Chrysler 300 Club International
Fall Meet in Pasadena, CA

October, 2022

2022 Fall Meet Report - East Meets West

The 51st Annual Fall Meet of the Chrysler 300 Club International started robustly with members and guests from around the U.S., Canada and Australia arriving mainly on Sunday October 9, 2022. The final attendance tally came out to be 184 with slightly more guests than members registered! The host hotel was ready for our group with a splendid setting with the San Gabriel Mountains facing the entrance and the San Gabriel Valley surrounding us on three sides. Weather was perfect! We were all treated to warm chocolate chip cookies when registering to stay! The hotel lobby and outside veranda served as a great place to meet and greet old friends and introduce new guests and first time meet attendees. The lobby for most part served as meet registration forum, hospitality area, and event assembly spot! Letter cars were driven, trailered and delivered to the meet via car carriers and started arriving the day before the meet started. Per Blixt drove in on Sunday afternoon to treat us to an up close look at his 1958 300D Fuel Injected Coupe. It is an original Fuel Injected car, which of course got converted back in the day to dual 4 barrel carbs. It has been modified to a modern fuel injection system! Great reason to ask for a bunch of cookies at check in to sustain you in the parking lot the afternoon of the first day!

A brief Meet orientation session was held Sunday evening in the hallway outside the ballroom to discuss the logistics of mainly the Monday and Tuesday events which involved transportation solely by chartered buses.

Monday started off with over 170 people queuing up in the hotel lobby, reporting to four bus captains to line up to board the four awaiting full-size buses to transport them the whole day. Groups on bus #1 with Bus Captain Bob Jasinski and bus #2 with Bus Captain Noel Hastalis rolled out of the lot first, en route to Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage for a morning 2-hour tour. Groups on bus #3 went with Bus Captain Rob Kern and bus #4 with Bus Captain John Begian to tour Warner Brothers Studio and Back Lot in Burbank for the morning. All groups had lunch at Warner Brothers, either at the back lot Central Perk Cafe or the Starbucks in the studio lobby. Then the buses took the morning Warner Brothers group to Jay Leno’s Garage for their 2-hour afternoon tour, while the other group boarded trolleys and toured Warner Brothers. Much to our surprise was that Jay Leno greeted both the morning and afternoon tour groups at his garage entrance and proceeded to guide them on the 2-hour tour himself! He encouraged questions to be asked, gave out Hot Wheels cars to the youngsters attending and started up some of his cars and motorcycles for the groups! Jay also gave autographs and posed for pictures and requested a group photo for each tour session and for sure shared his sense of humor with us all! The vehicles and automobile and art works were amazing and visiting his work shop was mind boggling! Monday was quite a day of contrast, from the land of make believe at Warner Brothers to the land of hard to believe we were really with Jay Leno and his collection! All agreed that the bus ride to all the venues was the only way to go and provided a mobile hospitality suite venue itself!

Monday evening the Club Business Meeting was held at 8 PM. Club Secretary Brian Frank will report on the proceedings.

Tuesday we all managed to get through the day traveling on three chartered buses with the same Bus Captains for buses 1-3 giving Club president John Begian the day off from Bus Captain duty. We all left from the host hotel about 9 AM and rode an hour to Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles where the Petersen Automotive Museum is located. We spent the day at the Petersen touring the general exhibits featuring the James Bond movie vehicles, an exhibit of Hyper cars, the birth and evolution of the automobile and an Andy Warhol exhibit of many vintage and modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Another exciting venue at the Petersen was for our group to participate in a self-guided tour of the basement Vault of special vehicles owned by the Museum. Many interesting vehicles from around the world, concept cars related to Chrysler products, one of 3 Chrysler early fifties Parade Cars was present, prototype cars, hot rods, custom cars from famed customizers, and celebrity vehicles, it was the equivalent to Christmas in October for car enthusiasts! We dined for lunch in the new Meyers Manx Cafe at the Petersen.

Tuesday evening Marnie and Rob Kern, with superb technical assistance by Meet co-host Bob Jasinski, conducted the Fifth edition of LETTER CAR JEOPARDY! in the Madera North meeting room of the host hotel. There were 3 sessions of Single and Double Barrel JEOPARDY!, each with a final JEOPARDY! answer and awarding of prizes among the three contestants of each session. Third place prize was a 50th anniversary Chrysler 300 Club International Clock with a hinged display of the Meet dash plaque design by Tony Rinaldi with 3rd place contestant inscribed, second place price was a Starbucks gift card, and first place prize was a cash award equivalent to a single banquet charge including tax and gratuity! First session contestants were Harry Torgeson coming in First Place, Kya Mason finishing in second Place and Jim Birr coming in Third. Second session had Don Cole in First Place, Howie Dardick in Second and Rick King finishing in Third. The final session had Keith Langendorfer finishing First with over 1200 points!, Dave Mason in Second Place, and Bob Wieland coming in Third Place. Much laughter, hilarious antics honestly portrayed by contestants not versed in the JEOPARDY! Game show took place as well as great audience participation! Many thanks go to score keepers John Hannon, Meg Hagerty and George Hagerty. Marnie played a fabulous Vanna White (borrowed from Wheel of Fortune) and Bob Jasinski has a future in being a technical grip if he wants a second career.

Wednesday started with a slight amount of rain but it stopped, granting time for preparation for the People’s Choice Car show from 10:30 am to 3:00 PM held in the host hotel parking area. There were 19 Letter cars present with many early and late MOPAR vehicles attending. Many cars were seen for the first time by a majority of club members.

Wednesday evening, the Awards banquet started with a reception one hour before the buffet line of delicious food was served, followed by the award presentations conducted by Club President John Begian. Awards were: Class I: C300, B 1st place to John Lazenby for his ’56 300B, 2nd place to Bill Allen for his C300 and 3rd place to Ken Brody for his C300 Kiekhaefer/Flock recreation. Class II: C,D,E had 1st place going to Joe Hensler for his 300E convertible, 2nd place to Henry Mitchell for his ’57 300C, and 3rd place to Per Blixt for his Fuelie 300D. Class III: F,G First place to Bob Jasinski for his 300G convertible, 2nd place to Sandy Edelstein for his 300G coupe and 3rd place to Steve Albu for his 300F coupe. Class IV:H,J,K 1st place to DeAndrea’ Vantree for his 300J. Class V: L, Hurst 1st place to George Ver Berkmoes for his ’65 300L. Meet Hosts’ Choice went to Per Blixt for his 300D Fuel Injected. Best of Show was awarded to Joe Hensler for his 300E convertible. Long Distance award was presented to John Tennyson who drove his ’66 Coronet 500. Fortunately no Hard Luck award was presented. Sport 300 went to Paul Torkelson for his ’79 300. MOPAR ( pre-1973 non-300) was awarded to John Lazenby who drove his ’54 New Yorker Station Wagon to the Meet. An Honorary Lifetime Membership was presented to Jay Leno at the end of the last tour session on Monday, and was announced at the banquet.

Heartfelt thanks goes to the Village of Chrysler 300 Club International, their families and guests for helping to make this meet a success. As meet hosts Bob Jasinski and Rob Kern could not have pulled this off without the unwavering support of President John Begian as president, Noel Hastalis as Vice-President and meet registrar and ambassador extraordinaire, Treasurer Gloria Moon for her can-do attitude and understanding of the unique expenses incurred to make this meet happen, Brian Frank for his legal expertise and advice along with Pete Fitch, Directors Bob Merritt and his communications committee, Mark Obermann, and John Lazenby who provided a So-Cal resident's guide of what to be aware of in terms of navigating our meet agenda. Many thanks to Carlton Schroeder for promoting this meet on a national and SoCal level. Our deep gratitude is extended to Tony Rinaldi for designing the dash plaque and all the awards meet designs for clocks and award plaques. Sincere appreciation is extended to Dawn Hyde along with Kya and Dave Mason for handling the People’s Choices Awards balloting and Don Cole for his lending his accounting expertise for tallying the ballot results. We are indebted to our wives, Vicki Jasinski and Marnie Kern for their understanding, support and expertise in helping arrange schedules and assisting in the meet registration process on Sunday. We could not want a better staff for a host hotel thanks to the leadership provided by the DoubleTree Inn events coordinator Shalom Simon, reservations direction Joyce Chou, banquet and catering supervisor Aerie Chung and AV supervisor Antonio. Special Kudos go to Noel Hastalis and John Begian for assisting us meet hosts to serve as Bus Captains. The spirit of understanding and cooperation exhibited by meet attendees and their guests was more than any set of meet hosts could ever desire. We thank you for allowing us to serve you! It was a pleasure! Bob Jasinski and Rob Kern

Marnie Kern and Vicki Jasinski eagerly waiting for members to check in.

Photo credits:
Nick Taylor, Michael Van Der Veen, Ron Waters, Bob Jasinski, Rob Kern and Noel Hastalis.

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