Beautiful Brute – The Original C-300

Our heritage for the 300 runs deep. To fully appreciate the lineage of the 300 nameplate, let’s travel back to 1955 when the first Chrysler 300 hit the streets and the beach at Daytona. The Chrysler brand knew they would need a flagship model to combat the competition. They also understood the importance of combining luxury and performance to suit the changing tastes of the American car buyer.

Built in limited numbers, the 1955 C-300 was considered the first of the “letter series” but there was no exterior identification of the letter (the “C” designation stood for Chrysler). Powered by a 331 cubic-inch FirePower HEMI® V8, it produced 300 horsepower in stock form. This was a huge milestone in the mid 1950’s and therefore was the car aptly named “300” to represent the engine output. The HEMI® engine was fitted with twin Carter carburetors and an aggressive camshaft which made it one of the most powerful cars in the country during this period. The engineers used heavy chassis components and brakes along with a lower restriction exhaust system to help the HEMI® engine breathe at higher RPMs. The C-300 wasn’t thinly disguised race car for the street as it came standard with a tan leather interior with power windows and power front seats optional.

As soon as the car released for sale, the 300 hit the beaches of Daytona to take part in speed trials sanctioned by NASCAR. It immediately set a new Flying Mile record of 127.58 mph. It went on to win numerous races and set and break new speed records wherever it showed up. Despite this, the public only purchased 1,725 units that first year. Some say it may have been the cost. Others argue that it was the sheer horsepower that intimidated potential buyers. For whatever, reason, the 1955 C-300 has the dubious distinction among leading automotive journalists and historians of being the first “Musclecar”. The sheer horsepower and torque combined with the sleek and drop-dead gorgeous lines made it a “Beautiful Brute.”