Chrysler’s Finest Road Car of the 1950s: 1957 Chrysler 300C Coupe

  • December 07, 2020
Why We Like It

Chrysler’s 300 series debuted with the C-300 of 1955, which quickly earned championship titles for Chrysler in both the NASCAR Grand National and AAA competition. The third incarnation of the series was the 300C of 1957, and it exemplified Virgil Exner’s immensely successful “Forward Look” design theme. The standard 300C ‘Hemi’ engine, enlarged to 392ci for 1957, features twin 4-barrel Carter carburetors, hydraulic valvetrain, and 9.25:1 compression, good for 375hp. Exceptional handling and road holding come from a lowered center of gravity with lower engine placement and careful location and tuning of the rear leaf springs. A pair of unobtrusive fresh-air ducts located just below the headlights helps cool the front brakes, and the controversial tailfins were actually proven in testing to increase high-speed stability.


chryslers-finest-road-car-of-the-1950s-1957-chrysler-300c-coupe76127765-770-0@2XWhile not campaigned by the factory in NASCAR races, the 300C did sweep “Flying Mile” speed competition at Daytona Beach with a new mark of 134mph achieved on the sand. Chrysler engineers hit 145.7 mph at the company’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan with a mildly modified 300C, and in stock form the 300C could accelerate from rest to 60 mph in under eight seconds – truly remarkable considering the car’s proportions and 4,200-pound shipping weight. Named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1957, the legendary Chrysler 300C remains one of the fastest, best engineered, and most powerful of all American production cars. Just 484 convertibles and 1,918 Hardtops were produced for 1957.

Finished in Gauguin Red over beige leather upholstery, our subject 300C comes to market in excellent condition with 162k stated miles. According to the detailed seller’s description, it retains the original 392ci, 375hp Hemi engine and benefits handsomely from a recent and detailed restoration. The interior and trunk were completely redone in the early 2000s with items sourced from Legendary Auto Interiors, and as the seller relates, the mighty 300C has always been maintained and kept in show-ready condition, with the engine declared to run great. Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels and wide whitewall radial tires finish this beautiful brute off, with the original wheels and hubcaps included, plus numerous rare spare parts and literature also included. A multiple award winner, this 300C also comes with trophies and accolades earned. Formerly part of the noted Bob Nitz collection, this the car was featured in several Mopar magazines, plus Scale Auto Enthusiast Magazine (Oct. 2000), as a guide for modelers with correct colors and details (several copies of that issue are included). This is also the very car that Ertl Toy Company photographed for their box/packaging for their 300C scale model (and only car), still sealed in the box, which was made using the details of this particular example, is also included.chryslers-finest-road-car-of-the-1950s-1957-chrysler-300c-coupe76127744-770-0@2X


All “Letter Series” Chrysler 300 models are true, collectible legends. They featured the best in Chrysler performance engineering and iconic body designs throughout their run, and they continue to be amazing to drive today with proper maintenance and tuning – think America’s version of BMW ‘M’ cars - just 30 years earlier! Production was low across the board due to high pricing, but collectors can certainly pick-up prime examples today at prices lower than many would expect, while coupes generally carry lower valuations and market prices than convertibles. According to Hagerty’s current price guide, a 1957 Chrysler 300C Coupe should garner $25,500 for a #4 car, to $77k for a #1, and we’ve seen a handful sell at auction at, or slightly above, that #1 mark. Our subject example is priced just above #1 concours-car pricing, but with its excellent color combination and well-preserved restoration, it certainly seems to be worth the premium to us. A true Hemi-powered legend, it should be considered alongside later Mopar Hemi cars.


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