This 1965 Chrysler 300L Is a One-Year Wonder With a Super-Rare Feature

1965 Chrysler 300L 10 photos
Photo: Corner Classic Car Hunter/YouTube
1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L1965 Chrysler 300L
Introduced in 1955 as a homologation special, the Chrysler C-300 redefined the American high-performance market. Labeled as one of the early muscle cars, the C-300 evolved into the 300B in 1956. The latter was the first American production model to produce one horsepower per cubic inch.
Powerful and luxurious, the two-door was also quite expensive. As a result, the C-300 and 300B moved less than 3,000 units combined. But that didn't stop Chrysler from keeping it in production as a flagship model. Updated on a yearly basis, the high-performance personal luxury car soldiered on through 1965 and spawned 11 different iterations.

The C-300 through 300E models (1955-1959) are arguably the most sought-after members of the 300 letter series family. However, each and every generation has unique feats to brag about. The 1960 Chrysler 300F, for instance, is the only letter series car that got a 400-horsepower engine option. The 1963 300J is the rarest, with only 400 units sold.

But I'm here to talk about the 1965 300L, the final iteration of the series. What makes this one special? Well, Chrysler rolled out a radically different design that year and turned the letter series into a fully-fledged land yacht.

Nearly three inches longer than its predecessor, the 300L debuted with a record-breaking 218.2 inches in length. More than half of the added length went into the wheelbase, which measured 124 inches and provided additional legroom. Chrysler also ditched the Virgil Exner styling that dated back to the early 1960s. Redesigned by Elwood Engel, the 300L showcased crisp lines and a boxier appearance overall.

I could say it looks like a bloated Plymouth Satellite but with loads of unique styling cues and many luxury features on top. And while it was longer and nearly 300 pounds heavier than its predecessor, the 300L was no slouch. The 413-cubic-inch (6.8-liter) Golden Lion provided 360 horsepower to the rear wheels.

The 300L also turned out to be one of the most popular iterations of the series. With 2,845 units sold, it's second to only the 300K in terms of deliveries. The latter moved 3,647 examples. Come 2023, the 300L is a relatively rare classic. The convertible is the scarcest body style since Chrysler made only 440 cars.

However, there's a specific feature that makes the 300L rarer than most 300 letter series cars out there. I'm talking about the four-speed manual gearbox. Offered alongside the bread-and-butter three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, the manual found its way into only... wait for it... 108 units. The black hardtop you see here is one of those cars.

Recently auctioned off at Kissimmee 2024, this black land yacht is also one of only 96 hardtops equipped with the 413/manual combo. Not only that, but it also rocks a dealer-installed dual four-barrel carburetor upgrade, which makes it one of only a few with this setup.

But wait, it gets even better. This 300L is also a survivor that still sports most of its original black paint. There is some patina to talk about, but the hardtop looks outstanding for a vehicle that left the assembly line almost 60 years ago as of 2024. Unsurprisingly, this classic won awards at the 2023 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals.

The 300L changed hands for $82,500, a bargain compared to earlier iterations of the 300 letter series in this condition. Check it out up close and personal in the video below.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea profile photo

Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories