1955 Chrysler 300 / Specs, Photos, Model History

In 1955 Chrysler restyled it's models and a great example of this restyling is the 1955 Chrysler 300 featured in this article. The model is also referred to as the C-300 designating the coupe. The 1955 Chrysler 300 is what writer, Karl Ludvigsen, called the "Beautiful Brute". Karl Ludvigsen had a 50+ year career as a journalist, historian, consultant and author on the automotive industry. He also did a stint in the 1950's  as a designer at GM.

1955 chrysler 300

1955 Chrysler 300

The Powerful 1955 Chrysler 300

The story of the 1955 Chrysler 300 is an interesting one. This automobile delivered 300 horsepower.

While Chevrolet had their Corvettes and Ford their Thunderbirds, Chrysler put so much of their resources into new styling and did not put out a two seater like those from GM and Ford. What they did introduce was America's first 300 horsepower automobile. The last vehicles to deliver that kind of power were limited production 1930's Duesenbergs which were only affordable to the very wealthy.

The Chrysler Hemi Engine

When car enthusiasts speak about Hemi engines they most frquently refer to Chrysler. Other automakers did have Hemi's but Chrysler is the one that marketed the name most.

The 1955 Chrysler 300 was powered by the most powerful Hemi V-8's to date. Chrysler produced three types of Hemi engines with the first being designated FirePower which ran from 1951 to 1958. When the 1955 Chrysler 300 was introduced it was the most powerful production car in the United States.

1955 chrtysler hemi

Chrysler 300 had Imperial grille

Hemi engines essentially are built with a hemispherical cylinder head. There are two valves per cylinder with intake and exhaust stems pointing in different directions. One attribute of the Hemi is minimal heat loss and better compression ratios from higher octane fuel.

Chrysler Engineering and Styling

Chrysler had a reputation for solid engineering and the Chrysler 300 was a perfect example of that. This model increased dealer showroom traffic which was the intention and therefore helped sell all models of the Chrysler line. Here you had a muscle car for the older generation which offered a luxurious interior with leather upholstery. This was something unique.

The Chrysler 300 was really created for NASCAR racing an it dominated that venue for several years. In 1955 Chrysler won the NASCAR Grand National and the AAA Championship. These kind of successes really helped push sales.

Credit Virgil Exner's design team for fine body styling. The goal for the design team working on the 55 models was to achieve a complete break from the past. As a result, the Chrysler 300 was somewhat a combination of a New Yorker Newport hardtop body with an Imperial egg crate grille. The Imperial grille helped give the 300  a different look from the New Yorker and Windsor models. While the 55 Chrysler 300 is noted for it's power and competition successes, as stated above, it was also luxurious inside with leather seating and other luxury appointments.

1955 Chrysler 300 Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1955 Chrysler 300 was equipped with the most powerful Hemi engine to date. The engine was a Chrysler FirePower 331 cubic inch Hemi V-8 delivering 300 HP. As a side note, the 1955 New Yorker had a 331 cid Hemi which put out 255 HP. Not the 300 HP you'd attain from the C-300 but a very respectable horsepower for it's year.

Transmission is a two speed automatic. Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 126.0 inches and an overall length of 218.6 inches. Vehicle weight was 4,150 lbs.

As another side note, the Chrysler 300's length was increased to 220.4 inches in 1956 and the horsepower was also increased up to 355.

chrysler 351 hemiProduction numbers for the 1955 Chrysler 300 was 1,725 units making the automobile quite rare today. Today there are something over 200 that are registered.

New car price was about $4,100.

You may also enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

The 1936 Chrysler Convertible Sedan

The 1939 Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton

Reference materials include...Chrysler 300 "America's Most Powerful Car" by author Robert Ackerson.....The Chrysler 300 Anthology by Harry W. llaeia...Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

chrysler 300 dashboard

55 Chrysler dash

The 1955 Chrysler 300 Collector Car

These original models were fast cars and fun to drive and popular with collectors.

The 1955 Chrysler 300 was a excellent dealer showroom attention grabber. With it's powerful 331 Hemi engine the car dominated NASCAR until 1957 when most automakers pulled out of racing competition.

Current valuation for a fully restored pristine original is in the $125,000 to $135,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

The Plymouth / Chrysler Prowler / The Design Story and Specifications

The Plymouth Prowler, later the Chrysler Prowler, is a retro-styled production car manufactured and marketed in 1997 and 1999-2002 by Daimler Chrysler. When the Prowler was first released, the collective reaction from car buffs was a loud, “OMG”. Certainly the car looked different than just about any other production car on the market and it was a real head turner with it's hot rod styling.

plymouth prowler specs

A 1993 Concept Car

The Prowler was first introduced in January 1993 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The cars stunning design caught peoples attention from the start.

Just two months later the Prowler made an appearance at the Goodguys Spring Nationals hot rod show in Pomona, CA. to much acclaim. One month after that, dealers from around the country gave the car a thumbs up and talked about production feasibility. This was followed by engineering work in early 1994, test driving in 1995 and extended cross country road trip tests in 1996. Full production approval came in March 1997.

Following is the story of the Plymouth/Chrysler Prowler and how it went from a concept car in 1993 to a production car in 1997, which in itself is quite a feat.

2000 plymouth prowler

Engineering of the Prowler

Engineering work began in earnest in the spring of 1994. At this time computers were the method to really get out some creative and different types of styles. At the same time this allowed for designing without breaking the bank on developmental expenses. The Prowler was one such computer designed concept. Many will say that the Prowler design followed quite closely to a retro-roadster design by Chip Foose.

The Prowler looked like a futuristic speedster with an open-wheel front end and low-slung hot rod body. Chrysler however did not produce the vehicle as a hot rod. To help keep costs down Chrysler used it's standard 3.5-liter V6 as the Prowler's power plant. The engine did deliver a healthy 250 hp. While looking like a hot rod, the Prowler didn't even have a manual transmission, which made it almost impossible to lay down hot rubber on the road.

A Name Change and More

In January 2001, the Plymouth brand was dropped from the Prowler name, and the hot rod looking vehicle became a Chrysler. As part of this change the company introduced a new "Mulholland Edition". This was a dark blue coupe with white pinstriping. Chrysler also offered two new paint schemes for the Prowler. A two-tone version (the top of the car will be black and the sides will be silver), called the "Black Tie Edition," came out. It also includes a silver instrument cluster bezel and silver floor mats. Later in 2001, Chrysler introduced a new color, Prowler Orange. Discontinued colors that year were red, yellow,purple and black. Silver was still offered.

2000 Plymouth / Chrysler Prowler Specifications

Over all the design is what makes the car. In fact, the Prowler may make you a celebrity in your neighborhood. This sports car will get you lots of looks. Performance is great for the the size and weight of the vehicle.

2000 plymouth prowler

  •  3.5 liter V 6 front engine with 96 mm bore, 81 mm stroke, 9.9 compression ratio, overhead cam and four valves per cylinder
  • Uses Premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel consumption: EPA city (mpg): 17 and highway (mpg): 23
  • Fuel economy EPA highway (mpg): 23 and EPA city (mpg): 17
  • Multi-point injection fuel system
  • 12 gallon  premium unleaded fuel tank
  • Power: 250 HP
  • 0 to 60 MPH in 5.9 seconds
  • Rated top speed of 126 MPH
  • Total production during the entire model run was 11,700 vehicles

See these additional Auto Museum Online / Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below...

The Morgan Superdry Special Edition

All Electric 68 Mustang / 0-60 in Under 3 Seconds

The Chrysler/Plymouth Prowler was certainly a creative design put out by Daimler-Chrysler. The automobile has many enthusiasts as demonstrated by the Prowler Owners Association and Prowler Club. See website http://prowleronline.com/

References included the 2000 and 2001 Chrysler Prowler Owners Manual Guide Book.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

 

1936 Chrysler Convertible Sedan

The Chrysler Corporation factory in Highland Park, Michigan, a close-in Detroit suburb, built the beautifully restored 1936 Chrysler featured in this article. Interestingly enough, the Ford Motor Company also maintained a very large factory in Highland Park on Woodward Avenue.

1936 Chrysler Convertible

1936 Chrysler Convertible

This model, the 1936 Chrysler Convertible Sedan, was advertised as a car with flair. That was the main point in much of Chrysler's advertising for this model. Chrysler promoted the fact that the 1936 Chrysler was built for "young people of all ages".

Looking at the car you can surely see it's attractive design lines. Chrysler promoted the 1936 Convertible as a quality car with flair and they claimed the car was economically advantageous in fuel consumption. Automatic Overdrive, an option, was claimed by Chrysler to save about 20% in gas consumption. Chrysler also claimed, like several other automakers, that their 1936 models were inexpensive to maintain.

The Chrysler 1936 models had a new car starting price of $760 and the relatively low starting price was prominent in Chrysler advertising of that year. The rare eight cylinder 1936 Chrysler Sedan Convertibles sold for about $1,300. Not expensive but a bit of money for the middle of the Great Depression era.

1936 Chrysler Sedan Airstream

1936 Chrysler Sedan Airstream

Chrysler's Airflow and Airstream

The Airflow's design was the first car ever to be tested in a wind tunnel at the recommendation of Orville Wright. Chrysler spent six years of experimentation and full testing for this design.

The Airflow name hinted at a sleeker automobile design with less air resistance. Chrysler engineers at the time were at the forefront in how automobile body designs acted with the environment. One thing they did determine was that the two-box design of prior automobiles was aerodynamically inefficient. Chrysler's Airflow model was unquestionably lower and sleeker than what was then on the streets.

Chrysler Corporation came out with their "Airflow" models in 1934 which were received less than spectacularly. Although they competed well in stock car racing the public never really latched onto them. As a result, Chrysler introduced the new "Airstream" model in 1936 just a year after the Airflow.

1936 Chrysler Airstream Convertible

1936 Chrysler Airstream Convertible

Airflow sales were so dismal that the 1936 Chrysler Airstream was actually introduced in 1935. Over just the two years that Airstream was in production, the Airstream outsold the Airflow five to one in its first year, and an almost unbelievable nine to one in 1936. This demonstrates just how much more the public accepted the Airstream design. It's been said that the Airstream brought people back to Chrysler who had been scared away by the Airflow model.

Airstream was used also for the DeSoto brand. Both Chrysler and DeSoto discontinued the Airstream name in 1937.

When in production, the Airflow and Airstream were built as both two door and four door models.

1936 Chrysler dashboard

1936 Chrysler dashboard

1936 Chrysler Sedan Specifications

The engine on this car is a straight eight, 323.5 cubic inch displacement. The engine could deliver a maximum of 115 horsepower. The engine had two valves per cylinder.

Standard transmission was a three speed manual with an option offered for an automatic overdrive.

The 1936 Chrysler Sedan had a wheelbase of 123.0 inches and an overall length of 201.6 inches. Vehicle weight averaged about 4,000 lbs.

The 1936 Chrysler Airstream models were were sold with two trim styles, Custom and Deluxe. Probably the biggest difference was that the deluxe models had a one piece windshield and the Custom's two piece.

Total Chrysler production for the 1936 model year was 71,296 vehicles.

1936 Chrysler grille and headlamps

1936 Chrysler grille and headlamps

See the links below for additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles of classic cars of the 1930's.

1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight

1938 Ford Deluxe Convertible Club Coupe

The 1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Coupe

1936 Chrysler Auction Prices

As of this writing there has been a restored and modified 1936 Chrysler Airflow two door coupe with an asking price of over $500,000. By the same token, there has been an unrestored old 1936 Airflow for an asking price of $3,500. Also a restored 1937 Airflow with an asking price of $60,000 and another 1936 Chrysler Coupe for $30,000 and yet a fully restored sedan model at $90,000.  A 1936 DeSoto Airstream has been seen with an appraised price of $20,000.

The prices asked are obviously in a wide range and final selling prices may be substantially lower. The price will vary for several reasons including the exact model offered and the degree and quality of restoration.

Restorations of 1936 Chrysler Airstream's have been popular. If you find one and wish to sell it you shouldn't have a difficult time. The cars in general are not the easiest to find and I would consider them rare. The 1936 Chrysler Convertible Sedan and Coupe models are even rarer.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)