My G's
by Dominick Rinaldi

MY “G” #2 - SERIAL NUMBER 8413170745

On this story, and the one that follows, all the names have been changed or eliminated because those involved know how I feel and I should have used John Doe so that nobody would know how stupid I had been.

"1" always comes before "2" except in the case of this story. My father always purchased Chrysler products on his own without my help until 1961 when I was old enough to purchase cars by myself. As him being a busy attorney, he asked his 17 year old son (me) to go out and pick a car out for him. It was October, 1960 and when I finished my high school classes, I went car shopping.

I went to Vic’s Chrysler, then on Kennedy Memorial Drive in West New York, New Jersey. I tried to talk to a salesman and nobody listened to me. They all pushed me off to the owner’s son, Vic Mobedelli, Jr. who himself just graduated from college.

I explained to Vic Jr. what I was looking for in a car for my father and he took me to the back shop where new car deliveries were. As we got ready to enter the back shop, off to the right, in a single prep bay, there sat a black ’61-300G Coupe. Naturally, my father, with a family of 5 had to have a 4 door but I stood there and looked at the car for a while. Vic Jr. showed me a black ’61 New Yorker loaded 4 door hard top. He gave me prices and I told him I would be back in the evening.

That evening, I came back with my dad and when we entered the showroom, it was interesting to watch the reaction of the various salesmen that wanted nothing to do with me earlier in the day. I found the owner’s son, my father signed the papers, wrote out a check and they said they would deliver the car the next day to his office.

Fast forward to 1977 and I am now in an engine rebuilding business besides working as the service director for a Dodge dealer and a customer comes into my engine rebuilding shop with a 300L and wants the engine rebuilt and he happens to be a member of the Chrysler 300 Club. He took my son and I to a meet in 1978 in southern Jersey or PA, after which I did join the Club. With all the Newsflite and publications, I followed all the ads for a 300G for sale but thought to myself, at that time, why would somebody spend $1500.00 for one of these cars?

In November of 1980, I moved my family to Maine where I had gone to college and due to the 300 Club mailings, became friendly with Gloria and Alan Moon. Gloria was in charge of the Chrysler 300 Club Clearing House and when various members contacted her for information on a particular year letter car, she would forward to them the evaluation on the particular year of the car they were looking for. In May of 1988, she sent me information on a red ’61 300G that was in Newark, Delaware. The evaluation looked pretty good except for the fact that he wanted $5000.00! My wife and I drove down to Delaware from Maine, stayed overnight and went to look at the car the next morning. It was garage kept, no rust, already on its second paint job and every panel was dinged, no car cover, filthy, sat for years, the Rams were off and a single 4 barrel in place. The block had been replaced with a 383 high block, (I never did find out why), the interior had to be redone and after seeing this, I was turned off and we went back to Maine. I contacted Gloria and told her the car that I looked at, based on the evaluation page, were 2 different things. So, I continued looking and still stayed in touch with the person selling the car. I made an offer of $4000.00 which he turned down.

In May of 1990, I answered an Ad in the Club News for a “G”, which the person wanted $13,500.00 which I thought was the end of the world but after seeing pictures, the car was absolutely gorgeous. Read the next story about G #1 before I continue this story of #2.

MY “G” #1 – SERIAL NUMBER 8413115232

Having not been able to buy G #2 and worried that, at this rate, I would have to sell a couple of my kids to get one, I decided to buy the $13,500.00 G #1 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had not looked at it in person but, what the heck, how bad could it be? Little did I know! My wife and I ventured in her 1985 Dodge Colt and although cramped (me), made the trip from Maine through Canada to Michigan. I had already sent him a $5000.00 deposit and the car did come with many spare parts, spare rams, gasket sets, air cleaners, car cover etc. We met the owner at his house and paid him balance and were told we had to go to a storage facility to get the car. My wife and I were standing in the entrance way of the storage facility while he goes to get the car. As we were standing in a covered area, because the sun is so hot, about 5 minutes passes, and then we hear a car coming down the driveway with an engine knock and I think to myself, the fool that’s driving that car should get to a repair shop fast, as the red 300G pulls up. Naturally, first thing I say to the owner, you did not mention the knock. He says, “Clears right up and goes away”. Little did my wife and I know of the adventures we would have with this car for the next 2 days! The parting words from him were, “By the way, because of your long trip, I put in a new battery!”

My wife and I set out on the return trip. The car seemed to run fine and after about 30 miles, we decided to pull into a rest area. As we returned to the cars, after using the facilities, I noticed water from the overflow hose and decided to check all fluids. The radiator, naturally, was low. I topped that off and everything else and we were all good. It was a 90 degree day and I thought that had something to do with the radiator being low. I got in the car, turned the key and nothing! We were only 1620 miles from our house, so how bad could it be? We jumped started it from the Colt and it wouldn’t run when I disconnected the jumper cables which meant the battery was completely drained!! I put the cables back on and charged the battery. While I was checking this out, I had noticed that the Amp Gage needle did not move much when we had started out which is unusual because they usually bounce around a little.

As I looked around under the hood, I noticed a large black spot on the bottom of the hood, an indication that something had burned. I looked below it at the wiring harness and found about a 12” section where the wiring harness was all taped up. So now it is clear to me why he put a brand new battery in. He knew it was going to run off the battery till the battery died. At this point, I had to assume that the alternator was putting out the voltage but it couldn’t get to the battery due to the fried Amp Gage, which, in turn, caused the harness to burn!

We left the G there and tried to find a parts store where I could buy a 14 Gage wire and some alligator clips. When we got back to the car, I made up a jumper wire and ran the jump wire from the Alternator stud to the positive battery cable which enabled the battery to be recharged. The only downside to this is that you can’t turn the engine off with the key. You have to get out and pull off the jumper wire. We continued on our trip and made sure when we stopped for gas, my wife, with her little Dodge Colt, would get behind me in the event the car didn’t start again. Fortunately, the rubber bumpers on the Colt matched up with the G’s rear bumper, so there was no problem if we had to push it. Unfortunately, due to a leaking fuel tank, we could not put more than 7 gallons in at a time. I am sure it was an oversight on his part not to mention this. I like stopping a gas station every 70 or 80 miles. Needless to say, the G is not an economical car to operate. As we continued to stop for gas and driving, I began to notice it was running hot all the time, even though the radiator was full. So, we ended up doing most of the driving at night when it was cooler.

We tried to avoid high heat from noon to 4pm. As we approached the border crossway, we encountered heavy traffic. It was around noon time and 92 degrees. I told my wife to stay behind right behind me because if this G stalls, she could use the Colt to push it through. As we approached the border, a traffic controller would not let my wife stay behind me and we had to separate. I managed to keep it running by using drive and neutral buttons. As I got to the border person in a booth, the car stalls. I must have looked to him like I was smuggling drugs into the country as I was sweating profusely and was drenched. You have to understand, I am 6’3” and 270 lbs., never mind the 92 degree heat! I explained everything to the border patrol guy and he figured I was the biggest clown he ever met or I was telling him the truth. He called out for “Bridge Boys” and 5 of them came over to help push the car to the side and they pushed me to an area right next to their headquarters. I waited there for my wife as she had all the bags of ice we were using to cool the monster G down. We started loading the intake manifolds and radiator with ice while the engine cooled down. Tried to start it but it was just too hot. So, we stood around and watched the border patrol pull people over left and right and search their vehicles and them. What a sight!!

One of the lieutenants stopped over to see how we were doing and said, “If we could be of any help, to let them know”. After about another 20 minutes, I decided to try and start it again. My wife is standing in front of the car watching everything that is going on behind us. I had my back to that. As I am cranking the G, it lets out with a backfire several times that must have shaken the building we were so close to. Boy, were they loud!! About 10 seconds later, my wife’s eyes got real big and she see several border patrol agents running from the building as fast as they can towards us and as I turn around I can see that they have their guns drawn and heading towards us. Then we hear someone yelling, “Was that you? Was that you? As they get closer to me, the men with their guns drawn, they start to calm down as I said “yes”. They explain that about 3 hours earlier, there had been an incident of shooting with a drug dealer. They were relieved that this was only a series of backfires. Then they said, “take your time, stay as long as you want”. All this time, cars were being detained, going thru their luggage, going thru cars, seats, etc., people were detained and searched. What a show!

A few hours later, we were ready to go. Back on the hiway and coming into somewhat a cooler evening, we decided to get as much driving in as we could . About 1 AM, we decided to call it quits on driving for the night and found a motel. The next morning was cooler. As we started to come into the heat of noon time and in order to cut down on some of the engine ping due to the heat and lack of really good fuel I retarded the timing and we continued going our way, buying 7 gallons of fuel at a time and some ice to keep it cool.

At one time, we pulled off the interstate and into a bowling alley building parking lot. While we sat there cooling it down, a car guy stopped by and at that time, I was seriously considering finding a place to park the G while we went back to Maine to get our trailer. This person was a Chrysler lover and said we could leave it at his house. I told him we would give it some thought while we were cooling it off. He said he would stop back to see if we were still there and if so, we would follow him to his house and leave it there.

As it was now in the time of the day to drive, we decided to press on and continue to Maine. We again drove to about 1 AM at which time we went to a motel for the night. Next day, weather was a little cooler and we started having problems with changing the exhaust pipe gaskets where it meets the manifold. We always had to find a curb to drive the car onto because we didn’t have a floor jack. We managed to enjoy Niagara Falls when we got back in the states.

We made it back to Maine and I took a day off from working on it. Then I proceeded to take the engine out of the car and upon disassembly, found out that the knocking sound was a cracked wrist pin boss on the .030 11.5 pop up race pistons. The car was a .530/.532 lift and this answered not only what was the knocking but why it pinged so much. It was a ¼ mile drag race motor not meant to be driven on the hiway!!

As engine rebuilding is my profession, I now realized how lucky we were to get back without a major failure. Also, while raising the car up and down on the lift to remove the engine, I found out I had the first fiberglass 300G!! Everything from the side molding down to the bottom of the car was large sheets of fiberglass which we removed in 3’ sections to expose a badly rusted body. This should be a warning to everybody to use the Club Roster and find a person that is knowledgeable enough, who lives on the area of a car you are looking at, to make sure it is really a car that you want. (I decided to drive it because of the owners saying how roadworthy it was so I have no one to blame but me.)

In my own defense, I have watched these cars go up steadily in cost and figured, if I didn’t buy this particular car, I would never be able to afford one.

I did contact the seller and, of course, the money I paid him was gone. He claimed he knew nothing about electrical problems nor engine problems or rust or anything. He thought it was a beautiful car. After much complaining, he sent me $1500.00 back which did not go far towards the $25000.00 that I spent to make it a dependable car. Now, continue to the next story of how G #2 comes back into the picture.

MY G #2 SERIAL # 8413170745

Prior to buying G # 1, I had been staying in contact with the seller in Newark, Delaware and even went so far as to send him a ½ gallon jug of Maine Maple Syrup and a box of maple candies. They were made here in Somerset County, Maine. At that time, we were the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. I had not heard from the 81 year old owner in Delaware for about 2 months when he contacts me to say he was in California visiting his son when he had a heart attack and was now ready to sell his G.

Ironically, this was 2 weeks after we got back from Michigan. A week later, we were off to Delaware with the trailer to bring the car back to Maine. That is the first time in 15 years it had been out of his garage! As we loaded all the extra parts into the trunk, I could see how emotional he was getting, even though he got the price he asked for. He was also happy seeing it go to a good home. The trip back to Maine was, thankfully, uneventful, I am glad to say.

In spite of the fact that it had a 383 hi block motor; I used the car as is for about 5 or 6 years before starting to bring it back to original. He was the original owner of the car and he had traded his 1957–300C Convertible in when he bought the G. He never made it clear to me why or when the block was replaced. I spent a number of years working on various things to bring it back to it being original. He was an aeronautical engineer and the car was equipped with water injection and it had an altimeter. He asked that when I removed these items to please mail them back to him which I did.

As I said earlier, the Rams were off the car as he was running a single 4 barrel and he had changed the wheels to 14” and installed a set of ’57 Plymouth Fury wheel covers. So, before I left, he said, “Let’s go down into the bunker!” We did go down the stairs to the fallout shelter under the basement where the wheels and wheel covers and long rams and carbs and air cleaners were. We carried them all upstairs and loaded them in the trunk of the G. I took a few minutes to charge the battery, primed the carb and it fired right up.

It kind of looked like a low-rider with all the stuff in the trunk with 14” wheels and the fact that the springs were bent in the wrong direction! I drove it down his short driveway with no brakes other than the emergency. Drove it onto the trailer and after putting the emergency brake on, broke the ear off one side of the emergency brake handle. As I got out of the car, I thought to myself, it figures that it would be a part that Gary Goers was not reproducing yet.

The only other fatality of the trip was the 300G Medallion in the grille. As I got set to unload the car in my shop in Maine, I noticed that the 300G medallion in the grille didn’t look right and I touched it with my finger and it fell off in my hand!

For those of you who have never had the experience of crossing the George Washington Bridge and onto the Cross Bronx expressway for its 3 mile length, it is like 40 miles of bad road. You would think if the medallion was going to fall off, that was the place it would have happened!

Presently, the car has 57,000 miles on it and due to my bad health and extremely busy shop, the car has never been put back together. The new engine is in it, it has been painted, all the chrome is done, new upholstery and rugs and it’s just waiting for me to put it together when I recover.

I have to tell you that after all the work was done on the car and it came back from the paint shop it was left outside behind the shop for a weekend. 2 kids in the neighborhood 8 and 11 had nothing to do so they climbed the fence behind the shop and for 6 hours vandalized 7 vehicles including a boat on it’s trailer, a 918 Porsche, and 5 other cars including my “G” which they smashed the windshield, slashed 4 tires, walked on and dented the trunk, hood and roof. In all it cost me $26000.00 to keep all my customers happy and almost $3000.00 for the Porsche tires alone. I had a $500.00 deductible so the insurance company treated each vehicle separately and only paid the first $500. For each vehicle.

I used to visit the shop once a day but now haven’t been there in 6 months. The G sits in the back storage shop alongside my 1964 Plymouth, 426 Max Wedge Station Wagon which is a former NHRA Record Holder from the 70’s and more recently in 2011, the IHRA, B/SA Record Holder which I had set at age 68 in Maryland at Maryland International Raceway just before everything happened to me health wise.

I honestly feel I’ve got more projects remaining then I have time to do them but I am very thankful to God for the amount of business I have and my son, Dom Jr. that runs it.