Born of the promising yet short lived alliance between Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, the somewhat odd looking Chrysler Crossfire was the American take on the slinky SLK.

Configured in the same way as the SLK, the Crossfire was a rear-wheel drive, two-seater, convertible or hard top.

It was available from 2004 to 2008, and was manufactured by German coachbuilding specialist,  Karmann.

A design concept was presented in 2001 at the North American Auto Show, with what would be the production look showcased at the following year’s Los Angeles show.

Based on the first generation Mercedes-Benz SLK,  with 80 per cent of components shared, the name Crossfire comes from the blend of the two companies and from a design feature.

Two long crease lines run from the front to the rear, with a cross of lines below the mirrors.

The Crossfire is identifiably Mercedes-Benz from a front quarter view; there is the strong M-B design ethos visible in the windscreen itself, then there is the long, sweeping, bonnet, and truncated tail.

Chrysler added the bonnet lines and and fenders strakes to help relate the Crossfire to the Chrysler family.

There were two transmissions available: a standard 6-speed manual or optional 5-speed auto were spun by a standard 3.2-litre V6 with 160kW and 310Nm.

An SRT-6 version, with an AMG fettled V6, was also available with the 5-speed. A 6-speed auto came later from Chrysler.

Underneath the awkwardly proportioned machine were 18-inch alloys with 225/40 rubber up front and 255/35/19s at the rear.

The suspension was unequal length double wishbones for the front and a solidly built, five-link at the rear.

Steering was the even then somewhat archaic recirculating ball system that was built into the first generation SLK, not a rack and pinion setup.

Standard equipment included a powered rear wing, powered retractable roof for the convertible, single-disc AM/FM/CD audio system, powered leather seats, and airconditioning.

Options included a twin subwoofer Infinity premium sound system, GPS system based on the CD format, and a range of exterior and interior colour trims.

The production run started in early 2003 for the 2004 model year. Sales didn’t come close to reaching the mooted 20,000 per year in the US, with a total of just over 76,000 sold worldwide across the two body styles, and in right and left hand drive.

Just 284 right hand drive SRT-spec vehicles were sold during the Crossfire’s production run.

Crossfire’s run came to an end in December 2007, when the last car was built and rolled out — just shy of its five-year anniversary.

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Conole

Dave Conole hails from Perth where he co-hosted a car show on one of the city's major community radio stations. Although he's had formal training in stage, TV, and film, it's his face for radio that gave him his start in the automotive field, both reviewing and motorsport commentary. After moving to Sydney in 2004, Dave has worked for some of Australia's biggest media groups and is the anchor commentator at Sydney Motorsport Park. This has lead to anchoring major events such as the Top Gear Festival (and, no, he didn't get punched by Jeremy).