Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 153

1955 Chrysler C-300 Coupe

  • Chassis no. 3N552082

Sold for $77,000


300 bhp, 331 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.

  • First of the Letter Cars
  • High-quality restoration
  • Iconic 1950s performance and style


Chrysler’s new C-300 model for 1955 was nothing less than a sensation. It was based on the New Yorker Hardtop Coupe and had the front sheet metal and grille from the Imperial, which was now a separate make. Power came from the mightiest engine in the company catalogue, a 331-cubic inch hemi V-8 with dual four-barrel carburetors, a racing cam, and solid lifters. At 300 brake horsepower—hence its name—it was the most powerful American passenger car.

Tom McCahill, the colorful pioneer auto critic, loved it. A “hairy-chested Chrysler,” he called it in Mechanix Illustrated, “definitely not the car for Henrietta Plushbottom, your maiden schoolmarm aunt, to use for hustling up popsicles for the kiddies.” It was, he said, a “hard-boiled magnificent piece of semi-competition transportation, built for the real automotive connoisseur. As solid as Grant’s Tomb, and 130 times as fast.” Actually, “semi-competition” underplayed its importance. Outboard motor magnate Carl Kiekhaefer readied a team of C-300s for the 1955 stock car season and won both the NASCAR Grand National Championship and the AAA Stock Car Championship.

This 1955 Chrysler C-300 Hardtop Coupe is a gorgeous example finished in white over a tan leather interior. It has chrome wire wheels, wide whitewall tires, power windows, power steering, power brakes, a radio, a heater, and a dash clock. Originally purchased in Missouri, it later made its way to the dry climate of New Mexico, where it remained until 2004. It then received a high-quality body-on restoration that included a rebuilt engine, carburetors, transmission, starter, generator, master cylinder, and brakes, as well as new paint, upholstery, and dual exhaust.

It is pure and simple in white with tan upholstery and a stunning reminder of what took the public by surprise in 1955. The exterior is understated, by the morays of the day when two-tone schemes in bright colors were the norm. Reportedly, an outside rear-view mirror was not offered, even as an accessory, because the designers felt it would spoil the lines. This car, correctly, has no such distraction.

Since restoration, it has been leisurely enjoyed but is still extremely presentable and gorgeous. Attention is usually focused on Chrysler’s later “Letter Cars,” leaving the original 300 underappreciated. This car represents a chance to acquire a Chrysler C-300 in its purest and most beautiful form.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more