The Chrysler Crossfire is infamous for utilising the earlier SLK platform from Mercedes, but in a distinctly low-rent sort of way. As it turns out, the Crossfire wasn’t the only mid-00s ‘new’ car born from an old Mercedes platform; this was based on an old E-Class. How old you ask? W124-vintage. This is the Korean luxo-barge for the person who thinks the Hyundai Granduer XG is too common, or the Kia Amanti is too obvious. Find this 2005 SsangYong Chairman CM600S for sale in Adelaide, SA for $6,350 AUD ($4,735 USD at the time of writing) via gumtree.
The engine is equally dated, again from the W124. The 3.2 I6 produces 220hp, which is respectable enough, although the Chairman tips the scales at 1,810kg. Power is sent to the rear through a 5-speed automatic, but this is by no means a driver’s car. It was designed for the person who doesn’t know what an inline engine looks like or what a clutch pedal is for.
To its credit, the interior looks good, with the most opulent of features: there is no fifth seat, instead an armrest-cum-control pad. Wood is of the petrochemical variety and makes very little attempt to hide that fact. Everything was power adjustable when it was new, and hopefully some of it retains its functionality – this was not a high point for Korean build quality.
As much as I hate to admit this, the Chairman has grown on me. The styling may be an acquired taste, but I like the strong rear quarter – even if the lights are too small – and the headstone headlights. It’s weird, out of the ordinary, and completely bizarre. And if that wasn’t good enough, imagine taking it to a Mercedes dealership for servicing.
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Michael is a teenager who’s been obsessed with cars since he was able to talk, but has no ability in mechanics whatsoever. His daily driver is a manual transmission Nissan Maxima – the Australian Infiniti I30.