By Dr. Walter Jusczyk

Reprinted from the Fall 1977 edition of the Club News Volume IV Number III

“What the heck kind of car is that?”, “Wow, what did you do to it?”, “What year is that?” The craning of necks and stares are the kind of reactions I’m likely to get when I stop in a gas station, at a red light, or just about whenever I take my modified 300-G out on the roads of Rhode Island or elsewhere.

Purists have shaken their heads in dismay, but some concede “I wish I had the guts” when they look at the finless ’61 convertible.

I bought it back in 1961, after a preview of the G’s at the Roosevelt Raceway in Long Island. I went there with my local dealer, Tom Lamb of Lamb Motors in West Warwick, and had the honor of meeting Bob Roger, the engineering brains behind the 300.

I was impressed with the prior 300-F’s and their four-speed gearbox, and hoped the 61’s would have the four-speed gearbox. I tried the three-speed standard and found it lugged around 30, and I didn’t care for all the downshifting. I also found the 3 speed Torqueflite outran the standards in the zero-to-60 by three or four car lengths.

I was determined to have a 300, after riding in them, seeing them, and talking to those that owned one. So after six performance-packed Buicks, I switched to the Beautiful Brute.

That was back in the spring of 1961, and now, 167,000 miles later, I still think it’s the finest car I have ever owned. I’ve never been tempted to sell it.

In 1966, I got tired of banging my ribs on the fins, which I never cared for, and I never thought added to the appearance of the car. Stylistically, I felt they were obsolete after three or four years. And I didn’t care for the later models either. They didn’t really measure up to my tastes.

I bought a plastic model of the ’61 Chrysler and began customizing it with a razor knife and body filler. I found myself pleased with the new version. From there I took my 300 to Short Rainville’s Body Shop and showed him the model.

Shorty was a bit reluctant at first, but after looking at it from all angles, he decided to give it a try.

It took Shorty a month to cut the fins off and remodel the rear quarter. I wanted the car to last, so I had steel sheeting used instead of fiberglass. The biggest problem was taking the ripple out of the doors which required extra shaping t round out the lines. A new coat of fire engine red paint, as close to the original as possible, was the finishing touch.

The result, I feel, is an ageless car, reflecting my individual tastes. Once Chrysler dropped the lettered series and the performance was lowered, I decided to keep it as long as I could in as good running condition as possible.

By the mid-70’s, 162,000 miles had taken its toll. Burt Tyler, to whom I owe a great deal, was my 300’s savior, mentor, and mechanic. He had the seen the car around and ended up following me home one day. He developed my interest in the 300 Club, while providing expert service and locating non-available parts.

By the fall of 1976, the G had undergone a thorough overhaul, complete with a rebuilt engine and transmission, and a manicure job for the body. My G sports the standard 413, rebored to 421, with ram-induction, an electric fuel pump, and two four-barrels, linked up to a 3-speed Torqueflite. The only other customizing I had done besides the body, was the installation of a removable rear pad to convert the G into a five-seater for my three children, and Dodge back-up lights.

When I showed it for the first time at the Spring Meet of the 300 Club at Pocono Raceway, I got the usual questions, remarks and stares. About 90 percent of the comments were in favor of the customizing job, and one of the winners at the meet complimented me for having the guts to do it.

I bought the car for performance and roadability more than 15 years ago, and I was pleased to find that it still measured up to my expectations when I let the G go on the Pocono track. With a bit of firm pressure from the right foot, the 300 growled up to an easy 125 on the speedometer and I think I could have pushed it to 135-plus. It was still hugging the road perfectly. After 15 years of daily driving, I’ve never found a car its equal.

It might not measure up to a purists’ way of thinking, but like Old Blue Eyes sings, “I did it my way” and I don’t have any regrets for doing so. The response, performance, and feel of the road is still exhilarating.

Walter F. Jusczyk, DMD

Bill Codner writes: I let John know of a 1961 NYer in a junk yard that he could take the fins off of for his finless car. He did that and put those fins on his car. I remember seeing the car for the first time at the Pocono Meet.

Gil Cunningham writes: The first meet the car attended with the replaced fins was the April 2001 meet in Plymouth, Mich. Finless, it attended the Spring 1977 meet at Mt. Pocono, PA, and the Fall 1979 meet at Mystic, Connecticut.

Jay Robinson owns the car now.