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11215 Views 61 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  cdmccul
Since I've made no formal announcement here, here it is.

In March I sold my 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix SE with 120,000 miles on it. A week later, I bought this:

A 2002 Chrysler 300M Special in Deep Sapphire Blue with the slate slate/light taupe two-tone interior. I bought it with 62,242 miles on the clock, and it now has 64,409.

Only mod so far is the front retractable license plate. Before I bought it, it was registered in Pennsylvania for its entire life. So, it had no front plate. The front bumper cover was flawless. The dealer gave me a front plate mount for use in NJ and told me how to install it. The moment he said to drill into the bumper, I threw the stupid thing in the backseat and forgot about it. Went online and bought a retractable license plate mount from Swift Motorsports and never looked back.

Plate up, just for you Johnny Law:

Hey, where'd it go?! :ghost:

It's been exactly four years since I had an LH. How's it hangin'? :jester:
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I don't have any good shots of the interior. I took these today when cleaning it.

State of the art security system by Evil Monkey Industries:
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Where'd you get that plate retractor? That's really hot. I was going to work on making one for my first gen... Mount it in the vent openings in the bumper, rather than below it, was what I wanted to do, off center to one side.

Sweet looking car!
Got it from Swift Motorsports

They also have a motorized version... for 3x the price. For real. Yeah I'd rather get a servo and turn the regular version into a motorized unit.

All it needs now is a topper to hide it better when it's down. Gonna start on that in a few weeks when the semester is over.
Update: Two new mods, one being maintenance.

I went junkyard diving a while back to replace some broken interior plastics (driver's door lock tab, child seat anchor cover, center cap, emergency trunk release) and happened upon an early '99 LHS. Sadly, the clock bezel was long gone. However, she still had her 360 watt AC amp! Snagged it for $15 and got some depth in the back!

Also, on Wednesday my new front rotors came in. I got ATE slotted rotors from Tire Rack, and Wagner Thermoquiet ceramic pads from the Advance 20 miles north of me (long drive for auto parts, stoopid Autozone and their shitty brands). 18 hours later, they were installed. The passenger side rotor was frozen to the hub, so it took some persuation (with a 3 lb sledge) to remove, and I had to let penetrating oil set up overnight, causing the massive delay. But that's behind me now. Everything is installed. Gonna put 500 miles on it before testing the new setup. Also now planning on replacing all of my spring isolators and all 4 struts next summer, if Chrysler is still in business and still making them.


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Mine had nothing at all in terms of bass. It was like someone was beating a drum, and held their hand on the drum skin. That's how shallow and lifeless the bass was. The AC amp from the early LHS has enough gain that I feel confident with replacing just the head unit later this summer, as opposed to buying new speakers and installing the aftermarket system from the GP in tandem with a new HU. Planning on getting a DD DVD/Nav unit.
lol what does, the two-tone interior? Some of that light taupe will be disappearing... as soon as I can get my mitts on a slate pop-out cupholder and slate leather console lid from a Special. Already got the slate shifter bezel and rear vents from the one Ali found.
I have to wash the car first. Such a dirty girl...
I dont see ANY pics.
Hey Doug, enjoying your senility? I posted one picture LOL.

Ask and ye shall receive:

I went to Home Depot today a got a nice tote box to keep in my trunk, and keep things organized. It's a sturdy plastic box complete with lid latches, is lockable (have to get a padlock), has a handle on the front and a nice handgrip on the side, and has wheels on one end. Currently contains my new tire iron, Haynes manual, power inverter, pack of AA batteries, and roll of paper towels. Gonna toss in my air mattress and pump as well. Come Carlisle time, I'll also put cleaning products in it. Eventually I want to get an embroidered trunk mat so I can have the trunk open at shows.

Sun just below the horizon:

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I might consider a spoiler for this car... still not sold on the idea, though.
What really amazed me at Carlisle was that your seats look like they are brand new.
The Magic Eraser doesn't really get much out of them lol (meaning there isn't a lot of dirt). I cleaned and conditioned them with Lexol products on the Friday before the show. The driver's seat bottom sorely needs to be redone... there's a tear right under the asscrack where the stitching ripped through. The only way you can tell it's there is a slight collection of dirt on the torn edges, and the missing thread. Not enough for me to worry about it right away, though I want to take it to an upholstery shop before Carlisle 2010.
Very nice! Top notch in person. I would like to take a closer look at that license plate setup too.

I can edit this for you, just let me know what you want where.
Hopefully it'll be at Carlisle next year, pending my living arrangements and employment status. Also hopefully that mod will be finished by then. I starting making a fiberglass cover/mount for the plate slider. So far I have the base of it, molded in the shape of that section of the bumper cover and with an added flat section to mount the front of the slider (so it's not hanging down like that). Now I have to trim it, shape the foam I bought, wrap it, FB the cloth wrap, sand it, paint it, cut it for the plate to pop in an out, and mount it.

Of course if you really wanna see it sooner, you can donate to the "get Rob to the next Ohio meet fund", where premium gas will cost $106 round trip! Regular might be around $100... Yeah I'm still thinking about it. Cost might not that much of an issue, but the 10 hours of driving part is (and arriving at 3-4am on Saturday, in a full suit!).
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Here's what the link should look like:
Pictures by rknapp - Photobucket/Luna/DSC01609.jpg

Additional portion highlighted.
I thought that was PMed to you... oh well, I'm happy, lol. Thanks, Dan!
Update on the car. Had a minor rear-end collision Sunday night in Dover, DE. My car is the one that was struck. Outwardly, it appears that there are some scratches and cracks in the paint. What you can't see is the energy absorber was damaged (I have a chunk of it in the glove box) and there is a 50/50 shot that the cracks are actually in the bumper cover plastic and it will need to be replaced.

Total estimate for a new OEM bumper cover is $1,842.70. Might have to be new OEM since only 4500 Specials were ever built, and there is no aftermarket, so used and refurbed will VERY hard to find. There is also a back order until the middle of next month, so it will be a few weeks before it gets worked on.
Luckily all the damage is isolated to the bumper cover and the energy absorber. By my calculations, counting my speed at 0 MPH and his speed (figuring his truck moved for about a second and had to cover about 3 feet of void) was about 2-2.1 MPH. Appears to be enough to crack the absorber and possibly crack the bumper cover.

Originally I was going to have them pay the body shop directly so I don't have to deal with finding a replacement cover, but now I might have them pay me directly, if they're willing to pay to replace the cover, so I can have it fixed at my leisure. Possibly next spring, after the snows and the salts. Then, I might through in a few more bucks to have the cladding repainted all around (thinking gloss graphite, or graphite metallic, though Tom wants me to do silver lol) and have some chips on the hood, fender, roof, rear door, and mirrors taken care of.
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Oh wow, almost a year since the last update... car was fixed a long time ago.

Also done since then:
Timing belt, water pump, thermostat, driver rear strut and knuckle, radiator.

Updated mod list:

- Evil Monkey Security
- 1999 Chrysler LHS 360w amplifier (P/N 4760688AC)
- Chrysler 6-disc DVD/Aux. changer
- RB1
- SRT Design 20"x8" wheels
- 245/35/20 Nankang Ultrasport NS-II tires
- Custom "Luna" graphic on oval badge, on winged emblem, on trunk
- Custom "Luna" graphic on 1st generation LHS rear speaker grills
- JoeKD CAI with custom "Luna" graphic
- Early 300M sight shield
- Silver painted calipers and knuckles
- ATE Slotted rotors and Wagner Thermoquiet pads up front
- 1999 LHS Winged clock bezel
- LED in winged clock
- Black A-pillars from an early Dodge Intrepid

- Custom "chrome" shift knob
- Custom wood steering wheel
- Dual interior cathodes
- White cathodes in glove box and trunk
- Rear door courtesy lights (just need rear door harnesses! sockets already in)
- Blacked out interior from the tops of the door panels and up

Copied from most recent 300M Club update:

Some new things to add.

Many of you are already aware of the recent radiator issue... AFAIK, a new one is now nestled between the A/C condenser and radiator fans. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but such is life.

I treated her to some new acquisitions.

Not happy with it. Too much chrome IMHO. Once I can figure out what a lightly scratched (maybe 6-6.5 out of 10) knob is worth, I'll be selling it (feel free to toss an offer my way... I have a number in mind, but no reasonable offer will be ignored). The scratches are mostly light, with a little more on top and a small nick on top, likely from the ashtray/gear lever bezel that was sitting on it when I found the car in the yard. Hard to get an image with a cell phone, but I'll try to get a macro with my phone tomorrow in the daylight.


Kinda neat. Using the AF disc. Works well, but I find the map view disorienting (used to the helicopter/horizon-ish view on my Garmin 200W). Not really a problem since you aren't supposed to stare at the screen while driving, but I still need to glance at it to be sure I don't miss a turn. The plan at this point is to use this temporarily. Next year I'm going to consider a custom double-din satnav setup using a Kenwood nav unit with Garmin maps. Otherwise I like the RB1. A few too many menus to find the local WaWa, but the sound is excellent. Definitely an improvement over my factory-installed RBB. Weird. Wasn't expecting that.

One thing I need to figure out is whether or not there is a night view. Used it to get to WaWa tonight to test the navigation function, and the thing practically lit up my interior. Maybe that's what was so disorienting... glancing from the dark scene in front of me, lit only by the HID headlamps, to the bright map display, and back.
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Andrew, there's not a sea of black in my car. There's a mix of black vinyl and plastic, and light taupe plastic vinyl and leather.

Besides, I have a custom chrome shifter on the way. Need to do more wetsanding.

I also need to find the time to fit my soft-touch panels properly. Driver's knee bolster just refuses to fit correctly on the radio-side, and the glove box hangs quite a bit. I put the plastic bolster back it, and I figure not many people will notice the glove box once I fix the latch.
Can't believe you don't like the shifter... I think it looks great!
I guess I'm one of the few people who doesn't really care for chrome. The chrome window trim and door handles are more than enough.

That said, if I had an entirely black interior, I would most likely have a chrome shifter and chrome buttons in it. With my two-tone interior, it just clashes too much.
Six months later, a number of updates... mostly of the gruesome variety. If you frequent the Enthusiast's Club, or LHForums, then you're likely aware that the car was totaled on 12/6/2010. The insurance company and the state did everything in their power to rip the car from my hands, but my hands are neither cold nor dead. March 11th, 2011, I got her back, and in pristine condition, despite what PennDOT wanted me to believe.

Long and short of it is I didn't pay attention for one second too long in rush hour, played pin the Special on the Tiburon, and lost. Hood, headlights, bumper cover, grill, AC condensor, radiator, fans, power steering system, all damaged beyond repair. I accepted the total lost settlement, bought it back from the insurance company, and restored it for FAR less money than her retail value, despite what Progressive thought. Then I danced with the state when they tried everything in their power to keep it off the road with their idiotic clerical errors and moronic record keeping.

Stuck with an R-title and higher insurance rates, but I'm still far better off than if I had taken a loan and bought a 2005/6 Charger/300 as my folks wanted me to do.

At any rate, she's back, better than ever, and ready for a few changes.

Taken the Friday I got her back:

3/15, at an impromptu 300M Club mini-meet with Alan (alandw) Dale (DaleFicken), and Mike (mabraham, rode in with Alan) in New Rochelle, NY (the Bronx):

Comparing my factory ride height to Alans H&R springs:

Newest "big" mod, done while she was getting a nose job. Genuine Mopar spoiler scored at a junk yard for $25:

I replaced the hood and trunk struts. What used to be difficult to open is now difficult to close! Paid about $48 out the door at Advance using the BIG30 coupon code online and in-store pick-up in Quakertown. $45 total after a 6% discount. Not bad. Glad I waited, and certainly keeping the receipt so I can get a free new set in three years!

On the agenda:
- Blacking the interior a smidge -- Have already obtained a few deep slate interior kick pieces, DS weatherstripping, black A-pillars (installed), and recently discovered a 1999 300M with black OTIS cover and black visor pull-outs. Not sure if I'll keep the OTIS cover. It has controls for an aftermarket sunroof that appear to have a larger hole drilled for them than the factory piece. Not to mention the scratches on the front of the cover... bleh, I can usually find a decent black OTIS cover at that yard that I can modify. I'll just keep looking. Still need black oh-**** handles, then I can move forward with the B and C pillars, the visors, headliner, and sunshade... I'll think I'll call an upholstery shop for much of that.

- Audio -- Already purchased front components, wiring, distro block, 4-channel amp, etc (thank you Derek), and I have a custom radio bezel being made for me (thank you Shawn). Working on sub enclosure and everything else.

- Suspension, wheels/tires, brakes -- Looking into having my brand new front struts, mounts, endlinks installed soon, so I can get the alignment squared away and new tires installed on the SRTDs. In the meantime, I had two of my SRTDs repaired, ready to go back into service. Hoping to have them on again mid to late April. I want to do the brakes all around at the same time. Probably NAPA parts this time around. Haven't decided yet, may wait until late June since the current parts are still in great condition.

- Protection -- Now that the front end is essentially brand new, I'm going to look into a clear bra for the hood and bumper cover, and clear covers for the headlights to prevent hazing in the future. I'm also going to have whichever shop does this work tint the side and rear windows 25%. Nothing on the windshield, since PA inspection laws expressly forbid even so much as a sunstrip. A-holes.

Thankfully I qualified for a nice tax refund since I was on my own as a student last year and had paid $6600 in tuition. That's what is funding a lot of the maintenance items, and that's why I'm going local on a lot of them. I like to spend my tax refunds on the local economy.

That's my long-winded short story, thanks for looking!
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