West Coast Classics are proud to present a very rare, 1 of only 400 ever built, 1963 Chrysler 300 J 'Letter Car' 2 door hardtop with its original 413 2x4 barrel carbs short cross ram option engine matched to the 'Torqueflite' automatic transmission with leather power front bucket seats, pile carpeting, padded dash, map lights, rare factory options including 'Airtemp' air conditioning & Heater & Defroster!
1 of 400 produced in 1963
413 CI V-8 engine
Dual 4-barrel carburetors with cross ram
White Sidewall Tires
Heater & Defroster ($102)
'Airtemp' Air conditioning ($510)
'Solex' Tinted Glass ($43)
'Golden Touch' AM Radio ($93)
The Chrysler Letter Series cars with the highly desirable and legendary High Performance 413 CID 2x 4BBL V8 'Short Cross Ram' engines with dual 4 bbl carburetors which were matched to the legendary A-727 HD Torqueflite automatic transmission were cars that were extremely powerful for their day and which became the basis for a successful racing engine in Chrysler's future and cemented Chrysler's reputation for engineering great engines that would serve Chrysler well in various forms for the next 20 years.
The flagship model for the Chrysler lineup in the late fifties and early sixties was the Letter Series convertibles and coupes and were called the 'Beautiful Brutes' by the renown writer Karl Ludvigsen and produced two of the most memorable performance cars ever made. Unabashadely created for NASCAR which they dominated until 1957 when US manufacturers shied away from competition support. Originally powered by the most potent V8 Hemis yet, the 1955 C-300 (1,725 built) and the 1956 300-B (1,102 built) had a New Yorker Newport fine body styling with an Imperial eggcrate grille. Off the track the 300 proved to be about more than just performance with a luxurious leather interior and all modern factory options.
The 413 with ram induction (the original standard long rams 375 hp engine) had more torque, at lower rpm (495 lb ft @ 2800) than the later 426 Hemi (480 @ 3200). At low speeds the "long rams" 375HP engine was superb but over 4000 rpm performance would suffer and to solve this issue Chrysler engineers removed a section of the inner walls of the manifolds to create the optional "short rams" 400HP engine. This option was obviously quite redundant for the street and only really intended for Daytona bound cars that competed in the 'Flying Mile' there and only about 15 of these ultra rare 'short rams' were actually factory built. This $800 option also included a 4 speed manual gearbox made for the Facel Vega, a Chrysler powered French luxury car. One of the short ram 400HP cars driven by Greg Ziegler set a 'Flying Mile' record of over 144mph in 1960!
The 300J delivered more performance in a luxury car than any other American production car, no matter the price, and compared favorably with the most costly European Gran Turismo automobiles in its ability to maintain very high speeds over any type of road, rough or smooth, flat or hilly, or twisted with hairpin curves but whilst also remaining a luxuriously appointed and comfortable ride at the same time!
The car presents as original and correct with a phenomenally well preserved interior with the trim, brightwork, and all accessories in beautiful condition boasting its original and unique steering wheel having been covered in a leather rim kit. On the dash the module is home to push-button transmission controls, and the factory center console-mounted tachometer has been replaced with a modern unit. The original upholstery and trim in Red leather displays a hint of patina with copper, and evokes the spectacularly exotic Chrysler Turbine Cars of the same year. Only one engine was available on the J, the 413ci Golden Lion big block V8 with distinctive, race-bred cross-ram intake manifolds mounting dual quad-barrel carbs rated at 390 hp and 485 lb-ft from new.
The 300 had the American press with Chrysler promoting and marketing the 300J in 1963 as "Close cousin to the most powerful of racing machines, with unmatched interior luxury!"With all new styling from Virgil Exner, being billed as the "crisp, clean custom look" these 300 letter series was the most exclusive of the range with a blacked out grille and offered in hardtop only. As was usually the case, the press fell all over themselves hurling superlatives at the 300-J.
The rare and limited production Chrysler letter cars were the pride of Detroit with the 1955 Chrysler 300 hardtop considered as the first real muscle car, with 300 horsepower from its 331-c.i. Hemi V-8, 0-90 mph in 16.9 seconds, and a top speed of 130 mph. The company sold 1,725 of these homologation specials, and Chrysler was to dominate NASCAR through these years. The 300B of 1956 gained 12-volt electrics and the signature fins that were applied to all Chryslers for the rest of the decade. The Chryslers C-300 of 1955 was the first American production car with 300 hp. The C-300 and its 1956 successor the 300B absolutely dominated high-level American stock car racing at a time when the word stock still meant something, and set a number of flying mile records at Daytona Beach as well, including a hugely impressive 139.37 in 1956.
The Hemi V-8 was punched out to 354-c.i. and 340 hp, while high compression heads delivered 355 hpmore than one per cubic inch. The 300B set the world passenger car record for speed at Daytona Beach at 133.9 mph with only 1,102 were sold. By 1958 the iconic Hemi was replaced by the 413-c.i. Wedge engine and the Chrysler 300Fs were timed at a remarkable 145 mph at Daytona. The 300G of 1961 would be the last big fin car, and the front was heavily modified to accept angled headlights. Some 3-speed cars were built, and sales climbed again to 1,280 hardtops and 337 convertibles.
Chrysler broadened the range in 1962 with a non-letter 300 Sport series. These cars were basically a Windsor replacement, with sedan, hardtop, and convertible body styles. The 300 Sport lacked the fire-breathing letter cars performance but looked the same. This diversification of the name hampered 300H sales, with only 435 hardtops and 123 convertibles selling. The grille remained the same as 1961, but the rear fenders were de-finned.
A complete redesign arrived in 1963, with the 300 Sport series continued, now further confusing buyers by offering Indy Pace Car packages as well. The 300J was no longer offered as a convertible and only 400 hardtops were sold. The shape was little changed for 1964, but the 300K staged a surprising comeback; a convertible returned to the line and 625 were sold along with 3,022 hardtops, beating 1957s record to become the most popular of the letter series cars.
By 1965, the Chrysler 300 letter brand had been diluted by all the various models offered as plain 300s. The 300L sold quite well, with 2,405 hardtops and 440 convertibles but it did not hold the same magic as the more exclusive early cars. Chrysler ended production of the letter series with the 300L, and there was no 1966 letter car.
Never common, Chrysler 300 letter cars have a dedicated following, and their performance remains remarkable even today. The"Business Mans Express"as they were otherwise known, there isn't another Jet Age American car on the road that can keep up and the idea that a car so large could handle the power and precision they desired seemed anathema to Detroit, yet here was a machine that proved someone really understood. With massive gobs of torque and the luxury feel of a larger European sedan with cornering that nothing else made in America (barring a Corvette) could match, the 300-J for 1963 had the press falling all over themselves.
The '63 300-J had the most powerful standard engine ever fitted to a Chrysler letter car: the 390-hp 413-cu.in. V-8 with 10.1:1 compression ratio and dual Carter four-barrel carbs on those dramatic long cross-ram intakes. They're overwhelming under that hood and also uncompromising (the brake booster had to be moved to the inner fenderwell to make room for those extraordinary runners, carburetors, and air cleaners). In any event Chrysler only sold 400 of them and the 300-J was to prove the lowest overall production total out of any of the letter-car series.
Luxurious, fast, and exclusive remained the core ingredients of a recipe developed over all the letter cars, and the 300 J was the rarest of all with only 400 built! Built on Mopars C body architecture and wearing sheet metal shared with Chrysler divisions Newport and New Yorker, the 300J was preceded by the 300H, as it was thought that an I would be too easily mistaken for a 1. The 1963 Chrysler 300J was capable of 143 mph flat out, making it among the fastest production cars of its day, regardless of type or origin. Colors were limited to Black, Red, Gray, or one of two different Whites. These are true pillarless hardtop coupes, with no B-pillar separating the front and rear windows, and offer a real sense of open space with all four rolled down.
With over 390 horsepower and a production run of only 400 cars, and the first year of production for a new body style these rare 1963 Chrysler 300 J cars will prove very collectible for any Mopar or American Muscle Car enthusiast.