In early 1985 I decided to purchase
a “special interest” car as a hobby. We had finally
moved into a house with a three car garage and my job did not require
any more travelling. Therefore; I would have the space and the time
The next decision and most
important, was which car? When I was in junior high school and the
C300 was introduced, I can recall reading a review of it and being
very impressed when it stated that the (C300 would chirp its tires
when shifting into drive at 75 MPH). Needless to say, I never
forgot that. Despite having owned all sorts of factory hot rods and
limited production cars over the years, every once in a while, I
would try and find a C300. Now in 1985, I would get serious!
Two things that I did immediately
was to join the Three Hundred club International and then begin
researching each year of letter car production. For a bunch of
reasons, I settled in on the 300B.
I also determined to look for a car
in strong #2 condition as my mechanical skills are limited to
changing wiper blades (boy do I feel a great sense of accomplishment
afterwards) and checking the engine oil dipstick level. The
under-hood view of most new cars reminds me of the snake pit scene
from “Raiders of the Lost Arc”.
Now to find a strong 300B! Allen
Moon inspected one for me in Maryland. It sounded great; but was
without air conditioning and currently wasn’t licensed.
I found two more 300Bs through a for
sale ad in Hemmings. Both were in Arizona and both were red: a
factory stick in Phoenix and a low mileage A/C car in Tucson. By now
it’s October so I planned a trip for November, to fly to
Arizona with my son and look at both cars. About two weeks before we
were to depart, I received a call from Nogales, Arizona. It was
another 300B owner. He said that I might be familiar with this car
as it was the black 300B in the Automobile Quarterly addition that
featured the Chrysler 300 Letter cars. It also was the car that
represented the 300B on the Chrysler 300 poster. I allowed as how I
might be interested and arranged to include Nogales in our whirlwind
Come November and the excitement
heightened. We landed in Phoenix and made a b-line for the stick B’s
address. It was “Factory” and had A/C; but it was a
little too rough for my limited restoration skills. Next we drove to
Tucson and road tested the second 300B. It was in excellent
condition; but the air conditioning was aftermarket Chrysler Air Temp
and the car would have to be painted its original white color.
The next morning, we set off for
Nogales and met the 300B owner, Axel Holm, at the designated spot. I
assumed it would take but a few minutes to drive to the warehouse
where the B was housed in Nogales. As it turned out the B was in a
warehouse in Nogales, Mexico.
Off we went across the border on
roads that would rival tank test sites. We passed cars that would be
considered totally parted out in the U.S.; but they were still
running as daily drivers. Finally, we arrived at the site. Outside
there were 8 or 10 special interest autos from the 50s and 60s.
Inside were even more goodies, including a 1956 Lincoln convertible
that Axel had just completed a frame off restoration on and a few
more Lincoln Mark II Continentals; that are Axel’s specialty.
Then I spotted my 300B. It was over
in the corner where it had spent the past 7 years. Nearby was a
Tango Red C300 in the midst of a complete restoration. I had
stumbled into 300 heaven!
Carefully trying to avoid displaying
too much enthusiasm, I worked out a deal with Axel whereby he would
perform his “magic” on all of the big jobs such as paint,
chrome, engine, etc. That would leave the simple stuff to me. This
was also a great excuse to plan a trip back to Arizona in February,
enjoy the warm climate and drive the B home. It would not be
difficult to convince my wife that we needed to escape from Dallas in
February of 1986!
Come February, while we enjoyed the
warm Phoenix weather, I couldn’t wait to escape the pool side
chatter and drinks and sit inside the B and experience the torque and
open road. That day came and I remember very clearly when Axel
pulled up in front of the motel we had moved to in Tucson. I was all
for jumping in and heading for Texas; but Axel said that he wasn’t
happy with the carb settings. So, off we went to “Arizona
Carburetor” for some tweaking to the carbs. That was
accomplished by early afternoon, and after swapping a cashier’s
check for the title, I pointed the sleek 300 nose towards Texas.
Can you imagine my thoughts as I
headed my big brute out of Tucson on I-10, a magnificent highway,
knowing that I had 2 1/2 days to make Dallas, via Houston. I had to
watch my speed owing to the rebuilt hemi; but there were times when
temptation overshadowed my better judgement and another “believer”
night, I almost made El Paso having left Tucson at 2:30 PM, crossed
the rest of Arizona and almost all of New Mexico. The second day I
stopped just under San Antonio and the third day I swung by Houston
and picked up 5 original wire wheels to return the B to its original
condition and reached home by 5:30 PM. I was tired but thrilled.