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1962 Chrysler 300H, A Luxury Car in a Class by Itself

1962 Chrysler 300HLong before Mopars were fighting it out with muscle cars from Ford and GM, 300s were offering the best American performance outside of the Corvette. In 1962, just 123 convertibles and 435 hardtop 300H’s left the factory, but a combination of a new, lighter chassis and futuristic styling make these among the most memorable cars to wear the 300 nameplate.

 

Interior in the 300H

Inside, the 300H was unlike anything else. While contemporary cars made due with flat bench seats, the 300H has luxury features, including four individual leather bucket seats separated by a console that runs the full length of the cab. In front of the driver, there’s a unique dome-shaped “Astradome” instrument panel lit with high-voltage electro-luminescent lettering, a feature limited to a handful of Chrysler models.

 

Exterior

For 1962, the 300 moved from the New Yorker to the Windsor platform, cutting the car’s length by 4 inches and its curb weight by a whopping 400 lbs. The styling of the 300G mostly carried over to the new, shorter platform, except the tail fins had finally gone, bringing the design fully into the 60s. Along with the car’s signature diagonally mounted front headlights, the car is covered in red, white and blue “300” badges. Differentiating between an “H” model and a standard 300 is a little more difficult, as the only visual indicators are a small badge on the trunk and model-specific 15-inch steel wheels.

 

Performance and Power

While standard 300s had a 383, the H is propelled by a 413 cubic inch Wedge V8 with a 10:1 compression ratio, solid lifters and dual Carter four-barrel carburetors for a total output of 380 hp and 450 lb-ft. of torque, a modest bump over the previous year’s model. Power is transferred to the rear wheels with a three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic that uses button operation rather than a shifter.

The 300H could also technically be ordered with a ram air version that added bigger carburetors and an 11:1 compression ratio, raising output to 405 hp and 473 lb-ft. of torque as well as a three-speed manual or a Pont-a-Mousson four-speed automatic. The engine was expressly “not for street use,” and all three options were only offered to skirt around racing rules. The 300H “Specials” equipped with these options are undocumented, having been built and labeled as standard cars then outfitted with racing equipment at the Jefferson Avenue plant’s “Header House” building. To date, there are only four confirmed 300H Specials with the four-speed, ram air engine.

Even if the Specials are unattainable, this rarity is surprisingly affordable. Today, coupes sell at prices between $30,000 – $35,000 and convertibles for around $65,000, putting classic Mopar performance within the reach of normal buyers.

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