Image credits: © Chrysler.

MSRP: $24,695-41,905
Invoice: $22,955-38,945

2008 Chrysler 300 — A Classic wîth Stunning Design, Exhilarating Performance and Sophisticated Interior
Loaded wîth premium features, stunning Chrysler design, fuel-saving technology and abundant standard safety features, the 2008 Chrysler 300 continues to make everything else on the road seem ordinary.

The dramatic exterior design of the Chrysler 300 has been refreshed for 2008 wîth minor changes to the front and rear fascias and tailamps and a new rear deck lid that incorporates an SRT-inspired integrated spoiler and relocated high-mounted stop light. However, the classic proportions of long hood, short deck and dramatic profile remain to give the Chrysler 300 its continued award-winning, stunning presence for 2008.

The sophisticated interior design of the Chrysler 300 has been enhanced for 2008 wîth a new instrument panel and center console design, highlighted wîth satin silver bezels. Soft-touch surfaces on arm rests and door panels, and a newly designed and relocated cruise control stalk, add to the comfortable interior. Available light-emitting diode (LED) lighting in the front cup holders and front- and rear-door map pockets provide additional driver convenience.

New entertainment and communications options on the 2008 Chrysler 300 include a Boston Acoustics eight-speaker 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound system, SIRIÚS Backseat TV™ and MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System wîth optional navigation. (posted on conceptcarz.com)

In addition, seat-mounted air bags have been added to the front and rear side-curtain air bags for increased driver and passenger safety.

The 5.7-liter HEMI®-powered Chrysler 300C offers a 'Fuel Saver Mode' display, included as part of the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) that tells drivers when they are in four-cylinder mode, allowing them to modify their driving habits for improved fuel efficiency.

New technologies and exterior and interior refinements continue to offer Chrysler 300 customers an elegant, confidence-inspiring vehicle at an exceptional value.

DESIGN

The dramatic exterior design of the Chrysler 300 has been refreshed for 2008 wîth new tailamps and a new rear deck lid that integrates an SRT-inspired spoiler and relocated high-mounted stop light. However, the classic proportions of long hood, short deck and dramatic profile remain to give the Chrysler 300 its continued award-winning, stunning presence for 2008.

The sophisticated interior design of the Chrysler 300 has been enhanced for 2008 wîth a new instrument panel and center console design, highlighted wîth satin silver bezels. Soft-touch surfaces on arm rests and door panels, and a newly designed and relocated cruise control stalk, add to the comfortable interior. LED lighting in the front cup holders and front and rear door map pockets provide additional driver convenience.

Engineering

Three powertrain options are available in the 2008 Chrysler 300 lineup, offering outstanding combinations of performance, fuel economy, quietness and durability.

The rear-wheel-drive 2008 Chrysler 300 LX is equipped wîth a 2.7-liter V-6 engine providing 178 hp (133 kW) @ 5500 rpm and 190 lb.-ft. (258 Nm) of torque @ 4000.

A 3.5-liter High Output V-6 engine featured on the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 Touring and Chrysler 300 Limited models provides 250 hp (186 kW) @ 6400 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. (340 Nm) of torque @ 3800 rpm.

The 2008 Chrysler 300C rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models feature the modern 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine equipped wîth a Multi-displacement System (MDS). MDS seamlessly turns off the fuel consumption in four cylinders when V-8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy as much as 20 percent. HEMI'S 'Fuel Saver Mode' display, included as part of the Electronic Vehicle Information Center, tells drivers when they are in four-cylinder mode, allowing them to modify their driving habits for improved fuel efficiency.

The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine provides 340 hp (254 kW) @ 5000 rpm and 390 lb.-ft of torque (258 Nm) @ 4000. The HEMI-powered 2008 Chrysler 300C can go from zero to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds.

Entertainment and communication Technology

The 2008 Chrysler 300 lineup offers the latest entertainment and communication technology available in the automotive while maintaining simplicity, safety, freedom and flexibility.

• Available factory-installed SIRIÚS Satellite Radio delivers more than 130 channels of radio programming
• New, larger 6.5-inch full-screen DVD-based Navigation System using Global Positioning System (GPS) provides easy trip routing and turn-by-turn route guidance through voice recognition and touch screen
• Touch screen MyGIG, an audio, entertainment and hands-free communication system including a 20-gigabyte hard drive wîth optional navigation capability
• Rear-seat DVD Video Entertainment System (VES), conveniently located under center console armrest cover to provide easy access to rear-seat passengers
• SIRIÚS Backseat TV offers three channels of respected children's TV programs
• ÚConnect® Hands-free Communication System uses Bluetooth technology to provide voice-activated wireless cellular communication

MyGIG MyGIG is a completely integrated Harman/Kardon touch screen audio, entertainment and hands-free communication system. MyGIG also is available wîth an optional navigation system, which adds voice recognition.

The best-in-class, next-generation navigation radio features a 6.5-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Display wîth a touch-screen panel that can support 65,000 colors, providing a three-dimensional appearance to graphics and animation, as well as multiple font sizes and styles. The MyGIG navigation system allows voice-activated commands and includes many new features for music, sound, movies and personalized picture displays, including:
• A 20-gigabyte hard disc drive that includes Music Juke Box for organizing music and pictures on the hard drive
• Úniversal Serial Bus (ÚSB) port that provides downloading of WMA, MP3 and JPEG files onto the hard drive
• Gracenote® database that is installed on the hard drive to provide song identification, including composer, artist and title
• Playlist creation capability to provide easy access to files
• Voice memo recording that allows a 3 minute message to be recorded using the microphone integrated into the rearview mirror
• Radio display screen that can show movies (when vehicle is not in motion)
• SIRIÚS Satellite Radio, which provides customers wîth more than 130 channels of the best music, entertainment and information coast-to-coast, 24 hours a day. This includes music, as well as sports, news, talk, entertainment, traffic and weather
• ÚConnect Hands-free Communication System that uses Bluetooth® technology to provide voice-activated wireless communication between the occupants' compatible cell phones and the vehicle's onboard receiver. The hands-free option promotes safety, freedom, value and flexibility

The 2008 Chrysler 300 also offers a MyGIG system without navigation. (posted on conceptcarz.com)

Rear-seat DVD Video Entertainment System
The rear-seat VES is cleverly packaged under the center console armrest cover and is easily accessible to rear-seat passengers. The system includes a 7-inch Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen, a remote control and two wireless headsets. The hinged LCD screen can be fully stored into the console armrest cover or flipped up for viewing. Auxiliary audio and video plug-in jacks are included on the faceplate so that rear-seat passengers can view video directly from a video camera, play games from a video game console or play music directly from a portable MP3 player. New for 2008, rear-seat passengers can enjoy SIRIÚS Backseat TV.

SIRIÚS Backseat TV
Chrysler Group will be the first and only auto manufacturer to offer SIRIÚS Backseat TV in its vehicle lineup in the 2008 model year.

SIRIÚS Backseat TV features three channels of respected children's TV featuring many of the most well-known kids' programming, including Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Rear-seat passengers will be able to watch shows such as Nickelodeon's 'SpongeBob SquarePants,' Disney Channel's 'Hannah Montana,' and Cartoon Network's 'Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.'

SIRIÚS Backseat TV operates through an in-vehicle satellite video receiver and two small roof-mounted antennas. Programming, in addition to the channel name, program title and rating are displayed on the vehicle's rear seat video screen. For added flexibility, rear-seat passengers can enjoy SIRIÚS Backseat TV while front-seat occupants listen to SIRIÚS Satellite Radio. The system can be operated from either the rear-seat entertainment remote or the radio head unit in the front instrument panel. In addition, when the vehicle is in Park, programming can be displayed on the MyGIG screen (if equipped) for front-seat viewing.


Product Highlights

• Chrysler redefined the classic American automobile wîth the Chrysler 300. Boasting an entirely new shape based on Chrysler Group's rear-wheel-drive architecture, this striking sedan continues the Chrysler brand's proud 'letter series' tradition in a thoroughly modern way
• With stunning, noble proportions, Chrysler 300 signaled an entirely new design direction for the Chrysler brand when first introduced in March 2004 as a 2005 model year vehicle
• Chrysler 300C offers exceptional performance wîth the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine that produces 340 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque and features a cylinder deactivation system (MDS) that provides as much as a 20-percent improvement in fuel economy. Chrysler 300C can go 0-60 mph in just 6.3 seconds
• Technologies such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP) wîth Brake Assist, All-speed Traction Control System (TCS) and four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), have reached new levels of advancement to control rear-wheel-drive vehicles in a way that is transparent to the driver
• Optional all-wheel-drive models feature excellent cornering balance under all driving conditions and improved traction in snow and wet-weather conditions
• Únsurpassed comfort and spaciousness, the Chrysler 300 has the interior space of a front-wheel-drive package in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle
• Chrysler 300 offers leading DaimlerChrysler technology at a mid-market price
2008 Chrysler 300 Model Lineup

Vital Stats
Engine : 2.7 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 178 hp
Torque: 167 ft-lbs

Engine : 3.8 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 205 hp
Torque: 240 ft-lbs

Engine : 3.5 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 250 hp
Torque: 250 ft-lbs

Engine : 5.7 L., 8-cylinder
Power: 340 hp
Torque: 390 ft-lbs

Engine : 6.1 L., 8-cylinder
Power: 425 hp
Torque: 420 ft-lbs

4-speed Automatic
2008 Chrysler 300 LX (Rear-wheel Drive)
Standard Features
• Rear-wheel-drive configuration
• 2.7-liter V-6 engine —178 horsepower (133 kW) and 190 lb.-ft. (258 Nm) of torque
• Four-speed automatic transmission
• 17-inch bolt on steel wheel covers
• P215/65R17 all-season ride tires
• 18-gallon fuel tank
• Air conditioning
• AM/FM/CD radio wîth an auxiliary audio input jack and four speakers
• Analog clock
• Driver- and passenger-adjustable lumbar support
• Driver-side, one-touch-down power windows
• Fixed, power mirrors
• Front and rear floor mats
• Glove box lamp
• Illuminated visor mirror
• Low-risk deployment air bags
• Manual tilt and telescoping §teering column
• Oil change alert
• Outside temperature display
• Power eight-way driver's seat
• Power four-wheel disc brakes
• Power locks
• Rack-and-pinion §teering
• Rear 60-40 split seat wîth armrest and cup holder
• Rear window defroster
• Remote keyless, illuminated entry
• Sentry Key® Engine Immobilizer system
• Speed control wîth instrument panel indicator light
• Tire pressure monitor warning lamp

Optional Features/Packages
• Bodyside molding
• Engine block heater
• ESP wîth Brake Assist, All-speed Traction Control System and four-wheel ABS
• Premium front and rear floor mats
• Power adjustable pedals
• Protection Group including supplemental side-curtain and seat-mounted air bags, air filtration, self-sealing tires and ÚConnect® Hands-free Communication System wîth auto-dimming rearview mirror and iPod interface
• Sound Group including six-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system wîth 276-watt Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Amplifier, AM/FM/6CD/DVD/MP3 radio and SIRIÚS Satellite Radio wîth one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
• Great American package including 17-inch tires and machined aluminum wheels, ESP wîth Brake Assist, all-speed TCS, four-wheel ABS, supplemental side-curtain and seat-mounted air bags, air filtration, premium front and rear floor mats, heated body-color exterior mirrors, six-speaker sound system and AM/FM/6CD/DVD/MP3 radio
o Options available on 2008 Chrysler 300 Great American package include: engine block heater, power adjustable pedals, Protection Group package including ÚConnect Hands-free Communication system and self-sealing tires, and Sound Group package including Boston Acoustics six-speaker 276-watt Amp speaker system and SIRIÚS Satellite Radio

2008 Chrysler 300 Touring (Rear-wheel Drive)
Standard Features

In addition to the standard features on the Chrysler 300 LX, the Chrysler 300 Touring adds/replaces the following:
• 3.5-liter High Output V-6 engine — 250 horsepower (186 kW) and 250 lb.-ft. (340 Nm) of torque
• 17-inch machined-face aluminum wheels
• All-speed TCS
• ESP wîth Brake Assist
• Four-wheel ABS
• Body-color heated mirrors and bodyside moldings wîth bright insert
• Fog lamps
• Front and rear premium floor mats
• Leather-trimmed seats, §teering wheel and shift knob

2008 Chrysler 300 Touring (All-wheel Drive)
In addition to the standard features available on the Chrysler 300 Touring rear-wheel-drive model, the all-wheel-drive model adds/replaces the following:
• 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels
• P225/60R18 all-season touring tires
• 19-gallon fuel tank
• Five-speed automatic transmission wîth Auto Stick
• Front differential and transfer case, and unique all-wheel-drive front suspension
• Performance disc brakes

Optional Features/Packages
The Chrysler 300 Touring models (RWD/AWD) offer the following optional features/packages:
• Comfort/convenience Group includes heated front seats, power passenger seat, power adjustable pedals and express-up/down power front windows
• Protection Group including supplemental side-curtain and seat-mounted air bags, air filtration, self-sealing tires and ÚConnect wîth auto-dimming rearview mirror and iPod interface
• SIRIÚS Satellite Radio wîth one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
• Sound Group includes MyGIG Entertainment System including AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 radio featuring touch screen operation, six-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system wîth 276-watt DSP amplifier and SIRIÚS Satellite Radio wîth one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
• Sun roof wîth express open and close, anti-pinch operation
• Walter P. Chrysler Executive Series long-wheelbase package adds six inches to the standard wheelbase and includes eight-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, express-up/down power front windows, uniquely calibrated ESP, longer electrical wiring harness and a Walter P. Chrysler Executive Series badge. Options available on the 2008 Chrysler 300 Touring Walter P. Chrysler Executive Series model include:
o Power adjustable pedals
o Protection Group including ÚConnect and iPod connection, air filtration, security alarm and self-sealing tires
o Sound Group including MyGIG Entertainment System wîth six-speaker 276-watt Amp Boston Acoustics sound system and SIRIÚS Satellite Radio wîth one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
o Rear-seat VES wîth SIRIÚS Satellite Radio and SIRIÚS Backseat TV — both including one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
o MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System wîth AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 radio wîth navigation featuring touch screen and voice recognition

2008 Chrysler 300 Limited (Rear-wheel Drive)
Standard Features

In addition to the standard features on the Chrysler 300 LX and 300 Touring models, the Chrysler 300 Limited adds/replaces the following:
• 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels
• P225/60R18 all-season tires
• Automatic headlamps
• Driver and passenger express up/down power front windows wîth auto-reverse sensing system
• Dual-zone automatic temperature control
• Eight-way power passenger seat
• Heated driver and front-passenger seats
• Power adjustable pedals
• Projector headlamps
• Reconfigurable Display Group including EVIC, compass, HomeLink universal home security system transceiver, auto-dimming rearview mirror, reconfigurable display in instrument cluster, trip computer and §teering wheel-mounted audio controls
• Security alarm wîth panic button on key fob
• SIRIÚS Satellite Radio wîth first-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
• Six-speaker 276-watt DSP amplified Boston Acoustics sound system
• Touring suspension

2008 Chrysler 300 Limited (All-wheel Drive)


In addition to the standard features available on the Chrysler 300 Limited rear-wheel-drive model, the Chrysler 300 Limited all-wheel-drive model adds/replaces the following:
• 19-gallon fuel tank
• Five-speed automatic transmission wîth Auto Stick
• Front differential and transfer case, and unique all-wheel-drive front suspension
• Performance disc brakes

Optional Features/Packages
The Chrysler 300 Limited models (RWD/AWD) offer the following optional features/packages:
• MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System wîth AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 radio wîth navigation featuring touch screen and voice recognition
• Protection Group including supplemental side-curtain and seat-mounted air bags, air filtration, self-sealing tires and ÚConnect wîth auto-dimming rearview mirror and iPod interface
• Rear-seat VES including SIRIÚS Backseat TV wîth one-year subscription to Satellite Video provided by SIRIÚS
• Sun roof wîth express open and close, anti-pinch operation
• Luxury Group package including sun roof, California Walnut wood accents, SmartBeam headlamps wîth rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED-illuminated cup holders and door map pockets, remote start, Boston Acoustics 276-watt digital six-speaker system and MyGIG Entertainment System including AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 touch screen radio

2008 Chrysler 300C (Rear-wheel Drive)
Standard Features

In addition to the standard features on the Chrysler 300 LX, Touring and Limited models, the Chrysler 300C adds/replaces the following:
• 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine — 340 horsepower (254 kW) and 390 lb.-ft. (525 N•m) of torque
• Fuel-saving MDS — improving fuel economy as much as 20 percent
• Five-speed automatic transmission wîth Auto Stick
• 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels
• 19-gallon fuel tank
• 160-mph speedometer
• P225/60R18 all-season touring tires
• Boston Acoustics six-speaker, 276-watt DSP amplifier and door-trim badge
• Chrome door handles and upper daylight opening
• Chrome, multi-function, power, heated foldaway mirrors wîth memory feature and driver's auto-dimming and auto-adjust in reverse
• Deck lid liner – trunk
• Dual exhaust wîth bright tips
• 'Fuel Saver Mode' display, included in EVIC
• Leather-trimmed §teering wheel and shift knob
• LED-illuminated cup holders and map pockets
• Memory system for mirrors, §teering column, pedals, driver's seat and radio
• Performance four-wheel-disc ABS
• Power adjustable pedals wîth memory
• Power tilt and telescoping §teering column wîth memory
• Premium leather interior trim
• Projector halogen headlamps wîth delay
• Rain-sensing windshield wipers
• Remote start
• Satin Silver accent bezel on center console
• Self-sealing tires
• SIRIÚS Satellite Radio wîth first-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
• SmartBeam Headlamp control system
• Tire pressure monitor wîth premium display
• Tortoise shell-style interior accents on §teering wheel, shifter bezel, door pulls and passenger-side instrument panel
• HomeLink universal home security system transceiver

2008 Chrysler 300C (All-wheel Drive)
In addition to the standard features available on the rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300C, the Chrysler 300C all-wheel-drive model adds/replaces the following:
• Front differential and transfer case
• Únique all-wheel-drive front suspension

Optional Features/Packages

The Chrysler 300C models (RWD/AWD) offer the following optional features/packages:

• Genuine California Walnut wood trim
• Sun roof wîth express open and close, anti-pinch operation
• Xenon HID headlamps
• MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System including AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 radio wîth navigation featuring touch screen and voice recognition
• Rear-seat video entertainment system wîth SIRIÚS Backseat TV satellite video and one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
• Luxury Group II package including adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming passenger mirror, heated rear seats, supplemental turn signal mirrors wîth courtesy puddle lamps and California Walnut wood trim
• Protection Group II package including side-curtain and seat-mounted air bags, air filtration, ÚConnect, iPod connection and ParkSense® Rear Park Assist System
• Sound Group II package, including eight-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system wîth 368-watt DSP amplifier wîth 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound processing and MyGIG system including AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 touch screen radio
• W. P. Chrysler Executive Series long-wheelbase package, which adds 6 inches to the standard wheelbase and includes uniquely calibrated ESP and longer electrical wiring harness. Options available on the Chrysler 300C Executive Series include:
o Luxury Equipment Group II package including California Walnut wood trim, auto-dimming passenger-side exterior mirror, heated rear seats and supplemental signal mirrors wîth courtesy puddle lamps
o Protection Group II package that consists of ÚConnect system wîth iPod connection, air filtration and ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
o Rear-seat VES wîth SIRIÚS Backseat TV satellite video and one-year subscription provided by SIRIÚS
o Sound Group II package, including eight-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system wîth 368-watt DSP amplifier wîth 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound processing and MyGIG Entertainment System including AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 touch screen radio
o California Walnut wood trim
o Xenon HID headlamps
o MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System wîth AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 radio wîth navigation featuring touch screen and voice-recognition operation

Safety and Security

The Chrysler 300 earned five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in a frontal crash, the highest rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Please refer to the safety glossary in the Safety and Technology section for descriptions of the following available features:
• Adaptive Cruise Control
• Advanced Multi-stage Air Bag System
• All-speed Traction Control System
• Auto-dimming Interior and Exterior Rearview Mirrors
• Auto-reverse Sun Roof
• Auto-reverse Windows
• BeltAlert
• Brake Assist
• Brake/Park Interlock
• Child-protection Rear Door Locks
• Constant Force Retractors
• Crumple Zones
• Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
• Energy-absorbing Steering Column
• Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS)
• Four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
• Height-adjustable Seat Belts
• HomeLink Úniversal Home Security System Transceiver
• Inside Emergency Trunk Release
• Interior Head-impact Protection
• Knee Bolsters
• LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren)
• Low-risk Deployment Air Bags
• Navigation System With Voice-Recognition
• ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
• Power Adjustable Pedals
• Projector Headlamps
• Rain-sensing Windshield Wipers
• Remote Keyless Entry
• Remote Start
• Seat Belt Pretensioners
• Security Alarm With Panic Button
• Self-sealing Tires
• Sentry Key® Engine Immobilizer
• SmartBeam Headlamp Control
• Supplemental Side-curtain and Seat-mounted Air Bags
• Supplemental Turn Signal Mirrors wîth Courtesy Puddle Lamps
• Tilt and Telescoping Steering Column
• Tire Pressure Monitor Systems
• ÚConnect Hands-free Communication System
• Xenon HID Headlamps

Color Availability
• Clearwater Blue Pearl Coat (new)
• Dark Titanium Metallic Clear Coat (new)
• Light Sandstone Metallic Clear Coat (new)
• Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat
• Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat
• Cool Vanilla Clear Coat
• Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat
• Steel Blue Metallic Clear Coat

Source - Chrysler
In 1955, Chrysler introduced the C300. The 'C' stood for coupe and the 300 was the horsepower rating of the original Hemi engine equipped with , two four barrel carbs, solid lifters, special manifolds, and enlarged dual exhausts. This vehicle gave the Chrysler Corporation a performance and sporty image, a much needed persona in this post World War II era. Many European manufacturers, such as Jaguar and MG, had introduced high powered, small, responsive sports cars. American manufacturers countered with the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. The Chrysler 300 was a performance car with a contemporary 'Forward Look' designed by ex-Studebaker stylist Virgil Exner. The design was void of the popular chrome sides which was prevalent during this era. It was simple but aggressive gentleman's car.

The Chrysler 300 was outfitted with a hemispherical (Hemi) combustion chamber 5.4 litre V-8 that produced 300 horsepower and matted to a performance modified two-speed 'PowerFlite' automatic gearbox. The body came from the New Yorker; rear quarter moldings were compliments of the Windsor. The two piece grille came from the Imperial. An improved suspension was implemented to provided sporty and responsive handling. The base price was $4,055.

Sales of the C300 were fueled by its success on the stock car circuit. The C300 dominated the sands of Daytona Beach, Florida where it won the stock production class and took home the Tom McCahill trophy. From 1955 through 1957 it was the fastest American car.

In 1959, a 300D driven at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats by Norm Thatcher set a new Class E speed record of 156.387 mph. During the same year, Brewster Shaw achieved a quarter-mile time of 16 seconds with a trap speed of 94 mph at Daytona Beach, Florida.

For 1956, Chrysler increased the displacement of its Hemi engine to 5.8 liters and changed the name to 300B. With 355 horsepower, the V8 engine had one horsepower per cubic inch, an achievement that very few manufacturers were able to claim.

The letters continued to climb the alphabet annually until the 300L of 1965 (the letter I was skipped). They became known as the 'letter cars'. In 1959, the 392 hemi was replaced with the 413 cubic-inch Golden Lion wedge-head design engine. In 1962, the 300 Sport series became available along side the 300H. The 300, without a letter designation was continued until 1971. In 1970, the 300 Hurst was produced, built by Chrysler and modified by the Hurst Company. The modifications included two-tone paint, special striping, spoiler on the deck lid, and wheels. The 300 name was again revived in 1979 as the 300 Special Edition, but endured a short life span. It was based on the Cordoba platform and available only in white with red leather interior.

Even with eleven years of production, less than 17,000 were produced. The bodystyle's available were either a two door hardtop or convertible. The convertible was not available during 1955, 1956, and 1963.

In the early 2000's, Chrysler revived the model name with the 300M. For most 300 enthusiasts, it is a good attempt, but far from the original 300's. The original 300's, as argued by some MOPAR enthusiast, is considered to be the first muscle cars. Although they were fast, they were also large and luxurious, qualities that muscle cars did not typically process. The 300 did get American moving on the fast track to the horsepower and performance revolution, and looked good while doing it.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009
In 2005, the wave of retro design that is still shaping American cars first washed over Detroit. American companies, with their stale product offerings, began looking towards their rich pasts to inspire new models with the design and flair of long-gone icons. It was in 2005 that Chrysler launched a modern iteration of the famed 300.

The 300 name had actually been revived by Chrysler several years before the 2005 300's introduction as a car called the 300M, but that model was dated even when brand new and didn't evoke nostalgic memories in the same way its replacement would. The 2005 300 was a total departure from the Chrysler models immediately preceding it. The sleek, low slung, 'cab-forward' design language of the 300M and others was replaced by the new 300's brash and blocky look. The 2005 Chrysler 300 was not merely an updated version of a bygone classic, but rather a revival of Chrysler's attitude during the company's most exciting times.

The new 300 went back to a rear wheel drive platform and reintroduced the muscular proportions of America's former bad-boy sedans. Available V8 power rounded out the package and a large, upright chrome grille stood proud in grand American fashion. The 2005 Chrysler 300 was met with great fanfare and positive press. For as exciting a car as the '05 300 was, though, it could barely capture the style and spirit of the car that inspired it. The original 300 was one of the most thrilling Chryslers ever released. It was a car whose inspirational design and performance will be lauded forever and whose legend will continue to be respected by Chrysler workers, owners and admirers, as well as by the flashy new car that shares its name.

Produced without interruption from 1955 through 1971, the Chrysler 300 in its earliest form was one of the very first muscle cars. Though production extended into the early 1970's, the best-known (and best-loved) 300s were the 'letter series' cars of 1955-1965. All 300s were part of this letter series until 1962, when both letter and non-letter variants were offered through 1965. Models made from 1966 on were not part of the letter series. Each Chrysler in the letter series used the 300 designation followed by a single letter. That letter ascended alphabetically once every year, making it up to 'L.' Confusingly, the first of the series was not called the 300A but the C-300. In that one instance, the letter 'C' simply stood for coupe. Revisions on the C-300 theme created the 300B for 1956, then 300C for 1957, 300D for 1958, and so on. The only other snag in the letter series system was the use of the letter 'J' for the 1963 300, instead of the 'I' for which the car was due. Chrysler likely used the 'J' nomenclature to prevent confusion between the letter 'I' and the Roman numeral I.

The letter series 300 introduced potent performance and a fresh design to Chrysler, whose other models had grown stale. In that sense, the original 300 arrived for the same reasons as 2005's remake. The name was chosen for bragging rights. Chrysler, with its aptly named C-300, had become the first American manufacturer to develop 300hp in a production car. That power led the 1955 Chrysler to become the fastest production car in the world, reaching 127.58mph at Daytona Beach. The C-300's engine was a 331ci Chrysler V8 with hemispherical combustion chambers and two 4-barrel carburetors. The aforementioned 300hp was achieved at 5,200rpm.

There was much more to the C-300 than formidable speed. The car was large, luxurious, and packed with comfortable features. At 220 inches in length, the C-300 was huge for a two-door. A weight of 4,300lbs gave it the bulk of a personal limousine. Its two speed automatic transmission required no effort on the driver's part. The car was rolling evidence that speed and luxury were not mutually exclusive traits. The C-300 was the fastest car on the road, and it may very well have been the most comfortable.

A superb combination of performance and comfort alone would have made the Chrysler C-300 a classic. But the car's quality didn't stop there. Designed by the talented and innovative Virgil Exner, the C-300 was a triple threat of sumptuous luxury, speed and, and style.

Before moving to Chrysler, Exner had worked for GM under the guidance of Harley Earl and for Raymond Loewy's own design firm. His experience led him to be a daring designer, but the 1955 C-300 was a subdued design. It was handsome and understated, free of the garish detailing the plagued so many of its contemporaries. With its regal proportions and proud stance, the C-300 separated itself from lowlier cars that used glitz and glam as their only stylistic values. A split egg crate grille, in chrome, dominated the frontal aspect of the C-300 and had a tastefully minimal chrome bumper running beneath it. The subtle fins picked up just aft of the doors and beneath the beltline. At the rear, the vestigial fins flowed into vertical taillights. With a base price above $4,000, buyers paid dearly for a fine congregation of elegant design, comfort, and rapidity.

Even more power was made available for the 1956 300B. A 354ci V8, at first making 340hp, was available with 355hp by the middle of its run—making it the first American engine to produce 1 horsepower per cubic inch. Three transmissions were offered: PowerFlite and TorqueFlite two-speed autos, and a three-speed manual.

Performance improvements in the 1956 300B were complemented by the availability of an even more comfortable interior. Air conditioning was offered as well as a clock in the steering wheel for the particularly punctual. And, of course, if the clock wasn't distracting enough, a record player could also be ordered.


The styling of the 300B featured a revised rear treatment, but the car was largely the same as 1955's C-300. For the 1957 300C, though, Exner thoroughly revamped the 300's shape. The new design was more brash but still tasteful and clean. It featured more pronounced fins and a quad headlight face with a large, one-piece egg crate grille. From the side, the 300C looked particularly good. Its long and low proportions were readily revealed from that angle. Also easily noticeable from the side, the 300C had a forward tilt to its front end that was mirrored by a rearward tilt to its fins. The balanced look was an Exner hallmark that worked wonderfully on the 300C. A convertible version was offered whose absence of a roofline emphasized the trapezoidal side profile of the 300C's body. A top speed of 150mph could be reached by the 300C.

For 1958, a 300D was introduced. It looked very similar to the 300C, but big improvements were still made. Fuel injection became an available option and power brakes were standard. With 380hp, the 300D could be propelled to 156mph. The 300E of 1959 offered similar styling but with a very different engine. The hemi-head V8 was replaced by a 413ci wedge-head V8.

The 300F brought major styling changes for 1960. While other companies toned down their use of fins for the 1960's, Chrysler gave its 300F a wild, one-year-only rear treatment with razor sharp fins. Ralph Nader, in his book Unsafe at and Speed that most famously criticized the Chevrolet Corvair's poor handling, called the 300F's fins 'potentially lethal.' Automotive writer Quentin Willson offered good reason for Nader's concern in his own work titled The Ultimate Classic Car Book, pointing to a 1963 traffic accident in which an unfortunate motorcyclist became impaled by one of the fins of a 300F.

With a front end that looked slightly awkward compared to the noses of its predecessors and a heavily criticized faux spare tire cover incorporated into the rear deck lid, the 300F's overall look lacked the thoroughly clean appearance of earlier models. But from the side at least the 300F still looked good, and performance and comfort were as impressive as ever. Up to 400hp could be had from the 413ci engine. A beautifully finished interior continued a tradition of comfortable motoring. The interior was so inviting that the seats literally offered themselves to driver and front passenger, automatically swiveling to allow easy access whenever a door was opened.

The 300G was brought out for 1961 and was the last finned 300. The front end retained four headlights, but they were now stacked two per side in tilted columns. Standard power windows and cruise control further enhanced an already excellent list of convenience features, and performance options remained similar to those of the 300F. The 300H used the following year was similar in most respects to the 300G, but had a fresh tail design with a smooth, tapering deck where once stood fins. Production of the 300H was unusually low even for the exclusive letter series, but sales were bolstered by the introduction of a more affordable non-letter series variant, named simply the '300.'

For 1963, the letter 'I' was skipped and the 300J was introduced alongside a revamped standard 300. The 1963 models were plainer, with square styling that belied their still capable performance. The 1964 300K and 1965 300L were the last two models of the letter series. By 1965, the plain styling of the 300L and the narrow performance gap between it and the base 300 had created an uninspired package. After 1965, the letter series was discontinued.

The garden variety 300 soldiered on until 1971, losing sales and substance as it went along. Chrysler couldn't have picked a better time to pull the plug on the aging model, as allowing it to last any longer would have exposed it to stringent emissions regulations that instantly would have robbed the car of the only virtue it really had left—power. Even the very last 300 had a 440ci V8 that had a tremendous output compared to any American offering of the mid-1970's.

History has ignored any shortcomings of the largely average 300 produced from 1966-1971, focusing on the raw power and suave personality of the early letter series. Few American cars before or since have been able to offer so much speed and luxury wrapped in a shell of aesthetic excellence. From 1955 through 1959, the 300s were the uncompromised rulers of the American automotive kingdom—even the 1960-1965 models were superbly executed. Inspiring the successful 2005 Chrysler 300, the early letter series cars have shown that sometimes history is worth repeating.

Sources:

'History of the Chrysler Three Hundred Series.' The Chrysler 300 Site Web.28 Jul 2009. http://www.chrysler300site.com/cgibin/history.cgi.

Nerad, Jack. 'Great Classic Cars: Chrysler C-300.' AntiqueCar.com Web.28 Jul 2009. http://www.antiquecar.com/gc_chrysler_c300.php.

Willson, Quentin. The Ultimate Classic Car Book. First. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. Print.

By Evan Acuña
 
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