The Ronk K and Mr. Sad
I have always been a fan of the styling on the
1964 300K. I still remember the first time I saw one in real life. It
was in 1993. I was driving my 1963 Imperial to the meet in Chardon,
putting along the New York thruway. In my rear view mirror I saw
something rapidly approaching in the passing lane.
It looked like it
could be a K. It flew by like a rocket but then slowed and we were
side by side. The K driver rolled down his window and shouted: “What
year is it?” I replied: “1993”, somewhat concerned
didn’t know what year it was. “No no, what year
Imperial?” and that made a lot more sense. He roared off. I
puttered along. I stopped for gas and there was the same K at the
pumps. I went over to say hello and that is how I met Jerry Kocur.
The Ronk K, VIN 8443176451, was an Ebay purchase
in January of 2013. I bought it from Charlie Rivera who lived in the
town of Ronkonkoma on Long Island.
I had a devil of time pronouncing
that word so I shortened it and the car became the Ronk K.
This car has tinted glass, day night
mirror, tilt wheel, manual windows and seat, tan vinyl interior,
automatic, and one front seat head rest. The windshield registration
is dated 1975 and old paperwork shows a previous owner of Gary Sulz,
also from Long Island. There is a sticker from 1964 that says Town of
Brookhaven, NY beach parking. Brookhaven is on Long Island. I
vacuumed inside and found sand in lots of places. Yessir, looks like
this has always been a Long Island car.
let me tell you about Mr. Sad. This was a white 4 speed coupe, VIN #
8443182731. You may know that 1964 was the first year Chrysler
offered their A833 transmission. There were 82 4 speed Ks built. This
was a one owner car but he parked it outdoors in 1975 and he let it
sit. It took his death to get the car sold. When the car arrived at
Golden Lion Grrrages in 2011, it didn’t have a name; it was
just that white coupe but when I saw the rust, the broken hood
hinges, the rot, and the decay, it had a name; Mr. Sad. There was no
saving this car, yet I thought a rare 4 speed should be saved. So I
decided to take the 4 speed parts from Mr. Sad and transfer them to
the Ronk K. Mr. Sad was junked.
On the Ronk K, I had never done a transmission
conversion of this kind and the learning curve is steep the first
time around. One of the first odd things I encountered; in 1964, tilt
wheel cars could not have the manual transmission. It turns out the
turn signal switch on tilt wheel cars was in the same area as the
clutch pedal so you couldn’t have both. (Chrysler moved the
location of the switch in 1965 so you could have tilt wheel with the
manual). The Ronk K had a tilt wheel so the tilt had to come out.
Then the center console had to come out because in 1964, manual shift
cars used the 1963 console. The conversion took some time and it is
pretty well documented at
should you be interested in the details.
With the mechanical work completed, the Ronk K
went off to Johnny Slayton’s for body work. It came back in
2017 with new paint and a new interior. This year has allowed only a
few short drives around the neighborhood but things are working out
well and I look forward to learning more about the Ronk K.