1966 Chrysler 300 with the Big Hemi / Photos, All Model Details

Shown here is a fine looking 1966 Chrysler 300 Four Door Sedan Hardtop. The first of the non lettered models.

1966 chrysler 300
1966 Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300 Introduction in 1955

The first Chrysler 300 was produced for the 1955 model year. The “300” model was named as such because of it’s 331 cubic inch Hemi FirePower V-8 under it’s hood.

The Chrysler C-300 and NASCAR

The Chrysler C-300’s were actually created for racing and had very good success. An example of this success was the 1955 win at the NASCAR Grand National and the AAA Championship. With a 331 cubic inch Hemi V-8 with dual carburetors and 300 gross horsepower, the 1955 Chrysler C-300  was among the quickest cars of its time. With it’s heavy duty suspension the new Chrysler 300 handled very well. The 1955 Chrysler C-300 that won at NASCAR was pretty much the same automobile the public could buy with the exception of numbers on the door and various safety equipment.

The car dominated NASCAR competition. The 1955 Chrysler C-300 was recognized as the true first high performance vehicle since the end of World War Two. In 1955 alone the Chrysler C-300 won eighteen NASCAR-sanctioned stock car races. In addition to that the Chrysler C-300 was racking uo wins in 1955 almost everywhere. An example of this success was the 1955 win at the NASCAR Grand National and the AAA Championship. Even with this huge success there were only 1,725 Chrysler C-300’s produced during 1955.

66 chrysler 300 photos

Chrysler Engineering

Chrysler built a reputation for solid engineering and the Chrysler 300 was a perfect example of that. Chrysler engineering is credited for many innovations such as the Hemi V-8 which was introduced in 1951. Since that time there have been three different types of Chrysler Hemi engines produced. Chrysler also was the first to use rubber engine mounts to help reduce vibration. They are also credited with using road wheels with a ridged rim that was to  keep deflated tires from actually flying off the wheel.

1966 Chrysler 300 Styling

The design of the first Chrysler 300’s were led by noted automotive designer Virgil Exner. The goal for the design team working on the 1955 Chrysler’s was to achieve a complete break from the past. This they certainly did accomplish.

Exner had retired in 1961 and was replaced by Elwood Engel as new design chief. Some say that Exner departed Chrysler because his designs were becoming, according to some upper management, too far out in left field. Engel had come over from Ford after losing out on the top design slot and was recommended for the job at Chrysler. Engel ended up being Chrysler Corporation’s design chief from 1961 until 1974.

The 1965 Chrysler 300 had a complete restyle. This restyle included crisp lines, slab sides. This styling was introduced by Engel when he succeeded Exner. The result was  a sleek mid-1960’s linear look to the automobiles. The design looked good and clean.

1966 Chrysler 300 Specifications

The 1966 Chrysler 300 had two engines available. These were a 383 cubic inch FirePower V-8 delivering 325 HP. Also a 440 cubic inch TNT FirePower V-8 putting out 365 HP.

Transmissions are a three speed manual and a three speed Torque Flite automatic.

Dimensions include a 124.0 inch wheelbase, 221.9 inch outside overall length, 79.5 inch width. Curb weight at 4,275 lbs.

1966 Chrysler 300 production came in at 49,500 vehicles. Out of that number 20,600 were four door sedans. This was a large sales increase of 85% over the previous year. The 1966 model year was also the first year that Chrysler dropped the ‘letter” cars such as the 300L. The letter following the number 300 signified each succeeding year of production since the Hemi powered C-300 debuted in 1955.

New car sales price averaged $4,200.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1955 Chrysler 300

1963 Chrysler Crown Imperial Convertible

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.

The 1966 Chrysler 300 Collector Car

The Chrysler 300, as mentioned above, has a storied past that took place during it;s introductory year of 1955. Chrysler 300’s were known to be quite comfortable and some would say offered a limousine type ride. The automobile is also noted for it’s sleek classic design.

There are a few significant things that make the 1966 Chrysler 300 a milestone automobile. The 1966 Chrysler 300 Sedan featured here represents the end of Chrysler lettered series models. The 1966 model year also saw the 413 cubic inch V-8 replaced by a  440 cubic inch V-8 with a four barrel carburetor delivering a big 365 HP.

Current auction and sales prices for the 1966 Chrysler 300 Sedan can be found in a range from $25,000 to about $39,000 for examples in excellent condition with high originality. You’ll also find other higher mileage and custom models priced lower

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)