My Car Quest

December 15, 2019

1956 Chrysler – A Great Style

by Mike Gulett –

In 1955 all Chrysler cars were redesigned by Virgil Exner and Chrysler introduced the C300, which was a great idea as can be seen in the photos below. The Windsor was the top of the line for Chrysler in the years 1951 through the 1960 model year and it was Chrysler’s price leader.

1954 Chrysler Windsor

1954 Chrysler Windsor

This 1954 Chrysler Windsor above looks like it came right out of the 1940s and an entirely different generation than the rest of the 1950s.

In 1955 the “Forward Look” style was introduced which included the first Chrysler tail fins and the Highway Hi-Fi phonograph player was an option. I wonder how one kept the records from skipping when going over a bump?

1956 Chrysler Windsor Newport

1956 Chrysler Windsor Newport

Sales of the C300 were driven by its success in stock car racing. The C300 dominated at Daytona Beach where it won the stock production class and took home the Tom McCahill trophy. From 1955 through 1957 it was the fastest American car. There were 1,725 C300 cars sold in 1955.

The 1956 Chrysler Windsor Newport above is definitely a big step forward compared to the 1954 model.

The Chrysler 300 “letter series” models were high performance luxury cars introduced in 1955. The 1956 300B was similar to the 1956 Windsor except the 300B had better performance and a split grille instead of a single grille across the front and maybe some other small cosmetic differences.

1956 Chrysler 300B

1956 Chrysler 300B

With the optional 355 hp 354 cid engine (yes a Hemi), the 300B became the first American car to produce one horsepower per cubic inch, beating Chevrolet with their fuel-injected 283 cid by one year. There were 1,102 300Bs made.

The 300 “letter series” were successful on Nascar circuits and at Bonneville which gave Chrysler some marketing muscle – America’s Most Powerful Car.

1956 Chrysler 300B

1956 Chrysler 300B Tail Fins

I like the tail fins on the 1956 300B (which is the same as the Windsor) better than any other tail fins – maybe because I drove a 1956 Windsor for a few years in my youth. I also learned to love the push button transmission.

1956 Chrysler 300B

1956 Chrysler 300B Push Button Transmission

1956 Chrysler 300B

1956 Chrysler 300B

1956 Chrysler 300B

1956 Chrysler 300B

Yes, I would like to own a Chrysler 300B as long as it had air-conditioning.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

1956 Chrysler Windsor

1956 Chrysler Windsor – circa 1973

1956 Chrysler 300B Advertisement

1956 Chrysler 300B Advertisement

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A version of this article was originally posted in December 2015.

Summary
1956 Chrysler - A Great Style
Article Name
1956 Chrysler - A Great Style
Description
The Chrysler "Forward Look" style made all the difference, that and a Hemi.
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Comments

  1. The Tri-Five Chrysler (’55, ’56, and ’57) cars, to me, are the most beautifully styled cars of the 1950s. The shorter, stubbier Chevy Bel Aires get all the glory, but the Chryslers are better looking and better performing. And, when I say “Chrysler”, I mean all their divisions, including Plymouth and De Soto. What car is more beautiful than a ’57 De Soto Firedome or Plymouth Fury? Nothing!!! Glenn in the Bronx, New York.

  2. Bob Wachtel says

    I had a 1957 Chrysler 300C coupe with a McCullogh supercharger. The 392 hemi was a bit tired and I had to use oil firing spark plugs for I couldn’t afford an engine rebuild. However, the car performed like a monster until the plugs needed replacement. I picked up spare super chargers from the local junkyards and rebuilt them with new gaskets and ball bearings direct from McCullogh-Paxton. It was a handsome car in a bronze paint job. I always prefered the coupes over the convertibles. I first fell in love with the 1957 300C coupe when I was at Fort Dix, in N.J.for my basic training and a very cool Lieutenant owned a black coupe. It was a beauty. That was in 1960.

  3. MONA LUCAS says

    The picture of you and the Chrysler certainly does conjure up a lot of old memories! Great picture Mike.

  4. Robert Feldman says

    For Bob Wachtel: When you were stationed at Fort Dix in 1960 was Strato Rods Drag Strip on the base open at the time? Spend any time there? Have any vintage photos?

  5. Glenn Krasner says

    Of course, this discussion is not complete without mentioning the horror film, “Christine”. It features a red ’57 Plymouth Fury 2-door hardtop possessed by or an agent of the Devil, who’s owner also becomes under its evil spell. Not the best film, but a great car, and some great character actors (Robert Prosky & Harry Dean Stanton) featured. Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

  6. Glenn Krasner says

    Thanks, Mike!!! Sorry I got the year wrong by one year!!! Schlock film, but somehow I always watch it from beginning to end when it is on, and I even saw it in the movie theater when it came out originally!!! I think I like it so much because I was a lot like the main character, Arnie Cunningham, in junior high and high school!!!! Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

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