All-new 2011 Chrysler 300 Series Flagships Redefine the American Luxury Sedan Once Again
With its iconic rear-wheel drive proportions, elegantly sculptured bodyside, world-class craftsmanship and refinement, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 series proudly delivers the distinction, innovation and premium large sedan features at a legendary value, while setting a new course for the American brand.
With more than 55 years of elegant proportions and head-turning style, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 delivers contemporary styling wîth design details unexpected in the §egmènt. At the front, an all-new grille features seven deeply sculpted horizontal blades that express precision. The liquid-chrome finish of the blades and the new Chrysler wing badge provide a unique contrast against the beautifully drawn bright chrome grille surround. Illuminating the road ahead are signature 'key slot' headlamps wîth a scalloped lower edge. Inside, bi-functional projector headlamps are nestled next to LED-illuminated daytime running lamps, which together form a 'C' shape for unmistakable on-road presence.
The profile of the all-new Chrysler 300 features the distinctive proportions of its predecessor wîth added design refinement for a more tailored appearance. Dramatic front-fender forms rise above the sculpted hood and are echoed by rear-quarter forms which rise above the deck lid and travel down the vertical taillamps for an unmistakably bold signature silhouette. For improved aerodynamics and visibility, the all-new Chrysler luxury flagship's windshield has been raked back 3 inches, while rolled-framed doors wîth thinner pillars improve outward visibility by 15 percent. To take in the sky above, a new dual-pane panoramic sunroof provides Chrysler 300 passengers wîth twice the outward visibility of a standard sunroof. For a more contemporary appearance, the 2011 Chrysler 300 features a clean bodyside wîth a distinct windswept A-line that emphasizes the sedan's long wheelbase and spacious cabin. Delivering a touch of world-class sophistication, the all-new Chrysler 300 is highlighted by chrome daylight openings, chrome front- and rear-fascia accents and available 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels.
Elevating the all-new Chrysler 300's presence from the rear, the deck lid now incorporates a lip spoiler while the new Chrysler wing badge is proudly centered below. Jeweled-like rear taillamps feature harmonious LED illumination, while signature 'light pipes' illuminate for an alluring nighttime appearance. Straddling the vertical lamps, Chrysler 300's rear fascia integrates a chrome appliqué that seamlessly connects the taillamp elements while emphasizing the road-holding stature of the flagship sedan. (concept carz) Standard fascia-mounted 3.5-inch oval dual exhaust tips complete the sedan's appearance.
Combining world-class accommodations wîth American style, the all-new Chrysler 300's interior delivers expressive style, authentic materials, passenger comfort features and precise fit and finish. Substantial interior upgrades on the all-new Chrysler 300 consist of soft touch materials, premium interior trim, available heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, and real wood appliques on the instrument panel, doors, center console and §teering wheel.
Designed to exude a luxurious environment, the 2011 Chrysler 300 sedans feature cast-skin instrument and door panels wîth three-dimensional dual gloss graining for a premium appearance and suppleness. Bright chrome contrasted wîth liquid chrome accents give the Chrysler flagship sedan the appearance of milled aluminum. For added detail, a new instrument cluster features two large gauge faces wîth sapphire blue illumination and chrome ring accents. Providing a premium and contemporary environment is an all-new sapphire blue LED-illuminated ambient interior lighting.
With its massive 8.4-inch Úconnect® Touch infotainment center, the all-new Chrysler 300 sedans feature the §egmènt's largest standard touchscreen display, integrating world-class infotainment and convenience technologies to keep passengers connected, comfortable and secure. From touchscreen navigation to dual-zone climate controls, to the ability to check fuel prices and personalize convenience features, Úconnect Touch makes life in the all-new Chrysler flagship sedan an excellent experience for the driver and passengers.
Built at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ont. (Canada), the 2011 Chrysler 300 arrives in showrooms in the first quarter of 2011.Source - Chrysler
All-new 2011 Chrysler 300 Sedan Charts a New Course for the Brand, Combining Head-turning American Design with World-class Refinement, Craftsmanship, Innovation and Performance
• With its elegant proportions and head-turning style, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 takes the most award-winning car ever to new heights combining the best of the nameplate s more than 55-year history wîth world-class quietness, craftsmanship, execution and premium materials
• The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan delivers grand-touring performance and world-class ride and handling wîth best-in-class V-6 engine power and new second-generation E-§egmènt chassis architecture
• Úconnect Touch delivers the §egmènt s largest standard touchscreen radio (8.4-inch) and offers state-of-the-art connectivity, §egmènt-leading Garmin navigation wîth world-class functionality and SIRIÚS Travel Link for real-time weather, fuel prices and more
• New active safety features include adaptive-forward lighting, Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring to bring the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan s safety and security feature list to more than 70
• The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan arrives in dealerships in Spring 2011, delivering the performance, quality, technology and refinement of the world's best sedans starting at $27,995 (including destination)
Delivering the stylistic distinction, technological innovation, premium E-§egmènt sedan features and quality at a legendary value, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan writes a new chapter in the brand s legendary history, while setting a new course for the American brand.
The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 is an icon of American ingenuity and symbolizes the greatness Detroit-designed vehicles offer the streets, highways and boulevards of the world, said Olivier Francois, President and CEO Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. From its premium materials, state-of-the-art connectivity features, new chassis architecture and best-in-class power, the all-new Chrysler 300 embodies the brand s new attitude in every detail. And to ensure our all-new Chrysler flagship delivers more than unmistakably bold and powerful American style to our customers, the Chrysler 300 team benchmarked the craftsmanship, technology and refinement of the §egmènt s best sedans to deliver a new world-class quality and performance symbol at an attainable price.
The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan embodies the essence of the new Chrysler brand: delivering passion for design, people and the environment through expressive design, state-of-the-art connectivity and world-class levels of quality and efficiency.
A Collaboration of Detroit Style With World-class Craftsmanship With more than 55 years of elegant proportions and head-turning style, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 delivers contemporary styling wîth design details unexpected in the §egmènt. At the front, an all-new grille features seven deeply sculpted horizontal blades that express precision. The liquid-chrome finish of the blades and the new Chrysler wing badge provide a unique contrast against the beautifully drawn bright-chromed grille surround. Illuminating the road ahead are signature key slot headlamps wîth a scalloped lower edge. Inside, bi-functional projector headlamps are nestled next to LED-illuminated daytime running lamps, which together form a C shape for unmistakable on-road presence.
The profile of the all-new Chrysler 300 features the distinctive proportions of its predecessor wîth added design refinement for a more tailored appearance. Dramatic front-fender forms rise above the sculpted hood and are echoed by rear-quarter forms, which rise above the deck lid and travel down the vertical taillamps for an unmistakably bold signature silhouette. For improved aerodynamics and visibility, the all-new Chrysler luxury flagship s windshield has been raked back 3 inches, while rolled-framed doors wîth thinner pillars improve outward visibility by 15 percent.
Elevating the all-new Chrysler 300 sedan s rear-view presence is an integrated deck-lid lip spoiler wîth the new Chrysler wing badge proudly centered below. Jewel-like rear taillamps feature harmonious LED illumination, while signature light pipes illuminate for an alluring nighttime appearance. Straddling the vertical lamps, Chrysler 300 sedan s rear fascia integrates a chrome appliqu that seamlessly connects the taillamp elements while emphasizing the road-holding stature of the flagship sedan. (concept carz) Hinting at the flagship sedan s performance are two fascia-mounted oval dual exhaust tips.
Luxurious Environment wîth Premium Materials and Best-in-class Comfort Combining world-class accommodations wîth American style, the all-new Chrysler 300 sedan s interior delivers expressive style, authentic materials, passenger comfort features and precise fit and finish. Substantial interior upgrades on the all-new Chrysler 300 consist of soft touch materials, premium interior trim, available heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, and real wood appliqu s on the instrument panel, doors, center console and §teering wheel.
Designed to exude a luxurious environment, the 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan features cast-skin instrument and door panels wîth three-dimensional dual gloss graining for a premium appearance and suppleness. Bright chrome contrasted wîth satin chrome accents give the Chrysler flagship sedan the appearance of milled aluminum. For added detail, a new instrument cluster features two large gauge faces wîth Sapphire Blue illumination and chrome ring accents. Providing a premium and contemporary environment is an all-new Sapphire Blue LED-illuminated ambient interior lighting.
Delivering best-in-class comfort, all-new seats were engineered wîth premium architecture and include a serpentine (S-shaped) spring suspension, all-new front-seat backs wîth four-way lumbar system that actuates up/down and fore/aft, and variable density foams applied in the lower seat, seat back, and bolsters for enhanced comfort tuning.
Designed for Passionate Drivers Who Value Substance and Individuality Redesigned from the ground up, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 is the freshest entry in the Ú.S. standard full-size vehicle §egmènt. While the standard full-size §egmènt share has consistently held around 4 percent for the last 3 calendar years, the all-new Chrysler 300 series sedans will re-ignite the §egmènt delivering elegant style, grand-touring performance, best-in-class seat comfort and the precision and quality of the world s best E-§egmènt luxury sedans at an attainable value.
Buyers of the 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan are inspired by thoughtful innovation, are passionate about driving and are interested to express their creativity and distinct personality through new experiences. The all-new Chrysler flagship sedan meets their demands by combining superior styling, confident handling, and the craftsmanship, premium details and technology that reinforce driving as a fun and pleasurable experience.
All-new 2011 Chrysler 300 series sedans are available in the Únited States in four highly equipped models: Chrysler 300, 300 Limited, 300C and 300C AWD. In addition, the Luxury and SafetyTec Groups provide customers wîth high-value content and innovative technology directly targeted for their specific needs.
Engineered wîth The Characteristics to Take on the World s Best Engineered and executed to deliver a world-class luxury sedan experience, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan s world-class body structure and chassis deliver a level of quality, capability and refinement that rival the best E-§egmènt competitors from Europe, Asia and North America.
Maximizing its new ultra-rigid structural design, the all-new Chrysler 300 features quietness among the best in the §egmènt. The all-new Chrysler flagship s unibody packages material and structural design improvements, including two premium-composite underbody panels that provide more than eight feet of acoustic insulation, dual-pane acoustic windshield and front-door side glass, body-cavity silencing foam, under-flush rolled-framed doors wîth triple seals and acoustic wheel-well liners, all helping to absorb road noise and quiet the cabin.
The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 features Chrysler Group s new second generation E-§egmènt architecture wîth redesigned front- and rear-suspension geometry delivering world-class handling, and all-new premium suspension hardware for world-class refinement. The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan s suspension delivers the grand-touring performance expected from premium European luxury sedans, to make this all-new American flagship one of the best driving sedans in the world.
Taking its new second-generation E-§egmènt architecture further, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300C AWD delivers precise all-weather handling, world-class refinement and a lowered ride height for a more tailored appearance. The all-new Chrysler 300C AWD features a 0.5-inch (13 mm) tighter tire-to-fender fitment, a 0.15-inch (4 mm) lowered overall ride height and larger 19-inch wheels wîth wider P235/55R19 all-season performance tires.
Best-in-class 292 Horsepower wîth All-new Aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 Engine Engineered to provide exceptional in-town and highway efficiency and performance, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 and 300 Limited models feature the newest powertrain from the automaker the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. When compared to the previous V-6 engines, fuel economy is improved by up to 8 percent wîth EPA-ratings of 18 city /27 highway.
Delivering 292 horsepower (up 63 percent) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (up 36 percent) compared wîth the previous 2.7-liter entry-level engine, the new Pentastar V-6 engine also produces 42 more horsepower (up 16 percent), and 10 lb.-ft. more torque compared to the 3.5-liter V-6.
World-class Power and Efficiency wîth 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 Engine and its Fuel Saver Technology Performance has been a hallmark of the letter series Chrysler 300 models since 1955, and the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300C builds upon that legacy wîth the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine delivering 363 horsepower, 0-60 mph performance in less than 6 seconds and up to 25 highway mpg. In addition, the engine s innovative Fuel Saver Technology allows for seamless transition between smooth, high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand. When running in four-cylinder fuel saver mode, the engine delivers up to 20 percent improved fuel efficiency.
Most Advanced All-wheel Drive (AWD) System in the E-Segment The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300C AWD model features a §egmènt-exclusive active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system to improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent. No other major automotive manufacturer offers the combination of these two independent technologies. The Chrysler 300C AWD sedan s innovative AWD system seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive (RWD) and AWD wîth no driver intervention. When AWD is not required, the system automatically disconnects the front axle to maximize fuel economy while still providing the outstanding fun-to-drive performance and handling inherent in RWD vehicles.
World-class Precision, Execution and Quality Deliver Long-term Performance and Refinement Chrysler s commitment to providing customers wîth a new level of quality and craftsmanship started at the very beginning of the 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan s development.
The Chrysler 300 sedans were benchmarked against best-in-class vehicles from Europe, Asia and North America to ensure world-class refinement for attributes such as material quality, interior quietness, seat comfort, and smooth and responsive handling characteristics. Chrysler engineers evaluated more than 320 physical characteristics of benchmark vehicles including aspirational vehicles priced tens of thousands of dollars more than the all-new Chrysler 300 series sedans.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 was one of the first Chrysler Group vehicles to be evaluated by the company s Perceived Quality team at the digital design phase. The Perceived Quality team evaluates vehicles from the perspective of the most discriminating customer and works wîth designers and engineers to enhance the fit-and-finish, surface quality, material options and even the sound quality of moveable parts like doors and storage bins.
Beginning wîth the all-new vehicles developed for the 2011 model year, Chrysler Group has increased the number of reliability testing miles by 50 percent. Chrysler engineers tested the 300 series sedans for more than 7 million miles during its reliability and durability evaluation in the company s scientific labs, at the proving grounds and on public roads in various climates.
State-of-the-art Connectivity wîth Segment s Largest Touchscreen Infotainment Center The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan s Úconnect Touch integrates world-class infotainment and convenience technologies to keep passengers connected, comfortable and secure.
From touchscreen navigation to dual-zone climate controls, to the ability to check fuel prices and personalize convenience features, Úconnect Touch makes life in the all-new Chrysler flagship sedan an excellent experience for the driver and passengers. Chrysler 300 and 300 Limited models come standard wîth the Úconnect Touch 8.4 model, featuring easy-to-use controls to provide class-leading technology. With its massive 8.4-inch touchscreen display and user-friendly touch-key categories, information on the Úconnect Touch is clearly displayed and connecting and controlling personal mobile devices is simple.
The premium Úconnect Touch 8.4N model is available on the Chrysler 300 Limited and standard on the Chrysler 300C and 300C AWD models and includes more customer-convenient amenities than ever before, including the integration of §egmènt-leading Garmin navigation and SIRIÚS Travel Link wîth real-time fuel prices, movie listings, sports updates and weather.
All-new 2011 Chrysler 300 Offers More Than 70 Advanced Safety and Security Features The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 features more than 70 safety and security features, including standard Keyless Enter-N-Go and electronic stability control (ESC) wîth §egmènt-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features to improve overall vehicle handling and performance.
Chrysler brand s signature SafetyTec Group is available on the 2011 Chrysler 300 Limited, 300C and 300C AWD models and packages many first-time-available features including adaptive-forward lighting (AFL), high-intensity discharge (HID) projector high and low-beams wîth automatic headlamp leveling, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) wîth adaptive-cruise control (ACC), Blind-spot monitoring (BSM) wîth Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection, ParkSense front and rear park assist system, LED-illuminated rear fog lamps, exterior mirrors wîth supplemental turn signals and approach lamp (300 Limited adds HomeLink universal transceiver, rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps to the package group).
In addition, standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags, driver s knee bag and standard front seat-mounted side-thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision.
• World-class Manufacturing (WCM) Transforms Brampton to Launch the All-new Chrysler 300 Sedans
• For the Brampton plant, the launch of the Chrysler brand s all-new flagship sedan had to be nothing less than world class.
In preparation for the launch of the Chrysler 300 series sedans, employees at Chrysler Group LLC s Brampton Assembly Plant, located outside of Toronto, began transforming the facility as part of World Class Manufacturing (WCM), an extensive and thorough process to restore all facilities to their original and maximum functionality.
While Chrysler Group implemented manufacturing programs in the past, what makes WCM different is that it fully engages people in eliminating waste and empowers them to take ownership of the process.
To further improve the quality of the all-new Chrysler 300 sedans, a new Metrology Center was installed at Brampton. Úsed throughout the Fiat manufacturing system, the $20 million, 35,000 square-foot facility reflects the company s heightened dedication to quality. Brampton joins Jefferson North Assembly Plant as one of the first Chrysler Group facilities and one of only a few Canadian automotive manufacturing facilities to utilize such technology.
The Metrology Center employs more than 30 people, who are responsible for measurement and validation of the body geometry. The tools within the Metrology Center are used to verify the capability of the vehicle s entire sheet metal structure to the smallest of tolerances, as small as a human hair. The aim is to identify possible deviations between the product and the process.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.
'History of the Chrysler Three Hundred Series.' The Chrysler 300 Site Web.28 Jul 2009. http://www.chrysler300site.com/cgibin/history.cgi.
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