[Chrysler300] FW: 1957 Chrysler 300C... Hottest of them all - Motor Tren
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[Chrysler300] FW: 1957 Chrysler 300C... Hottest of them all - Motor Trend



 

 

Subject: 1957 Chrysler 300C... Hottest of them all - Motor Trend

 

 

http://www.motortrend.com/news/1957-chrysler-300c-feature-flashback/?wc_mid=4035:8558 <http://www.motortrend.com/news/1957-chrysler-300c-feature-flashback/?wc_mid=4035:8558&wc_rid=4035:1465834&_wcsid=14510BAC26EF805F126522EAB2C8C7A9A33F6D81496A8AED> &wc_rid=4035:1465834&_wcsid=14510BAC26EF805F126522EAB2C8C7A9A33F6D81496A8AED


FEATURE FLASHBACK: 1957 CHRYSLER 300C


Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer 

In the late ’50s we referred to the third installment in Chrysler <http://www.motortrend.com/cars/chrysler/> ’s 300 “Letter Series” cars as the “hottest of the hot crop of super cars,” without a shred of irony or hyperbole. These early 300s ranked as America’s most powerful cars, and they grabbed the NASCAR manufacturer championships in ’55 and ’56. The line launched in 1955 with the C-300, and then altered the nomenclature to 300B in ’56, advancing the letters annually through L in 1965. The front-drive 300M that followed in 1999 was pooh-poohed as a letter pretender, but the swaggering rear-drive Hemi-powered 300C of 2005 wore its letter a whole lot more authentically. So on the occasion of what is likely the last refresh for the modern-day 300C, we’re taking a look back at the original.

Read about the 2018 Chrysler 300 <http://www.motortrend.com/cars/chrysler/300/>  in our First Drive review  <http://www.motortrend.com/cars/chrysler/300/2018/2018-chrysler-300-first-drive-review/> HERE. 

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Eye-rolling Adulation





Upon first driving the original 300C in March 1957, our man Joe H. Wherry made a prediction: “Unless a major upset takes place, Chrysler’s 300-C is almost certain to retain its stock car racing crown, because this job’s really loaded. If it were named Jim Dandy instead of 300-C, it could be the inspiration for a whole series of popular songs.” Despite that incorrect prediction (Ford <http://www.motortrend.com/cars/ford/>  claimed its first championship in 1957) and cringeworthy prose, Wherry remained employed at Motor Trend for many more years (and we somehow managed to continue reading his article).

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No Replacement for Displacement





“Cubic inches, pure and simple, are the most direct route to super performance. For 1957, the 300-C is up in displacement from last year’s 354 to 392 by means of both greater bore and stroke—from 3.94 by 3.63 [inches] to 4.00 by 3.90. … Basically the engine is that used in the New Yorkers and Imperials—as far as the block goes.” Wherry goes on to explain that the compression is also increased to 9.25:1, solid lifters actuate the valves, and a hotter cam increases their lift from 0.389 inch on the New Yorker to 0.444 inch on the intake and 0.435 inch on the exhaust. Double valve springs helped combat valve float at higher rpm, the crank got a special hardening treatment, and its bearings were made of a special tri-metal material. Power output jumped from the New Yorker’s 325 hp at 4,600 rpm to 375 hp at 5,200 rpm, but torque dipped to 420 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm from the New Yorker’s 430 lb-ft at 2,800 rpm.

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Race Tuned





If the “cooking grade” 300C engine was too tame for you, a racing option featured cylinder heads that boosted compression to 10.0:1, a hotter-still cam that further increased intake and exhaust lift to 0.446 and 0.447 inch, a low-restriction 2.5-inch exhaust, and a column-shift manual transmission. Wherry cautioned: “This racing package will probably cause something akin to stuttering when idling, but since the 300-C when so equipped will probably be chiefly used for high-speed work, no one is going to worry about the rougher idling.” Output for this optional upgrade had yet to be released, but we now know it was 390 hp at 5,400 rpm and 430 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm. Only 18 of these were ever built.

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Axles of Evil





The 300C could be optimized to dominate at the drag strip or the salt flats, or as Wherry put it: “For those who have varying ideas about the amount of dig and/or speed they wish, there will be about a dozen rear-axle options ranging from a 2.92 to 1 ratio on up the ladder to 6.17 to 1.” That last one probably hit redline in top gear at about the quarter-mile mark.

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Restrained Exterior





“Externally, the 300-C again has much to offer in cleanliness of line with very little non-functional embellishment. The grille is distinctive—showing a relationship to recent Chrysler dream cars—and the hood is peaked. Dual headlights are standard, as are back-up lights. There’s a new red-white-and-blue circular medallion on a single narrow strip of chrome just aft of the rear wheel opening.”

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Cool Brakes





“Something we hope to see more of in the near future is the needed attention to the cooling of brakes on high-performance cars—air scoops beneath the headlights which funnel air onto the front brake drums. The brakes are the total-contact type introduced by Chrysler last year and, in spite of the smaller 14-inch wheels, have a total effective lining area of 251 square inches.”

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Starchy Suspenders





No mere go-and-stop-fast parts-bin buggy, the 300C was fully fortified in the chassis department, as well. The longer, lower, and wider ’57 Chrysler lineup made a major change to torsion-bar front suspension, and the 300C’s bars were bigger in diameter—1.11 inches versus 1.02 inches for the New Yorker—resulting in 40 percent greater stiffness. The rear leaf setup was also 50 percent stiffer. The result: “This is probably one of the most comfortable cars available today. The firmer springing not only reduces almost to the elimination point the danger of bottoming on sharp dips and rises, but overall control of the car is similarly improved. There’s as much difference, handling-wise, between the 300-C and the conventional line as there is between the latter and the ’56 line with the coil springs up front.”

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Unofficial Test Results 


Our man Wherry busted out his trusty stopwatch and eyeballed the speedometer, “read to 65 mph to handle the error suggested by the engineering department.” His results in a standard 300C with a Torqueflite three-speed automatic and a 3.36:1 axle? “From a standing start to 60 mph netted 8.0 seconds flat with the writer, alone, aboard. I’m personally confident that a good second can be chopped from this time with a similarly equipped car properly run in.” (The test example was brand new.)

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Everything Works!





It’s a sad commentary on the state of automobile construction back in the late 1950s, but Joe expressed near bewilderment: “This 300-C is one of the few cars I’ve checked so far this year in which everything worked, and not merely passably, either, but in good form. The potential customer, however, should bear in mind the fact, often repeated in MT, that no two cars of the same make and series are exactly the same. Believe it or not, and this is strange, it’s quite possible for a dozen buyers to get soundly assembled examples while an automotive writer draws a goat from the sheepfold. Or, worse still, vice-versa.”

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Nicer Inside than Last Year’s Imperial!





“The interior, too, was a good recommendation for the Chrysler Division; in fact, the 300-C detailing inspected was superior to that of the more costly Imperial checked last autumn. It would seem that there has been a general tightening up, in more ways than one, where this division is concerned. A brand-new, right-off-the-line car could be expected to have some rattles. This one had none, nor did some fairly rough handling bring on any.”

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Bottom Line





“For the third straight year, the 300 leads the entire industry as the most powerful production car. A luxurious family-sized car, it has the performance that will make it virtually unbeatable on the highways; its greatly improved roadability will make it a dominant factor in racing. The average owner is well advised, however, to ‘respect it for its power, and control its power with care.’ ” That last was a quote from the owners’ manual that folks were probably wise to take heed of!




Read more Feature Flashback stories here:


*	1986 Honda Civic Si <http://www.motortrend.com/news/1986-honda-civic-si-feature-flashback/> 
*	1983 Toyota Camry – Oh What a Premonition! <http://www.motortrend.com/news/1983-toyota-camry-feature-flashback/> 
*	1975 SUVs – Jeep vs. Toyota <http://www.motortrend.com/news/suv-feature-flashback-1975-jeep-toyota/> 



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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Posted by: "PJ Ehmann" <p.e.associates@xxxxxxxxxxx>
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