Chrysler 300 Club International
Spring Meet in Point Pelee, Ontario
May 31 - June 2, 1990

Ray and Jo Ann Jones with their Hurst

Frank Duralia's 300 sport convert

Bill Elder's D

Jam packed driveways

Jim, Andrea, Louise, Eleanor, Marnie Lancaster, Frank Duralia

Don & Cathy Rook, Ray Jones, Frank Duralia

Gerry and Gail Olson

Bill Elder and Kelly Loswecki, Corporate Director of Public Relations, Chrysler Plymouth

C convertible of Ken Mack

F of Terry McTaggart

Roman Robaszewski, Dudley Finneyfrock, Jim Krausmann, Maxine Finneyfrock, Sheila and Bob Crawford, Roman's friend

Jim Golden, Jerry & Gail Olson, Linda & Donnie Carr, Pat Golden

Carol Cunningham, Duane Debutts, Gil Cunningham, Dorrie & Donna Debutts,  Burt Tyler & Carolyn Dubee

Leslie & Jeff Miklas, Donna Rayner, Justin Miklas, Arienne & Mark Raynor, Pat & Don Cole

Chris, Brett, Mary, Catherine, Sharolyn, Laurissa Kenworthy

Ken & Shirley Quick, Joanne & Dave McMurren, Frances & Spencer Siracusano

John & Adolph Roblj, Brian Wolfe, Kent Nichols, Bob Badyna, Jim Pihajlic

Mike Burke, Bill Elder, Otto Rosenbusch, Norm MacIntosh, Jim Golden, Ken Quick, Bob Crawford

Photos by Bill Elder

20th Annual spring Meet, Point Pelee, Ontario, Canada
by Bill Elder

It came and went like a runaway locomotive. Last winter, the days were dragging by, then suddenly it was 8 weeks away and the next thing that I knew, Ray and Jo Ann Jones were pulling into my driveway. Commitments had taken them to Chicago for May 28th, so rather then having them return to Maryland and then back here in the same week, they came to stay with Louise and I Monday evening. Tuesday, the four of us spent a great day at the Henry Ford Museum. There are many interesting exhibits to see and of course the great cars. I had read in a magazine that they had a 300B on display, but it was not there. However, I did see the ’63 Turbine car which was very high on my priority list. Tuesday evening whirled by, with me alternating between endless phone calls and watching the cable weather station. The weather looked good.

Wednesday, Jo Ann and Louise went shopping while Ray and I headed my 300D for Point Pelee. I was anxious to see if we had any early arrivals and I wanted to give the desk clerk some welcome letters for people coming that evening. Back at home, the Riehls arrived around 7 P.M. and the Rooks were not far behind them. Jim Krausmann and Frank Duralia also dropped in. The evening was spent watching old meet tapes, answering the phone and putting the goody-bags together. The last little job was done and we were ready to go.

Thursday morning dawned bright and sunny. Could this actually be the first day of the meet? Once again, the D headed for Point Pelee. This time though, it was at the head of a small caravan with Jones’ Hurst and Riehl’s F. At the hotel, we no sooner got checked in and started setting up the hospitality room when people and cars started arriving like clock work.

At 1 P.M. it was time to saddle up and head back to Windsor for the Hiram Walker tour. I actually felt bad for some people who had been on the road for a couple of days just to get here. Their feet had barely touched the ground and we were off and running again. Twelve cars caravanned to Hiram Walker with Dave McMurren in his 67 300 convertible rounding up stragglers at the rear. Everyone enjoyed the tour and I think they were impressed by the tremendous size of the distillery vats as well as the speed of the bottling lines. It’s amazing to see bottle after bottle filled, capped and stamped. They wiz by in long straight lines like soldiers going off to war. While the adults were off taking the tour, Frank Duralia and I babysat Chris Frank and the three Kenworthy children. It is a curious twist of Ontario Liquor Laws that children could not go on the tour where whiskey was being made, but they could join their parents in the beautiful reception room, located on the banks of the Detroit River, where all our favorite libations were being served. Lucky for Frank and I, we didn’t have to miss that part! In fact, we beat most people back to the Reception Center and we didn’t have to climb the 62 steps to the top of the distillery to get there. I might add that Hiram Walker donated various items to us for door prizes, including nine bottles of various liquors.

From Hiram Walkers, it was only a 5-minute drive to our house where Louise, her mother, her sisters and my parents had been working there tails off to prepare dinner for the 70 or so people who came over. Some people who had arrived too late for Hiram Walker’s came directly to our house. At any rate, the kitchen crew scored an A plus for the incredible meal that they put on.

I have heard former meet hosts describe what a thrill it is to have a bunch of 300s parked in their driveway. Boy oh boy, can I vouch for that! My K was parked in the garage with my D parked on a cement pad adjacent to the driveway. My driveway is 150’ long and my neighbor’s driveway is the same length and the two drives run parallel to each other and are only separated by a few shrubs and a strip of grass. Both driveways were filled bumper to bumper with 300s and one Hurst and three C converts were left out in the cold, parked in the street. Now, if I could have just got all of those people to leave their keys and hop airplanes back home … Ha! Fat Chance! Speaking of C converts, one of the cars parked on the street was Ken Mack’s black beauty. This car is back from the dead after it was caught in a garage fire during the winter of “88-89”. Ken deserves a round of applause for the great restoration, he’s done to this car for the second time.

Around 7 P.M., the troops moved over to the Roundhouse Mall which is the scene of Windsor’s Thursday night cruise. We have a strong street rod club here and numerous street machines, so when they all get together, it is an impressive display. Of course, when you’ve seen one small block Chev, you’ve seen them all but what a night it was for our local contingency of Mopar freaks when a long line of “real” cars thundered into the parking lot. We knocked them dead in the aisles! By 9 P.M., most of our group had left for the hotel. (Many of them hadn’t even been there yet to check in). On our way out #3 Highway, about 10 minutes from the Pelee Motor Inn, we came across a group of weary travellers pulled over on the side of the road. Donnie and Linda Carr’s ’64 300 Silver Special was suffering from fuel pump problems. While Gil Cunningham and Bob Crawford were installing Bob’s spare fuel pump, Donnie told me that this was the third time the car had broken down on this trip. The Carrs, in company with Roman Robaszewski, had left Wednesday morning only to have their newly rebuilt transmission blow 100 miles from home. This resulted in a tow job to an AAMCO repair shop and an overnight stay. Thursday, coming over the Ambassador Bridge, the fuel pump problems had set in resulting in another tow job into Canada. The car eventually fired up again and then quit on #3 Highway where we found them. By hand-priming Bob’s old pump, the car fired up again and made it to the hotel. Don was worried about his car so he elected to skip the Chrysler tours on Friday in order to go out and buy a new fuel pump and install it. Now that is a hard luck story and Donnie and Linda deserve a lot of praise for their persistence and getting to the meet and we sure enjoyed their company throughout the weekend. Back at the hotel, we learned that Allan and Gloria Moon had lost an oil pump in their Hurst on the Pennsylvania Turnpike but were making repairs and pressing on. Except for some die-hard bench racing, day one was over.

Friday morning was bright and sunny. Someone had their signals crossed -- it was a national meet weekend and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. And to further confuse matters, everyone was up early – even George Riehl. We were expected at Chrysler Corporation in Highland Park, Michigan by 10 A.M. so promptly at 8:30 A.M. we were rolling out of the parking lot. I was worried about caravanning 25 cars all the way through downtown Windsor, through the tunnel and out onto I-75 North to Highland Park. Everyone had maps and written instructions but chasing around unfamiliar freeways in Detroit is no picnic. Sure enough, two cars missed the freeway, but luckily Frank Duralia spotted them going astray and managed to round them up. I really have to thank Frank and Dave McMurren for playing “Rawhide” on all of these excursions. Mean-while, I was rolling down I-75 at the head of the pack and out of nowhere there was a Hurst, right beside me. Jim Krausmann was coming from his Ziebart shop in Detroit to meet us at Highland Park, he came down the entrance ramp, onto the freeway and found himself door handle to door handle with me. Talk about incredible timing!

At Highland Park, the red carpet was out and waiting for us. The road in front of the Walter P. Chrysler building was reserved for our parking. We were met by our hostess, Kelly Loswecki, the Corporate Director of Chrysler Plymouth Public Relations. Kelly had arranged for the Chrysler Millennium to be on display in the lobby. This is a concept vehicle, featuring many futuristic safety devices, front and rear radar, impact sensing warnings, air bags etc. So in the lobby, it was all low-slung, low-coefficient of drag, high technology. Outside the door, it was all tail-finned, low tech, plain old beautiful brutality! What a contrast. Much to our disappointment, there were no Vipers on hand. The two that do run were loaded onto transportation on their way to Arizona for testing. We could have saved Chrysler some money. We had a whole crew of eager would-be test pilots who are used to handling mega horsepower machines. It would have been no problem finding volunteers to run the wheels of those little jewels. Back to reality!

Outside, our cars were drawing loads of admiring executives. Among the older people, you could see fond remembrances written on their faces; among the younger, just plain amazement. One comment was “Did we build cars like that?” I watched a guy make six or seven rapid phone calls from the lobby phone. The conversations all went like this. “Gerry, get your butt over here. There are 300s everywhere!” Dial, dial, dial, ring “Roy, Roy get over here, pronto! You’re not going to believe this!” and so on. It was great. They gave us lunch vouchers for their main cafeteria but I think we gave them much more. Maybe some of those young designers will take us back to the future. How about a 1995 300M?

After a great lunch, it was time to head back to Windsor for the mini-van plant tour. About 20 minutes before our departure, a small group of our cars left to find a gas station. Gasoline is roughly half the price in the U.S. compared to Canada. Anyway, Don and Kathy Rook were riding with Ken and Shirley Quick in their 300L and left for a gas up. Tami Rook wanted to ride with Louise and I in the K with the top down. We were rolling down I-75, heading towards customs when I remembered to ask Tami if she had her birth certificate with her. No, she didn’t, her mother had it. Oh oh, how were we going to get through customs with an American teenager, with no I.D.? Well, we were just going to have to wing it, tell the truth and hope like hell that the Quicks and Rooks hadn’t already gone through customs. We pulled up to the booth and a young guy was sitting there, looking quite bored. All of a sudden, he looked around and realized the entire plaza was filled with old Chryslers. He asked me what was going on and we told him the whole scoop, where we had been and where we were going. Tami was smiling like crazy and chatting away to this guy. He took a long hard look at the car behind us and asked, “IS THAT A HURST? IS THAT A HURST?” When he realized it was the real thing, he couldn’t get rid of us fast enough. He didn’t even ask us for I.D. He wanted to see that Hurst, close up and personal and he didn’t have to ask us twice to get going. Whew!

At the Mini-van plant, we were greeted by Walt McCall who had arranged the plant tour for us. Vern and Helen Graber were already at the plant, waiting for us. They had just arrived from Ohio in their K coupe. The Kenworthys were also there ahead of us, having skipped Highland Park. Once again, we had preferential parking. Our cars were all lined up in the VIP zone, right across the front of the building. Crowds of Chrysler personnel were gathering to see the Brutes. At this point one of the guides informed us that children were not allowed on the tour. However, Mr. McCall stepped in and made a strategic phone call and the children were allowed to go. I was glad that they were not going to be disappointed two days in a row. There were two 1991 Mini-vans being worked on in the “front end “repair area and some of our members spotted them. Don Rook told me later how much he enjoyed the tour and how friendly the workers were to him. He asked one fellow what his job consisted of. The guy showed him how he installed steering columns. Then, he invited Don to do the job himself. Now to appreciate this story, you have to understand that Don and mechanical jobs do not mix. Somebody once told me that he was the only guy he knew who could cut himself sorting wrenches. Asking Don to install a steering column would be like asking Cleopatra to lay bricks. But, unbelievably, he did the job! All I can say is if your buying a new mini-van, have a serious look at the steering column. Yours maybe the one that turns left when you turn the steering wheel right. Everyone had a good time and had a look at a state-of-the-art assembly plant.

At 4 P.M. we headed back to the hotel for dinner and the business meeting. The hotel asked people to make dinner reservations and most people chose 6:30. This resulted in us swamping the kitchen staff and the business meeting was delayed by more than an hour while everyone finished eating. The Deputy Reeve (mayor) of Leamington was on hand to greet us at the start of the meeting. He presented President George Riehl with a Leamington baseball cap as a gesture of welcome. Leamington is known as the Tomato Capital of Canada, so he also gave us a number of small stick on, embroidered tomatoes as a small souvenir. It was very nice for the gentleman to come out and thank us for holding our meet in the Leamington area.

A number of details were discussed at the meeting and the minutes are printed in another section of this Club News. However, during the meeting, George did make a special presentation to one of our club members. This individual demonstrated to us his unbridled dedication to make a national meet at all costs. His willingness to spend his time and money to be with us and share the 300 spirit. Yes, neither sleet, nor snow, nor hail, nor arriving on the wrong weekend could stop this 300er from attending. Is it any wonder that the club executive decided to present Terry McTaggart with the coveted “Burnt Piston Award”? Can you imagine his surprise when he rolled into the Pelee Motor Inn parking lot and found a) no cars, b) no people and c) hotel reservations for the following weekend! Oh well, it could have been worse. He could have showed up the week AFTER the meet. At any rate, we are glad that he chose to come back and join us for the meet. The hospitality room stayed open until the last dog was hung about 2:30 A.M. Thank goodness, we could sleep in tomorrow.

Saturday morning. Where is the rain? We cannot have an official 300 meet without it raining. There is some hope, there are some light clouds drifting by. This morning is free except for those involved in the Concours Standards meeting. All activities are centered around the hospitality room and parking lot. I think this meet will forever be known as the Hurst meet. There were 485 Hursts built and we had 6 of them at the meet until I counted them in the parking lot – Now there were 7! It’s a good thing that these meets only last 3 days or by Monday, there might have been 8! Otto Rosenbusch, his daughter Techla and son-in-law Mike arrived with Otto’s 16,000-mile 1963 sport coupe and his newly acquired beautiful red C300. Otto had arranged our Highland Park visit and also for Chrysler to pay for our new, giant club logo signs. Everyone who attended the meet were indebted to Otto for all his hard work on our behalf. Another late arriving group was long time member, Mel Gunnells, new member Earvin Johnson and their friend Orby. They came in Earvin’s green 1959 Chrysler Imperial – a truly regal car.

1 P.M. and the group was caravanning to RM Restorations in Chatham. On 401, our 30-car caravan was joined by the Macks in their 300C convertible, and Bob Badyna in his original white G coupe, both from the Detroit area. We were greeted at RM by Rob Myers, the owner and founder and by Mark Sherman, the Director of Restorations. Mark gave us a fascinating tour, explaining details of both for sale cars and cars under construction. We saw their entire shop and I believe that anyone interested in having a body-off restoration done by a professional shop, now has some idea of what is involved and the cost of such a project. It was interesting for me to see some cars that are just being finished and were just starting, when my K convert was finished a year and a half ago. In particular, there was a ’54 Caddy convert that had no floor and huge holes in the fenders and quarter panels, that is now a work of art. Of course, this is 2,600-man hours later. Outside, the wind was picking up and clouds were rolling in. Most people scurried back to the hotel but some opted for the scenic drive that I had outlined on maps.

Just a few minutes before cocktail hour, it started to pour buckets. The meet was official and I thought, well if it had to rain, this was perfect timing. Everyone was safe and sound back at the hotel. Right? Wrong! Mike Burke called George’s room to tell him that he was down by the beach, down a back road, out of sight of the main highway, a mile west of Dillon Road, he thought, and the C would not start. He had walked a mile and a half just to get to a pay phone, in the pouring rain. Luckily, we were able to contact a towing company who were able to figure out where he was and they were dispatched to retrieve him. Definitely a candidate for “Hard Luck”.

The dinner was great. The food was excellent and they just kept bringing it and bringing it. The kitchen staff outdid themselves and even managed to save some food for Mike and his friend Judd because they were going to miss dinner. The awards went smoothly and Louise and I drew names out of a hat for door prizes. Each club member was eligible to win a prize and amazingly enough, everyone won something. In other words, we had the exact number of door prizes that we needed, with none left over. Now, I would like to report to you that this was the result of clever planning, however, it was just dumb luck. The rest of the night was spent dancing to the oldies and 300 talk, until exhaustion overtook them. Some had a very early evening with thoughts of a long drive home the next day.

Sunday Morning. I got up at 7 A.M., in order to say goodbye to as many people as possible. I ran into Donnie Carr, first thing. He told me that he had tried to leave at 5, but the ’64 had quit again. She just wasn’t getting fuel even though she had run perfectly to Chatham the day before. The fuel pump push rod or the cam lobe was at fault and not the pump. I called an old friend who lived nearby and he had a spare fuel pump rod and an allen wrench to remove the access plug. Back at the hotel, we quickly discovered that Hercules had installed that access plug and no amount of leverage could budge it. Finally, we stripped out the allen wrench. Now want? Duane Debutts came to the rescue. He had an old electric pump on his G that he used to prime the carburetors. The electric pump was installed on Donnie’s 64 and it fired immediately. Yeah! Meanwhile, another group had Mike Burke’s C convert running. The diagnoses was a jumped timing chain. Mike opted to hitch a ride home and come back the next day with a trailer for the C. The Carrs set off down the road with Jerry and Gail Olson accompanying them only to discover that the old electric pump could not deliver enough fuel to keep the car running at highway speeds. Back to the parking lot and Donnie, Jerry and I set off for the town of Kingsville where I knew we could buy a brand-new electric pump. Finally, around 2 P.M. the Carrs were able to leave for home. They signalled us that night at 11:30 to let us know that they had arrived home safely.

Well, that was it. The fastest four days that I have ever spent. But it was enjoyable! All of my plans came through exactly as I had hoped they would. Even better then I had dreamed, when you consider the Highland Park tour which was a last-minute addition. I truly felt blessed! George asked me if we would do it again? You bet, but not tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who came and supported us. I would also like to acknowledge four club members who called us to express their regrets that they could not attend, but wished us well: Bill Spear, Rene Kroeger, Jerry Kocur and Don Warnaar.

300s In Attendance

C300: Otto Rosenbusch; 300C: Mike Burke (cvt), Will Hutchings (cvt), Chris Kenworthy, Ken Mack (cvt); 300D: Jim Golden, Bill Elder, Jack Wiltse; 300E: Norm MacIntosh; 300F: Terry McTaggart (cvt), George Riehl; 300G: Bob Badyna, Gabe Knapp, Brian Frank, Duane Debutts (cvt), Burt Tyler; 300H: Bob Crawford; 300K: Vern Graber, Bill Elder (cvt); 300L: Jeff Miklas (cvt), Ken Quick; 300 Hurst: Dudley Finneyfrock, Ray Jones, Jim Krausmann, Allan Moon, Jerry Olson, Roman Robaszewski, Jerry Wilcox; 63 300: Frank Duralia (cvt), Mark Rayner, Otto Rosenbusch; 64 300: Donnie Carr; 66 300: Jim Krausmann; 67 300: Dave McMurren (cvt)

Thanks to Bill Elder for typing this article for the web