Arizona

16 - 17 January 2014

Lot 73

1955 Chrysler C-300

To be auctioned on Friday, January 17, 2014

Sold for $77,000

  • Chassis no. 3N551301
  • Engine no. CE555235


300 hp, 331 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine, dual four-barrel carburetors, Powerflite automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.

  • The original Chrysler “Letter Car”
  • The most powerful American car since the Duesenberg
  • Recently restored chassis and powertrain


When it comes to the question of which was the first American muscle car, it is hard to find a better argument than one on behalf of the 1955 Chrysler C-300. Development of the C-300, by chief engineer Bob Rodger, traces the muscle car template perfectly: take heaps of horsepower—in this case some 300 horsepower, the most offered in a factory-specification American car since the supercharged Duesenberg SJ—and wedge it between the fenders of an automobile that is typically motivated by a much less potent powertrain, specifically Chrysler’s New Yorker hardtop.



To make the C-300 stand out from the rest of the cars in Chrysler’s stable, stylist Cliff Voss added a little flair borrowed from the Virgil Exner-penned Imperial line, while Rodger supplied a 331-cubic inch Hemi-head V-8 with a race camshaft, higher compression, twin four-barrel Carter carburetors, and a beefed-up suspension and Powerflite two-speed transmission. A 150-mph speedometer also found its way onto the dashboard by necessity.



Chrysler wasn’t far off when they called it “America’s greatest performing motor car,” as the hefty C-300 could hold its own against the then-new Corvette, at least in a straight line. It also took home championship wins on the NASCAR circuit in 1955 and 1956.



This Tango Red C-300 is better suited to the concours field than the race track, and it shows very well from just about every angle, thanks to a thorough body-off chassis and powertrain restoration that was commissioned less than 10 years ago by Bill Madden, noted Chrysler expert and former owner. The scarce miles the car has logged since—it shows 53,212—mean that the undercoating and powder-coated chassis and suspension still show as much as they did then, as the car has been lovingly maintained in top driving condition.



The original engine block was, for unknown reasons, swapped out for a similar 1955 Imperial block long ago, but the high-performance C-300 internals are all still there, including the solid lifter camshaft and the adjustable rocker arm assemblies. The C-300’s trademark golden “Bat Wing” air cleaner and special valve covers are also present; these are the highlights of what may be the best looking engine bay in a Chrysler of this age. Under the hood is beautifully and correctly detailed, with original stamps and labels present. The power steering and power brakes work like new, as does the Town & Country signal-seeking tube radio, and the new Goodyear whitewall radials have just been installed. Panel gaps are perfect all around, with a properly fitted hood and doors that close with a satisfying solid sound.



This C-300 would complement any collection, and it would also make a great weekend driver or concours contender, as it is arguably one of the cars from which the muscle car era was born. It is one of the most important Chryslers of all time.

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

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

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

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

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

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more