The Chrysler 300 “letter series” models have always held a special appeal that transcends Mopar circles. Built in five main generations spanning 11 models from 1955–1965, with all but the final model being designed under the auspices of the great Virgil Exner, these represented Chrysler’s best effort to build a car that was world-beating in terms of technology, cutting-edge style, and performance.
This is on full display in the Chrysler 300E of 1959. Its design is arresting; its tailfins push the envelope in terms of size and were towering, even by late-1950s standards, yet they nevertheless contribute to glamorous, well-balanced whole. Performance, too, was boundary-pushing. In place of the 300D’s heavier and more complicated Hemi, the 300E uses a 380-horsepower, 413-cubic-inch “Golden Lion” wedge-head V-8 crowned by dual four-barrel carburetors. Those who have not yet sampled this model from behind the wheel will be pleasantly surprised—a 300E in proper tune is a truly fast machine once underway, and not merely by old-car standards.
Story by RM Sotheby’s