The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 122
1956 Chrysler 300B Coupe

Selling on Saturday

1956 Chrysler  300B Coupe

CHASSIS NO: 3N562149

• Very rare as 1 of just 1,102 examples produced
• The second year for Chrysler’s renowned 300 Series
• Rare, top-of-the-line Dual-Quad 354 Hemi Engine
• Well-preserved restoration

354 cid “Hemi” V-8 engine, twin four-barrel Carter carburetors, 355 HP at 5,200 RPM, 2-Speed PowerFlite automatic transmission with pushbutton control, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs; four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 126”

Following the successful launch of the C-300 of 1955, Chrysler released the even more powerful 300B for 1956, continuing the growing “Letter Car” legend, which would continue through 1965. As one of the finest expressions of Chrysler designer Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look” design theme, the 300B continued for 1956 with sleek Newport hardtop bodywork fitted with “egg-crate” grille elements borrowed from the Imperial, plus a slightly revised taillamp treatment. Inside, the 300B was purposeful, albeit with rich leather upholstery and pushbutton dash controls for the two-speed PowerFlite automatic transmission. Lurking underhood was Chrysler’s “FirePower” V-8 engine with hemispherical combustion chambers, now displacing 354 cubic-inches for 1956 and delivering 340 horsepower in single four-barrel tune or 355 HP with the very rare optional “Dual Quad” setup.

While known as a “banker’s hot rod,” the 300B and its C-300 forebear were purpose-built by Chrysler to dominate AAA and NASCAR stock-car racing. Spearheaded by successful businessman Karl Kiekhaefer of Mercury Marine, Chrysler 300s were race-prepared at the Mercury Research Lab, where his racing headquarters were located. Selecting former Hudson star driver Tim Flock, Kiekhaefer’s first race came in 1955 at Daytona, resulting in victory. The Kiekhaefer team entered 40 of 45 races for 1955, winning 22 – 18 with Flock, who won his second national title. For 1956, Kiekhaefer’s team campaigned the 300B and quickly expanded with more cars top-name drivers. In 1956, the Mercury Marine team took 21 of the first 25 races, including 16 consecutive victories from March 25 to May 30, going on to 30 wins out of 50 races entered. The 300B was critical to this success and helped make legends of its drivers.

Restored and continuing to be handsome in presentation, this 1956 Chrysler 300B is one of those rare examples powered by the optional “Dual-Quad” Hemi V-8 engine developing 355 factory-rated horsepower. It carries fascinating history as well, having once been fitted with a secret compartment underneath the front seat to hold a .38 police revolver, which was discovered only after the car was purchased at auction by George Finley. Desirable features include power steering and a Town and Country AM radio, plus Kelsey-Hayes wire-spoke wheels. In addition to a spare tire mounted on a wire wheel and roadside jack, this 300B also includes an original 1956 Chrysler Service Manual. No collection of the finest postwar high-performance cars can be complete without an early Chrysler 300 “Letter Car,” and as one of just 1,102 produced, this example demands serious consideration.

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