1962 CHRYSLER 300H HARDTOP
Engine: 413 CI
The 300F’s fins grew to even wilder proportions in 1960, starting at the front of the door and terminating with V-shaped taillights and a “bird-bath” faux spare on the trunk. The 413-c.i. Wedge V-8 received cross-ram induction and the highest horsepower motor made 400 ponies. Sales rebounded to 964 hardtops and 248 convertibles and at least 10 cars were fitted with the French Pont-a-Mousson 4-speed. Chrysler 300Fs were timed at a remarkable 145 mph at Daytona. The 300G of 1961 would be the last “big fin” car, and the front was heavily modified to accept angled headlights. Some 3-speed cars were built, and sales climbed again to 1,280 hardtops and 337 convertibles.
Chrysler broadened the range in 1962 with a “non-letter” 300 Sport series. These cars were basically a Windsor replacement, with sedan, hardtop, and convertible body styles. The 300 Sport lacked the fire-breathing letter car’s performance but looked the same. This diversification of the name hampered 300H sales, with only 435 hardtops and 123 convertibles selling. The grille remained the same as 1961, but the rear fenders were de-finned.
A complete redesign arrived in 1963, with the result being a much flatter, square car. The 300 Sport series continued, now further confusing buyers by offering “Indy Pace Car” packages as well. The 300J was no longer offered as a convertible and only 400 hardtops were sold. The shape was little changed for 1964, but the 300K staged a surprising comeback; a convertible returned to the line and 625 were sold along with 3,022 hardtops, beating 1957’s record to become the most popular of the letter series cars.
By 1965, the Chrysler 300 letter brand had been diluted by all the various models offered as plain 300s. The 300L sold quite well, with 2,405 hardtops and 440 convertibles but it did not hold the same magic as the more exclusive early cars. Chrysler ended production of the letter series with the 300L, and there was no 1966 letter car.
Never common, Chrysler 300 letter cars have a dedicated following, and their performance goodies can be costly. Be aware that most were run hard, and rust is a serious problem. They are also enormous by modern standards, so measure your garage first. Once you do find one, drive this “business man’s express” with confidence, knowing that there isn’t another Jet Age American car on the road that can keep up.
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