Chrysler 1957 Models

Chrysler’s 1957 models were a huge hit with consumers, and they were all the more impressive when you consider the competition. Plymouth had the Firedome, Dodge had the Fireflite and DeSoto had its impressive Adventurer model. But none of these cars were able to match the sleek and muscular look of the new Chrysler models.

The flagship 300 series was the star of the show, and Virgil Exner’s design was nothing short of a tour de force. The lowered rooflines and long hoods gave the Chrysler 300C an aggressive and sporty silhouette. Its towering tail fins not only added to its beauty, but were also designed with aerodynamic benefits in mind.

In addition to the impressive styling, the Chrysler 300C had a powerful 392-cubic inch Hemi V-8 engine that produced 375 horsepower. Two Carter four-barrel carburetors were used on this powerhouse. The Torqueflite automatic transmission was standard equipment. The large front engine rear drive car had a luxurious 219.2 inch overall length and was 78.8 inches wide riding on a long 126 inch wheelbase.

It was available in a hardtop or convertible and only 484 examples were made. The car was built as a luxury sport vehicle and it reflects this with its beautiful tan interior that is upholstered in luxurious leather. It was also fitted with Chrysler’s new for the day padded safety cushion dash.

Among other features, the 300C was equipped with the optional “Captive-Aire” suspension and 14″ tires that lowered the ride height and accentuated its sleek lines. The Hemi engine was upgraded from the previous year’s 354 cubic inch to a more potent 392 cu. in. version that had two Carter four-barrel carburetors and a high output camshaft. The standard engine was so powerful that Chrysler advertised the 300C as America’s fastest production car in 1957. It was able to do a Daytona and Chelsea Proving Grounds flying mile in under 134 seconds.

While the high performance of the 300C certainly helped give Chrysler a good year in sales, its quality issues were another story. Serious problems with corrosion and poor workmanship had a negative effect on the company’s reputation. This would ultimately prove to be the downfall of many of the new Chrysler products from 1958 onwards.

Although the high-performance 300C was a big seller for the year, it didn’t help much to improve Chrysler’s industry rank and production numbers that were both down from the previous year. By 1958, the company was in serious trouble. It was only in 1959 when the company’s fortunes began to turn around with a series of high-quality, well-designed vehicles that were competitive in both price and performance. That is the year that we will discuss in a later article. Until then, please enjoy this collection of photos from the Chrysler 1957 line up. All photographs courtesy of the Chrysler Museum.