1 year 3 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago#1150by JP
JP created the topic: 1956 Chrysler 300B
1956 Chrysler 300B: A blend of muscle and brains
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Chrysler had grossly misjudged the styling trends that swept the automotive industry in the early 1950s. The company was left with a line of cars that looked hopelessly outdated. Virgil Exner, the styling maestro, was brought in to put Chrysler back on track; and that he did beginning in 1955.
Suddenly, once again, there was excitement about Chrysler. In fact, the company called its new line "The Million Dollar Look." And the buyers agreed. Take a look above and below. Not bad, huh?
But there was more to this line of cars. Chrysler had another magical hook up its sleeve; the hemi engine. Work on this engine had begun during the Korean war but peacetime focus and efforts by the company brought it to completion. So, in 1951 the hemi plan was put into action. However, its development was floundering until two men, Exner and Bob Rodger, a gifted development engineer, saw the potential for a great combination of muscle and beauty; thus they worked together to birth the Chrysler 300. This car became a legendary machine. In fact, it became as successful on the stock car circuit as the Oldsmobile 88 and the Hudson Hornet had been during their golden years.
An intriguing aspect of the car above was its run at the Daytona speedway which saw a 1956 Chrysler 300B like this blast the track at a very competitive 127 mph.
Stock car engine
In improving this new breed of muscle-beauty, the new engine of the 1956 300B boost of forty more horses of shear power...and grace. Thus , the 300 was a sweet combination of attractive sedan styling sweetly blended with hot-rod power. This reminds one of the much liked Mercedes Benz 300 SEL which would arrive more than ten years later. Get it? Someone got a nice jump on the German car makers. The 300 with its 300 hp engine could reach 60 mph in ten seconds, and it had a top speed of 130 mph. Take the kids for a ride in that every Sunday!
In 1956, the 300B sported Exner's tentative fins that created a beautiful line to the car's rear lights. However, some believe this detail actually disturbed Chrysler's knack for classic beauty and styling. Because of this "deviation" from the regal look, this fin design was compensated for by the use of another 40 hp under the hood, as discussed above. Both the so-called "trends-fins" and added horsepower (390 in all) caused the1957 Chrysler 300 to more than fly like a bird.
Richard Carpenter's car
For the collector, the choice becomes a matter of priority. Some models have more style while others have more muscle. The larger taillights and the use of chrome to connect the bezels with the bumper resulted in a definite distortion of the rear. But all this was part of an unstoppable trend. In addition to red, as seen on this particular example, owned by Singer Richard Carpenter, white and black were the only other exterior colors available. All had tan leather upholstery.
In the picture here, the camera peeked through the rear portion of the pillar less window featured on the 300B, focusing attention on its busy dash. Partially obscured by the steering wheel was the pushbutton control box through which the PowerFlite transmission was operated. The steering effort was quite a handful, which underscored the fact that this was indeed a man's car. However, power steering was available as an option, as were power brakes, power seats and power windows. Heater and radio were other options, as was air-conditioning, beginning in 1956.
1956 Chrysler 300B hemi
Hemi at a car show
Remember the push button transmission on the dash mentioned above? Ah, you're too young to recall this detail.
The 300 was indeed a limited edition-only 1,692 units were built in 1955, and as few as 1,050 in 1956. These short runs made it economically unfeasible to produce special body panels; thus Exner had to choose from available components. The Newport two door hardtop, which rested on a 126 inch wheelbase, provided the basics. The 1956 300B, as seen on this page above, was equipped with the wire wheel option. Nice!
Under the hood, again, the option was to have the hemi in super tune, producing 355 hp. In this configuration, the 300B did 0-60 mph in less than nine seconds and topped out at 140 mph.
The picture above on this page shows the details of Exner's frontal treatment of the 300B. The grille came from the top-of-the-line Imperial. Fortunately, Exner did not specify the Imperial's overdramatic parking light bezels, which were integrated with the bumper, but chose to stay with the same items he had used in 1955. A further tribute to simplicity was the absence, both years, of the hood ornaments that adorned other cars in the line. The emblem, with its checkered flag motif, received a letter addition signifying that this indeed was the second generation of the 300.