1957 Chrysler 300C Has the Full Package: Rare, Restored, Big Muscle

Most enthusiasts agree that the muscle car era began in the 1960s. However, the concept can be traced back to the 1950s and cars like the Oldsmobile 88, Studebaker Golden Hawk, and the Rambler Rebel. Chrysler was also among the segment’s pioneers with the 300 letter series.

The first iteration of the nameplate debuted in 1955 as the C-300. A two-door hardtop of rather large dimensions, the C-300 was designed by Virgil Exner and was put together with components from the Chrysler parts bin. It got an Imperial front clip, a New Yorker hardtop, and a Windsor rear section.

But even though it was far from exclusive design-wise, the C-300 was quite special under the hood thanks to an exclusive version of the company’s 331-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) FirePower V8. Rated at 300 horsepower, it made the C-300 the most potent production car in dealerships.

Chrysler introduced an upgraded 300B version the following year. Powered by a larger 354-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) V8 good for 355 horsepower with the optional 10:1 compression ratio, the 300B became the first American car to deliver one horsepower per cubic inch. The 300 letter series remained in continuous production with annual updates through 1965.

The red example you see here is a 300C, the third iteration of the series. Unleashed in 1957 with a significant makeover (also by Exner), it got an even bigger mill. The 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) FirePower delivered 375 horsepower and 420 pound-feet (570 Nm) of torque and was again exclusive to the car. Unlike its predecessors, the 300C was also available as a two-door convertible.

Chrysler also produced a limited-edition version of the 300C with a massaged powerplant that generated 390 horses. Although it no longer had a NASCAR homologation status, the 300C was among the most potent rigs available at the time.

The company sold 2,402 units before it launched the 300D in 1958. And because only a few of these cars were maintained throughout the decades, the 300C is a rare sight today. It’s even scarcer as a fully restored classic, like the hardtop featured here.

Finished in Gauguin Red, one of only five colors available that year, this 300C is as perfect as 1950s classics get. Both the paint and the chrome trim shine like new, while the cream interior looks downright stunning. Moreover, this Mopar still packs the original 392 V8, pumping 375 horsepower to the rear wheels.

Sure, it’s not one of the 18 units that got the 390-horsepower upgrade, but this 300C isn’t exactly common. Chrysler sold only 1,767 with this body style, and it’s safe to say that fewer than half of them are still around. Not surprisingly, this rig sold for $52,000. Check it out in the video below.

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