By Larry Jett

reprinted from the 1988 Club News Volume XIV Number II

I’ve had a pentastar tattooed on my backside since Moby Dick was a guppy, and because of this mental deformity, I rejoiced whenever the “old” Chrysler Corporation did something really unusual (often) or right (occasionally.) The 300 was the biggest and baddest example of the marque existing during my high school years, and how I coveted those slick “gentlemen’s street hemis”. At the age of 20, I saw the 300F as a brand new car and haven’t been able to dismiss the car and its cousins ever since.

I bought a “rode hard and put away wet” example in 1964 for $1,800, and loved that 300F beyond reason for the four months I was allowed to have it. Its demise came about while returning from Army summer camp in Utah. Past the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Brute ran out of water during an hours blast through the desert at an indicated 130 MPH and froze its stout-hearted lion’s motor solid. My insurance company sold me towing insurance for $5 yearly, so I had the beast towed from eastern Nevada to my Shell station on California’s coast and submitted the tow bill. They reluctantly paid the $150 (good deal for a 500 mile tow) and quickly changed the policy to read . . .to the nearest garage.

In those days I was barely allowed to have one car, let alone two, so I had to unstick the motor (it took a giant pinchbar on the flywheel starter teeth, and 50% STP and 50% motor oil) so it would run quiet enough (no more than 3 minutes after a cold start) so I could trade it in on a ’62 Polara 500 (ugly car, but a runner…same 16.0 second quarter mile as the 300F). The Dodge was to get married in, and my high school sweetheart, now fiancée, had had no use for that big white whale anyhow. But I was hooked forever on fins and four-barrels.

Now fast forward six years. I’m now leasing automobiles for a Chrysler dealer after spending four years as District Manager for the Chrysler-Plymouth Division of Chrysler Motors, (there are other stories here, such as how I invented the bright orange Road Runner, but it belongs in another Club’s magazine) and I saw a black 300G in the trade-in area. Breaking the sound barrier, I cornered the used car manager, found out he allowed $300 for the car, so I offered a quick $50 profit and owned my second long-ram Brute.

My mellowing wife still didn’t understand why anyone would want such a huge car, and since I had a brand-new New Yorker demo, why did I insist in making social calls in “Black Bart”?

Now, really fast forward to 1986. The Oakland Roadster Show. There, amongst all the tricks and toys, is a very nice, stock 300F convertible. That car was all I could see (wellmaybe the ’32 Ford with the V12 Ferrari) and the dormant itch sprang to life again. I joined the Chrysler 300 Club International, subscribed to Hemmings Motor News, devoured collector car ads, and wrote letters. I looked at a 300C, but couldn’t imagine life with “Gaugy Pink” paint, even as a training 300F. Two weeks later, I saw an ad for the San Mateo County Collector’s Fair, including cars for sale. Since it was on my birthday, I took a good friend, left my family at home, and went to look at old things. We saw 150 cars, but nothing interesting until it was time to depart. There was one pavilion left that looked deserted, but on a hunch we looked in and found more cars. As we walked up one aisle, I glimpsed the Holy Grail Grille!! There’s no mistaking a 300 nose and I nearly shouted, “There it is”!

We rushed around to the other side to behold LC41513 in all her glory. An F she will never be, but as a D she was beautiful.

I’ve learned to live without the blue-green neon dash and the 31 inch red intake madness, and the console in the rear seat, in exchange for a 392 hemi and a more manly grille shape.

My wife still doesn’t understand how I can get so goofy over a 29 year old dinosaur when I have had probably 100 new cars since I’ve been in the auto business. Well Sandy, it’s like this. The car was born on probably the same day I was; it was new the month we started holding hands; it hadn’t been in for its second oil change the month I graduated from high school; its warranty was still valid the month my company was incorporated. In addition to being gorgeous and looking almost brand new, it turns heads better than my Turbo Audi by 500%, and it runs so well. But, the very best part of the car is what happens at 35 mph when you plant your right foot up near the firewall and hold it there for 10-15 seconds. If you can’t understand that last thought, then concentrate on the others, because LC41513 is going to be with us for a long, long time (or until that Ohio F, that was dipped and painted black underneath, shows up).

2013 update: LC 41513 is now owned by Frank Daly and garaged in the city of Lake Sammamish, WA. Beautifully restored by Frank and looking even better than new.
The replacement 300F, just recently purchased by Norman Losey in TN. lived with us for 23 years.
Although Sandy Jett may not have understood the MOTLC (magic of the letter cars) when freshly married, she certainly does now and was equally sad when the C and F versions went to new homes in recent years.
My major regret from the 1960's; I did not record the VIN of the first F with the photocell rear mirror changer so I don't know who is driving it now. I bought and sold in 1964 and sent out for adoption with no further paper trail.
At least I know where the D is and can visit any time in the state of Washington.
Larry Jett

Frank Daly sent these pictures:

Click to enlarge