Chrysler Prototype 300C 1957
The chief stylist at Chrysler in 1955 is Virgil Exner. He is the creator of the famous "Forward Look" cars that were successful from 1955-1961. Because of the styling cues of his car design, the nickname "Finman" was applied to him.
Less known is that in 1955, Exner and his team were secretly working on an innovative concept car code name 613. That concept car was to be powerful and fast with very pronounced tail fins on the rear end of the car.
The 1948 Cisitalia must have inspired him, and nothing resembling this car had ever been seen in America.
A clay model was first made then they worked on a 1957 Chrysler chassis with a shortened wheel base from 126 inches to 122, onto which the famous competition 392 cubic inch engine with 375 horse was installed. The engine was fed by two 4 barrel carburetors and was mated to a three speed automatic transmission with a 3.23/1 ratio rear end. We can easily imagine this "race car" with its impressive looks!
For the body of this recreation, a 1957 Plymouth 2 door hard top is going to be used. The front end is from a 1957 Chrysler 300C, but from the B pillar to the rear of the car is where this car will be very different. That rear section must be sensational. It is entirely handmade, from the sheet metal to the rear bumpers, including all the trim and of course those huge fins.
After test drives on closed course and some other road tests, some corrections and modifications are made to the car.
Virgil Exner was thrilled with the results of his efforts and made this car one of his personal favorites.
Prototype 613 never made it into regular production, it remained a concept car. Today we can see and admire that concept car at the Walter P. Chrysler museum in Detroit.
Being a passionate guy about Chrysler Corporation products, I wanted as an ultimate challenge to recreate this "concept car" for myself. Quite a challenge indeed! After collecting needed parts for this ambitious project for the last 25 years, I completed the recreation of prototype 613 over a 6 year period, with the help of my good friend Normand who did the body work.
So I did realize a lifelong dream of creating a replica of the famous 1957 Chrysler 300C prototype initially imagined by Virgil Exner. It is 95% identical to the original prototype. Every detail of this recreation has been reviewed with the help of era documentation. I was also in contact with specialists from Chrysler who have been of great help making this recreation possible.
I can now say that I'm very proud of this "re-creation" of the 1957 Chrysler 300C prototype.
What a challenge!
Virgil Exner, chief stylist in 1955, liked this car so much he made it his personal car.
To make this car, a 1957 Plymouth 2 door hardtop body was used.
The front is the standard Chrysler 1957 300C.
Spacious interior with 4 bucket seats, front seats swivel out.
The sensational rear end treatment is all handmade, from sheet metal to bumpers and trim.
For this concept car, the theme was a very powerful car with
massive tail fins on the rear of the body.
392 cu. in. Hemi engine developing 375 HP fed by two 4 barrel carburetors, attached to...
a three speed automatic transmission and a 3.23/1 rear end.
Brake cooling ducts under the headlights help cool the front brake drums.
A very satisfied man, after 6 years of hard work and perseverance.
"I have finally realized a replica of the unique prototype for the 1957 Chrysler 300C."
Thanks to Jean-Yves Chouinard for providing the translation