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1957 Chrysler 300-C

By: Bobby Webb

On November 29, 1956, Chrysler brought the '57 Chrysler 300-C to market and billed it as "America's highest-performing automobile". It had the option of a Hemi engine that sported a horsepower of 375 to 390, much higher than many of its peer automobiles at the time.

Power and Blazing Fast

The '57 Chrysler 300-C was the third version of car in Chrysler's 300 series. The 1957 Chrysler 300-C, a big automobile that sat low to the ground, was full of comfort and luxury while having excellent power and handing. Both of the prior versions of the Chrysler 300 (the C300 and 300B) had won the NASCAR Grand National Stock Car Championships as well as the Women's National Speed Trial Championships in both 1955 and 1956. So it was no surprise when the '57 Chrysler 300-C beat the unofficial stock car record at the Chelsea Proving Grounds with an average speed of 145.7 mph. It also won the "Flying Mile" at Daytona with a top speed of 134 mph. This was achieved with a base V-8 engine which pumped out 375 horsepower at over 5,200 rpm.

Luxury and Comfort

The '57 Chrysler 300-C, based on the New Yorker with lots of changes, was built using body-on-frame construction. It had new 14-inch wheels as well as new dual headlights which allowed for up to 75 feet more vision when driving at night.

The '57 Chrysler 300-C featured a large windshield, a unique grill on the front, front door vent windows, and a red, white and blue emblem that sported the 300-C logo. The rear had tail fins to help stabilize the 300-C at high speeds and twin backup lights that were set above large tail lamps. The exterior colors were all monotone (red, green, brown, white, or black) unless a special order was made.

The interior had the best that Chrysler had to offer. Tan leather was standard for the interior. The door panels had silver appliques and both the wheel and glove compartment had "300" medallions. The '57 Chrysler 300-C also had a TorqueFlite automatic transmission which was operated by push button. The TorqueFlite was connected to the 300-C's standard 392 Hemi V-8 engine. Chrysler's TorqueFlite transmission was a mainstay for the company from 1956 through the early 1990's, by the way and it is said to be one of the smoothest and trouble-free transmissions to have ever been designed.

Other standard features on the 1957 Chrysler 300-C included:

• a clock
• airfoam seat cushions
• backup lights
• a cushioned dash panel
• a chrome license plate frame,
• spare tire cover
• a handbrake warning
• windshield washers
• turn signals
• a "SilentFlite" fan drive which limited the fan speed to 2,500 rpm to deaden noise
• power brakes

There was optional equipment as well. You could also opt for the Electro Touch Tuner radio, power assists for steering, windows and radio antenna, a six-way power seat, heater and rear view mirrors.

Superb Handling

The performance enhancements are what really set the 1957 Chrysler 300-C apart. These enhancements helped keep it the most powerful and fastest car in production at the time in America. The enhancements also made the '57 Chrysler 300-C one of the best handling. The suspension included a lowered engine, extensive laboratory testing and Chrysler's famous twin parallel torsion bar suspension. The handling was further helped by the '57 C-300's low center of gravity and the design of the forward portion of the rear axle. The '57 Chrysler 300-C is a wonderful collector car and it influence is still seen today (take the 2005 300-C which takes it influence from the '57 300-C front styling).

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