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Pair of 1950s Hemi Barn Find Chryslers!

The Imperial was Chrysler’s most luxurious car in the 1950s and the “Letter Series” Mopar was Chrysler’s first foray into the performance arena. The seller here has managed (through a lien) to come across one each of those unique, low-production automobiles. Both will need a considerable amount of work and it’s not likely that you’d try to make one good car out of two. The 1956 Imperial is in Corvallis, Oregon, and is offered here on craigslist for $4,000. The 1955 C-300 is in Hillsboro, Oregon, and missing its drivetrain, so the price is lower at $2,000. A cool combo tip brought to us by Barn Finder T.J.!

Chrysler spun off the Imperial as its own make in 1955. The goal was to better establish the brand to compete with Ford and Cadillac. The name had been around since 1926 and would continue being on the Auburn Hills payroll through 1983. On the other hand, Chrysler conceived a performance car that could compete in NASCAR and the New Yorker-based C-300 was also born in 1955. The name came from the horsepower output and the letter would change each year through the end of the series in 1965.

1956 Imperial by Chrysler

These were elegant, real estate-consuming cars, especially as 2-door hardtops. Only 2,094 of that body style were built in 1956, so they weren’t a common sight then and certainly not now. This is a complete car that’s been living in the barn for many moons. The body looks mostly straight, though the white paint is beyond making a comeback. There’s a dent in the passenger side door, but it doesn’t look serious, and there’s a bit of rust here and there. The 354 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine is still intact. This auto could be restored but it’s going to take a sizeable bank account to pull it off.

1955 Chrysler C-300

These cars kicked some serious 1950s butt when it came to performance. They were powered by 331 cubic inch Hemi V8s and twin 4-barrel carburetors, producing 300 hp. Only 1725 of these were built and production in subsequent years would also be small (by Detroit standards). Besides being quite rusty, this Chrysler is missing its all-important motor. But when restored, this automobile is likely going to command more attention and dollars than the seller’s imperial. Both cars are awaiting lien foreclosure paperwork to be finalized to get Oregon titles. Would you buy both and – if not – which one would scratch your itch?


  1. Allen L

    300C, install current gen hemi and transmission, resto mod.
    I’ve got nothing for the Imperial. Too costly to restore.

    Like 1
  2. JohnfromSC

    So sad to see the condition of these. 300 car? A crime. 56 Imperial? More desirable than the virtually identical ’55 Imperial because of the bigger hemi. But now both likely relegated to parts.

  3. dean yeargin Member

    love o have this pair but transportation to S.C. would add 3-4 k

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