Paul (CRASH) & Roxanne Criscera
1964 300-K Convertible
I have always been a Mopar fan/owner. My first car was a 1960 Dodge Matador. I then traded it for a 1962 Chrysler Newport, 2dr, 3spd factory manual trans on the floor (I should have keep that one, too). I then sold the 62 outright and bought a 1969 Plymouth Sport Satellite, 2dr, 4spd manual trans with a 383 cid, 1-AVS 4bbl, Pistol Grip shifter, Desert Flower vinyl top and interior, Sienna Gold Metallic paint. Beautiful car. I wrecked it, and still haven’t forgiven myself (hence the nickname ‘CRASH’). I told myself "Never again".
Well, anyway, I was without a car and needed one. Being 18 years old and short on money then, I found a 1964 Chrysler New Yorker. The guy I bought it from for $25.00 just wanted to get rid of it. He said it was a ‘Gas Guzzler'. All it needed was the AFB to be rebuilt, which I did and it ran great. To me, it was another beautiful car. It had a 413 cid, the 1 AFB 4bbl, push button auto 727B trans and a factory reverberation system for the front and rear speakers of the radio. What more could an 18 year old back then ask for? I had that one for about a year (should have kept that one also). During those years of owning Mopars, I would read anything and everything I could find about them, especially about Letter Cars.
In 1971, I went to the local Chrysler Dealership looking to buy the just released Dodge Demon muscle car and I spotted it. A 1964 Chrysler 300-K Convertible! I ask the salesman "How much". He replied "$700.00". I said, "I’ll take it". I couldn’t believe it! After all I had read about Letter Cars, now at the age of 19, I own one!
So, from 1971 till 1976, my "K" was my ‘Everyday’ car. Went to work with it, dated my now wife, Roxanne, with it, towed snowmobiles in the winter months to Old Forge, New York and even went on my Honeymoon with it in 1976.
During those five years, I made some changes to the "K". I had it repainted twice. The original color was Wedgewood and the top was a medium (sky) blue. The paint was flat (no shine) and I really didn’t like the color, so the first color was a 1968/1969 RoadRunner Blue to sort of match the top. I only kept it that color for about a year. Somehow, to me, the blues (no matter what shades) a ‘Gentleman’s Muscle Car’ or go with the white interior. I decided that the Sienna Gold Metallic that my 69 Sport Satellite was the color for it. I also sprayed the top with white vinyl paint. Perfect combinations!
Next were the ‘Add-on goodies’ (thinking as a teenager, of course). Solid Magnesium Wheels with the spokes painted the same color as the car, radial tires, Thrush Side Pipes, front and rear side marker lights, electronic Ignition and charging system from, then, Chrysler’s Direct Connection. Yes, I did save the old dual point distributor.
The engine needed work. Burnt valves and valve seals. I pulled the heads and reworked the valves and ports at the proper angles, ported the intake and exhaust manifolds to match the heads, polished the intake and exhaust ports and added high performance valve springs shimmed to the proper height. I stayed with the original AFB carb. It worked fine then and still does now (after a rebuild, to be sure).
After getting married in 1976, Roxanne and I decided that we should retire the "K" from everyday use and use it only for those Sunday drives and such. Then, I had also acquired a PA Classic Car Tag for it.
From 1976 to present, if we put 200 miles a year on the "K" (it now has 128,835), it would be lots. But, as we all know, time and just sitting in a garage takes its toll on seals, wheel cylinders, the convertible top upholstery, etc. So, about 4 years age, we figured that I better start doing some restoration, again. I replaced the wheel cylinders, refurbished the brake booster and replaced the master cylinder. The front suspension needed all control arm and strut bushings and upper/lower ball joints, both sides. Included also, a new top with boot cover (white), re-upholstered the front seats and new rugs. I’m still looking for an original steering wheel. We also have two daughters, so I installed seat belts for the rear seats.
The trans and drive train are in great operating condition but I wanted more from under the hood. So I replaced the camshaft and lifters with a mid-range ‘Purple Cam’ from Mopar Performance. I always try to use genuine Mopar parts if they are available. I also used a roller timing chain and steel gears. Plastic is for lawn furniture. The engine compartment is detailed right down to the original engine color, orange Mopar plug wires and under hood info decals. The old radiator core was shot so I installed one from a 1970 Chrysler Town&Country stationwagon that had a 440 cid engine in it. Lots of cooling power. Need I say more? Tire burn-outs are easy!
The trunk is basic original, down to the jack, tire iron and jacking of car instructions decal located on the left side in the trunk. As for the framed picture of "The Boss", what can we say, my wife and I are big fans of him and, Hey!, the picture goes with an "All American Car".
So, in closing, this is only a small part of my "K" story. After all the changes (for the better, we hope) that has been done to our 300-K and all that Roxanne and myself have been through with it, we have given it some ‘Pet’ names. Some are; ‘A Muscle Car in a Tuxedo’, A Gentleman’s Muscle Car’, Our 300-K’hrysler, Khry-zilla (I love this one and ZZ Top has Cad-zilla), and, of course, ‘Our Beautiful Brute’. We also love showing it off at Cruise Nights and Car Shows. There’s nothing else like it!
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