It all started in the summer of ’57.
I came home on leave from the Navy from San Diego, California in my
’51 Merc to Minnesota. It burned out a rod bearing and I
needed a car to get back to California. Lo and behold – a ’52
Chrysler Saratoga 2 door coupe went through town with a for sale
sign on it! It took me 25 miles to catch him in my Dad’s ’48
Chrysler New Yorker straight eight. I bought the Saratoga for $395.
This car should have been a Chrysler 300 because of the 331 Hemi V-8.
I drove it to California and back many times. I traded it in on a
new ’61 Plymouth Fury, Golden Commando 361 (single four barrel
only). The summer of ’62 came along and I stopped by the
Chrysler garage to inquire about buying a 300 H. The dealer asked me
if I was going to race on the Salt Flats and try and kill myself in
it and he would not sell me the car (if you can believe that)!
Fatherly instinct, I suppose. I was mad about the deal and I went
home to think it over. I decided that maybe he was right, so I
waited another year. With more Chevys and Fords stuck in my
Plymouth’s carb, I went to another dealer to buy a ’63
Chrysler “300” Pacesetter convert – not a letter
car. The engine was a 383 with a 2-barrel car. What were those
engineers thinking of? The car did not get very good mileage and had
no performance, although it did go 120 mph down hill. I’m
still mad about the 300 H that I did not get. As Tom McCahill would
say and I quote, “I’m tired of stepping on a wet sponge,
every time I want to pass a car.” In the spring of ’65,
I bought a Chrysler New Yorker with a 413, 4-barrel. I’m still
wondering how the H would have been with 2 carbs and a Hi-performance
cam. Twenty years went by before I bought a ’85 Chrysler New
Yorker (the one that would talk to you) four door sedan. My Dad
thought that I was finally settling down, (I didn’t tell him
that it had a turbo in it). The ’62 H came back to me and I
wondered if it would outrun the ’85 Chrysler. To go back a
little bit in time, I also had a ’74 Challenger that my kids
learned to drive on. They got tired of it, so it was parked (slant
six, you know). The muscle car boys were starting to look at it,
sitting in my shed. They laughed when they saw the motor. Anyway,
my son came to me and asked, “Why don’t you fix that old
car?” Restore? Yes $12,000 later, I have a counterfeit ’74
Dodge Challenger 440 6-pack. I am wondering if a ’62 H would
give it a good run (maybe a Viper would – did I say Viper?)
Now, as you
can see, over 30 years have gone by since ’62. Next came the
car shows. I talked to the Mopar boys about “300’s”
and they told me to get a copy of Hemmings. I joined the Chrysler
300 Club and also talked to Eleanor and George Riehl (who were the
most helpful people I’ve ever talked to). After talking to
them, I really got excited about 300 H’s. Eleanor told me
there was an H for sale in Minnesota, not too far from where I lived.
I called Dr. John Perell (a fine gentleman from Hibbling. MN) who
wanted to sell his H, but it needed restoration.
I went to take a
look at the H and I went home to think about it. A’ 64 300 K
cross ram was advertised for sale in the Duluth, MN area. I called
Mark Vandervort and made a deal with him for the K and drove it home
– WOW! However, I am still thinking about the H that needs
restoration. Maybe I should forget all this old stuff and just go
buy a Viper. Nope, I am still mad about not getting one when they
were new. So I called John again and told him I would buy the H
if he would deliver it. The next day, I had my first ’62 300
H! I drove it some and then I took it apart for a complete
restoration, which is still in process now. Wait a minute, I’m
still without a driveable H! I picked up the Hemmings again and saw
another ’62 H for sale in Iowa. I made a deal with Jack Finder
and drove the H home! (My wife, Sharon, is starting to count cars
now). On with the story…. Now I am thinking about a ’62
H convertible. I picked up a Hemmings again and realized that not
too many convertibles were advertised. A couple of months went by
and now it was March of ’94.
Finally, there was – a ’62
H convertible in Arkansas. The ad stated, “NO phone calls.”
– How do you buy a car if you can’t talk to the person?
Well, this person also rebuilds clocks and his phone number was
listed. So, wouldn’t you know it, I had a clock to rebuild. I
called him and I was able to get some pictures of the convertible.
More months passed by. I really wanted to talk to him about the car
but wondering if he will get mad if I call him. I am also
wondering if my wife will get mad if I call him. In the meantime, a
’62 300 4 door hard-top came along and I bought it! My wife
is still counting. However, my thoughts quickly go back to the
I talked to a very fine gentleman named Lou Berger and
his wife Ann. He told me that he had 3 cars to sell. The H
convertible, a ’62 300 Sport and a ’62 Newport 4-door.
Lou told me that he would clean my clock for me and we made a package
deal for all three cars! It is now March ’95 and I am
thinking, “How do I get three cars to Minnesota?” Well,
the News Letter want ads did the trick. Rene Kroeger, a fine
gentleman from Iowa, hauled them to Minnesota and he did a fine job
on the agreed price and delivered them to my door.
By now, I’ve lost count.
However, my wife tells me that we have 13 Mopars and 6 of them are
’62 300’s. Yes, dreams can come true and history repeats
itself! I wonder if I dare go to the Viper showroom?
Thanks to Bill Elder (Wild Man of the North) for preparing this article