The 1966 model wqas the first year Chrysler did not offer a letter series 300. The company had plans to introduce the 300M that year but the project got cancelled and the 300 became just an option package for the first time.
This particular 300 had an interesting history for me. My neighbor originally owned the car and I could remember him trying to maneuver this big red machine down his narrow driveway, as I would walk to grade school in 1966 and 1967. He always favored Ford products and the 300 was replaced in 1967 with a Monterey. I moved away from the area in 1979 but continued to see the old neighbor from time to time at my Ziebart rustproofing business. While I worked on one of his cars in 1987, he noticed my two 300's sitting in the shop and asked me whether I remembered his red '66 model. I sure did! He mentionned that he knew where the car was located and asked if I would help him check it out if it came up for sale.
About a year went by before I got a phone call from him regarding the '66. He wasn't interested in purchasing the car himself anymore, but asked if I was. He mentionned there were some mechanical problems, as it hadn't moved much in the last twenty years. despite his claim of a car in overall good condition, I figured this was going to be another Midwestern rustbucket with a million miles on it. I was only halfheartedly interested in looking at it, but figured I'd at least humour him by checking it out.
The story about "Hadn't moved much" was right... I can remember the garage door going up and seeing the '66 with about an inch of dust on it. I quickly looked at the odometer, and it revealed only 28,000 miles! It had sat most of the time in this garage since he sold it in 1967. I realized the owner was still very sentimental and might change his mind about selling if I fooled around too long or criticized this car... the price was so low that I would have been crazy to say anything at all. Rather than try to start it, we decided to tow it home with a bumper hitch. It seems like the whole neighborhood knew of this car, and people, seeing it out of the garage, were stopping on the street, asking whether it was for sale.
It took about a month to get the radiator, brakes, battery, exhaust and fuel systems cleaned out. The gas tank and fuel lines were filled with a rusty gasoline jelly from sitting so long in the garage. The total cosmetic redo involved a wash and wax. What an easy restoration!
Today the red 300 has a total of 32,000 miles. It's equipped with 383 4-barrel, with air, power windows, and tilt steering wheel as the major options. The red exterior is the biggest attention draw. This must be the brightest red that Chrysler ever offered on the full-sized models, and this car looks great with the color. While it's not a REAL Letter Series 300, it certainly has been a fun car to own and drive.