It’s probably been a while since you last checked Chrysler’s website, but don’t worry, it’s still a sad sight. Come 2023 and the company has only two vehicles on offer, the awfully dated 300 sedan and the Pacifica minivan. But it wasn’t always like that. Back in the 1950s, for instance, Chrysler had a more diverse lineup and produced far more exciting cars.
Chrysler was usually associated with luxury back then. While Plymouth and Dodge rolled out more affordable rigs, the Chrysler Corporation used the Chrysler and Imperial brands to offer high-end automobiles aimed at offerings from Lincoln and Cadillac. But Chrysler also became synonymous with high performance in the mid-1950s. And it was all thanks to the 300 “letter series.”
While described as a personal luxury car in some ads, the first “letter series” model, the 1955 C-300, was in fact a homologation special developed for NASCAR duty. And thanks to a 331-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) V8 engine rated at 300 horsepower, it arrived in showrooms as America’s most powerful car. Come 2023 and the C-300 is widely regarded as the very first muscle car (though the matter is not that simple).
The 300 “letter series” soldiered on through 1965 and spawned 11 different cars with annual upgrades. The series is usually split into five generations, with the first one including the original C-300, as well as the 300B that followed in 1956. While similar to its predecessor design-wise, the 300B brought a few important upgrades when it hit dealerships in 1956.
The enlarged 354-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) V8 was the most important of them. Also a FirePower mill of the HEMI variety, the unit generated 340 horsepower, more than 10% over the outgoing C-300. That was a serious amount of oomph for 1956 and enough to push the 300B to a top speed of 140 mph (225 kph). Chrysler also offered an optional 10:1 compression ratio that increased output to 355 horsepower, a figure that made the 300B the first American production car to deliver one horsepower per cubic inch.
Despite its luxury car status, the 300B had a successful racing career, winning the 1956 NASCAR Grand National series with the legendary Buck Baker behind the steering wheel. Baker was famous for racing his cars with next to no modifications. However, the 300B wasn’t quite as successful as the C-300 before it, selling only 1,102 units before it was replaced by the more popular 300C.
But hey, that’s actually good news for 300B owners. With many of these cars abandoned in junkyards or locked up and neglected in barns, the number of all-original survivors is incredibly low. So they’re becoming increasingly more desirable and valuable. The white example you see here is one of those cars that survived decades of storage in one piece.
Specifically, the owner shares that the Chrysler had been kept for 40 years in a storage unit. But luckily enough, the 300B emerged without any major issues and it’s still highly original beyond a fresh coat of paint. Fortunately, the latter is a correct shade of Cloud White, one of three colors Chrysler offered on the 300 “letter series” in 1956 (alongside black and Regimental Red).
The tan interior looks unreal for something that hasn’t been altered or restored, while the 354-cubic-inch V8 is of the numbers-matching variety. And because it’s been maintained properly and it has only 35,000 miles (56,327 km) on the clock, it sounds really healthy.
The owner shares that she found the car locally in 2021 and bought it as a replacement for her 1960 Chrysler 300F, which burned to a crisp in a garage fire. I’d say she got a really nice replacement and I hope she enjoys it for many years to come. Check out this beauty in the video below.