Hey there fellow 300M and LH enthusiast's! Welcome to the hardest contest of the year! Every year this contest is overflowing with beautiful vehicles owned and loved by some very passionate folks, and every year it seems the cars get more beautiful and the owners get more passionate! Every year I don't know how I can pick one and this year making the decision even harder than the last!
The start of my 300M adventure depends on how far back you want to go. For the sake of not posting a novel, I'll skip to when I decided to get back into the LH game.
April 2009, I began the hunt to replace my otherwise faithful Grand Prix SE. I had the opportunity to purchase yet another salesman's car off-lease, which up to that point had been ALL of my cars originally, which would have likely ended up being a 2006 Grand Prix base model of one color or another. I decided that since college graduation was coming up, I needed to treat myself and get something better than a bare bones saleman's car. Up to then, for years, I'd been pining to get back into an LH car. I'd gone to the Chrysler Nationals with the group every July except for 2008 (went to the GM nationals instead with the GP group, couldn't afford two trips to Carlisle that year), so I can't say I ever left the community. I knew what I had to get... and you guessed it... a black Concorde Limited!
Wait, what? That wasn't your guess? Oh right, I didn't quite do that. See, the image I had in my head for the car I would get was a 2002-2004 black on black Concorde Limited riding on SRT Design wheels. I thought the aesthetic would be very good, and it would be unique as not many folks had Concordes then, nor do they now if we're being honest. I can count Concorde enthusiasts on one hand that I'm aware of. You know who you are, rock on!
What ended up happening is I made a thread on the old LH Forums asking what some of the common mods might be for a Concorde. What I heard was, "Special this, Special that, Special the other thing, Special ALL OF THE THINGS!" So I got to thinking... cut out the middle man, buy a Special. That led to demanding only a 2002 model in order to get the better transmission programming, and least amount of decontenting. That left one last choice to look for... the color. Black, Silver, or Deep Sapphire? One thing I deeply missed about my Intrepid was the color. I loved how the color shifted slightly depending on the light hitting it, looking blue during the day, black at night, purplish under a streetlight, so I specifically searched for a Deep Sapphire Blue 2002 Special. I also sought a black interior because I had no desire to maintain a light taupe interior. Searching Cars.com and Autotrader, calling a number of private sellers and dealers, I eventually landed on two cars. A DSB 2002 with black interior, no sunroof, near Toms River, NJ, and a DSB 2002 with two-tone interior, sunroof, in Franconia, PA. I went to test drive the PA car first. This was the first LH vehicle for which I turned over the engine since I wrecked my ES, and sound of the exhaust at cold start on that sunny Saturday morning nearly took my breath away. The car was beautiful, had 62,224 miles on it, interior was immaculate, and drove like a dream. Not wanting to buy the very first car I looked at, we left to check out the Jersey car. Upon leaving, I saw the salesman park her up on the corner of the lot, slightly elevated, so as we left I got a nice profile view of the car. The word "Luna" popped into my head at that moment, and I started getting worried that my head just bought a car... we got all the way to the Jersey car, and found it to be a night and day difference in condition. Dirty inside and out, belts squealing, rougher ride, desperate for TLC, same mileage, higher asking price. No.
I bought the PA car. I named her Luna. Pulling onto the highway for the first time, I gave it as much throttle as I was used to giving my 3.1L 185HP Pontiac, and was thrown back in the seat from the 70 extra HP and nearly 100 extra torque in the 3.5L Chrysler V6. Totally different beast as it hit the curves so much better than the Pontiac it replaced.
I daily drove her from April 2009 technically until August 2011. Technically? Yes, because on December 6th, 2010, I discovered the possibility that I wasn't meant to own a DSB LH car for any significant period time after getting into a fight with the back of a Tiburon, and losing. The car was write-off as far Progressive Insurance was concerned. I was given a unique opportunity by my loving parents, as they offered to take the money from insurance, and add to it to help me get into a much newer 300C. My career had started at that point and it wasn't a bad thought to start a car loan and build my credit, and have something half the age of the M. The M was 9 years old, had 97,000 miles, and I was crazy enough to save it. My dad said I was a lunatic (in a good way) for saving a wrecked 9 year old car with almost 100k on it. Bob Day said I was lunatic, simply being an M enthusiast named Robert from New Jersey and could relate. I went to junk yards for used parts. I bought aftermarket parts from Advance. I ordered factory new parts from a local warehouse. I bought a refurbished Special fascia sight unseen from a recycler in Texas. After 3 months of repairs, and fighting the state to get the salvage title fixed and put her through intensive safety inspections, she passed with flying colors and was on the road again by March 2011. I tinted her windows, and put on her first LUNAT1C license plate. I then daily drove her until I got a higher paying job that summer and bought a 2007 Charger R/T Road & Track and retired her as a daily, turning her into a show car and weekend cruiser.
Since then I've given her new rockers, rebuilt the transaxle, replaced the engine and trans mounts, replaced the CV assemblies three (yes, three) times (FYI, don't waste your time with aftermarket, get refurbished factory units), and driven her an additional 36,000 miles across 10 states, on top of the 35,000 already added from purchase up until the wreck. 10 years, two timing belts, over 70,000 miles. Pennsylvania and Progressive insisted she was a piece of junk not worth saving and wouldn't be safe drive after the repair. She's gone on to win Best Interior, Best of Show, Ride of the Month, numerous show awards, 2nd and 3rd place in the 300M class, 1st place in the 300M Special class, Best Modern 300 at the annual CEMA charity car show at the old Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills at the 60th anniversary celebration of the legendary Chrysler 300 letter cars, and so much more. She's carved up mountain roads and ripped around autocross tracks. More than that, she's brought me into a family of car enthusiasts that I can't ever imagine not having, and she's my pretty blue middle finger to those who thought she was a lost cause.
I present to you, Luna.
2002 Chrysler 300M Special
Deep Sapphire Blue with Deep Slate/Light Taupe interior
Side air bags, sunroof options checked
Purchased originally August 2002
Purchased by me after local trade by first owner April 2002 at 62,224 miles
Now 133,500 miles, still an extreme pleasure to drive.
Factory PBW paint - Deep Sapphire Blue
Ground effects plastidipped with dark gray base, Hyper Silver pearlcoat
SRT Design 20x8 wheels
Mopar rear spoiler
Sarona roof spoiler
15% window tint sides and rear
Plenum and fuse center cover painted DSB with silver accents
Updated Winged Victory logo on trunklid
Two-tone Deep Slate/Light Taupe
Hard trim converted to Deep Slate
Door/dash trim wrapped in 3M Dinoc Carbon fiber vinyl
Wood wheel with 3M Dinoc Carbon fiber wrap
Chrome trim shifter with 3M Dinoc Carbon fiber wrap
Custom double-din center stack bezel, plastidipped Obsidian Black Pearl
Shifter bezel plastidipped Obsidian Black Pearl
12V outlet replaced with USB-A ports for dash-mounted Android Auto/Apple Car Play and fast-charging access for two devices
LHS winged clock bezel
A, B, C pillars, visor pull-outs done in Deep Slate
Custom rear bucket seat and console setup
Kenwood DDX 9903S with Android Auto/Apple Car Play
Infinity Kappa 6.75" component systems, front and rear
Infinity Kappa Perfect 10" subwoofers
Infinity Reference 600 wRMSx1 at 2 Ohm to subwoofers
Kenwood 400 wRMSx4 at 2 Ohm to cabin
Rockford Fosgate 3SIXTY.3 digital sound processor
Custom made amp racks and subwoofer box with mini Winged Victory emblem (from Chrysler 200 airbag cover)
Custom made, quad projector system - Morimoto FX-R Bi-Xenon and Morimoto M-LED Bi-LED
Custom made, projector HID foglights - Morimoto Matchbox Bi-Xenon
Profile Demon Eye RGB LEDs in each headlight projector
RGB LEDs in upper and lower grilles
LEDGlow Blue LED motorcycle pods throughout engine bay
LEDGlow Blue LED interior and trunk floor and cabinet lighting
Warm White map and door courtesy interior LEDs
6000K License plate strip lights
Profile Pixel LED bulbs in rear stop and turn signals
6000K front switchback turn signals
Designed and made by Remi 3rd brake light with sequential signal and BrakeSafe function
Designed and made by Remi 5000K Special mirror DRL boards with switchback sequential signal function
JoeKD J-Intake painted DSB with crescent moon image
Version 3 3/8" Plenum spacer
Cherrybomb Vortex mufflers in place of rear resonators, with 3.5" slashcut double wall tips
Brakeperformance.com slotted rotors with AdaptiveONE ceramic pads
245/40/20 Continental ExtremeContact summer tires
STILL TO COME
Can't reveal all secrets, but...
RGB wheel ring lights
Foglight RGB demon eye
New custom dual-intensity foglight LED setup
New plenum design
New interior CF wrap
And plenty more...
Beauty shots below. Thank you for reading all of this, and best of luck to everyone in this year's contest. It bears repeating, every single car and member in this contest is deserving, so no matter how the votes roll, everyone truly is a winner here.