The Chrysler 300 letter-series cars were made famous by Carl Kiekhaefer, whose racing teams successfully campaigned the 1955-1956 models on the NASCAR circuit. The production cars appealed to affluent enthusiasts who wanted brute power wrapped in luxury and head-turning style.This 300F is one of 964 manufactured for the 1960 model year. The 1960 styling was all-new, with a graceful hardtop roofline and a profile dominated by sweeping tailfins. Unibody construction replaced the body-on-frame construction used previously. A standard 413 cubic-inch wedge-head V8, with a crossover ram induction manifolds, had a 375-hp rating.The 300F had a base price of $5,411, squarely in Cadillac territory. This Toreador Red 300F was factory-built with the rare '888' code special-order black leather interior (replacing the standard tan leather). Other options, including factory air conditioning, raised the sticker price to $6,876.30.
This car is one of only 248 Chrysler 300 convertibles manufactured in 1960. It is one of less than 6 built with a factory ordered Terracotta colored top. In 1960 this car cost $5,841. In 1960 a new engine was introduced, a 413 cubic-inch 'Wedge' unit rated at 375 horsepower. To boost power a special 'cross-ram' intake manifold was developed. Consisting of special 30-inch long tuned pipes that fed the opposite side of the engine.
Since 1955, with the introduction of the Chrysler 300, the letter series cars have been some of the most powerful and exclusive vehicles produced by Chrysler. The 300F was a rare car when new with only 248 convertibles produced. Standard equipment was a 375 horsepower, 413 cubic-inch V8 with two Carter four-barrel carburetors and a 3-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission. In racing, at Daytona, the 300F captured the first six places with a top speed of 145 mph. The 300F interior is very special with leather bucket seats that swivel for easy access. A tachometer was added and the instrument panel 'Astra-dome' creates a unique 3-D effect. The gauge panel was one of the first uses of electro-luminescent lighting eliminating the use of conventional light bulbs.
Sold for $214,500 at 2011 RM Auctions at Monterey. This 1960 300F is one of Chrysler's 'Letter Cars,' produced from 1955 through 1965, which were some of the most powerful and exclusive vehicles produced by an American car company of that era. With only 248 convertibles produced, the 1960 300F has become one of the most sought after cars of the Letter series. Equipped with the famous crossram induction manifold fitted with two 4-barrel carburetors, the 413 cubic-inch V8 produces 375 horsepower and is coupled to Chrysler's 3-speed Torqueflite push-button transmission.This 300 F convertible is just one of five specially ordered with a black leather interior, as opposed to the standard tan leather. It is the only black leather example restored. Other rare factory options include air conditioning, power swivel seats, power windows, and power antenna with a signal seeker radio. The car was restored by the current owner.
This 1960 Chrysler 300F is equipped with all of the options including air conditioning, and it still has its build sheet. It has only 26,000 original miles.The 300F featured new unibody design with a more powerful engine. Chrysler only produced 1,212 300Fs with only 248 being convertibles. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
From 1955 through 1965, Chrysler produced the 300 'letter series' of high-performance luxury cars built in limited quantities. Each year's model used a new letter of the alphabet as a suffix reaching 300L by 1965. The 1960 '300' was the 300F, and brought with it a new, high-powered 413 cubic-inch Wedge engine delivering 375 horsepower. A unique 'cross-ram' intake manifold was used, consisting of two pairs of 30 inch long tuned pipes that criss-crossed over the engine. Each set fed the opposite side of the engine. The carburetors and air cleaners hung off the sides of the engine over the fender wells. These long tubes were tuned so that resonances in the column of air helped force air into the cylinders at the desired engine speed.The bodywork was new for 1960. The new lightweight unibody was given sharper-edged styling with outward-tiling fins that were visually separated from the sides. The 'toilet seat' trunk lid contributed to a demeaning opinion of the 300F and was done away with after this one year of production. Inside were four individual, leather bucket seats with a full length console stretching from the dash to the rear seatback. Swiveling front seats came as standard equipment.This car is one of 969 coupes produced and was originally sold by the Martin Motor Company in Radford Virginia. The current owner purchased it in 2007 from the original owner. The restoration was completed in 2010.
Hardtop Coupe Chassis #: 8403110398 Engine # P41-1231
Sold for $236,500 at 2013 Gooding and Company - The Amelia Island Auction. Sold for $440,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach. Chrysler introduced its first 300 model in 1955. It joined a growing list of impressive two-seat sports cars including the Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet Corvette. Rather than directly competing with Ford and Chevrolet, Chrysler decided to go another route and build the fastest stock sedan available on the market. With that, the Chrysler C300 was born. Power was from a 300 horsepower Hemi engine.The Chrysler 300s were high-performance luxury cars produced in limited numbers from 1955 to 1965. They were known for speed, engineering, and NASCAR victories. They became friends of performance enthusiasts who appreciated their performance, elegance, exclusivity, and styling.The 1960 Chrysler 300 F models had an aggressive, no-nonsense stance with outward-slanting fins. They came standard with a 375 HP and could be purchased with an optional 400 HP engine. Most 300 Fs were equipped with a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, but no more than nine were given a Pont-A-Mousson four-speed manual gearbox. The 300 F was also the first letter car to feature unibody construction which aided in build quality and gave the car improved rigidity.
The 1960 300 F was available as a hardtop or convertible. Around 964 were hardtops and 248 were convertibles.
This car is one of six that Chrysler engineers set aside. They met in a secret location away from the Chrysler plant and began work on what was called the 'Gran Turismo Project.' They modified the cars to compete on the sands of Daytona Beach in NASCAR's Flying Mile race. The cars were dubbed the 'GT Specials.' This car is a GT Special and the one that placed first in its class in the Flying Mile race with a record speed of 144.9 mph - a NASCAR record that still stands.The team modified the 413 CID V8 by installing solid lifters, special piston rings, a high-lift camshaft, and cast-iron headers. They added Carter 3084S carburetors with manual chokes, cast special short-ram manifolds, installed a French-made Pont-A-Mousson four-speed gearbox that was originally destined for the Chrysler-powered Facel Vega, and altered the rear-axle to 2.93.The car was driven by legendary Daytona Beach driver Gregg Zeigler to race at Daytona Beach. Chrysler mechanic Carl Purse was on hand to help tune the car. The 300 F was then fitted with Goodyear Blue Streak tires to help it before on the sand. All six GT Specials appeared in Daytona Beach, where NASCAR founder Bill France acted as the flag man. The six 300 Fs claimed the top six spots - with Zeigler coming in first.Zielger drove the car home to Elgin, Illinois, and in 1961 sold it to collector Bob McAtee of nearby Bloomington. The car was kept in a climate-controlled facility and occasionally driven until 2007, when Mr. AcAtee's passing, it was sold to the current owner.The car is an unrestored, original example that has just 11,000 miles on the odometer. It is finished in black with a tan interior and fitted with many luxurious appointments. There are four contoured seats, and the front seats swivel for easy access. The console, which extends from the instrument panel into the rear seating area, includes a tachometer at the front along with armrests, storage compartments, and power-window controls.
The instrument panel has large half-circle design displays that include a range of gauges in front of the driver, including a 150-mph speedometer. Dashboard lighting creates a soft glow across the panel.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
Before there was a Chrysler Corporation, before there were HEMIs, before Wedges and dual-quads, there was Maxwell-Chalmers. They'd made cars since 1904 but as happened to many a manufacturer in those early days, they plowed headlong into financial hardship. Walter Chrysler was recruited to rescue them as he'd done for Willys-Overland. Walter launched the immodestly named Chrysler model in 1924, offering sophisticated yet affordable engineering advancements. It worked, Maxwell and Chalmers models disappeared and the Chrysler Corporation was born. The 300 series cars were built from 1955-1965. They were the handiwork of design virtuoso Virgil Exner whose design pedigree was well-recognized, having studied under GM's legendary Harley Earl.These models were arguably the first American 'muscle cars,' combining elegant style with raw performance. In their first year, 1955, the 300C Hemi set the tone, dominating NASCAR racing. The production version appealed to well-heeled enthusiasts who wanted power enveloped in luxury and wrapped in head-turning style. This recipe has stood the test of time. The 1960 300F got a 413 CID Wedge and a pushbutton automatic transmission. It breathed through a radical cross-ram induction system, whereby 30-inch intake runners crisscrossed with each side feeding the oppose cylinder bank. Two large four barrel carburetors hung menacingly off the side of the engine.
This car has individual leather bucket seats with a console running front to back. It benefits from Chrysler's lightweight unibody construction, crisp styling and pronounced fins. This 300F convertible is one of just 248 built that year.
The 300F continued the Chrysler 300 'letter series' line that began in 1955. Considered the brand's sports model, the 300F featured the 413-cubic-inch engine with two four-barrel carburetors mounted on a long ram intake. A major improvement to the 300 line in 1960 was the use of uni-body construction, which replaced the earlier body-on-frame configuration. This new design gave the 300F a much more rigid platform and greatly improved handling.The 300F continued the 300's winning tradition by winning the first six places at the Daytona Flying Mile competition in 1960 with a top speed of nearly 145 miles per hour.
Sold for $143,000 at 2014 Motor City Auction by RM Auctions. There were just 248 Convertible examples built of the 300F. These 'letter cars', first introduced in 1955 with the C-300, firmly established Chrysler as a performance leader. They were advertised as 'Beautiful Brutes,' and they exemplify the American high-performance grand touring concept. Through 1958, these cars were powered by various Hemi engines; in 1959, the lighter 413 Wedge made its debut and provided the same brute force.For 1950 the 413 was given a tuned cross-ram induction system that mounted a pair of four-barrel carburetors on a unique intake manifold that had 30-inch runners. Along with a hotter camshaft, a low-restriction exhaust system, and all-new lighter unit-body construction for 1960, the 300F continued to be an outstanding performance machine that 300 buyers had come to expect. In sanctioned competition at Daytona, a 300F beat the Flying Mile record set by the 300B in 1956 with a speed of 144.92 mph, and racer Andy Granatelli reached 189.99 mph at Bonneville with a supercharged 300F.The jet aircraft-inspired bodylines of the 300F was attractive and modern. They came equipped with all standard New Yorker amenities, plus swiveling front seats and nylon tires with white sidewalls. The luxurious aircraft cockpit-style interior featured four individual leather seats that were divided by a console running the length of the passenger cabin. The dash design had a three-dimensional 'Astra-Dome' instrument cluster with electroluminescent lighting that had been developed in collaboration with Sylvania, which was an industry first.
This Convertible 300F has a Factory Build Code Interpretation from the Chrysler 300 Club International, which states it was delivered with Alaskan White paint and beige leather interior. The car was shipped from the factory on April 14, 1960 and was listed as an export model, but its destination was not specified.
Since new, the car has been fully restored. The car has the cross-ram powerplant, Torqueflite pushbutton automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power windows, a power top, power swivel front bucket seats, air conditioning, a clock, and an AM radio with a power antenna. At all four corners are B.F. Goodrich Silvertown whitewall tires mounted to steel wheels with full wheel covers. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
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 | Jun 2006
In 2005, the wave of retro design that is still shaping American cars first washed over Detroit. American companies, with their stale product offerings, began looking towards their rich pasts to inspire new models with the design and flair of long-gone icons. It was in 2005 that Chrysler launched a modern iteration of the famed 300.The 300 name had actually been revived by Chrysler several years before the 2005 300's introduction as a car called the 300M, but that model was dated even when brand new and didn't evoke nostalgic memories in the same way its replacement would. The 2005 300 was a total departure from the Chrysler models immediately preceding it. The sleek, low slung, 'cab-forward' design language of the 300M and others was replaced by the new 300's brash and blocky look. The 2005 Chrysler 300 was not merely an updated version of a bygone classic, but rather a revival of Chrysler's attitude during the company's most exciting times. The new 300 went back to a rear wheel drive platform and reintroduced the muscular proportions of America's former bad-boy sedans. Available V8 power rounded out the package and a large, upright chrome grille stood proud in grand American fashion. The 2005 Chrysler 300 was met with great fanfare and positive press. For as exciting a car as the '05 300 was, though, it could barely capture the style and spirit of the car that inspired it. The original 300 was one of the most thrilling Chryslers ever released. It was a car whose inspirational design and performance will be lauded forever and whose legend will continue to be respected by Chrysler workers, owners and admirers, as well as by the flashy new car that shares its name.
Produced without interruption from 1955 through 1971, the Chrysler 300 in its earliest form was one of the very first muscle cars. Though production extended into the early 1970's, the best-known (and best-loved) 300s were the 'letter series' cars of 1955-1965. All 300s were part of this letter series until 1962, when both letter and non-letter variants were offered through 1965. Models made from 1966 on were not part of the letter series. Each Chrysler in the letter series used the 300 designation followed by a single letter. That letter ascended alphabetically once every year, making it up to 'L.' Confusingly, the first of the series was not called the 300A but the C-300. In that one instance, the letter 'C' simply stood for coupe. Revisions on the C-300 theme created the 300B for 1956, then 300C for 1957, 300D for 1958, and so on. The only other snag in the letter series system was the use of the letter 'J' for the 1963 300, instead of the 'I' for which the car was due. Chrysler likely used the 'J' nomenclature to prevent confusion between the letter 'I' and the Roman numeral I.
The letter series 300 introduced potent performance and a fresh design to Chrysler, whose other models had grown stale. In that sense, the original 300 arrived for the same reasons as 2005's remake. The name was chosen for bragging rights. Chrysler, with its aptly named C-300, had become the first American manufacturer to develop 300hp in a production car. That power led the 1955 Chrysler to become the fastest production car in the world, reaching 127.58mph at Daytona Beach. The C-300's engine was a 331ci Chrysler V8 with hemispherical combustion chambers and two 4-barrel carburetors. The aforementioned 300hp was achieved at 5,200rpm.There was much more to the C-300 than formidable speed. The car was large, luxurious, and packed with comfortable features. At 220 inches in length, the C-300 was huge for a two-door. A weight of 4,300lbs gave it the bulk of a personal limousine. Its two speed automatic transmission required no effort on the driver's part. The car was rolling evidence that speed and luxury were not mutually exclusive traits. The C-300 was the fastest car on the road, and it may very well have been the most comfortable.A superb combination of performance and comfort alone would have made the Chrysler C-300 a classic. But the car's quality didn't stop there. Designed by the talented and innovative Virgil Exner, the C-300 was a triple threat of sumptuous luxury, speed and, and style. Before moving to Chrysler, Exner had worked for GM under the guidance of Harley Earl and for Raymond Loewy's own design firm. His experience led him to be a daring designer, but the 1955 C-300 was a subdued design. It was handsome and understated, free of the garish detailing the plagued so many of its contemporaries. With its regal proportions and proud stance, the C-300 separated itself from lowlier cars that used glitz and glam as their only stylistic values. A split egg crate grille, in chrome, dominated the frontal aspect of the C-300 and had a tastefully minimal chrome bumper running beneath it. The subtle fins picked up just aft of the doors and beneath the beltline. At the rear, the vestigial fins flowed into vertical taillights. With a base price above $4,000, buyers paid dearly for a fine congregation of elegant design, comfort, and rapidity. Even more power was made available for the 1956 300B. A 354ci V8, at first making 340hp, was available with 355hp by the middle of its run—making it the first American engine to produce 1 horsepower per cubic inch. Three transmissions were offered: PowerFlite and TorqueFlite two-speed autos, and a three-speed manual. Performance improvements in the 1956 300B were complemented by the availability of an even more comfortable interior. Air conditioning was offered as well as a clock in the steering wheel for the particularly punctual. And, of course, if the clock wasn't distracting enough, a record player could also be ordered.
The styling of the 300B featured a revised rear treatment, but the car was largely the same as 1955's C-300. For the 1957 300C, though, Exner thoroughly revamped the 300's shape. The new design was more brash but still tasteful and clean. It featured more pronounced fins and a quad headlight face with a large, one-piece egg crate grille. From the side, the 300C looked particularly good. Its long and low proportions were readily revealed from that angle. Also easily noticeable from the side, the 300C had a forward tilt to its front end that was mirrored by a rearward tilt to its fins. The balanced look was an Exner hallmark that worked wonderfully on the 300C. A convertible version was offered whose absence of a roofline emphasized the trapezoidal side profile of the 300C's body. A top speed of 150mph could be reached by the 300C.
For 1958, a 300D was introduced. It looked very similar to the 300C, but big improvements were still made. Fuel injection became an available option and power brakes were standard. With 380hp, the 300D could be propelled to 156mph. The 300E of 1959 offered similar styling but with a very different engine. The hemi-head V8 was replaced by a 413ci wedge-head V8.The 300F brought major styling changes for 1960. While other companies toned down their use of fins for the 1960's, Chrysler gave its 300F a wild, one-year-only rear treatment with razor sharp fins. Ralph Nader, in his book Unsafe at and Speed that most famously criticized the Chevrolet Corvair's poor handling, called the 300F's fins 'potentially lethal.' Automotive writer Quentin Willson offered good reason for Nader's concern in his own work titled The Ultimate Classic Car Book, pointing to a 1963 traffic accident in which an unfortunate motorcyclist became impaled by one of the fins of a 300F.With a front end that looked slightly awkward compared to the noses of its predecessors and a heavily criticized faux spare tire cover incorporated into the rear deck lid, the 300F's overall look lacked the thoroughly clean appearance of earlier models. But from the side at least the 300F still looked good, and performance and comfort were as impressive as ever. Up to 400hp could be had from the 413ci engine. A beautifully finished interior continued a tradition of comfortable motoring. The interior was so inviting that the seats literally offered themselves to driver and front passenger, automatically swiveling to allow easy access whenever a door was opened.The 300G was brought out for 1961 and was the last finned 300. The front end retained four headlights, but they were now stacked two per side in tilted columns. Standard power windows and cruise control further enhanced an already excellent list of convenience features, and performance options remained similar to those of the 300F. The 300H used the following year was similar in most respects to the 300G, but had a fresh tail design with a smooth, tapering deck where once stood fins. Production of the 300H was unusually low even for the exclusive letter series, but sales were bolstered by the introduction of a more affordable non-letter series variant, named simply the '300.'For 1963, the letter 'I' was skipped and the 300J was introduced alongside a revamped standard 300. The 1963 models were plainer, with square styling that belied their still capable performance. The 1964 300K and 1965 300L were the last two models of the letter series. By 1965, the plain styling of the 300L and the narrow performance gap between it and the base 300 had created an uninspired package. After 1965, the letter series was discontinued.The garden variety 300 soldiered on until 1971, losing sales and substance as it went along. Chrysler couldn't have picked a better time to pull the plug on the aging model, as allowing it to last any longer would have exposed it to stringent emissions regulations that instantly would have robbed the car of the only virtue it really had left—power. Even the very last 300 had a 440ci V8 that had a tremendous output compared to any American offering of the mid-1970's.History has ignored any shortcomings of the largely average 300 produced from 1966-1971, focusing on the raw power and suave personality of the early letter series. Few American cars before or since have been able to offer so much speed and luxury wrapped in a shell of aesthetic excellence. From 1955 through 1959, the 300s were the uncompromised rulers of the American automotive kingdom—even the 1960-1965 models were superbly executed. Inspiring the successful 2005 Chrysler 300, the early letter series cars have shown that sometimes history is worth repeating. Sources:'History of the Chrysler Three Hundred Series.' The Chrysler 300 Site Web.28 Jul 2009. http://www.chrysler300site.com/cgibin/history.cgi.Nerad, Jack. 'Great Classic Cars: Chrysler C-300.' AntiqueCar.com Web.28 Jul 2009. http://www.antiquecar.com/gc_chrysler_c300.php.Willson, Quentin. The Ultimate Classic Car Book. First. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. Print.By Evan Acuña
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