Chrysler celebrated the 75th anniversary of its Mopar accessories division by bringing four custom vehicles to the Chicago Auto Show: a 2012 Chrysler 300C, 2013 Dodge Dart, 2012 Fiat 500 and 2012 Jeep Compass. The Mopar-accessorized, rear-wheel-drive 300C will be available from the factory this summer for around $49,000 -- about $3,000 more than a loaded rear-drive 300C. The others are available with assorted parts from Mopar’s catalog, and I checked out all four.
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True to its factory-rollout status, the Mopar 300C looks like the sleeper of the bunch, with subtle blue stripes and matching wheels. Pop the hood, and Chrysler's 5.7-liter V-8 has blue etching. Thanks to a 3.91 rear axle ratio -- compared with 3.06 for the standard 300C -- the Mopar car should hit 60 mph in close to 5 seconds, Chrysler says. The automaker doesn't cite an exact zero-to-60 time on the regular 300C, except to say it’s "under 6 seconds." The tradeoff is the engine running at higher, mileage-killing rpm on the interstate, but I doubt any Mopar owner will care. I'm not as wild about the custom interior. It gets a cool, palm-sized automatic shifter but trades the 300's upscale Nappa leather for blue-accented Katzkin leather seats. They feel like too much aftermarket cowhide: shiny and, well, cheap.