Big news from Dodge and Jeep® has overshadowed Chrysler-branded vehicles in recent months, but that's about to change.
Ú.S. sales of the Chrysler 300 surpassed the 300,000 mark in April 2006, making it the quickest Chrysler brand vehicle to reach the milestone in 25 months. This comes on the heels of another Chrysler brand achievement: global sales of the Chrysler PT Cruiser exceeded 1 million units in March.
In 10 years, Chrysler brand sales in the Ú.S. have increased 144 percent from 265,897 units in 1995 to 649,293 units, making 2005 the brand's best sales year in company history. Since its introduction in March 2004, the Chrysler 300 has powered the Chrysler brand to new sales heights; first quarter Chrysler brand sales increased 32 percent to 162,888 units compared to first quarter 2004 sales of 123,460 units.
'The Chrysler Group is firing on all cylinders,' said Gary Dilts, Senior Vice President – Sales, Chrysler Group. 'In addition to the growth of the Chrysler brand, the all-new 2006 Dodge Caliber is moving out of dealer showrooms at a brisk pace. The Jeep®family is growing wîth the recent introduction of the 2007 Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. We have a strong product lineup going into the spring and summer selling seasons.'
With the introduction of the Chrysler 300, the Chrysler Group revived the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sedan after a 15-year hiatus. In addition, the legendary HEMI® engine returned to the Chrysler brand after nearly 50 years wîth the debut of the Chrysler 300C. Personifying the image of new American muscle, the Chrysler 300 earned the title of the most most-awarded new car in automotive history in 2005.
However, the Chrysler brand is always lòòking to improve. Coming later this year, the 2007 Chrysler 300 Long Wheelbase will feature a wheelbase that is 6 inches longer than the current model, providing more than 46 inches of rear legroom and an additional 10.2 cubic feet of interior space. This extended Chrysler 300 is expected to attract sales from the limousine , as well as retail customers.
'The Chrysler brand's forward-thinking vehicle designs continue to resonate well wîth the public and are some of the most desired in the marketplace,' Dilts §äid. 'With a portfolio lineup to accommodate almost every vehicle price §egmènt, the performance, luxury and affordability of Chrysler brand vehicles continues to stand out.'Source - Chrysler
2007 Chrysler 300: Elegance and Performance at an Affordable Price
Epitomizing Chrysler brand's tradition of innovative design, the modern elegance of the Chrysler 300 continues to make everything else on the road seem ordinary. The dramatic exterior design of the Chrysler 300, along wîth sophisticated interior amenities and command-of-the-road technologies, helped establish a new large-car formula that includes style and performance not easily copied.
Proving once again that more is better, new for 2007 is the Chrysler 300 W. P. Chrysler Executive Series. This rear-wheel-drive long wheelbase package is available wîth two engine options; the Chrysler 300 Touring model, equipped wîth the 3.5-liter High Output V-6 engine, and the Chrysler 300C model featuring the modern 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine. The Executive Series package adds 6 inches to the standard wheelbase and provides more than 46 inches of rear legroom – more than the long-wheelbase Audi A8L, BMW 750Li and Jaguar XJ8L.
Also available on the 2007 Chrysler 300 are new features that include Adaptive Cruise Control, SmartBeam® Headlamps, heated rear seats, auto-dimming passenger-side exterior mirror and supplemental turn signal mirrors wîth courtesy puddle lamps. These technologies and refinements continue to offer customers an elegant, confidence-inspiring vehicle at an exceptional value.
Equipped wîth integrated safety and security features, all 2007 Chrysler 300 rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive models provide excellent occupant protection on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Chrysler 300 five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in a frontal crash, the highest rating in the Ú.S. government's safety crash-test program.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2007'
Úpdated palette offers eight exterior colors:
- Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat - Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat - Cool Vanilla Clear Coat - Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat - Linen Gold Metallic Pearl Coat - Marine Blue Pearl Coat - Silver Steel Metallic Clear Coat - Steel Blue Metallic Clear Coat - New 18-inch chrome-clad wheels standard on 300 Limited package, 300C and all AWD models
- New interior color combination of Khaki/Light Graystone replaces Deep Jade/Light Graystone Safety & Security
- Automatic oil change alert - Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) optional on 300 Limited package and 300C models - SmartBeam® intelligent headlamp system control available on 300 Limited package and standard on 300C models - Low-risk deployment air bags Packages
- New W. P. Chrysler Executive Series long wheelbase package adds six inches and 10.2 cubic feet of interior space to 300 Touring and 300C rear-wheel-drive models - 300 Limited package now equipped wîth new 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and optional Adaptive Cruise Control - Luxury Group II package bundles Adaptive Cruise Control; auto-dimming passenger-side exterior mirror; heated rear seats, and supplemental turn-signal mirrors wîth courtesy puddle lamps and is available on 300C
Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design, Chrysler Group: 'The 2007 Chrysler 300 embodies the very essence of the Chrysler brand while evoking the proud lines that once made the American automobile such an icon. The Chrysler 300 is still turning heads wîth eye-catching styling, incredible performance, dynamic and controlled handling, unsurpassed comfort and spaciousness – all at a stunningly affordable price.'
Craig Love, Vice President – Rear-Wheel Drive Platform Team: 'We've added new innovations and modern technologies to the 2007 Chrysler 300, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, SmartBeam Headlamps and supplemental turn signal mirrors, which are sure to delight the customer and keep the Chrysler 300C fresh in 2007.
'Advancements in technology enable a rear-wheel-drive large car to perform wîth all-season capability. By driving continuously through all four wheels, the Chrysler 300's all-wheel-drive system provides excellent cornering balance under all driving conditions, and better traction in snow and wet-weather surfaces. The benefit to customers is a sure-footed driving experience.'
Three powertrain options are available in the 2007 Chrysler 300 lineup, which offer outstanding combinations of performance, fuel economy, quietness and durability.
The rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 is equipped wîth a 2.7-liter V-6 engine providing 190 hp and 190 lb.-ft. of torque. The 3.5-liter High Output V-6 engine provides 250 hp and 250 lb.-ft. of torque, and is featured on the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 Touring models and Limited package. The rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive 2007 Chrysler 300C models feature the modern 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine equipped wîth 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. With 340 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, the 2007 Chrysler 300C can go from zero to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds.
Offered for the first time on a Chrysler Group vehicle is Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). ACC increases driving convenience by allowing the driver the ability to set a specific following distance from other vehicles on the road, in addition to setting a cruising speed. Available on the 2007 Chrysler 300 Limited package and Chrysler 300C model, the ACC will detect vehicles in the Chrysler 300's path, determine their speed and automatically maintain the following distance by braking or accelerating. This allows the use of cruise control in light traffic without having to continuously adjust settings.
Also new on the 2007 Chrysler 300C are available supplemental signal mirrors wîth courtesy puddle lamps. The driver- and passenger-side exterior mirrors feature bright, blinking light-emitting diodes (LEDs) when the turn signal is engaged, providing additional notice to vehicles traveling behind the car. Courtesy puddle lamps provide extra ground lighting to help make entry and exit from the vehicle safer and easier. The puddle lamps work in conjunction wîth the interior lighting and keyless entry system.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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