There was once a time when the Chrysler name was truly the standard for American style, luxury and performance, and the company offered cars that were the complete package. Today, Chrysler is still recovering from the bruised reputation it had sustained throughout the ’90s, when badge engineering nearly did the company in – not unlike the other companies that call Detroit home. Just like in the ’60s, however, the best cars sold under the Chrysler badge today go by the name 300.
In 1961, perhaps the best looking Chrysler to ever hit the streets was introduced when legendary designer Virgil Exner’s baby, the 300G, went on sale.
This car had the signature flamboyant fins of the Chryslers of the 1950s, but what was most noticeable about this model, as well as what separated it from all other Chryslers before it, was its gorgeously-goofy front fascia.
The headlamps were comprised of two diagonally stacked bulbs that bookended a massive, toothy grill. Instead of trying to look finessed like the Thunderbirds of the era, perhaps the 300G’s closest competition, this model was loud and would definitely stand out in the crowd.
It had one of the more lavishly appointed interiors of the age with comfortable seats and detailing that seemed far ahead of its time. But Chrysler wasn’t going to depend on this car’s stellar luxury treatments to sell units – this thing was ridiculously fast for its size.
In a Road & Track magazine test, the 300G went from 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds, while the 1/4 mile was 16.2 seconds at 87 mph. For the time, that was practically a record for a car this size, which was powered by an epic 413 cubic inch wedge-head V8.
This was the last of Exner’s “forward moving” designs, as this flashy look was retired going into the ’60s and ’70s in favor of more hot-rod fare. Do you wish Chrysler stuck with the tail fins or do you like the company’s design progression? Leave your thoughts below:
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