John Goodknight has been a Club member for quite a few years, but he
does not participate in correspondences on this list server, so I'm
going to share what I know of his story and a little bit of my own.
At some time in the mid/late 50's I began to hear him talk of his
intense interest in the 300 series cars and I recall that he said he
would someday like to own one. Well, it happened in early 1962 before
he was 20 years old. One day in February or March his college roommate called
from St. Petersburg to let him know "John, I found your
car on a used car lot". John promptly drove his '53 Coronet HT
to St. Pete and made a trade deal.
Now almost 58 years later he's
still in possession of that same car, '55 C300 3N551863, the exact
mid-production '55 car. For several years he has been working on a
serious restoration project,
but is now entering the final stages,
hopefully to be complete enough to bring to the Spring event in
Greenville, SC. It was recently driven again on a public street for
the first time since 1986. I've heard his stories of making several
trips down central Florida toward Miami often reaching speeds of
100 MPH. I don't recall statements of higher speeds, but some things
he simply doesn't talk much about. When he purchased it, the odometer
was at 35,000 and though I don't recall the exact reading now I
believe its just short of 35,000 again.
I drove his car quite a
bit during the 70's and 80's one time to 100 mph. This period of 10
years convinced me that if I could ever find a '55 300 that was in
good enough condition to "fix up" as a driver car I would
try to make that purchase. It came to pass in the fall of 2006
immediately after the Club event at Lawton, Oklahoma which both he
and I attended. My car showed up on eBay and was located only 160
miles from Lawton, near Ft Worth, Texas. I promptly made a trip to
Ft. Worth area for a first-hand look at the "derelict" car
that had been pulled from a local salvage yard. It was missing almost
everything under the hood and had lots of "character marks"
(dents in hood, bent fenders, caved in doors, broken windshield,
damaged quarter panels, large hail stone dents on upper surfaces, and
dry rotted upholstery) ------
but almost no rust and absolutely no sign
of poor workmanship or alterations. I bid aggressively to buy it and
in a little over a year I began driving it on the streets.
I've driven to 3 Club events, each time receiving the LONG-DISTANCE
award. It's more than 200 miles for me just to escape Florida. I've
now driven it a total 28,000 miles by its odometer (a bit high), more
than 10,000 of which were on the highway to club events in Arkansas,
Wisconsin, and Texas. The only item of failure that I've had was on
the trip to Arkansas when my driver side low beam headlight burned
out. I aimed for high reliability and I achieved it. I'm hoping that
we can both attend the spring event with these 2 cars.