What make and model started the performance car wars? While there are many notable contenders, the Chrysler 300 could arguably be the winner of that debate. No, the car wasn’t a muscle car per say, especially since it debuted about 10 years too early, but it did have a knack for bringing surprising power ratings to the table considering its enormous size.
Unfortunately the original Chrysler 300 lived a short life and saw its end just prior to the muscle car uproar in 1965. But, as you know, that wasn’t the last we ever saw of the Chrysler 300. In fact, it was the second production of the car that brought about one of the rarest 300 models ever made, according to Car Domain– the Chrysler 300 Hurst.
The ‘70 Chrysler 300 Hurst was the brain child of the independent Hurst Company. In addition to producing shifters and other performance products, the Hurst Company dappled in designing and producing concept cars. Unfortunately for Hurst, many of these concepts never made it to production. One exception, however, was the Chrysler 300 Hurst.
The special collaboration between Chrysler and Hurst came with the comeback of the full-size 300 model sedan to the Chrysler lineup after a four year absence. With a length of over 18 feet, it was one of the largest two door coupes ever made. But that didn’t stop the Hurst models from having performance elements.
Built in Chrysler’s Jefferson Avenue Detroit plant and then sent to Warminster, Pennsylvania for special model upgrades, the Hurst cars started out as Spinnaker-White two door hardtops with Saddle colored Imperial leather interiors.
They were fitted with the same 440cui “TNT” power plants boasting 375hp that were offered on the other 300 models.
With the engine matted to the only transmission available, a beefed up three-speed automatic TorqueFlite, and 3.23 rear end gears, the car was capable of a 15.3-second quarter mile and a top speed of 127mph. To give the Hursts a little more edge, they were also fitted with heavy duty rear leaf springs, as well as large torsion bars and power disc brakes in the front.
In order to give the car a unique personality, Hurst replaced the hood skin with a fiberglass insert, installed a fiberglass trunk lid with spoiler as well as rear fender end caps, and painted the car with Satin Tan details.
The front grille featured orange accents rather than the normal red and the car came standard with steel road wheels painted to match the Satin Tan color on the hood, trunk and side stripes. Hurst finished off the look with a brown and orange decal stripe separating the tan and white paint colors, as well as added 300-H emblems on either side of the “power bulge” hood scoop.
Not all Chrysler 300 Hurst cars were the same, however. Some had optional features like square bright tip exhausts or a center console and Hurst gear shift as opposed to the standard Hurst column- shift. Air conditioning and a telescoping tilt steering wheel were also available upgrades. Most Hursts had power windows, although at least one was known to have manual crank windows. There was also at least one made with a sunroof and two with convertible tops.
Only 485 of the Chrysler 300 Hurst models were ever made. This was due to the fact that the ‘70 300 models were already being produced when Hurst proposed their conceptual idea. As a result, it was a scramble to get even a few hundred Hurst cars produced.
Once produced, the cars were somewhat of a surprise to many since neither Chrysler or Hurst promoted the car, each thinking the other company was doing so. Most of the Hursts were customer-ordered cars anyway, with very few produced for regular sales.
The ‘70 Chrysler 300Hs are rare gems that barely made it to production amidst the muscle car wars. How the model squeaked out, we’re not quite sure other than determination from Hurst, but we’re glad it did. Not only did the 300 Hurst add one more element to the performance car scene, it brought class and rarity to a world overflowing with muscle machines.