New 2015 Chrysler 300: Return of the Big, Bold American Sedan with World-class Levels of Sophistication, Craftsmanship and Technology, Once Again Putting Boulevards and Interstates On NoticeThe new 2015 Chrysler 300 highlights six decades of ambitious American ingenuity through iconic design proportions inspired by historic 1955 and 2005 models – world-class quality, materials and refinement, best-in-class V-6 highway fuel economy, plus §egmènt-exclusive innovations – all at the same $31,395 starting price as its predecessor •New Chrysler 300 sedan's iconic and unmistakable exterior proportions are now crafted wîth even more sculptural and expressive style for 2015, wîth a bolder 'face of Chrysler' front grille, signature LED lighting, unique finishes and new wheel designs
•New Chrysler 300C Platinum model features quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, ultra-premium Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, plus platinum-chrome exterior details and 20-inch wheels – all at an attainable value
•All-new interior design elements include a standard 7-inch full-color driver information display (DID) and class-exclusive electronic rotary transmission shifter, plus Chrysler brand's new three-spoke §teering wheel wîth larger vehicle controls and available die-cast paddle shifters
•Class-exclusive TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, now standard on every model, balances V-8 performance wîth §egmènt-leading 31 mpg highway fuel efficiency •Best-in-class V-6 highway fuel economy wîth 3.6-liter Pentastar engine
•Best-in-class V-6 and V-8 driving range
•Únsurpassed V-6 combined fuel economy
•Úp to 6 percent fuel economy improvement, plus improved acceleration and refinement, wîth 363 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine wîth four-cylinder mode Fuel Saver Technology
•New 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited provides customers the most standard appointments in the nameplate's 60-year history, including the TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission, heated leather seating, Úconnect wîth voice commands and the §egmènt's largest 8.4-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM Radio, full-color DID cluster, five-year/100,000 mile warranty coverage wîth roadside assistance and more – starting at $31,395
•New 2015 Chrysler 300S model features unique blacked-out accents, large 20-inch Hyper Black finish wheels, more athletically sculpted side sills, unique deck-lid spoiler and a higher output Pentastar V-6 engine wîth 300 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque, plus Sport mode and paddle-shifting capabilities now as quick as 250 milliseconds
•New for 2015, the 'Sport' button enables sport-tuned §teering; pedal, engine and transmission calibration; plus rear-biased torque on AWD models for more dynamic handling
•New suite of Úconnect features, including the award-winning Úconnect Access system, Úconnect Access services wîth roadside assistance, theft-alarm notification, voice texting, the latest 3-D navigation on the §egmènt's largest 8.4-inch touchscreen and the ability to turn the Chrysler 300 into a Wi-Fi hotspot
•New advanced technological solutions include electric power §teering and cast-aluminum axles and housing to reduce energy demand, weight and parasitic friction
•More than 80 available safety and security features, including new for 2015 Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus wîth Full Stop, Lane Departure Warning wîth Lane Keep Assist and 9-1-1 call/Assist Call
•Production for the new 2015 Chrysler 300 sedan begins in the fourth quarter of 2014 at the Brampton (Ontario) Assembly Plant in CanadaAuburn Hills, Mich., Nov 19, 2014
- With roots that include the breakthrough 1955 and 2005 models, the new 2015 Chrysler 300 takes the nameplate's style and sophistication to new levels and highlights six decades of ambitious American ingenuity through iconic design proportions and inspired materials, world-class quality and craftsmanship, best-in-class 31 miles per gallon (mpg) highway fuel economy, plus class-exclusive innovations — including a state-of-the-art TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission now standard on every model, the §egmènt's most advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) system, award-winning Úconnect Access services, all-new and §egmènt-exclusive 7-inch full color driver information display (DID) and the newest generation Úconnect systems — putting boulevards and interstates on notice once again.
'Our new 2015 Chrysler 300 builds on its 60-year legacy of delivering world-class performance, elegance, sophistication, technology and craftsmanship - a combination that can only be found in our big, bold and proudly American rear-wheel-drive sedan,' said Al Gardner, President and CEO - Chrysler Brand. 'Beyond its head-turning iconic proportions and even more commanding Chrysler front-end and grille, our new 300 is designed to reward hard-working individuals by delivering class-exclusive technologies, premium appointments and levels of quality of sedans costing thousands more.'
Heritage-inspired styling combined wîth world-class execution make the new Chrysler 300 stand apart from the competition
Building on its 48 percent sales increase over the last four years, the new 2015 Chrysler 300 sedan arrives to the market wîth unmistakable styling and world-class engineering, quality and technology that is designed to exceed expectations and rival luxury import competitors in premium §egmènts priced thousands higher.
| ||Vital Stats|
|Engine : 3.6 L., 6-cylinder|
Power: 292 hp
Torque: 260 ft-lbs
Engine : 5.7 L., 8-cylinder
Power: 363 hp
Torque: 394 ft-lbs
8-speed Automatic, 8-speed Automatic
With the Chrysler development team's determination to set the 300 apart from the competition, the brand's new sedan proudly makes the following §egmènt claims (upper large car §egmèntation): •Best-in-class V-6 highway fuel economy
•Best-in-class V-6 driving range
•Best-in-class V-8 driving range
•Best-in-class V-8 horsepower
•Best-in-class V-8 torque
•Best-in-class interior volume
•Best-in-class rear seat volume
•Únsurpassed V-6 combined fuel economy
•Most technologically advanced vehicle in its class
•Most technologically advanced (AWD) system in its class
•Class-exclusive front axle disconnect wîth active transfer case
•Most luxurious vehicle in its class (Chrysler 300C)
•Segment's largest touchscreen display
•Segment's largest dual-pane sunroof available
•Class-exclusive TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission •Chrysler 300 is the only vehicle in §egmènt to offer V-6 or V-8 engine with
a standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission
•Class-exclusive available illuminated dual heated and cooled cup holders
•Class-exclusive electronic rotary transmission shifter
Lifestyle driven models highlight the Chrysler 300 sedan's broad appeal
Building on the success of the Chrysler 300 sedan's lifestyle driven models, the lineup has been revamped for 2015 wîth four highly equipped models: •300 Limited — Ú.S. MSRP $31,395 (plus $995 destination)
•300S — Ú.S. MSRP $34,895 (plus $995 destination)
•300C — Ú.S. MSRP $37,895 (plus $995 destination)
•300C Platinum — Ú.S. MSRP $42,395 (plus $995 destination)
Bold American design that has broken the §egmènt model for six decades
Confident looks, expressive materials and world-class execution make the new 2015 Chrysler 300 stand apart from the competition.
At the front of the new 2015 Chrysler 300, a redesigned fascia features a more sculptured surface, taller more prominent grille wîth a unique dimensional texture and chrome grille surround. The grille contains the Chrysler wing badge, which appears to float within the dramatic grille texture and highlights the new 'face of Chrysler.' Nestled below the upper grille is an elegantly drawn chrome Mobius strip, which outlines the lower grille opening and extends outward, surrounding the new optional LED fog lamps. This new detail reinforces the Chrysler brand's new design direction and provides the Chrysler 300 wîth even more visual presence. Bi-functional projector beam headlamps are available wîth adaptive forward lighting (AFL) to better illuminate road curves ahead, while integrated LED-illuminated daytime running lamps (DRL) form a 'C' shape for unmistakable brand identity. New LED fog lamps are available and provide a consistent white illumination at the front.
From the side, unmistakably strong, yet subtly executed shoulder lines pay homage to the Chrysler 300 series design heritage and define the correlation between front and rear wheel arches. A high beltline stays true to the Chrysler 300 sedan's signature proportion, while its elegantly tailored chrome side window surrounds and available chrome mirrors hint at the luxurious interior within. Seven new wheel designs, ranging from 17 inches to wider and wheel-well-filling 20 inches, provide the new 2015 Chrysler 300 wîth a planted, road-holding look.
Finishing the new Chrysler 300 sedan's powerful rear stance is a new sculpted LED taillamp wîth an illuminated halo, providing a unique signature appearance. A restyled rear fascia has a more fluid surface and features a tailored chrome fascia trim accent. Below, a new lower valance in black provides visual width and lightens the appearance of the sedan. (concept carz) Last, a pair of elegantly drawn, polished exhaust tips are placed in the corners to give the Chrysler 300 an upscale athletic appearance. These key design elements provide a visual tie to the all-new Chrysler 200 sedan, while keeping each models' unique personality. An interior wrapped in American style wîth world-class materials, craftsmanship and technology
Inside the new 2015 Chrysler 300 passengers will be immersed in a sophisticated blend of hand-sculpted fluid shapes, high-quality and innovative material choices inspired by American cities, precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful, clever features. When designing the new 2015 Chrysler 300, the team incorporated unique design elements and utilized authentic materials to create an interior identity that is comfortable yet beautiful – and one that could only be born in Detroit.La Jolla, California – Indigo / Linen
•As the pinnacle of the Chrysler brand's lineup, the new 300C Platinum offers an all-new and exclusive two-tone Indigo/Linen interior inspired by La Jolla's ocean views lined by sandy expanses and unexpected coves. This sedan's interior environment features §egmènt-exclusive use of quilted and perforated Nappa leather on front and rear seats. Highlighting this sedan's world-class level of craftsmanship and comfort are premium Nappa leather door panels wîth exclusive quilted inserts. Once limited to exotic sedans priced tens of thousands more, ultra high-end Foligno leather from Italian leather expert, Poltrona Frau, wraps the instrument panel and sides of the center console and is finished wîth French accent stitching. A two-tone Indigo/Linen leather-wrapped §teering wheel is hand-stitched together and includes die-cast paddle shifters and a unique chrome accent ring to highlight the §egmènt-exclusive 360-degree heated rim. Completing the interior environment is specially selected and hand-sanded natural pore wood stained in a matte-Mocha finish for greater beauty
•Model: Chrysler 300C PlatinumManhattan, New York – Black
•The high-fashion and rock-'n'-roll edge of Fifth Avenue in New York City was the inspiration for the Black leather interiors available in every Chrysler 300 model. Bright Chrome and Satin Chrome accents highlight the Black leather environment. Model specific use of hydrographic and stitching accents include Charcoal Metallic and black stitching (300 Limited) and Matte Carbon and Silver stitching (300S), while real Black Olive Ash Burl wood wîth bronze stitching is standard on 300C models. For a bespoke look, specially selected and hand-sanded natural pore wood is stained in a matte-Mocha finish and paired wîth Black accent stitching
•Models: Chrysler 300 Limited, 300S, 300C and 300C PlatinumDetroit, Michigan
– Black / Ambassador Blue
•The tenacious, 'never-say-die' spirit of Detroit was the inspiration for the 300S model's exclusive Black wîth Ambassador Blue Nappa leather interior wîth industrious Silver accent stitching. For added detail, the center console armrest and door armrests are color matched to this model's unique sport seats and feature French seamed stitching in silver. Exclusive use of Piano Black on interior center stack, instrument panel, §teering wheel, gauge cluster and door panel elements provide a uniquely lacquered and highly detailed appearance. Matte Carbon hydrographic accents and die-cast paddle shifters are also included
•Model: Chrysler 300S
Sausalito, California – Black / Linen
•A city that projects 'oneness' wîth its environment – Sausalito, California was the muse for the two-tone Linen and Black interior. Inside a peaceful Zen is represented by these color choices. Bright Chrome and Satin Chrome accents highlight the environment while Charcoal Metallic hydrographic accents wîth black stitching and Black Olive Ash Burl wood wîth bronze stitching accents provide 300 Limited and 300C models wîth a high level of craftsmanship
•Models: Chrysler 300 Limited and 300C
All-new interior design elements for the new 2015 Chrysler 300 include a standard 7-inch full-color DID cluster and class-exclusive electronic rotary transmission shifter, plus Chrysler brand's new three-spoke §teering wheel wîth larger vehicle controls and available die-cast paddle shifters. In addition, the newest Úconnect systems have been added wîth the §egmènt's largest 8.4-inch touchscreen display.
Class-exclusive TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission balances V-8 performance wîth §egmènt-leading 31 mpg highway fuel efficiency
Once limited to sedans costing twice as much, the new 2015 Chrysler 300 now offers the innovative TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission standard on every model.
New to the 2015 Chrysler 300S, 300C and 300C Platinum models wîth 5.7-liter V-8 engine is the state-of-the-art TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
By design, this gearbox provides world-class shift quality, refinement, fuel efficiency and Sport mode. Paired wîth this legendary engine, these Chrysler 300 models deliver 363 horsepower, 394 lb.-ft. of torque, 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in less than 6 seconds and class-leading performance wîth respect to: •Best-in-class V-8 driving range (EPA estimated 16 mpg city/25 mpg highway)
•Best-in-class V-8 horsepower (363 horsepower)
•Best-in-class V-8 torque (394 ft.-lb.)
New 2015 Chrysler 300 rear-wheel drive (RWD) or AWD models wîth the 292 horsepower (300 horsepower on 300S model) 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine continue to use the TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission standard, offering class-leading fuel efficiency wîth respect to: •Best-in-class V-6 highway fuel economy (31 mpg)
•Best-in-class V-6 driving range (EPA estimated 19 mpg city/31 mpg highway)
•Únsurpassed in class V-6 combined fuel economy (23 mpg)
New Chrysler 300S model delivers more performance, athletically styled
For 2015, the Chrysler 300S model is even more capable, athletic-styled and driver focused than ever.
Instantly transforming the new Chrysler 300S model's performance and personality is a revised Sport mode. By engaging Sport mode, drivers can reduce shift times from approximately 400 milliseconds to 250 milliseconds, increase engine and throttle responsiveness, adjust electronic stability control (ESC) settings and firm up the §teering feel of the new standard electric power §teering (EPS) system. For even greater V-6 performance, the Chrysler 300S model increases the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine's output to 300 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque, plus adds a unique sport-tuned dual exhaust system wîth a more distinctive sound. To make sure the added power and precision connects the driver to the road, the 2015 Chrysler 300S chassis features a new sport-tuned suspension wîth increased damping compared to the previous year.
Outside, the new Chrysler 300S trades chrome exterior accents for unique blacked-out and body-color design details, and all-new Hyper Black finished 20-inch aluminum wheels (19-inch wîth AWD).
And for drivers who want even more performance and attitude, the new 2015 Chrysler 300S can be had wîth a 363 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, new eight-speed paddle-shifting transmission wîth Sport mode, and all-new uniquely sculpted side sills and deck-lid spoiler. Most technologically advanced vehicle in its class thanks to an array of easy-to-use, state-of-the-art advanced technology features
From its updated award-winning Úconnect Access system, to the availability of Úconnect Access services wîth roadside assistance, theft-alarm notification, voice texting, the ability to turn the vehicle into a Wi-Fi hotspot, 3-D navigation and §egmènt-exclusive premium BeatsAudio and Harman Kardon audio systems, the 2015 Chrysler 300 delivers a slew of high-tech features for a luxurious driving experience at a value.
The Chrysler 300 sedan's acclaimed Úconnect Access system leverages advanced embedded cellular technology, which enables direct, one-touch connections wîth emergency service providers, roadside assistance dispatchers and vehicle information specialists.
With its available mobile phone app, Chrysler 300 owners can start their vehicle, and lock or unlock doors, while away from the vehicle. Chrysler 300 owners also can access on-demand Wi-Fi, making their car a moving hotspot.
New for 2015 Chrysler 300, Úconnect Via Mobile lets customers enjoy their personal Internet radio accounts and stream audio content using their own mobile device data plans. It seamlessly brings four popular Internet radio apps into the Chrysler 300, including Aha by Harman, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Slacker. Like all Úconnect-brand features, it is designed to be easy to learn and easy to use.
The available navigation system accommodates one-step voice-controlled destination entry and enhanced 3-D navigation map graphics, making it simple for drivers to recognize where they are and where they need to go.
The Chrysler 300 also offers three premium audio systems designed to immerse passengers in the ultimate audio experience, including the §egmènt-exclusive high-definition BeatsAudio system and premium Harman Kardon audio system wîth 18-speakers, 8-inch subwoofer and 900-watt amplifier.New 2015 Chrysler 300 offers more than 80 safety and security features; leverages state-of-the-art driver-assist features
In addition to building on its 'Top Safety Pick' credentials from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Chrysler 300 offers more than 80 safety and security features, including many that are new for 2015. New available features for the model year include Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, which provides autonomous braking and, under certain circumstances, slows or brings the vehicle to a full stop when frontal collision appears imminent.
Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus wîth Full Stop helps maintain distance from the vehicle ahead and, under certain traffic conditions, the system can bring the new 2015 Chrysler 300 to full stop without driver intervention. New Lane Departure Warning wîth Lane Keep Assist introduces subtle §teering-wheel input to alert the driver of inadvertent lane departure and assist wîth corrective action.
New for 2015, 9-1-1 call/Assist Call connects Chrysler 300 occupants directly wîth emergency-service providers via built-in data connection wîth a push of a button, a feature exclusive to Chrysler Group's Úconnect Access service.
The vehicle's standard Keyless Enter 'n Go activates interior lighting and enables passive cabin entry and trunk access through the driver's personalized key fob. The new Chrysler 300 also includes a standard ultrasonic security system wîth an anti-tilt feature, which sounds an alarm if the vehicle is towed or raised on a jack.Enthusiast-inspired rear-wheel-drive architecture wîth advanced technological solutions
The chassis of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 300 is designed, engineered and fine-tuned to deliver world-class performance and efficiencies, thanks to its advanced technological solutions, which include: •Electric power §teering (EPS) •New standard EPS system provides added efficiency, added driving ease in low-speed situations and when parking, and tuned for added responsiveness during spirited driving
•All-new, lighter weight axles for RWD and AWD •All-new cast-aluminum axles and axle housing provide weight savings and help to reduce parasitic friction
•Sport mode (Included on 300S, 300C wîth V-8 and 300C Platinum models) •Enthusiast-desired Sport mode instantly transforms the sedan's performance and personality by: •'S' gear selector enables sport engine and transmission calibration, more responsive accelerator pedal calibration and permanent paddle-shift mode
•'Sport' button enables sport-tuned §teering calibration and temporary paddle-shift mode, in addition to sport engine and transmission calibration, and increased responsiveness of the accelerator pedal calibration. Chrysler 300S AWD and 300C Platinum AWD models benefit even more as Sport mode turns AWD 'on' (if off) and enables rear-biased torque for improved dynamics
•Both 'S' gear and 'Sport' button provide blistering-quick gear changes, reducing shift times by 37 percent (250 milliseconds versus 400 milliseconds) and can hold the desired gear without unexpected shifts, including at the redlineSource - 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