1-of-12: 1965 Chrysler 300L 4-Speed Convertible

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

While the 1964 Pontiac GTO usually gets credit for starting the muscle car movement, that honor may really go to the Chrysler 300 Letter-Series cars, beginning in 1955. These automobiles combined performance with luxury and were built in smaller numbers through 1965. As the letter changed each model year, this 1965 is a 300L and it’s a convertible with the very rare 4-speed manual transmission. It’s in the midst of a restoration, so buyers will have to wait a few months to take delivery. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, this unfinished black beauty is available here on craigslist for $70,000.

In its swan song year, the 300 got a completely restyled body like the rest of Chrysler’s big cars. This was part of the earliest work by senior designer Elwood Engel who had replaced Virgil Exner (Mr. Forward Look). The machines were bigger than ever and still available only as 2-door hardtops and convertibles. Just 2,405 of the former were assembled for 1965, flanked by 440 drop tops.  According to the seller’s homework, only a dozen of the convertibles came with a 4-speed manual transmission and this car is one of them.

We’re told this rare Mopar is about 90% finished (restoration?) and work will be completed in 60 days or so. The asking price is for the finished car. The Chrysler has been treated to an expensive black paint job (must be part of the 90%) and the original matching leather interior is near mint. But by the time the project is wrapped up, a new Legendary interior will have been installed along with a new black top.

Although an unfinished motor is pictured, the seller says that $14,000 has gone into rebuilding the 413 cubic inch V8 that would have been rated at 360 hp at the factory. The 4-speed has also been redone. New 17-inch aluminum wheels with redline tires have been installed. The seller theorizes that maybe only a handful of these automobiles have survived and this one could be the best once everything is buttoned up. A great initiative, but would you buy a car like this before the work has been finished?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    I’m not a MOPAR expert, but probably worth all the beans for the ask.

    Beautiful Chrysler….should make the new owner very happy, indeed!

    👍🤓

    Like 18
    • DOCMOPARMember

      I agree, been building Mopar’s all my life. The Newport and Imperial with a 4 speed are just as cool. Wish I knew where they got a console boot for the shifter. I have a 65 and need one.

      Like 4
  2. Moparman MoparmanMember

    What?!? No side view of this black beauty, and NOT a glimpse of the 4 speed rearing up out of the floor??? A picture is worth 1,000 words and those two (IMO) were a terrible omission for this ad! Having said that, so far, it looks GOOD! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 54
  3. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    I respectfully have to disagree with the author, the 2 , GTO and 300 couldn’t be more far apart, market wise. In that regard, it would have been the Olds Rocket 88 the 1st muscle car. The 300 Letter was a gentlemans cruiser right from the get go. We’ve talked enough about what was the 1st, a big motor in a small car FROM THE FACTORY, and I still say it was the ’57 Rambler Rebel, but most settle on the GTO.
    I’d be careful with this one. This car was advertised by a dealer in Ill., not sure when, but about 67 pictures showing much better detail for $74,999. It shows the motor, but not rebuilt. The images show the 4 speed, meh, I like the console and tach, but an again, the 4 speed is going to be the deterrent. Anyone who would be remotely interested in this car, I all but guarantee, will NOT want to be rowing through the gears at any one of our 6 billion stop lights, just how I see it today. I think that speedo and gauges were my favorite. A beautiful sight at night.
    https://franksclassiccars.com/inventory/1965-chrysler-300-l-convertible-rare-4-speed/

    Like 16
    • Yblocker

      Yeah, the Rambler Rebel in 57 is definitely noteworthy, but they didn’t quite hang with Ford’s supercharged 312, or Chevrolets fuel injected 283.

      Like 7
      • Will Fox

        YBlocker, Rambler’s `57 “Rebel” was a very limited run; (I think less than 1,000 maybe?)
        With a relatively light body, it ran the AMC 327 V8, but packing 255HP! *Off the line, it would smoke a `57 Corvette–but the Vette hammered it in the long run. It was quoted as THE * “Fastest” of 1957.
        (Ultimately, Chrysler’s 300-C was top dog with 375HP, and was documented at 144MPH in testing at Daytona.)

        Like 7
      • Bill pogue

        That rebel would waste both the supercharged tbird and the fi Chevy and Aldo the supercharged hawk. Second up was the Hudson hornet w the the same 337 amc

        Like 1
    • Bud Hinerman

      What about the 400hp Mercury Turnpike Cruiser from 58? Seems it would deserve to be mentioned when discussing early muscle cars.

      Like 1
      • Yblocker

        That’s right, the 430 Lincoln/Mercury was the first to surpass 400ci, and 400hp. Too bad Ford didn’t offer it in the Fairlane.

        Like 0
    • Maggy

      With my left knee and right shoulder at my age I agree with rowing the gears in a urban or suburban location.Rural …why not.My car buddies house is 2 miles N of me but has 8 stoplights and 2 sets of RR tracks. Every light I swear is timed to miss.

      Like 7
      • Joey G.

        The best THEFT DETERRANT you can buy nowadays is a Standard shift car.

        Like 2
    • Gord

      The GTO, 442, Buick GS, Super Sport 396, Cyclone GT and Fairlane GT were referred to as Super Cars because, starting with the GT O, they were the first intermediates fitted with the company’s big block motors. Up to then only the full size cars were available with the big block. The arrival of the Muira was what changed the definition.

      Like 2
      • DON

        The same could be said of the 1962 Plymouth Fury and Dodge Polara – advertised as full size, they were really intermediates and were available with big blocks

        Like 6
    • Jerry Bramlett

      Thanks for posting that link to the old ad.

      It’s a neat car, but it’s currently listed with a horrible Craig’s List ad. I can’t imagine who would buy such an expensive car under those terms based on a few poor photos.

      Like 6
    • Marvin Askins

      Thanks for the link! If this is the same car it is awesome! I am a “Blue Oval” owner approaching my 3/4 century birthday and have 4 Muscle Cars from 1965 -2014 that have 4, 5 and 6 speed manuals and still love to shift them except in traffic jams on turnpikes and interstates! Fortunately driving them adds happiness to my life. However, if I wasn’t on my last rotisserie build I would definitely add this to my collection!

      Like 8
    • John E. Klintz

      Totally agree, Howard. I’ve seen many arguments in different publications regarding the first “muscle car”, one that fits the definition of a big/powerful engine in a mid-size body. That honor goes to AMC for the ’57 Rebel. They took their largest V-8 at the time, the 327 CI, and stuffed it into their mid-size Classic. Took it to Bonnneville, IMS, and set records for a “factory” car.

      Like 2
    • RSPorter

      I don’t believe that the one at Frank’s Classics is this car. Frank’s has a red interior. This one is black, and supposedly is being replaced. Another odd thing is that this Craigslist ad says 17″ wheels? Back in those days, 15″ wheels were “big” wheels. 16s didn’t even show up until what, the 80s?

      Like 0
    • Steve S.

      Some people say that the 1936 Buick Century was the first to use the big engine small body formula. They installed the big Roadmaster and Limited engine in the small light weight Special body; Century referred it being GM’s first production car to exceed 100 mph.

      Like 0
    • Dave

      You alluded to the “rocket ,88 ‘ Olds. No mention of the ,65’ 442 ,(Olds) that put out 345 hp compared to the GTO’s 335 hp. I beat a few as I ordered/purchased new a 1965 442 from Lloyd A.Wise Oldsmobile in Oakland, California.

      Like 0
  4. angliagt angliagtMember

    Cool car! The 4 speed makes it interesting.
    I’ve never seen one of these big Chryslers with
    a manual trans before.

    Like 12
  5. CadmanlsMember

    Some people don’t mind the driving experience. I am 70 years young and my daily driver is a six speed. Part of the driving that I always experienced as my first car was a stuck. Had a stick in my stable all my life. Think my bike may be considered a manual transmission also. So you stop put it in neutral and release the clutch. Nothing to it, taught my two daughters that and both have yet to use up a clutch or throw out bearing before many miles of driving.

    Like 17
    • Frank Sumatra

      Always good to have a stick in the stable!

      Like 10
  6. Yblocker

    The last year letter car paled in comparison to the earlier ones. I inherited a 62 300H from my uncle who bought it new, the last of the “real” ones, 413, 2 4barrels, front and rear leather bucket seats, and a 150mph speedometer. The 65 is nice, but just not the same. And $14,000 to rebuild a 413? Hawgwash, what’s it got, solid gold pistons?

    Like 17
  7. Bill W.

    Along that same line of thinking, I’m 76 and drive a 66 Chevelle with a 4 speed. I’d gladly drive that 300.

    Like 13
  8. rustylink

    hmmm, always a bit skeptical for a sale that involves a “work in progress” and the old “it wil be great when I’m finished but give me $70K”.

    Like 9
  9. Jim in FL

    I’m a fan of the 4 speed with air. Before the muscle car, as we know it, came into fashion, big cars with big motors were the performance choice. As much as a guy wanted to cruise, there’s another guy who wanted a fast car. Sold before I was born, but there’s pictures of dad’s 65 Catalina with the hubcaps off and the top up for race day at atco.

    New car every year, in 66 he bought a beautiful Bonneville convertible that ferried me home from the hospital as a newborn. Automatic in that one.

    Like 8
  10. jrhmobile

    The whole “kick me 70 grand and I’ll finish it up for you” pitch sets off screaming alarms.

    I like the car, but there’s no way in Hell I’d ever go for that deal. That’s just built for trouble in so many different ways that I’d never go into it.

    Like 12
  11. Joe S.

    I like it, but ‘Craigslist’?!?!

    Like 0
  12. Sam61

    I guess they didn’t get it done for Barrett Jackson

    Like 6
  13. RMac

    Why a 70k car on Craigslist ? No side photos? 10k per photo I don’t think so !
    Howard I disagree with you about the 4 speed most mopar big block people love the stick and at 70k unfortunately this is not going to be a daily driver in stop and go traffic this car is bought for its rarity, as a big car with a stick and maybe a car show couple times a year.
    I had a 65 Plymouth sport fury with 440 4 speed big car big fun! Wish I still had it sold it when I was 19

    Like 10
  14. BA

    Didn’t the high horsepower engines from mopar always have twin snorkels ? I agree that if your live like say in Houston Texas the gear rowing would be annoying but if you live in Idaho would be fun. I like the twin carb setup with super long intake runners if I was spending 70 large but that’s me or a 392 hemi !

    Like 4
  15. Chase 519

    Who in the world spends $14K rebuilding a 413???

    I just did some searching and came up with nothing, but I swear this car was on Facebook Marketplace about 2 years ago for $27K needing restoration….

    Like 1
  16. DRV

    The whole concept of the original 300 was to strip down their biggest yacht and add power. Having driven an E for many miles (can’t imagine it without radial tires) it was all about cruising effortlessly and not about being faster than factory hot rods .

    Like 3
    • Yblocker

      The original 300 was hardly stripped down, it was a high end luxury performance automobile.

      Like 4
      • DRV

        In 1955 it was a Windsor which was a tick below mid line that had a few “300” touches to make it distinguishable. The G I know best and had less trim in and out , still being killer inside, and of course the cross ram.

        Like 0
  17. will shelley

    There will always be an argument concerning who made the first factory hot rod, and they all have legitimacy. My dad was a Ford V-8 guy in the thirties and considered it to be the first affordable factory hot rod, and easy to soup up. In the mid thirties Buick stuffed a multiple carb Roadmaster OHV straight 8 into a Special chassis and the Century was born, a legit 100 mph automobile. Then there was the 49 Olds Rocket 88, 51 Chrysler Saratoga hemi, 55 300 and on and on. All great cars, all great stories.

    Like 0
    • George Louis

      I believe also included in this conversation should be the Huson Hornets from 1951 to 1954 with their Twin H Power.

      Like 0
  18. Lathebiosas

    Again with the first muscle car thing. When the phrase “muscle car” originated it was defined as an intermediate bodied car that had a full sized motor stuffed in it. The first was the 1964 GTO which broke GM’s rule of no engines larger than 330 Cid to be factory installed an intermediate body by making it a buyer selected option. Yes, many cars before 1964 had high powered engines in them, but they were heavier full size cars with a lower power to weight ratio.

    Like 4
    • MoparMike

      Mopar was putting the 413 max wedge in the intermediate Dodges and Plymouths starting in 1962, two model years before the GTO.

      Like 1
  19. Tom Crum

    I venture to say that 99% of automobile thieves cannot drive a stick. I would feel much safer with this 300 than with one with an automatic trans. I have years of enjoying a stick shift Cougar that was a very enjoyable car. It was a XR7 and had factory AC.

    Like 0
  20. William

    @Yblocker Not sure if I agree with you about the ’62 300H being “the last real one.” For one, after years of featuring the ultra-exotic long ram manifolds, the 300H reverted to a dual 4-barrel setup on a conventional “inline” manifold whereas the ’63 letter car, the 300J, reverted to the exciting long ram manifolds for its dual carbs. It was every bit as powerful as the ’62.
    One could argue for the 1961 300G as being “the last real one” as it was the last model built exclusively as a letter car before the “non letter” 300 series cars – including 4-door hardtops! – were introduced for 1962.

    Like 3
    • Yblocker

      You’re right, in 62 they went with 2 in line carbs as standard, but the ram manifold was still available as an option. However, 62 was the last year for the front and rear bucket seats, and full length console. And yes, 62 brought out the non letter 300 Sport, as it was called, which could be had with some letter car features, at a lower price. The regular 300 is what ultimately killed the letter cars.

      Like 2
  21. Steve Weiman

    One of my favorite parts about the era of this car: every make and damn near every model had greatness checking the correct option boxes. Wonderful example of that here.

    I got a kick out of the “ selling it as a finished car“ :) I guess it’s fitting, sounds like a 60s / 70s car salesman line……
    I guess I could use that same rule of thumb in a dating profile: i’m presenting pictures of myself from 20 years ago but I’m in the gym now and will look just like that when I’m done :)

    Like 6
  22. Neil

    70 large. 7 pics. No undercarriage/ trunk/ engine bay (although naked), plus: Trust me, it will be completed, just don’t know when? Where can I send my check?

    Like 2
  23. George Louis

    I sure do not remember 413 Engines being painted blue in 1965. Also the coil hold down bracket was not painted engine color, it should be a chromate type coating.

    Like 4
    • Phil D

      The color may just be the lighting in that photo. A 1965 B or RB engine should be turquoise, and that one is either turquoise or light blue (which would be wrong for any year of Chrysler engine — it’s not Corporate Blue, which didn’t start until 1970) — it’s hard to tell in that light.

      Like 1
      • Terry Bowman

        I agree Phil, the wrong color for the year. Turquoise it should be.

        Like 1
  24. fran

    Manual???? Never seen one , and still never have! NO PICTURE?!?!!?

    Like 2
  25. Jeff

    How could an engine rebuild cost $14,000?? Even if you re-machine all the bearings, re balance the crank, keep it stock or give it high lift cams it couldn’t cost that much. Could it?

    Like 1
  26. Tom Crum

    I just finished rebuilding a Chrysler 383 engine. Had the block machined and the heads also. New pistons are .30 over and block is a beautiful red color. With the cost of all material and labor my costs are $3,400.00. Willing to sell for $3,700.00. Decided to rebuild the original engine in this 1967 Chrysler This engine is now suplus now..It might run $12,000.00 if it is a 440 and with the dual 4 barrels and a high precision machine shop.

    Like 0
  27. Tom Crum

    I saw a 1956 DeSoto 4 door with a standard transmission. The gear shift was slightly on the left side of the transmission housing and was a three speed. A beautiful central California car and regret not buying it now. Do not know if it was a 6 or a V8. Was being sold by a farmer in Lodi, Ca.

    Like 1
  28. Jim

    My neighbor had a 62 1/2 Dodge dodge big V-8 with a 4-Speed and it was a real screamer for its time Then he got a 64 with a a 426 with a 4 Speed Those were the days

    https://www.automobile-catalog.com/car/1963/608225/dodge_330_2-door_sedan_383_power_pack_v-8_4-speed.html#gsc.tab=0

    Like 1
    • Yblocker

      What’s a 621/2 Dodge dodge?

      Like 0
  29. Tom Crum

    These full size Chrysler products are the “C” body cars. Just about all production of C bodies was at the Jefferson Avenue assembly plant. About a mile up Jefferson Avenue from downtown Detroit. Within a mile was the Hudson plant. I was about 12 years old and remember all the beautiful colors of the Hudsons in the yard behind the Hudson plant. I never got to see the cars at the Chrysler plant except those inside the plant being produced. My father took me there on open house days. This was 1954,55,56 & 57. Good ole Detroit days !!!!

    Like 3
    • George Louis

      The 1965 C Body Plymouth Fury Series: Fury 1, Fury2, Sport Fury were built on line one the “BIG” Line at the Hamtramck Assembly Plant , 7900 Joseph Campau,Hamtramck, Mi. i also believe that “C” Body vehicles were also built at the Newark, Deleware Assembly Plant Plant Code 04070 .

      Like 0
  30. Tom Crum

    I remember the challlenge I had when I would drive from Detroit to Pittsburgh in my Cougar with stick shift. Stopping on a hill for a red light and in winter with ice on the roads also. I was able to do it. Not sure I can today, 55 years later.

    Like 0
  31. Tom Crum

    I just finished reading an ad for a 1965 Rolls Royce. Seller clams that the cost of rebuilding the V8 engine was $26,900.00. He is asking $56,500.00 for the car.

    Like 0
  32. Eric P Akins

    Sounds like seller ran out of money 💰

    Like 0
  33. scooter8

    we ended up with a 70 300 convert. back in 76? being Mopar geeks my younger Bro. installed a Hemi 4spd in it, pistol grip and all! never changed the rear gear. all i did was go back and forth.boring! using reverse was the only thrill!

    Like 0
  34. Joe S.

    Buying a ‘finished’ car that is currently unfinished and listed on Craigslist with sketchy photos…..bring cash only, come alone, 3am in the alley between main and vine….

    Like 0
  35. charlieMember

    There is a late 1950’s movie with an oilman, out west who drives a 300C, white, coupe, fast over rough land out west. The plot is long gone from my mind but I can picture that 300C taking really rough abuse at high speeds.

    Like 0
  36. V12MECH

    A correctly rebuilt 413 , with quality parts, upgraded valves and seats, balanced for new pistons, decking block , turning crank, new cam,lifter’s , etc., done by a quality shop, could hit $10k. Add 10 percent for unexpected complications, no barnyard hack is going to do that level of work for $3k. Have to see paperwork work for total deal. Not surprised.

    Like 2
  37. Tom Crum

    Are the engine blocks and hrads the same on a 283 and a 413 Chrysler engine?

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      Huh?

      Like 0
      • Larry

        Probably meant to ask if the block and heads were the same on the 383 and the 413.

        Like 1
      • Terry Bowman

        383 I’m sure you mean is a big block and the 413 is a RB block, different.

        Like 0
  38. George Mattar

    The first muscle car debate will go on after all you guys and myself are dead. Nobody here mentioned the great Duesenbergs of the 1920s. Sure, they were giant cars, but fast. Anyway, my real problem with this clown’s CL ad is he calls it a survivor. If I had a dollar for every time I see that in print, I could buy this car 100 times. Survivor? With new everything, it is far from that. Cool car, but on today’s highways with mom speeding to drop off her kids at soccer in her 500 hp Porsche SUV, well, get outta her way.

    Like 1
  39. Tom Crum

    Larry, That is exactly what I was trying to ask. Let me ask if there is also additional engine sizes that might share this same engine block and cylinder heads.
    This 1965 Chrysler I believe is late 1955 production. Early production consisted of clear glass tail light lenses. 1965 Chryslers did offer the public a very strong body change.

    Like 0
  40. Terry Bowman

    I agree Phil, the wrong color for the year. Turquoise it should be.

    Like 2
  41. Claudio

    I was never impressed with the 64 gto , the 65 is another item !
    This hog to me is only a pick up with a built in tonneau cover
    Never liked the boats and find the design very boring
    YOLO

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds