A 300G convertible, Italian style!


by Antonello Jelitro


This 300G convertible is actually the third 300 I have ever owned, but the first I actually driven, or even sat in! The first was a cinnamon G hardtop that I purchased from a guy in Pennsylvania - when she arrived to a famous engine builder in Ohio, she had lost the rams, distributor and console. After she remained at the Ohio restorer for awhile, she disappeared. The famous engine builder and ex-friend claims she was lost due to the IRS coming there and taking the car away. Of course, I never got my money back. The second 300 was a white 58 D needing restoration, that was located in California. Just before arranging delivery to Italy, I found here a 57 DeSoto Fireflite coupe with around 25,000 original miles, original paint and interior, never touched from new. To finance this once in a lifetime deal, had to sell the "D", but was very sad.

After some years of reading Hemmings, subscribing to the Club, and various daydreaming, I finally found my dream "G" convert. in Europe! Talking with an american car dealer in France, he told me about a G convertible that he had taken as a debt payment from a friend. When the guy told me that he would accept some cars in trade, I drove to see the G. Was so anxious to get there that it took me just 5 hours to cover over 700 km! The car had been sitting in a derelict garage for about five or six years, with the top down, and the interior covered with every kind of bird dropping known to man.

The body was in very good shape, the interior needed redoing (!), and the chrome was very dirty but very good. After a long talk, we struck a deal: for the dormant 300, I would give the man a dead '57 Ford wagon (very rusty), a '66 Thunderbird convertible (with a sick engine and lots of bondo) and a decent 74 Corvette convertible (with wrong engine and a very strange steering geometry), plus some green bills.


I organised transportation of the four cars as soon as I could get home, and before the guy changed his mind, in less than a week, the car was safely at my home. Well, not very safely: the truck driver had driven the G on the truck, set the park brake, and forgot about it. When came time to unload the car, he lowered the platform, and the car began to roll down, before the ramps were in place. Luckily the jump was not fatal for the car, and there was nothing parked near the run-by-itself car. After some time, I could breathe again, so checked the damage: just a broken heart and a bent exhaust. With a battery and some gas, the G started right away, and could drive into my place. The dead mice had disappeared, but the bird droppings were still there. It took me a week just to clean up all the mess. The top cylinders were dead, exhaust dead, interior redone in cheap red vinyl, brakes were marginal, steering box was sloppy, but the engine was really strong, the trans was leaking a little bit but was OK, and the instrument panel worked!


Immediately got the Italian plates and drove the car a little, but started to have trouble with the brakes, the steering and the interior was really bad. So I parked the car at my mechanic's place, waiting to have disc brakes and rebuilt steering box fitted. The bodywork is rather wavy, so a new paint job is forseen for the near future. New leather is ready to be put on the seats, and the convertible top is waiting installation. This spring all the mechanical work should be completed, will drive the car with lousy interior and wavy paint this summer, and will complete restoration next winter.

The car was originally sold new in Hollywood, and was a white car with 888 interior, with no major options. She came to France about ten years ago, and sat in a museum for five years, and other five or six years were spent in the old garage...


Please click HERE to go to part 2 of this story, the restoration of the car...

Now I have my heart set on a 56 B or 58 D... if I could only find someone who would take a 69 Camaro in trade.

Antonello .

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