Car: Chrysler 300 F Convertible
What makes it special: The dawning era of muscle cars took a turn with the 1960 Chrysler 300F. In the formative years of factory performance, automakers reserved their hottest engines for their largest and usually most expensive models. Early Chrysler muscle cars were best expressed by the stylish and exclusive “letter-series” machines. The first of these was the 1955 C-300 with its 300-bhp Hemi-head V8. The 1960 Chrysler 300F continued the tradition of power and panache with its special trim and a sporty interior that boasted four bucket-type leather seats and a full-length console.
What made it famous: Chrysler specified its most-advanced engines for these image leaders. A dual-quad 413-cid wedge replaced the hemi in the ’59 letter-series. It made the same 380 bhp as the previous year’s standard 392-cid Hemi, but was 100 pounds lighter and simpler to build. For ’60, the 413 gained a radical ram induction system in which each four-barrel carb fed the opposite cylinder bank via 30-inch “outrigger” tubes. The length of the runners was calculated to produce a super-charging effect in the heart of the rpm range. Only the 300F had ram induction standard. Horsepower was 375; optional “short-ram” tubes, which looked the same but differed internally, yielded 400 bhp at 5200 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque at 3600. Pushbutton TorqueFlite automatic was standard, but a French-built 4-speed manual was optional for just this season, ending up in only a few 300Fs. Chrysler built 964 300F hardtops and 248 convertibles for ’60, a peak year for letter-series performance.
Why I would want one: It’s luxurious, stylish, sporty and muscle all in one gorgeous finned drop top.
Fun fact: The 1960 Chrysler 300F was one of Chrysler’s first muscle cars.
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