My first love in Letter Car Land was a destroyed C for sale in Pennsylvania 30 years ago. Money was short and I had to let it go. After some time, I came across another C and this time it was in Europe. The car was rough, rusty and missing the complete front end and engine. I decided to pass on this one too.
Through some friends in the Geneva Lake area of Switzerland, I learned about a 300 C with single headlights that had been residing in a garage for at least a couple of decades.
The owner was a very nice guy but his asking price was a mystery. The car was fairly rusty under the doors, but I couldn't see anything as the garage was really small and we didn't make a deal. After a year or so, a friend told me of a friend that happened to have a 300 C with some rust and the engine inside the trunk. Yes, it was the same car. It seems the owner had passed away and the cars were sold.
This car is a very early production model (1043). It was sold new in Ohio with a 120 MPH speedometer. After a couple of years, it was exported to Switzerland and changed hands a couple of times. Then Jean Hirschy, a 300 Club member from some years ago, purchased and started to restore the car. He took engine apart, bought some front end parts, and that was it.
In July 2006 I purchased the car and it arrived after the winter. I had never seen the car in daylight and it could have been a complete rust bucket. But aside from some rust in the trunk floor, rear quarters and rockers, the car was in good shape.
The new paint is the original shade, which I determined from some hidden spots under the emblems. The interior was in perfect shape for a car born in 1957; I just had to replace the carpet.
The dash had a small crack, but I decided to leave as-is, preferring original to repro parts. The engine was apart but mostly complete, still standard bore and crank. The cam was missing and now an Iskenderian cam gives life to the engine. The transmission was in good condition; it does not even leak. The chrome was redone of course, but the stainless was just polished. Seats, dash, steering wheel, headliner, door panels are all original and in very good shape. On Ebay I found some wire wheels, so they were mounted in place of the original wheels and hubcaps. Grill only needed to be cleaned, and I bought some emblems from the Club.
In a couple of years the car was finished. It still needs some small parts to be finished: front end, rear exhaust pipes and trunk detailing, but all considered it was a very easy restoration.