1963 Chrysler 300J Convertible
The Chrysler 300 “letter series” were high-performance luxury cars built in very limited numbers by the Chrysler Corporation in the United States between 1955 and 1965. Each year’s model used a new letter of the alphabet as a suffix (skipping “i”), reaching 300L by 1965, after which the model was dropped.
The 300 “letter series” cars were the vehicles that really rekindled interest in performance among major American manufacturers after World War II, and thus can be considered the muscle car’s ancestors, though much more expensive and exclusive.
Chrysler has recently started using these designations again for sporting near-luxury sedans, using 300M from 1999, and continuing the 300 series with a new V8-powered 300C, the top model of a relaunched Chrysler 300 line, a new rear wheel drive car launched in 2004 for the 2005 model year. This is disliked by some fans of old Chryslers who do not approve of the reuse of a 300 letter series designation. Unlike the first series, the second does not have 300 hp engines, except for today’s top-line 300C.
Further restyling for 1963’s 300J (the letter “I” was skipped) left the car with a smoother, more angular 1960s look. The convertible was dropped, leaving the coupe; the “short ram” racing engine was also discontinued. The only engine available was the 413 cubic inch (6.8 L) “long ram”, with an increase of 10 hp (7.5 kW) from 1962. A redesigned and more sumptuous interior featured an oddly squared steering wheel. The 300J was faster than the standard 300H of the year before, with a 142 mph (229 km/h) top speed, 8.0 seconds 0-60 mph, and a standing quarter mile time of 15.8 seconds with a terminal velocity of 89 mph (143 km/h). Sales were especially poor, with only 400 cars produced.