True Survivor! 1955 Chrysler C-300

By most accounts, the 1964 Pontiac GTO was the First Muscle Car, but sometime about 10 minutes after early inventors cobbled together a rudimentary automobile and got into the wind, they started wondering how fast these contraptions could go. By 1955, Chrysler sold C-300s making 300 horsepower, of which this is one. Thanks to Rocco B. for spotting this refurbished but never-restored 1955 Chrysler C-300 located in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey and listed here on New Jersey craigslist with an asking price of $49,500.

Handsome from any angle, the C-300 blends hemi muscle with enough class for valet parking at the playhouse. The current owner had these beautiful original wheels restored and fitted with the correct white wall tires.

The 1950s brought consumers a host of two-tone and even three-tone color combinations , including Black and Pink and White. In comparison this cream and black combo has aged with considerably more grace. This interior features original leather covers on re-cushioned seats. As you might suspect, this vehicle is no New Jersey native, and found its way East from New Mexico.

While the innovative hemispherical combustion or “hemi” engine had graced finer Chrysler vehicles since 1951, this one achieved the milestone of powering the world’s first mass-produced 300-horsepower motor car, which impressed buyers in those days as much as the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat‘s 707 horsepower impresses folks today. Fifty-thousand dollars is no small outlay for most people. If this car checks out, its combination of driving condition, refurbished parts, and enough originality to communicate some history should prove enticing to buyers who have seen 20 or 30 perfectly restored ones plus the occasional rust-bucket. With that in mind, how do you value this gentleman’s power-coupe?

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Comments

  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    That looks nice. Not $50K nice, but nice none the less.

    • Miguel

      I would rather have this car for 50K than a new one for more.

  2. Tommy

    My bet it sells quick

  3. Geof

    I’d be all in at 35k. No disrespect to the owner. As he knows the car better than us.
    And he knows what he has in it. But I’d rather find one and bring it to look like this. And keep it for myself.
    This is one fine 300 C!

    • The Walrus

      I think he could sell it all day long at 35k. He’s asking to maximize his end, and it’s a reasonable ask and will likely sell for it.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Just for the record [because there is a lot of confusion about this situation] The 1955 Chrysler 300 was called the C-300. The 1956 300 became the 300-B, and the 300-C was introduced in the 1957 model year. [And all the way to the 300-L for 1965]

      I’ve owned both the C-300 and the 300-B, and both cars are very quick, with plenty of top speed. The major difference between the 2 is the transmission. all of the C-300 cars were 2-speed automatics, and half way into the ’56 model year the 300-B was available with the push-button cast iron case Torqueflite 3-speed. Equipped with that transmission, the ’56 was a vastly improved version of an already formidable competitor on the early tracks. And FYI- except for a few special order cars, all ’55 & ’56 300 cars were black, and they all had the tan leather interior.

      Now about that persistent claim from GM enthusiasts that the 1964 GTO was the first muscle car . . . BULL ShxT! Pontiac chief John Delorean was watching what was happening at Studebaker, with the introduction in 1963 of the high performance R series Super Hawks with dual 4-bbl carbs and Paxton Superchargers, cars that you could walk into any Studebaker dealer and purchase, equipped with a Studebaker small block 289, solid lifters, twin carbs, dual exhaust, 4-speed transmissions, “Twin-Traction” rear diffs, alternator, and Lockheed Girling power disc brakes up front. The G.T. Hawk was a lighter car, and when equipped with the above options, couldn’t be beat by the 1964 Pontiac LeMans GTO.
      And to combat GM in the new “Personal Luxury Coupe” category, Studebaker introduced the fiberglass bodied Avanti, using the Lark frame & the Super Hawk mechanicals. The Bonneville records speak for Studebaker; It’s land speed records for a stock automobile went unchallenged for many years. An Avanti with a supercharged V-8 was the fastest of the early 1960s autos.

      A STOCK production supercharged model hit 168 mph at Bonneville, while a modified version reached 196 mph–a staggering speed for a 1960s production street car. Some 29 Bonneville speed records were smashed by a supercharged Avanti. [The actual record car is on display at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana.] Years ago I spoke with one of the people who crewed on the record breaking runs, and he told me the cars were capable of even higher speeds, but the tires were not.

      The ’64 Pontiac GTO didn’t even come close.

      But Studebaker started building Muscle cars even earlier. In 1956 they stuffed the Packard 320 cubic inch V8 into the hawk, available with dual 4-barrel carbs too. There were reports of a few even getting the larger 351 engine.

      In 1957, with the Detroit Packard plant closed, Studebaker took their very reliable solid lifter 289 V8, and added a belt driven McCulloch supercharger, with an output impeller that reached speeds of almost 40,000 RPM, providing a huge air pressure boost.

      That car, the Golden Hawk, was produced thru 1958. I’ve owned several high performance Hawks; a 56, a 58, & a ’63 GT. I had no problem smoking the tires on those cars, and with my ’56 Hawk factory equipped with 3-speed and overdrive, I could “Chirp” the tires going into second gear.

      • Bill McCoskey

        Correction; Later in the ’55 model year Chrysler offered white & red exterior colors on the C-300.

      • PAPERBKWRITER

        Bill Mc, thanks for the history lesson about Studebaker. When I was a young boy growing up in Chicago my older cousin had several Studebaker’s a 54 he call the chicken hawk and a black on black ’56 Golden Hawk with the 3 sp. The Golden Hawk was hell on wheels and is my dream car. IMO everything about it is perfect.

      • Kenny

        You are certainly correct in the general thrust of your comments. However– a few corrections are in order. I have owned Studebakers of one kind or another since my first car in 1972.
        I have asked many random people: “What is the definition of a Muscle-Car?”. People cite the GTO, because DeLorean, working for Pontiac, went against the corporate norms by putting a Large V8 from a full-size car into a mid-size body. The “Birth” of the “Muscle car”. Right? The ‘Muscle-Car Recipe”. “The first one”. Well, not quite .
        Did a little deeper in your stack of calendars, back to 1956. Performance was definitely on the minds of most companies as those WW2 G.I.’s were starting to make some money and coming of age. Interstate Highways were just around the corner.
        Corvette now had a small V8 available with dual carbs and a 4-speed– a true sports-car. At the other end: The giant Chrysler 300-B weighing 4,360 lbs (some reports say 4540) pulled around by the huge 354 Hemi. With optional twin carburetors, made an impressive 355 H.P. and 385 ft./lbs. of torque.
        Do either of these cars follow the “Muscle-Car” recipe? I think not. Powerful cars have been made for decades. High performance cars, as well. but they also don’t fit the recipe.
        Studebaker and Packard merged in 1954, becoming one company– the “Studebaker-Packard Corporation” With the introduction of the Studebaker Golden Hawk in ’56, Stude was the first car to follow the recipe– by pulling the big block 352 (not the 320) from the huge Packard cars and shoehorning it under the hood of the Hawk. Some sources claim the Chrysler– Some the Studebaker– had the Highest Power-to-Weight Ratio on any ’56 car– but does it matter? The Chrysler was a giant car with a giant engine, the Golden Hawk a mid-size car with a giant car engine (Indeed a giant ENGINE, designed to be enlarged to over 500 C.I.). Can you name a mid-size car with a full-size car engine factory installed specifically as a performance car before the ’56 Golden Hawk? 3.92 rear end, Large finned brakes, Full Instrumentation with Tachometer and 160 MPH Speedometer, and available Manual Transmission– the Golden Hawk was a tire-frying monster, and weighs a cool 1,000 lbs less than the Chrysler. And no, it wasn’t unusually front-end heavy has the rumor persists. In fact the later Stude 289 Golden Hawk engine weighs within a dozen or so lbs. of the Packard Mill.
        ’56 Golden Hawk 352 c.i. 275 H.P. 380 ft/lbs. torque
        ’56 Chrysler 300B 354 c.i. 355H.P. 385 ft/lbs. torque
        (My own ’56 Golden Hawk which is currently being restored has the ’56 Packard Caribbean engine: 374c.i. 310 H.P. 405 ft/lbs. torque with Dual carb’s. The “Jet Streak” package available through Studebaker parts departments at the time.)
        Golden Hawk weight? Just 3360 Lbs…

  4. Joe Haska

    It never ceases too amaze me how “CHEAP” Barn Find readers are. Not 50K, but nice. You think? “I would be all in at 35K” Who wouldn’t be? He probably does know better than us, but if you look at the pictures and you think its a 35K car, you are in La-La land. As for the statement about doing one yourself to look like this one,you are certainly delusional, if you think that will be less than 50K.
    The only thing wrong with the price is, I can’t afford it. Its pretty simple you have to pay to play, just because you can’t pay doesn’t mean its not worth it. If its not worth it , it won’t sell.

    Like 1
    • Ohio Rick

      When restoring a rare classic like this $50k leaves a checking account faster than any Hellcat!

    • Martin Sparkes

      My son and I are restoring an old ford. We are up over 10k and all I have so far is the frame and running gear. Not building a show truck either.

    • Cj

      All true, Joe. But sellers will always start high looking for a collector or nostalgic buyer. To that limited audience, it’s worth $50k. To the rest of us, caveat emptor.

  5. Joe Haska

    I still like this car, however it is on Jalopy Journal cars for sale for $47,500, so I would try that instead of the near 50K, every little bit helps. I think it indicates he does want to sell it.

    • russell s

      Maybe Jalopy Journal doesn’t charge an Ebay level commission.

  6. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Nice first year 300…ya…did know they made less than – is it – 2000 of them in 1955 ?

    • Ohio Rick

      About 1725 were sold. About 275 are known to still exist.

  7. Miguel

    Chrysler thought it was such an important car they copied it for the 2005 model.

  8. bassboy99

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoy the wide range of styles, models, names and tidbits of useful information of both American and foreign made cars. One cannot criticize the uniqueness of the forum. Thanks. It is an excellent site to learn and share.

  9. johnfromct

    I learned to drive on the 55 New Yorker St Regis, which was the same as this car less one of the two four barrel carbs. This car looks lovely down to the correct and hard to find exhaust tips. If the underside looks as nice as the rest, this is a reasonable price. $50K is middle range for these, and I believe black is rarer than the white or red.

    • Vince H

      Studebaker used the exhaust tips too. They are reproduced.

    • duaney Member

      Whoa! Little do you know, many changes were done to build the 300. Different transmission, different suspension, different engine, (not just intake manifold), and probably many more that don’t come to mind.

  10. Jesper

    Wow a nice car. But 50,000$ is also a kind of money. I better want that cool red 68 Buick for 15,000$. And 35 kg. In the bank. But that’s me.
    But still, i have room in garage for this one also :-)

    Happy new year, to all barn find readers, and staff….

  11. Andy

    Maybe not quite as historic, but similar in style, power, luxury, and price, I think I’d pick a ’56 Caribbean over this. But whatever your brand is, everyone can appreciate the original Letter Car. It’s all academic to me anyway–by the time they funnel my ashes into a Chase & Sanborn can, I probably won’t have paid $50k for all my cars, trucks and bikes combined.

  12. SC/RAMBLER

    First off this is a beautiful car and worth what ever anyone is willing and able to pay. I agree I enjoy checking this site several times everyday. Appreciate the knowledge to be gained and effort by staff. Have a safe and happy New year to everyone.

  13. James Burdzinski

    64 GTO was NOT first Muscle car. 63 Lemans 389 ./4speed was . Some could be ordered with the Crazy 421 Tri Power .

    • bassboy99

      Interesting comment. I didn’t know that. the 63 Lemans would have been a bona fide sleeper in 63. Thanks

      • Jerry Brentnell

        you are forgetting about super duty 62 pontiac 421 catalinas these were up there with max wedge plymouths ,when it came to hot cars

    • exartist

      I’d go back even further, to 1953 when Studebaker unveiled the Commander, a 2+2 sport coupe with a V8. If not the Commander then the ’56 Super Hawk.

    • Don

      ’49 Olds Rocket 88 gets my vote for one of the first muscle cars. The Goat popularized the configuration.

      Like 1
      • Jesper

        Also my vote for Rocket 88 1949-50

    • Anthony in RI

      No 63 Lemans came from the factory with a 389…. the trans axle in a 63 would not have lived long behind the torque of a 389…

      • Richard Gaskill

        But 14 came from the factory with a 421
        The notion of putting a 421 powerplant into the Tempest had already been floating around since 1962, as famed racer Mickey Thompson, Detroit-area performance dealership Royal Pontiac and even Pontiac’s own skunkworks team had already built their own iterations of the 421-meets-Tempest combination. And while these early experiments showed promise, it wasn’t until the Super Duty Tempest program sprouted up that the concept got the engineering firepower it really required.

        One of the key tasks for Pontiac’s engineers to sort out was the transaxle. Eager to put more of the Tempest’s weight over the rear axle to help it launch out of the hole, Pontiac came up with a new four-speed transaxle known as the Powershift, which – in the simplest terms – was essentially two Corvair Powerglide two-speed automatic gearboxes fused together in a custom case (with the requisite retooling) to produce four forward gears that could be controlled either by a clutch or a torque converter. And because it was originally produced for use in the Corvair, the new transaxle was rear mounted, helping to keep the Super Duty’s weight on the rear wheels, which in turn aided traction.

      • Walt Kulwicki

        I believe the 326 V8 was the biggest “retail customer” in 1963 Tempest/LeMans. We had one with the 4cyl/4bbl/4speed; which was 1/2 of the 326 V8.

    • David Karels

      I don’t think so in 63

      • Cary Dice

        Might make the argument for the ’58 Chevy 343 with 3 deuces.

      • Dantheman

        That 4 cylinder Pontiac was half of a 389.

    • Richard Gaskill

      Only 14 Super Duty drag cars got the 421

  14. JimmyJ

    Do your homework
    50k all day long

    • GSChevy

      This model, also in black, which had been restored by Boyd Coddington was sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016 for $88,000 all in. Wayne Carini featured this sale on ‘Chasing Classic Cars’.

      • OIL SLICK

        Boyd didn’t just restore it, he resto-modded it into one of the coolest baddest cars ever I think

  15. Cary A Gay

    That’s onix black, platinum, not white, and the shade of red for that year was a one year color.

  16. Mark S. Member

    Joe nailed it by saying just because you can’t afford $50k doesn’t mean it’s not worth $50k. In my opinion this is a special car, the year before the auto makers got stupid with fins. This is much classier. In my opinion. Wish I had $50k to throw around.

  17. Chuck Damian

    When I was about 8 or so, my father brought home a ’62 1/2 Ford Galaxie convertible with a 406, three 2bbl, rated at 405 HP. It had a factory 4 speed and a tube reverb! It was dark blue with white interior and a white top, and it had skirts over the rear wheels. I remember a Mallory Du-coil ignition, I think, with two coil wires going to the distributor. The oval aluminum air cleaner was huge! It had a sound like a Nascar stock car, with a rumpety-rump idle. He said it was “a convertible 4 speed police car” with heavy duty everything. That car cemented me firmly as a lifelong Ford Man! I believe it would certainly qualify as a muscle car, if not the first, certainly it was before any GTO.

  18. OIL SLICK

    question, why do sellers cover the license plates? Anyone that sees the car on the road can see the plates. What do they think is going to happen?

    • moosie Craig M. Bryda

      Plate is not covered in the first picture

    • Dantheman

      I like it when they take the picture and cover it with their thumb. Let’s me know why Gulliver is selling it.

  19. That AMC guy

    Having the plates visible on the internet opens one up to many more potential crazy people than just being seen locally on the road. Seems like a reasonable precaution.

  20. John

    Whiler a Chrysler 300 has never been on my list of things that I want, this one sure makes a person sit up and take notice. If some of the rusty hulks from Weissach are worth the kinds of prices they command, then I think that this car is surely “under” priced. The wire wheels (Dayton??) are the crowning touch. This is a classic, even if I am just looking.

  21. Bruce Fischer

    And I am only asking $6,000 for mine not as nice but a nice daily driver.Bruce.

  22. SC/RAMBLER

    Well if we are going to list other muscle cars, the 1957 AMC REBEL. 327 v8 in a mid sized car, that no one else offered, would be the first muscle car.

  23. Glen

    Clearly not a barn find, in fact , it’s won awards. $50,000 may be expensive for this site, but for such quality, you’ve got to pay, it’s that simple.

  24. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Well said Bill…and those 63/64 Studebaker records lasted a loooooong time !

  25. KKW

    A 57 Ford super charged 312 can also be added to the list.

  26. charlie Member

    A handsome car except for the “add-on” look of the taillights. I know, they were original equipment, to prepare the market for the modest fins of the ’56’s which flowed well, and the excess of the ’57 – 59’s. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But a great road car in its day, and, even today.

  27. glenn

    its a barret jackson 30k car all day

  28. Wayne

    Bruce, yours is a 4 door, this black one is a 2 door, and for some dumb reason most yanks don’t like the practicality of a 4 door. Guess there’s no accounting for taste when you lack brains.

    • KKW

      His 4dr also happens to be a Windsor. Let’s not compare gold to brass.

  29. Palandi

    The late Jan Wilsgaard said that a Kaiser model influenced the design of the Volvo Amazon/122. But every time I look at the side profile and the front 3/4 of a C-300, I think this car was the main influence on the Swedish.

    Anyway, loved this C-300. Would love to put my hands on it.

  30. Bill Olver

    The 300 was a fantastic car. I had one when I many years ago when I was in high school. My dad and I found it on a used car lot and it hadn’t been treated well. He liked it, knew it was a great car and probably wanted to work on it. I only had the car for six months and I drove to North Jersey for the weekend and was on the way home when I found myself in a heavy snow storm. I had never driven a car in snow and my only experience on the NJ TP was the drive up north. I got cut off by a moron (not had to find on the NJ TP) and I hit the brakes and smashed into the barrier wall and bounced back on to the highway. The door flew open and I was thrown out onto the snow-covered road. Unfortunately, the car didn’t have seat belts. I was sliding on my back watching the 300 as it spun around me and eventually crashed into the guard rail. Other cars were spinning out of control and I must have slid at least 200 yards, but didn’t have a bruise on my body. My leather football jacket wasn’t even destroyed. The whole experience was like being in a slowmotion dream.
    My dad was so happy I wasn’t killed, he went to the junk yard and bought a 55 Desoto Adventurer front end which bolted right on to the Chrysler. He sprayed the car “Titian Red” and it was a big hit with my friends. I can imagine someone finding that car today and thinking, “This must be a Canadian car”.

  31. SC/RAMBLER

    There seems to be some confusion as to what constitutes a muscle car. Big engine in a mid sized car. Not full sized cars like a lot of people keep listing. Yes they were fast cars, and the 1957 REBEL was a one year only car according to the information I have. So even though that would class it as the first muscle car, as far as the GTO being an option on the TEMPEST/LEMANS it was the first mass produced muscle car.

  32. SC/RAMBLER

    Walt. That 4 cylinder was actually 1/2 of the 389. Somebody parts actually interchanged.

  33. san giorgi

    how very nice to see what a 300 does with people ….
    A 300 of the first year , 1955 , was always on my bucketlist .
    The styling and proportions , in combination with a strong engine , the all new design by Virgil Exner, made this car a desirable one .In any case for me .
    In my small collection are only european cars , now with the exception of a
    1955 New Yorker Town and Country .I was told these are very rare , being produced in low numbers . I think to understand 743 were build in 55 .
    We are in the process of refurbishing the car I bought .
    And I can only say that I would be most happy and in paradise if we could offer it afterwards for 50K ….( I do not sell ,by the way ) and not being on a loss …
    Reader Joe Haska makes a point .
    To refurbish , not even restore it, takes a lot out of my wallet I can tell .
    Its very stimulating , however, to see so much interest in cars like these .
    By the way , the only thing missing at this point is the small trim that goes all around the back of the car , just above the bumper . Anyone ?
    Other than that, to all of you a very prosperous , healthy and petrol rich 2018 .
    Reader S .

    • Joe

      A nice commentary you wrote. Happy New Year to you.

  34. jeff6599

    Gentlemen, remember that the basic definition of a muscle car is a full size car engine in their own mid or small car body. The GTO fits; the Studebaker does not; the Chrysler 300 does not, the Olds 88 does not. The 409s, 421s and 427s and 426s were options in full sized card and were called high performance cars and even supercars. Remember that the high performance cars were almost to a man, faster and quicker than muscle cars. Get your facts straight before running off and looking like you missed it big time. Lots of opinions around but just use pertinent examples to support them.

    • KKW

      I suggest you look up the definition of muscle car.

    • Don

      These days Mustangs and Camaros are called Musclecars also, so it doesn’t matter anymore. Just enjoy them as we watch the market diminish itself…

  35. jeff6599

    I did my friend and have quoted it in my paragraph. How about the definition you are referring to and it’s source.
    Thanks and regards
    Jeff

  36. KKW

    Simply google “muscle car definition”. You’ll be surprised at what you find. There are certain full-sized cars that do qualify

  37. jeff6599

    There is also the date to consider. The term muscle car came into use with the Pontiac GTO vs Ferrari GTO road test back in 1964. No other car ever produced earned that name until it was applied in that article in Car and Driver; not the supercharged Duesenberg, not the supercharged Auburn, certainly not any 135 HP Oldsmobiles (let alone the 160 HP Cadillac of the same years) and certainly not any car that added a McCullough/Paxton blower to the otherwise same engine (Kaiser, Studebaker, Ford). Also remember that sports cars and pony cars were in another category for several years. That is why I dislike automotive writers who take license and call anything by any name they want. Within a few months of publication it seems to become law no matter how incorrect it happens to be. Expecting the general public at large to recognize this is foolhardy. But we, the few, really know the difference, don’t we fellas?

    • KKW

      There’s no point in arguing with someone who has their mind stuck on popular belief.

  38. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Hagerty Price Guide (maybe not the bible of car values, but not too far off) lists a #3 (good) one at $54,200.

    So, the current ask for this sounds like a decent deal.

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