startech crossfireBack in 2004 the Chrysler Crossfire was the new kid on the block, its stunning looks were still the talk of the town and the car was on the wish list of sports car lovers far and wide. Even those lucky enough to be able to pay the £26K price tag had to be patient, as a waiting list meant that demand had out stripped supply since the late 2003 launch date.

Meanwhile, over in Germany, the well respected tuning and accessory manufacturer Brabus GMBH was busy developing a range of styling and performance modifications for the Crossfire. After many years of close association with Mercedes Benz, the Crossfire had naturally come to the attention of the Brabus technicians and the car became the latest subject for their attention.

A new brand was launched under the Startech name, and a range of tuning options and accessories where made available through the Chrysler UK dealer network. Additionally, distributors were appointed to market the range in other countries including the biggest market, the USA.

Startech WheelTo provide exposure for the Startech options, Chrysler UK shipped a right hand drive black auto Coupe over to Brabus in Germany with the instructions to give this car “the full Startech treatment” This they did, and what came back was a very special Crossfire. Indeed, a one – off which Chrysler used to promote the Crossfire, fully adorned with the full range of interior, exterior, engine and braking modifications. The car toured the UK dealerships and was featured in car magazines and numerous write ups. Its image appeared on posters and spectacular Startech brochure which has since become a Crossfire collector’s item.

And there the mystery started, what happened to car after that? It is known that the car was eventually sold through a dealership for a price close to £40k, but its whereabouts was unknown. Crossfire enthusiasts knew of its existence and assumed it was locked away somewhere in a collectors garage, under a dust sheet, never to be seen again. Or may be it was chugging up and down the roads of Britain, owned by someone who had no idea what it was. Or, even worse, destroyed in an accident.

Startech LightThen came a surprise – the car turned up in the hands of its new owner Mark in Worcestershire who recently purchased it from a car dealer in near by Shropshire. The dealer didn’t fully understand the cars pedigree and neither did Mark until he did some research of his own. Interested buyers were on the phone from the USA and Mark had to act quickly to secure the car. We don’t know what Mark paid for it, but considering its original price, I believe he got a bargain.

Mark would be the first to say that when he acquired it, the car was not pristine by any means; a couple of previous owners and 40K miles have left the usual cosmetic evidence of use. Through 2010 Mark plans to work his way through the car to bring it up to a good standard – where it deserves to be – and when he will be proud to bring it along to the UK Crossfire group meets where it would take centre stage.

So what is so special about this particular Crossfire?

Startech CRossfire WheelWell, let’s start with the outside of the car first. The Startech accessories are plentiful on the body work, and if you are a chrome fan, you are in the right place here.

A chrome effect grill covers the factory grey plastic version, with a matching  side vents on the wings. Chrome door mirror covers help to complete the look which looks stunning against the Black paint work. But the most dramatic exterior modifications are the massive Startech Monostar alloy rims giving the car a spectacular look. The Startech sports exhaust system which compliments the package with its big oval tail pipe. To complete the look a front chin spoiler, rear wing spoiler and rear diffusers blend into the body lines.

The interior has been adorned with various finishing touches, all continuing the chrome theme. Inside, the 3.8S boasts a STARTECH speedometer, leather and silver carbon-fibre interior, sports steering wheel, polished stainless-steel sill plates with illuminated STARTECH logo and STARTECH leather and aluminium gearshift and hand brake handles.

Startech EngineUnder the bonnet lays the biggest secret. The factory 3.2 litre V6 has received major surgery. Now reamed out to 3.8 the motor has been lightened and balanced with up rated camshafts and valve gear. This combined with a re map has boosted output from 215 to 300hp to give stunning performance with 0 – 60 in under 6 seconds.

Startech has fitted gas-pressure shocks, progressive-rate springs and stronger sport sway bars. The sport suspension upgrade has been calibrated to compensate for the extra power. All this needs controlling so brakes have been up rated with bigger disks and twin pot callipers in all four corners. Rounding off the handling package are exclusive Startech Monostar IV 8.5Jx19 five-spoke wheels on Pirelli 235/35 ZR 19 performance tires in front and 9Jx20 rims wrapped in 255/30 ZR 20s at the back.

The overall package has produced a car with startling looks, performance and handling. The Crossfire in standard form can be a match for any Audi TT or 350Z – The Startech version would eat them for breakfast! This is a very special Crossfire and totally unique in UK!