The creation of the 1969 Chrysler Three Hundred was due to the new "fuselage styled" models, which the Division proudly described in advertising as "Your Next Car." Years before, Virgil Exner had pioneered the idea of combining the bumper and the grille on his XNR show car, in which the bumper surrounded the radiator opening and lights. But unlike the XNR, the bodylines on the new Chryslers were free of creases, wrinkles, tailfins, and asymmetrical humps, making them appear very smooth and sleek. It looked as though 1969 would be a very good year.
At the corporate level, chairman Lynn Townsend was laboring to maintain the profit picture. On the production line, quality control became an end in itself for the first time in Chrysler history, and judging by road tests of mid-1960s models, it was truly needed. Production had been setting records (1968 was an all-time high at 263,266), but high volume was often achieved by compromising build quality.
The Chrysler 300 (non-letter) line of coupes, sedans, and convertibles had been introduced in 1962 to replace the Windsor, and capitalize on the sporting image of the "letter series" 300s. In market position, the 300 largely filled the gap left by the DeSoto, which breathed its last in 1961: an upmarket car just short of the New Yorker, square in the middle of the Chrysler range.
Since 1965 it had shared the New Yorker's long, 124-inch wheelbase, but it was carefully positioned about $300-$400 short of the New Yorker's price. For this, the buyer got a big engine (the reliable 440 from 1967), luxurious trim, and clean styling that traced its influence to the letter series. The 300 also featured the most expensive convertible in the volume line, since there had not been a New Yorker convertible since 1961.
Keep reading to learn about the styling and sales of the 1969 Chrysler Three Hundred.
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