This year’s Spring Show sponsored by the Chrysler 300 Club International, with a theme “TorqueFlites and Tulips”, was held in Holland, Michigan. Members of the club and several owners of Chrysler 300 letter models with their family and guest enjoyed the western Michigan countryside and a classic car show at the fields of Gilmore Car Museum at Hickory Corners.
The limited edition Chrysler 300 “Letter Car” models were built in 1955 up to 1965. Lead designer Virgil Exner created the classic high powered Chryslers in stock configuration that were displayed in the manufacturer’s showroom. The first models from 1955 were labelled as the C-300 and the 1956 models were named 300B. The following models were then given successive letters of the alphabet hence “Letter Car”. “I” was not used and the last letter car was the 300L in 1965.
The 300 name for the first letter car was because it had 300 horsepower with its 331 cid Hemi engine that is fuelled by two four-barrel carburettors. The 1957 model had a performance upgrade and reach a 375 horsepower with its 392 cubic inches engine. Then in 1961, the first stock car to have a cross-ram, two four-barrel carburettor intake manifold was released.
The 1955 and 1956 letter cars only came as a two-door coupe and then in 1957, a convertible model was made available. All of the letter cars original had a beige interior with bucket seats in the front and two individual seats at the back.
Chrysler designed the front bucket seats to be able to swivel that was supposed to make the access to the rear seats easier. The push-button gear selector was not yet well developed during its time but Chrysler used it for the 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
Keith and Judy Boontra from Holland together with their 1957 300C coupe in a Gauguin Red finish lead this year’s Spring Meet. The Gauguin Red name was named after Paul Gauguin, who was a French post-impressionist.
Keaith’s 1957 300C first bout it in 1962 and in 1964 sold it. After a several years, Keith started looking for the 300C and finally found it in 1983 in Ohio. Keith required the car and started to work on a restoration project. Most of the restoration work was started in 2009 and finished in 2011.
The Chrysler 300 Club International Fall Meet this year will be on September 21-25 at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, were the famous Road America race track is found. The Fall Meet will be sponsored by Andy Mikonis from Chicago who owns a white 1961 300G coupe together with Carlton Schroeder and Brian Frank. The event will honor the racing achievements of Carl Kiekhaefer and his team, the Keikhaefer Mercury Outboards, with the Chrysler 300.
These meets are perfect for Chrysler letter car fans were they will find rare and beautiful Chrysler 300s. These cars were known as the “Banker’s hot rod” or “beautiful brutes” and without a doubt they are amazingly beautiful and one of the most famous classic series during their time.