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History of the Chrysler 300

History of the Chrysler 300

History of the Chrysler 300

History of the Chrysler 300

A new era of automotive design began with the Chrysler 300 “letter series”. Entering the scene at a time when vehicle design was of two distinct classifications, one that relied on bulkier frames and those with a more refined sense of aerodynamics and engine effectiveness. What the Chrysler brought to drivers was a breath of fresh air – with luxury features and high-performance output, in a hardtop model with production beginning in 1955.

The “letter series” concept is somewhat retroactive, while at the time it was called the C-300, a moniker naming convention that applied to many Chryslers of that era, these days we refer to the 1955 300 as the “300A” or, sometimes, the A-300. Now, the story of the 300 series is just as much a story of Robert MacGregor Rodger, a Chrysler veteran, who, at the age of 37 had spent a decade and a half inspiring, developing, and forwarding the company to its present glory. Among his notable contributions, Rodger was involved with the launch of the original HEMI V8 back in 1951, and despite his age at the time, went on to become a chief engineer for the Chrysler Division.

Appreciated for his capabilities, Rodger is regarded as the innovator who proposed the letter-car naming convention. The styling chief at the time, Virgil Exner liked the idea, and with division manager Ed Quinn it went forward with the premise that the costs be kept at a manageable level.

History of the Chrysler 300s

It isn’t difficult to drawn the line to connect the 300 to the spec that gave it its name – with 300 horsepower, this was a vehicle ready to impress. Thanks to the 331 cubic-inch HEMI V8, there are those who attribute the “C” noted in the vehicles produced at the time to Briggs Cunningham, whose LeMans racers between 1951-54 were all the rage.

A second letter series began in 1956, which began a progression of alphabetic ordering for the years to follow. The only letter that was intentional skipped in the list was “I” to ensure there was no confuse with the Roman numeral I, in the end 11 years of the letter series made its way up to “L” in 1965.

The 1955 Chrysler C-300 was based on a New Yorker hardtop bodyshell with a mounted egg-crate Imperial grille and Windsor bodyside trim. The interior included a padded dashboard, 150 mph speedometer, and was tastefully highlighted by tan leather appointments. The 300 horsepower HEMI came with twin Carter four-barrel carbs, high-lifted cam, dual low-restriction exhausts with 8.5:1 compression ratio. This was a sports car that aimed at the premium market drivers with an aggression that did not go unnoticed on the market.

History of the Chrysler 300

The Chrysler C-300 set a flying-mile speed record of 127.58 mph in Daytona, with factory-sponsored efforts that sent it to the NASCAR circuit that same year.

It should go without saying that these were among the fastest production cars in their point of automotive history and, even today, are regarded as some of the best looking and effective models for their value and features.

Years would pass before the heir to the Chrysler 300L arrived on the scene, but arrived it did in the form of the 1999 Chrysler 300M. Originally referred to as the LH platform, Chrysler intentionally named for its connection to the well-loved vehicles of its period, the 3.5-litre V6 engine of the 300M was a bit misleading as, unlike its predecessor it only pushed out 253 horsepower, still, with a zero-to-60 mph of just 7.5 seconds there were undisputable improvements.

History of the Chrysler 300

However, while the 300M had its share of success, Chrysler decided to go back to the drawing boards and start again.

In 2005, Chrysler introduced an all-new, fully-redesigned and re-invented generation of the 300 series. With a look that was meant, more than the 1999 – 2004 model, to honour the original 300 letter series. More important that simply the style, the 2005 model 300 came with front-wheel drive along with the option for a new HEMI engine, offering drivers 345 horsepower from the incredible V8. The top-of-the-line model of the 300 was named, appropriately, the 300C.

The second generation of this 300-revival series came launched in 2011, refining the aspects that were received well on the previous generation. It continued into the present with engine options that offer it significant advantages over the competition, while also elevating the interior to highlight modern comfort expectations.

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