We just returned from the MATS Las Vegas 2018 event, and as is the norm we rented a car to drive and haul our camera equipment and such from Southern California to Las Vegas and back. What typically happens in our world is that the rental car company offers something like a Nissan Versa, Toyota Corolla, Camry, or some other nondescript, people-mover for us when we arrive. Not to say that they’re not adequate cars for the purpose, but definitely not something that a car enthusiast would find fun, noteworthy, or interesting. In other words, they’re definitely “rental cars.”
Well, the planets must have been aligned just perfectly the day we arrived at our local renta-car counter. After a nice greeting from the staff there, the topic came up as to where we might be traveling. Of course, we mentioned that we were going to be spending about five days away while we worked at an event. And as a matter of fact, it was an automotive event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway based around performance Mopars of all years. At this event there would be a huge Mopar car show, swap meet, drag race, autocross, and much more.
The rental car manager seemed interested in this, and I joked about how maybe he could upsize our car rental from a Toyota to that one Dodge Challenger in his parking lot for no extra charge. He replied that he’d like to, except that the Challenger was a Hemi and the rental car class difference was too great to offer that deal.
A moment later he replied that he had a brand-new Chrysler 300 in the parking lot he could offer for the same rate, if I had any interest. Of course this was a no-brainer, “Yes, that sounds great.”
When we went out to the lot, the Chrysler 300S turned out to have lots of great features, a 3.6L V-6, 24-valve VVT engine with 300 hp, rotary e-shifter, electric steering, eight-speed automatic, four-wheel disc brakes, leather interior, paddle shifters with sport mode, and even a power sunroof. And 20-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels.
As I drove away I realized this was really going to be a great drive, and it was the perfect car to drive to a Mopar event. After loading the luggage and camera gear, we found the 300S had lots of great power, especially coming from a V-6 engine. The car handled well, looked great, was comfortable, and had superb passing power. And with all that power, it still offered great fuel economy. The drive to and from was fun, and the car was very easy to work out of with our equipment and gear.
But one of the best comments I got with this car was when I was driving through the pits during the MATS event. One of my drag racing buddies, Scott Graham who races a Plymouth Barracuda (L.A.S.D. Motorsports) stopped me near his trailer and said, “Hey, Bob! Did you buy a new car?” “Nope,” I replied. “This is actually a rental car.”