February 10, 1955 – Chrysler 300 goes on sale

The original Chrysler 300 hit the market on this day in 1955, aptly named for its 300 horsepower V8. Chrysler drew a lot of attention to the car with its HP rating, and rightfully so, as no previous American mass produced car broke the 300 horsepower barrier. To many, the 300 is a direct predecessor to the muscle car era that would arrive a decade later.

The original 1955 Chrysler C-300 featured a top speed of 126 miles per hour. When it hit the track in NASCAR its paint scheme claimed it as the “World’s fastest stock car.” Despite some success on the track and interest from the crowds, only 1,725 units sold that year.

1965 Chrysler 300L
Above: 1965 Chrysler 300L, the last year of the 300 letter series. By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA. CC BY 2.0. Top: 1955 Chrysler C-300. By Greg Gjerdingen. CC BY 2.0

The first of these low production, personal luxury cars sported a C-300 badge in ’55. The following year they became the 300B, in ’57 the 300C, and so on. The letter series skipped “I” and ultimately ended with the 300L in 1965. A non-letter series 300 came about in 1962 as a baby brother to the alpha cars. Production of the Chrysler 300 ended in 1971, only to be revived in 1999. A car by the same name survives as Chrysler’s only sedan option today.

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