Curbside Musings: c. 2004 Chrysler Crossfire – Sporting Whiskers

c. 2004 Chrysler Crossfire. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Friday, April 12, 2024.

It appears from my casual observations on public transportation and in the office that the mustache is making something of a comeback.  I suppose it never really left, but in my mind, I had always associated a mustache with gentlemen who are or were older than me.  My dad had a mustache for all but maybe six months during my entire lifetime.  When he shaved it off (and I forgot for what reason), it was thoroughly disorienting.  I was so very relieved when I saw that it was back during one of my returns from college.  One of my uncles has always sported a thick one, and his son, my cousin, also has one.  Just as many men in my extended family are or were clean-shaven, like my late grandpa and Uncle Jim.  I’ve grown facial hair and was one of many who sported one of the most nineties things for guys in that era: a goatee.  I also wore sideburns for a while when I still had a full head of hair.  I have never, however, grown just a mustache.

c. 2004 Chrysler Crossfire. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Friday, April 12, 2024.

When my hair started thinning by my mid-twenties and I had decided to just shave it all off, facial hair was one way I could change the way I looked, since different hairstyles were then out of the question.  These days, I just work with a little bit of stubble and call it a day.  However, I now have more than a few coworkers in the office and on the building floor where I work who weren’t even born when I started my insurance career and now wear a thick mustache.  This trend has gone beyond the “Movember” movement that involves the growing of a mustache during November to raise awareness of issues related to men’s health.  Maybe some participants in this annual event had decided after the month had turned to December that they liked the mustache they had cultivated and wanted to stick with it.  That’s fair.

c. 2004 Chrysler Crossfire. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Friday, April 12, 2024.

I want to be clear that I have no real opinion about it, either way, and ultimately, I have my own upper lip on which to grow, or not grow, whatever I want on it.  What I can say, though, is that maybe ninety percent of the time, a mustache doesn’t make me think of associations with the eternally-cool Tom Selleck or Eddie Murphy, or of some Viking king from days of yore.  It makes me think of Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, Kip Dynamite, any number of former professors, teachers, fellow landscapers, or my Uncle Bob.  All of this is fine, and I suppose that the general absence of the mustache among my Generation X cohort, which is now old enough to have adult children who can either grow thick mustaches or appreciate them, means that these now-grown kids probably have completely different associations with the mustache than I do.

c. 2004 Chrysler Crossfire. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Friday, April 12, 2024.

Anyway, this Crossfire fastback was parked in my neighborhood a couple of months ago.  Maybe only five years ago, I wouldn’t have stopped to photograph a Crossfire, but with only one new Chrysler for sale these days, the Pacifica minivan, I’m now especially drawn to any non-minivan Mopar.  The Crossfire remains something of a tragic hero in my mind, born of Chrysler’s ultimately unsuccessful merger with Daimler, sharing the underpinnings of the perfectly respectable Mercedes-Benz SLK-class, but getting little or none of that same level of appreciation.  There was also the Crossfire’s styling, which could be alternately characterized as daring to some, or too busy or just plain unattractive to others.  I like them, as I’ve written before.  It was while walking around to the front of this car that I noticed it had a custom grille up front that resembled, to me, anyway, a mustache.

c. 2004 Chrysler Crossfire print ad, as sourced from the internet.

So, apparently, this mustache trend has even extended to cars.  In case any are concerned for my ongoing sobriety, I wasn’t under the influence of any substances when I wrote this essay.  Maybe a carstache was just the first thing I thought of at a time right after receiving invitations to high school graduation parties for the children of my peers, whose sons are now wearing the kind of facial hair I couldn’t grow successfully until well into my twenties.  I digress.

This is a perfectly nice-looking aftermarket grille on this Crossfire, and aside from a few minor dings, this two-seat sports car looked to be in good shape.  The original grille, with its eggcrate pattern accented by horizontal, chrome strips (as pictured in the brochure photo above), is more to my liking, but that’s just in keeping with my general preference for a factory-stock appearance.  I suppose what looks right to us, in terms of either facial hair or a car’s exterior features, is largely based on familiarity.  I’ve thought about growing a mustache simply to mess with people, but there’s a small part of me that’s afraid I might just like and want to keep it.

Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois.
Friday, April 12, 2024.

Tom Halter wrote this excellent, firsthand review back in 2020.  Here’s another one of my takes on this model from 2022.