared for, though. The 2 owner history checks in.

  • avatar

    Always interesting to see a car like this in the scrap yard. At one time it proudly rolled off the assembly line, was displayed at the dealer — then bought new. Somebody was excited about their new car for a while — then, slowly but surely, began its descent downward. Door ding here. Curb rash there. Traded in. New buyer gets it for cheap. Parked outside. Never washed or waxed. Routine maintenance skipped. Big dent somewhere that doesn’t get fixed. Dash light for something comes on — permanently. Little things go on the fritz and not dealt with. Then it either gets hit hard or something big goes and here we are.

    Kind of like going to your high school reunion and one of the best looking people in your class looks like they wound up in a heroin den or put on a feed bag full of Cheetos, fried chicken, Marlboros, and Keystone Light and left it on for years.

    Crossfires had some interesting styling touches — such as the debossed ridges in the hood — but that goofy back end just ruined that car for me. Same with the Thunderbird made around that time.

  • avatar

    I never understood the ribs on the hood of these. I would always be tempted to try to strap something on there.

  • avatar

    The hood lines ruined its look. The Cadillac XLR is far more desirable than the Crossfire

  • avatar

    This is what I could find per the VIN:
    -This car only had 2 owners through its life
    -It was last registered in WY
    -Last reported mileage: 236,525
    -1 accident reported

    It’s quite amazing this car made it to almost a quarter million miles. I’d say that 1 accident as minor as it could be ended up totaling the car.

  • avatar

    This is such a small detail, but I loved the font they used on the IP. If not mistaken, it looks suspiciously like the font used on the mid 2000s Maybachs.

    Also loved the brushed plastic/metal. This car had some interesting interior design choices – someone seemed to be taking their job seriously on this car.

  • avatar

    If you like these at all pick one up immediately! There is a huge community of enthusiasts for the crossfire and the car is very easy to customize/upgrade… I’m making a race car show build right now out of a 2004 base. You can put a 5.5L AMG V8 in these cars easily with the correct ecu reprogramming! It’s a great car for someone looking to jump into the car show culture

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    Based on my User Name is should be clear I like German cars, but recently when I came looking for a fun manual transmission car for the weekends, I was looking at Mazda Protege5s, MK1 Ford Focus, Fiestas, MK5 Golf, etc.

    Then one day, this 2004 Chrysler Crossfire Limited coupe with a 6-speed manual, Mercedes staggered wheels, lowered 1″ on Eibach springs popped up on my search, with less than 100K miles in perfect condition.

    I made fun of this car when it came out, especially since I was an avid Top Gear watcher. But I got to say, I fell in love with this little car and bought it after a test drive. It definitely reminds me of 2000’s Era German cars I’ve grown up with, including the smell. That “Burnt Crayon” smell, which honestly is a rather generous description that German car owners like to say instead of admitting the truth, which is that it smells like a foot locker.

    Either way, I bought the car and so far have loved it. I honestly have gotten far more positive reactions from people with this car than pretty much anything I’ve owned, including some rather fancy machines through the years.

    It doesn’t have quite the handling of the E46 or E90 I’ve had, but still drives well, peppy engine, nice manual tranny. It’s just an R170 Mercedes with a different body, so plenty of available parts to maintain it. Overall, very pleased with it.

  • avatar

    At the end, couple of the larger so cal (OC) dodge stores would give you a FREE crossfire if you paid (Close to) sticker for a RAM….not sure of the details but the giant ad in the sunday paper was hard to miss for quite awhile….

  • avatar

    I worked for a Jeep dealership and the owners wife bought him a Crossfire Coupe as a surprise anniversary (or whatever) gift. After a month it was sitting on the used car lot.

  • avatar

    Face it, if Chrysler’s art-deco flirtation had actually connected with the buying public, the Crossfire and the 200 wouldn’t be looked at as such total failures.

  • avatar

    I admit to a strong liking for the coupe particularly and I see quite a few of both types on the Florida Sun Coast, which I guess is their natural habitat.

    Certainly the MB underpinnings should give more comfort for an owner as the miles mount up.

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