Die-cast: NEO 1956 Chrysler 300B
My uncle had a late 1950s Chrysler 300, a creamy thing that took up his entire garage and sported giant fins. I thought it was wonderfully exotic.
But I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of earlier 300s, which were launched in 1955 as Letter Series cars, beginning with the 300C that was even raced on the NASCAR circuit. Its paint scheme proclaimed it the “world’s fastest stock car.”
NEO moves forward a year from that premier model to create the 1956 Chrysler 300B, yes they went backward in the lettering phase for one year before the ’57 300C appeared with its big yawning front grille. But back to the ’56, which NEO so beautifully produces in 1/43 scale and in a creamy white; this is a handsome car.
While the ’55 may be the most famous because it kicked off the Letter Series 300s, the 1956 300B seems more stately and elegant to me. Its fins are modest in size and blend well with the car’s profile while the taillights are remeniscent of upscale Lincolns of the day.
The car’s two available V8 engines were even more powerful that year too, the optional more powerful model achieving an automotive milestone. Chrysler’s 354 cu.in, 5.8-liter FirePower V8 could create 355 horsepower, the first U.S. car maker’s engine to produce 1 horsepower per cubic inch. Chevy followed with its own such engine a year later.
That engine would propel a 300B to nearly 140 mph, yet despite all the notoriety that brought the two-door luxury speedster, just 1,102 of the model were sold that year.
The 1956 also had a sister car, the Adventurer across the aisle in its DeSoto brand. And the 300B’s other claim to fame, was a cool new option, a Highway Hi-Fi, an actual phonograph record player mounted in the dash.
While the engine isn’t visible in NEO’s sealed body 1/43 scale model, the stately beauty is evident and the detailing create an understated beauty.
Once again NEO beautifully reproduces the slim chrome trim that extends from headlight to taillight down the car’s body. Plus fine chrome window trim encircles all windows, including the wraparound front and rear windows along with small vents beyond the broader chromed A-pillars. NEO’s model has thin chrome wiper arms, a driver’s side mirror, door handles and, naturally, front and rear bumpers. The large twin main grilles are chrome as are bezels around the headlights and elegant taillights.
Headlights are hooded and the Chrysler nameplate on the nose appears to be photo-etched, as are Chrysler 300 logos below the side chrome trim on the fins. There’s a triangular 300 crest on the trunk lid too.
Tires are wide white-sidewall numbers and treaded, but no branding, along with big chrome wheel covers. In back are twin tailpipes and a white and green Michigan license plate, nose and tail.
Side windows are all posed up on the model, but its interior is plain to see, with white bench seats front and rear and a black dash. Gauges are visible and the 2-spoke steering wheel is white and black with a chrome horn ring. Silver window crank knobs also are visible inside the car.
The variety that NEO offers now in post-World War II in this scale is impressive and the Chrysler 300B is another fine example that can help collectors round out their collections.
Vital Stats: 1956 Chrysler 300B
Stock No.: 45815