1955 Chrysler C-300
Chassis no. 3N552088
* 300hp, 331-cid Hemi V8
* 128 mph performance
* PowerFlite automatic transmission
* Virgil Exner styling
* A seminal American muscle car
* Racing pedigree for the gentleman driver
What was the first muscle car? That's been a discussion since the dawn of high compression. The logical answer might be the 1964 Pontiac GTO, but Mopar enthusiasts would argue for the 1962 Max Wedge. Oldsmobile fans could claim the 1949 "Rocket 88" but, considering the "Horsepower Race" began in 1955, wouldn't it make sense to suggest a car that led the way in horsepower?
Yet, for all its muscle, the 1955 Chrysler C-300 wasn't a car for the dragstrip. Rather, it was a car that aspired to beat Lincoln in the Carrera Panamericana, however the C-300 never had that opportunity as the race was discontinued after 1954 citing safety concerns. Instead, Panamericana competitor and Mercury Marine founder Carl Kiekhaefer arrived at Daytona with a C-300 but without a driver, then hired the retired Tim Flock to handle driving duties. Flock promptly won the race, and by the end of the season he had garnered 18 wins plus set a new record in Daytona's "flying mile."
Of course, the C-300's sporting heritage derived from its sensational powerplant, the 300-horsepower 331-cid FirePower Hemi, the first production motor to achieve this rating. With twin-four barrel carburetors, a radical camshaft, solid lifters, performance exhaust, a stiff suspension, and a premium price, the C-300 wasn't everyone's cup of tea. For the well-heeled performance enthusiast, however, the C-300 was as good as it got.
All that horsepower was wrapped in a handsome package designed by Virgil Exner. He debuted his "Forward Look" in 1955 and gave the entire Chrysler Corporation the style it so desperately needed. Using the New Yorker's 126-inch chassis, the C-300 borrowed the Imperial's grille and wire wheels to distinguish it from lesser Chryslers. Ornamentation was kept to a minimum, contrary to the trends of the time. Only 1,725 were built, but the C-300's impact was much bigger than its numbers would suggest.
This 1955 Chrysler C-300 is believed to have been sold new in Florida, where it remained until 1997. It subsequently was the recipient of a two-year restoration by noted 300 experts Ken Brody and Gary Goers. With those credentials plus air conditioning fitted, this C-300 is a worthy specimen for those wanting a gentleman's muscle car with integrity and racing heritage to boot.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.
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