Park Plaza Dodge in Forest Park doesn’t want to talk about the steel blue 2005 Chrysler 300C now for sale for $1 million on eBay. Evidently, the identity of its former owner, President Barack Obama, was supposed to be confidential, but slipped out when the car was sold to Naperville resident Tim O’Boyle in late 2007.
“This is bringing us attention that we really don’t want,” explained a manager at Park Plaza. Unfortunately, “Park Plaza Dodge” is on the car’s title, viewed on eBay by almost 160,000 people, as well as members of the media who got wind of the auction last week. A photo of the dashboard – with engine light lit – also appears on eBay, although the listing says engine issues have been resolved.
The “fully loaded” Chrysler with a HEMI V-8 engine was leased in 2004 by the then-Illinois state senator when the odometer had 12 miles on it. According to the eBay listing, the odometer read 19,000 when then-U.S. Senator Obama traded in the vehicle in 2007 for a Ford 2007 Escape.
“I guess Obama was sick of the gas guzzler and wanted a hybrid,” said Lisa Czibor, a professional eBay seller who’s in charge of the listing. Czibor says a previous listing expired with no bids until the news media caught wind of the sale.
Obama didn’t actually go to Forest Park to get rid of the Chrysler. “He traded it in at a Hawk Ford dealership in Oak Lawn,” said Czibor. The dealerships are affiliated and move cars around to sell them, she said.
O’Boyle, 52, is manager of a Hillside restaurant, said Czibor. So far, he’s received no bids on the car and the auction is over on Wednesday but Czibor is optimistic. On the auction site, she points out that Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 1977 Peugeot sold at auction for £1.5 million and Adolph Hitler’s blue Mercedes convertible sold for $8 million.
“I think it’ll sell this time. From all the serious phone calls I’ve had from interested parties, I think it will go. [The Chrysler] would be worth a million dollars to you if you needed to get your name in the paper,” said Czibor.