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GALLERY: Chrysler Sends off the Final 300

The Chrysler 300 debuted in 1955, but it is going on hiatus until an eventual electric replacement arrives.

Dan Carney

December 22, 2023

7 Slides

Chrysler has built the last of the current generation of 300 luxury cars, ending the production run with a batch of 2,000 Hemi V8-powered 300C versions from the company’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant.

Chrysler revived the then-dormant “300” brand in 1999, with the introduction of the front-drive V6 cab-forward-styled 300M. It continued a product that launched in 1955 as a prestigious Hemi V8-powered rear-drive luxury sedan. That car was followed by the 300B in 1956 and Chrysler added a letter sequentially until the 300L in 1965, when the so-called “letter series” cars were discontinued.

The company picked up the sequence with the 300M in 1999 and then switched to the 300C with the introduction of a classic Hemi V8-powered, rear-drive full-size sedan in 2005. That car, code-named “LX” was replaced by a refreshed version of the same car, called “LD” in 2011, and the LD has continued through the 300’s end of production in 2023.

Most cars whose fundamental styling is carried for so long deteriorate over time, as the original design’s vision is lost and new elements are tacked on for the sake of making it look different from preceding models. The current Chrysler 300 somehow escaped this fate, possibly because Ralph Gilles, the designer of the 2005 300C rose to become Chrysler’s Chief Design Officer. From that position, he could guard the legacy of the car he originally designed.

If anything, rather than dressed up with added-on elements, the 300 has been refined and made more pure than the original design. Design News asked Gilles about the 300’s evolution:

“We knew the Chrysler 300 had wonderful proportions, with its great canvas, it was almost like the gift that kept on giving. As a result, we were intentional with how we moved forward. 

When it came to the second design generation, we carefully placed additional sculpting on the body-side and more surface interest throughout the body; and from a distance, it held its purity with its raked beltline and chopped side windows.

Arguably, I felt we went a little backward with the 2011 model year with the smaller grille, but we quickly reworked the front to make that iconic trademark bold again while modernizing the taillamps. Large wheels have always been a great tool to keep the car fresh, and they helped to define its personality.

From an interior standpoint, we added the right amount of technology to be current, but not overtake the vehicle’s simple and accessible appeal. We also enhanced the vehicle’s materials, which helped to push the vehicle up-market, and selected appropriate features that would appeal to its customers.

But I have to say, I’m really happy about the sporty yet stately 6.4L 392-cubic-inch Hemi engine making a comeback in the final model as it embodies the original formula of the Hemi-powered 1955’s ‘banker’s muscle car’ persona.”

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Highlights of the nearly 70-year run of the Chrysler 300 include:

1950s
  • In 1955, the Chrysler 300 was introduced. The hardtop contains a 300-horsepower Hemi V-8 with solid valve lifters and dual four-barrel carburetors, the most powerful full-size car in the world; the new Chrysler 300 dominates Nascar

  • 1957 Chrysler brand standard-bearer, the 300C, is equipped with a standard 392-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower Hemi V8

  • Chrysler 300D set a Bonneville land speed record in 1958 at 156.387 mph

  • The Chrysler 300E arrived in 1959

1960s
  • Chrysler 300F, 300G, and 300H debuted in 1960, 1961, and 1962, respectively

  • Chrysler brand continues to produce “style and speed” with the 300J

  • 300K debuts in 1964

  • Chrysler issued the last of its 300 letter series cars, the 300L, in 1965; production of the non-letter series 300S continues

1990s
  • 300 nameplate returned to the Chrysler lineup in 1999 with the introduction of the 300M, which was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1999

2000s
  • The introduction of the 2005 Chrysler 300 series marks a return to rear-wheel drive and includes the 5.7-liter Hemi-powered 300C model with 340 horsepower; the new 300 is named Car of the Year by Motor Trend

  • Adding even more performance, the 425-horsepower Chrysler 300C SRT8 features a 6.1-liter Hemi engine and is capable of 0 to 60 mph times in the low five-second range

  • Additional 300 models within the 2005 to 2010 model-year span include all-wheel-drive versions, the “blacked out” 300S, the 300C and 300C SRT8 Touring models (outside of North America)

2010s
  • 2014 Chrysler 300 SRT features a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 and delivers 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque

  • Chrysler debuts the new Chrysler 300 in 2015, taking the nameplate’s bold style and sophistication to new levels

2020s
  • The 2023 Chrysler 300C, powered by the 485-horsepower 6.4L Hemi engine, pays tribute to the Chrysler 300 and the end of an era — Chrysler 300 production will end following the 2023 model year

  • Final Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C rolls of the production line at Brampton Assembly Plant on December 8, 2023

Click through our slide show for a look at some of the Chrysler 300 highlights over the decades.

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