The new formula for the 300 continued into 1965. By this time, those who had appreciated the "true" Letter cars had given up on the model. Not everyone agreed that the 300-L was a "wimp," though. A Motor Trend road-test article claimed that "although the 300-letter powerplants underwent some changes, the cars themselves have held to the original theme: A personal luxury car with more than adequate performance, improved handling without sacrifice in ride, and no attempt to reduce size or weight. For a larger-than-average passenger car, it comes remarkably close to equaling some of the European sports jobs in the area of handling and beats most in sheer speed."

Standard equipment on the 300-L included the 360hp, 413 four-barrel with an unsilenced air cleaner, dual-point distributor, 727 TorqueFlite automatic (four-speed as a no-cost option), a console-mounted vacuum gauge (tachometer on four-speed cars), power brakes, power steering, clock, vinyl upholstery, bucket seats, console, deluxe steering wheel, 3.23:1 differential, AM radio, and heater.

Optional items included a stiffer suspension, vinyl-covered roof (either in white or black), power windows, AM/FM radio, power trunk release, and air conditioning.Standard issue on the Sport 300s consisted of a 383, three-speed column-shifted manual transmission and bench seating. However, the standard items on the Letter version were listed as options on the Sport model.

The 300-L shown here is owned by Don Rook of Mena, Arkansas. Rook, a collector of Chrysler cars, acquired the car in 1981, through the estate of the original owner. This car is one of only 108 (96 hardtops and 12 convertibles) 300-Ls built with the four-speed manual transmission.

With only 31,000 actual miles, the 300-L didn't require a complete restoration. Rook focused his efforts on a repaint in the original color of Regal Gold, installation of N.O.S. moldings, replating the bumpers, and replacement of wheel cylinders and brake hoses. Its original black upholstery and vinyl top remained in excellent condition, and were retained. The engine received a thorough exam and proved to be in excellent health.

In addition to the four-speed and vinyl top, other options on Rook's car include power windows, a rear-mounted power antenna, and a reverberator (which places a delay between the front and rear speakers to simulate stereo sound).

Don has his own opinion regarding the worthiness of this car to wear the letter badge. As evidence, he cites the standard 360hp 413, the four-speed option, bucket seats, and console. He notes that the 413 is the same engine (without dual carburetors) that first appeared in '59. Further support that the 300 series was planned to remain a brute is found in the canceled 300-M model planned for 1966. Reportedly, 500 of the 300-Ms were to be equipped with the 426 Hemi. It would be 35 years before Chrysler would revive the image.

The issue of whether the 300-L was up to par with its brethren may be debated endlessly by enthusiasts, but one thing that can be factually stated is that the "L" stood apart from other Chrysler cars of 1965. Only 2,845 (2,405 hardtops and 440 convertibles) were built and, in the minds of some, that is exclusive enough to justify attention.

Specifications
Engine413ci V8
Bore & Stroke4.1875 in x 3.750 in
CarburetorSingle four-barrel
TransmissionTorqueFlite 3-speed standard. Feature car is equipped with the optional A-833 4-speed.
Standard Axle Ratio(:1) 3.23
Horsepower (gross)360 @ 4,800 rpm
Torque470 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm
Compression ratio10.1:1
Wheelbase124.0 in
Base price$3,500
Production2,845 (includes 108 4-speed cars)