From 1955 to 1965, Chrysler produced the 300 “Letter Car” series, which played a significant role in shaping and popularizing the muscle-car genre that is still popular among collectors and enthusiasts today. The 1955 C-300 was an instant commercial and competition success, combining the luxurious appearance of a Chrysler New Yorker with the performance of a racecar.
Driver Tim Flock drove the C-300 to victory in the 1955 NASCAR championship after winning 18 races. The C-300 went on to become one of NASCAR’s most successful cars, winning 49 races by the end of the 1957 season, despite accusations of cheating due to its unprecedented success.
However, the C-300’s success was due to its 331-cubic-inch Firepower V-8 engine with two four-barrel carburetors and a high-lift camshaft, which delivered 300-brake-horsepower. The heavy-duty suspension with stiffer springs ensured that the handling could keep up with the power.
In 1956, the C-300 was renamed the 300B, and its Hemi V-8 engine was enlarged to 354 cubic inches, delivering 340 brake horsepower, with the option of a higher compression ratio, which increased output to 355 brake horsepower. Chrysler continued to improve the 300 series, updating its styling and increasing its power with each new version, using successive letters of the alphabet to name the car, except for “i,” culminating in the 1965 300L.