Car journalists often extoll the virtues of the station wagon—gobs of cargo room, better fuel economy versus SUVs, and stately but sleek looks. Yet the wagon has struggled to capture the hearts, and wallets, of American consumers over the past couple of decades, with slow sales exacerbated as the crossover has become the family vehicle of choice.
Because of Americans’ aversion to wagons, only two domestic manufacturers have dipped their toes in the wagon waters during the past twenty years. One of those wagons was the Dodge Magnum, built between 2005 and 2008 on the LX platform that still underpins the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The brawny and aggressive Magnum even came as a SRT-8 performance model with a Hemi V8.
While the Magnum SRT-8 is rare (only a few thousand were produced), this burly estate spawned an even more obscure station wagon: the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 Touring. While the 2005-2010 Chrysler 300C was offered solely in sedan form in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan received the 300C Touring, which shared most of its bodywork aft of the B-pillar with the Magnum. While the Magnum’s brutish looks clashed with the elegance of a long-roofed design, the wagon body style suited the Chrysler 300C’s dignified front fascia far better.
Luckily for gearheads, the 300C Touring wasn’t just a handsome face—Chrysler also created an SRT-8 variant, squeezing the same 6.1-liter Hemi V8 from the Magnum SRT-8 under the hood. While a hefty weight of 4,266 lbs meant that the SRT-8 Touring wasn’t especially nimble, the wagon was still a beast in a straight line thanks to its beefy engine. The Hemi cranked 425 bhp and 420 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, allowing a sprint to 60 mph in just under 5 seconds and a top speed of 165 mph.
An American muscle wagon is already a rarity (the Magnum SRT-8 and Cadillac CTS-V being the only other examples in recent history), but the 300C SRT-8 Touring is made even more bizarre by being a American performance wagon that was only sold in overseas markets. The SRT-8 model is fairly hard to find, and very little has been written about the car, with a corny 2007 video from Drive.com.au seemingly the only review online. In fact, I’d never heard of the 300C SRT-8 Touring before stumbling upon this clean example on the streets of Kensington in London, but having seen one in the flesh, it is now a personal favorite, joining the roster of evanescent cars that I can only dream of one day owning.