Model developments in the late 1960s reflected what Chrysler saw as the temper of the times and influenced the release of the 1969 Chrysler Three Hundred.
New Yorker wagons were quietly dropped for 1966, after selling scarcely 3,000 units the year before; Newport wagons commanded the utility sector, though by 1968 all wagons were confined to a separate Town & Country series with its own wheelbase. The four-door pillared sedan had been in and out of the line during the 1960s; for 1969 it was out.
That year's Three Hundred, therefore, was offered in only three body styles: the hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan, and convertible coupe. About 32,000 were built, including some 2,000 convertibles and an even number of two- and four-door hardtops.
And make no mistake, the name was now spelled out. This is a common practice when a manufacturer wants to impart more to a product than the product may really have. The Three Hundred was certainly no letter-series Chrysler, and it was not found on race tracks, but it was a solid, sporty big car that offered good value for the money.
Nor was its ancestry forgotten by the promoters. "It can hide its headlights, but not its heritage," went the refrain. "Its 440 V-8 and three-speed automatic transmission supply instant recollection of victories past. The combination of welded fuselage and adjustable torsion-bar suspension, a subtle reminder of rally championships ... a solid-yet-soaring driving impression."
Up front, that heritage was certainly unmistakable. Headlights were hidden (the only 1969 Chrysler with this feature) and the grille was in traditional black, a round "300" emblem supported by the famous cross bars. Invoking other familiar themes, the Three Hundred came standard with individual "pleated-and-pillowed bucket seats" divided by a center cushion and armrest. A center console could be ordered as an option. Instrumentation was comprehensive, but lacked a tachometer.
Alongside the standard 350 bhp 440 was the "TNT" 440 with four-barrel carburetor, high-performance camshaft, dual exhausts, and twin-snorkel air cleaner. This 375 bhp engine really had to be ordered by the serious 300 nostalgia buff. Useful too were power front-disc brakes and heavy-duty suspension.
With all these features, the Three Hundred was as roadable and rapid a big car as the American auto industry produced in 1969. At a time when the federal government and insurance companies were fast putting the dampers on high performance, that in itself was a fair achievement.
Keep reading for the specifications of the 1969 Chrysler Three Hundred.