(Found In) Maxwell Park (Oakland, California): 1966 Chrysler 300 Convertible Coupe

IMG_8596By 1966, the performance brigade of big bruisers were rapidly losing ground to intermediate muscle machines and pony cars. Oldsmobile would send the Starfire into orbit one last time. The Impala SS started its rapid descent from its peak.

The Galaxie XL gained 7 Litres of might to fight for space as it was crowded out by the LTD, Thunderbird and Mustang over in Dearborn.
How was it for the grandfather of them all, the 300 Letter Cars?

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(Found In) The Tenderloin (San Francisco, California): 1950 Imperial Deluxe Four Door Sedan

image (25).jpegWe’ve spoken earlier about the Imperial Image problem. From the introduction of the brand in 1926 through 1954, it was positioned as the most premium Chrysler. That problematic push towards the glass ceiling of luxury brands always saddled Imperials with the upper middle class respectability of the Chrysler brand. The challenge, alongside sharing a heavy commonality with Chrysler cars, was being accepted as a legit full luxury competitor to Cadillac, Lincoln and Packard.

Compared to early depression era Imperials, the last that feathered flamboyance on buyers, the first Post-War Imperials doubled down on sturdy, stodgy and secure engineering and styling. The Post-War do-it-yourself motto shifted the palate of the most premium Chryslers from limousines towards a push at self-actualized luxury that would lead to Imperial becoming a separate marque by mid-decade.

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(Found In) Potrero Hill (San Francisco, California): 1966 Chrysler 300 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

12305959_10153168570327201_567136321_nThe Chrysler 300 found itself no longer suffering from a split identity by 1966. Gone for good was the ultra sport-lux Letter series version.

Around since 1962, the Non-Letter 300 went toe to toe with mainstream Bankers hot-rods from perpetual cross town rival Buick. With a smidgen more cachet than the Flint offering, the 300 proved a brisk bet in the equally stuffy Chrysler showroom. With far less outre styling compared to the beginning of the 1960’s, these big block brutes gave Chrysler a sophisticated foothold in the upper crust performance market.

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(Found In) Golden Gate (Oakland, California): 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

12087436_10153074251357201_328820744_nChrysler, in actuality, was quite early to the “Super Coupe” game that really took off at the turn of the 1960’s. As a harbinger of obsession that would become the Personal Coupe market as the 1960’s became the 1970’s, Chrysler launched a very, very special “300” series in 1955 in anticipation of hyper personalized transportation for discriminating buyers.

By 1962, however, Chrysler was ready to cash in on the most exclusive in-house name they possessed by bringing it closer to popular price points for shoppers. Here lies the tale of the 300 Sport, inspired internally and externally to follow market trends by making something special out of extra trim. While this had a potency wilting influence over the true letter series cars, it proved an easily exploitative avenue to bring extra revenue to the premium brand.

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(Found In) Guerneville (California) – 1971 Plymouth Satellite Regent Station Wagon

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Once upon a time in America, the Station Wagon once reigned as the ultimate Suburban Status Symbol. Costing more than convertibles for their extra utility, each manufacturer south of the top luxury brands scrambled and served up the finest confections they could possibly think of to the discerning growing families on cul-de-sacs nationwide.

Plymouth, once a provider of sensible small steel wagons in the early fifties had latched onto the faux pretense of wood paneling suburban good taste as 2 decades passed. The heavy influence of The Ford Country Squire made sure that image was part and parcel of most family conveyances. To deviate from this norm typically meant death to your Station Wagon business.

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(Found In) San Francisco, California – 1961 Chrysler Newport Convertible

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Though some parts of the country might be burrowing out of blizzards, it’ll be soon migration season for a particular type of bird. Spring equinox is less than a month away. Soon that special bird of automobile, the vintage convertible, will find its way back into ever-increasing sunlight. This seems like the perfect time to tell the story of a rather rare and odd bird.

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