Crossfires invade Rifle for annual tour
Citizen Telegram Editor
For Robert Maier, a Chrysler Crossfire is something he and other owners know is something special.
The Golden resident actually owns two of the rear-wheel drive, two-door sports car marketed by Chrysler as both coupé and roadster for the 2004-08 model years.
This week, Maier and more than 40 other Crossfire enthusiasts, most with spouses in tow, have been based in Rifle for the fifth annual Crossfires Across America tour. Staying at the Comfort Inn in Rifle and including several Colorado Crossfire Club members, the owners planned to take daily tours to places like the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery, De Beque, Gateway, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument and Maroon Bells, said Maier.
Rifle was chosen as this year’s tour base after Crossfire owners stopped in the city for an overnight stay two years ago, on the way to Utah, Maier said.
“The area is beautiful,” he added. “And it’s centrally located to where we want to go, all within a day’s drive and back.”
Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Frank Ladd said the club enjoyed their stay two years ago, showing the importance of good customer service.
“It shows what good hospitality can do,” he said. “They remembered how they were treated. And I’m sure it will be a good hit for the economy.”
The Colorado Crossfire Club was established in 2004, the same year Chrysler and Karmann of Germany began production, Maier said.
The name “Crossfire” refers to the two character lines that run from front to rear along the body sides, crossing each other midway through the door panel. Conceived during the period of Chrysler’s ownership by Daimler-Benz, the name also refers to the collaboration of the two companies. The two-seater shared 80 percent of its components with the Mercedes-Benz SLK320 and were manufactured in Osnabrück, Germany.
“All the underpinnings were Mercedes-Benz,” Maier said. “The skin was by Chrysler, but they didn’t market it very well. Mercedes-Benz paid more attention to their more expensive cars. We think it’s a great car. You can put 300,000 miles on them without any problems.”
Base models retailed for about $36,000 in 2004, Maier said, with a limited Roadster model and an SRT in 2005 with a base price of about $33,000. A sportier SRT could be purchased for more than $46,000, he added.
“Now, you can get a used SRT for about $18,000,” Maier noted. “That’s still extremely reasonable for a car like this. And most owners take very good care of them, so they’re in good shape.”
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