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BangShift.com 1960 Chrysler 300F

The Chrysler “letter cars” of the late 1950s and early 1960s capture the audacity and balls out nature of Detroit perhaps better than any other line of cars from that time period. They were huge, they had huge power, they looked like nothing else, and they were designed to make the owner feel like a captain of industry, pilot, race car driver, and world adventurer…all at the same time. This 1960 film from the Chrysler corporation that takes us through the development and technical aspects of the 300F is really, really good. The whole thing is shot in color, it has great sound, tons of footage of the 300F flying around tracks, down the sand at Daytona beach, and even around the Chelsea proving grounds. The video is led and narrated by Bob Rodger, the lead engineer for the 300F and Bob’s mighty proud of the creation he’s talking about, and rightfully so. This was one monster of a car and it was a car certainly intended for a fairly limited audience of people with the gumption and cash to want to own such a thing. No compromises and no apologies, this was a big car with big muscle.

Perhaps our favorite part of the video comes nearly the tail end, within the last two minutes when Rodger talks about the “special” edition of the 300F that was to be built for 1960 with an engine bumped to 400hp and a four speed manual transmission. History shows that something like seven examples of this combo were built for racing and promotional purposes but none ever really escaped to be sold to the general public through dealers. It is one of the great “what ifs” in muscle car history. What if they had actually offered that 400hp engine and the Pont-a-mousson four speed to the general public!

Other greatness in this film includes the scenes of the 300F racing down the beach. Rodger tells us (with a straight face, no less!) that Chrysler Corporation doesn’t participate in racing directly but luckily one of their dealers in Daytona Beach, Florida sure loves racing on the sand, so he handled the driving duties for them. Remember, this was during the famous AMA “racing ban” that saw the big three refrain from direct racing activity but the thing fell apart about as quickly as it came together with all three companies running backdoor and side funded operations. The ruse was pretty well blown apart by the time this film was made but for the sake of keeping up appearances we understand Bob Rodgers point.

We just like to think about the fact that engineers on this project and many others of the time were not the least bit concerned with fuel economy, crash standards, side impact testing, recyclable materials, etc, and were given carte blanche to design and create some truly awesome cars and the 1960 300F sure as hell was one of those. This video is a great time capsule back to the era where no one told people at Detroit what to do and they used that freedom to create some of the most iconic iron of the automotive age.


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