Sporty Fuselage – 1969 Chrysler 300 Coupe

Although I have a definite proclivity for European cars, since that’s my experience, here at RustyButTrusty we do not exclude any particular type of car. However, leaning toward oddballs often implicitly means you’re not going to see many American cars here, since collectively they’re pretty common in the US! There is some kind of opposites-attract appeal to the insanely large American cars – I used to hate these cars as a child, probably because they were all over the place, holding our Saab 99 up and belching blue smoke from years of service. However, at this point they’re fairly rare, and as such I think the remaining cars are interesting for what they say about the conditions under which they were conceived. In the fat years leading up to the late 1970s and onwards, US manufacturers offered all kinds of derivatives (models and sub-models) of what was basically the same platform. So for example, for the new fuselage bodies in 1969, Chrysler offered the Newport, Newport Custom, New Yorker, Town & Country, and the 300. Within the 300 model, there was a coupe, convertible, and pillarless sedan. Today’s car is a 300 coupe, listed for $1500/$2500 in Falling Waters, WV.

1969 Chrysler 300 left front

Man, that thing is massive. How did this look in 1969? It was the first year of the fuselage-bodied cars. Was this as futuristic as, say, the new Audi 5000 was in 1983? The covered headlights make it look really menacing. The flash down the side works pretty well – it recalls the Hurst version of this car (although that also extends up onto the hood and trunk), and doesn’t remind one at all of the Starsky and Hutch Ford Torino. Supposedly the 300 was meant to be the sporting model, as previous 300s were, although I’m having a hard time believing it.

1969 Chrysler 300 right rear

Who has enough luggage to fill that trunk? Is the back seat even livable enough to accommodate passengers? If not, the size of the trunk is even more ludicrous – it looks like it should be a Ranchero/El Camino, only with a lid over the bed. Hmmm – pull that lid off and put a proper bed in and you could have the only Chrysler El Camino. Still love the design, and the body looks really straight.

1969 Chrysler 300 interior

Advertisements for the 1969 300 said the car had a cockpit instead of a dashboard. Next time you’re in an airplane, check out the cockpit and you’ll see why you don’t want that, starting with the panic-inducing rows of gauges and switches. The seller says the headliner has some tears, and the front seats are damaged, and you can see that at the bottom of the above picture.

So what’s the catch? Well, the seller says he is pulling the 440 engine and transmission, so for $1500, you get an engineless car. Maybe that’s an opportunity for a conversion with some kind of newer engine, say, out of a wrecked 300 SRT-8? Or, for $2500 (see the auction questions), he will let the engine go with the car. And with that, it sounds like a fun drivable project!

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