The Complete Story
So how did this odyssey begin? On December 6, 2002 a colleague, Dr. Mittie Dragosylovich called my office and asked if I'd be interested in touring the private collection of muscle cars owned by Billy Beeville. Billy is an institution onto himself in Lawton, Oklahoma…having a very successful GM salvage yard and touted to have a phenomenal muscle car collection which he opens to friends and their guests once a year. Saturday, December 7th found Mittie, Pete Landoll and me lost in awe amongst Billy's pristine museum of American muscle cars. I was particularly impressed with Bill's stringent attention to detail as a paradigm for all his restoration projects. Can you imagine waiting 18 months for the correct battery cable for a 1968 Dodge Super Bee? I was instantly enthralled with the concept of immersing myself in a restoration project in a car that I would have such a passion. The thought of owning a prized piece of Americana from the glorious American automotive age of the 1950's took hold. That evening Marnie and I along with my visiting sister-in-law Buffy Price went to the Lawton Little Birds' Christmas Party at our great friends and neighbor's home, the Parkers. Many of the T-bird owners attending had several other collector cars and the bug bit then and there. I HAD TO HAVE A COLLECTOR CAR! I knew right away that I wanted a piece of the glory of the Forward Look….the finned cars of Chrysler designer Virgil Exner from the period 1955 to 1961. My favorite was either a 1957 or 1958 Chrysler…a 300 letter car! The 1957 Chrysler 300C was in my estimation the most beautiful car ever designed and produced. OK, a 300 C or D it was to be! Hmmm!! The price of one of these machines was daunting! Easily $70 to $80K in fully restored condition. Oh well, something to dream about!
As Christmas approached, a very sentimental journey unfolded for me. My dear father passed away in 1979….a person I deeply miss and whom I think of every day and in everything I do. He always emphasized the strength and beauty in things…whether it is in the power of nature, the engineering marvel of the battleship USS Missouri, the inner strength possessed by a US Marine, the influence of knowledge, or the beauty and grace of a well executed powerful automobile. Dad is responsible for my passion for automobiles and my love of things beautiful and strong. I remember going for walks with him in the neighborhood as a child and him pointing out some of the neatest cars that lawyers and oil company executives owned in East Greenbush, New York. One was a 300C Chrysler….I can still remember him referring to it as The Beautiful Brute. The most powerful car made in America and the fastest! It was out of his price league however, and ran on premium fuel! My beloved mother passed away in 2002. She embodied gentleness, peace, nurturing, and also all things beautiful and strong in life. I smile at her picture every day in my office and she is special in my thoughts and in all that I think and do. Mom didn't share the passion for cars that Dad did, however, she would support him and understood that he loved cars and how he passed it on to me! Dad worked several jobs at one time to provide a nice home and good life for our family. One of his second jobs was working for Mutterer Chevrolet in East Greenbush, New York in the parts department. He would call my mother and tell her to get me in my snow suit and he would be by the home to pick me up to go on several parts runs in Albany, New York. Dad worked shift work for Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, and would fill in daytime hours off working for the Chevy dealer. His way of spending time with me was to take me around with him on his parts runs! My mother said that my third vocabulary word after Momma and Daddy was Cadillac!!
Marnie and Buffy went to visit Buffy's family the next week prior to Christmas and the Saturday after they departed, December 14th (my parents wedding anniversary) I got thinking seriously about the Chrysler 300C or D. I called my nephew Robert Hagerty ("Bert") and couldn't believe what came out of my mouth! I said "Bert, I'm willing to shoot the wad, I want you to see if you can find me a 1957 300C or 1958 300D Chrysler hardtop, white or black in pristine condition on the internet". Bert is really into cars, mainly foreign, but loves to shop cars on the internet and then dream of being able to fenagle their cost someway out of the family! Two hours later, Bert calls back all excited saying "Uncle Rob, get on Google and type in 1957 Chrysler 300C and then click to the top of page 10 and look what I found!" Bingo!! She was not white or black but the most beautiful Regimental Red 1957 300C I had ever laid eyes on! Love at first sight probably best sums up the situation. I thought about the car, it was for sale, and at a very tempting price. I called Bert and shared my enthusiasm. However, being a prudent person, I controlled my lust, reminded myself that temptation is at times the work of the devil, and to put it on my mental back shelf and at least sleep on the matter. Sunday afternoon December 15th, found me on the phone with John McCue, the owner in Half Moon Bay, California. John spent an hour on the phone with me answering questions and informing me of the car's history and giving me names of previous owners and folks that had recently driven the car. John was in the process of getting ready to host a Christmas decorating party at his home later that afternoon, but promised to e-mail me more pictures. A terrible storm then hit the coast of northern California that day and Half Moon Bay was without power for 3 days. During this time in every free moment I was searching the internet and reading everything I could about the 300C Chrysler. The Chrysler 300 Club International had a marvelous and informative web page which further fed fuel to the fire burning inside me to have one of these cars. December 18th arrived with the long awaited e-mail photos from John. Oh My Lord! She was beautiful inside and out, under the hood, and in the trunk! Several more phone calls to John and then an e-mail correspondence to Wayne Graefen, the 300 Club International 300C consultant, made me come to the decision that this car was for me, and that there were many other 300 aficionados lining up to purchase this vehicle. A hasty call to John ensued on Friday, December 20th. "How much to take it off the market until I can get to California to drive her?" John said that I sounded like the person he wanted to sell the car to….someone who would give her tender loving care and wasn't out to speculate on her or chop her up to make a profit on parts. We agreed upon a reasonable non-refundable deposit which I overnight mailed to John, and the purchase option was solely mine! Marnie was on her way to Oklahoma City to pick up RJ and Sean who were flying in for Christmas when this decision was made. I called her on her cell phone and after sharing the joy of hearing the voices of our sons safely in the car, I asked her if she would like to go to San Francisco for a long weekend, that of January 9th. Having left our hearts in San Francisco many times …."Of course!!" was her response. John, fortunately, wouldn't sell me the car until I had personally inspected it and drove her. I didn't even know what to expect in how a 300C should handle, ride, or even sound like….and here I committed a considerable check and expensive trip to San Francisco and with the inherent shopping costs! Reality Check Time!! Never a doubt. Follow the passion! These voices were starting to get a little spooky…it was as though there was Divine intervention in guiding me along this path!
Christmas 2002 was perhaps the most joyous holiday time for my family. Yes, we lost my mother Betty that year…but we all seemed much closer together and very considerate of each other and just had so much fun and relaxation! I felt so close to my parents and reflected back to my age of remembrance and awakening… age 4…1957! Oh my goodness! Now the 300C Chrysler! Why did this car have such a profound effect on me? The story brings it all out….I realized 9 months later. I did make a dedicated decision…if I purchase this car I will name her MOPSY…the affectionate name my father gave my mother…my tribute to my parents.
The weekend of January 9th could not have been be more memorable! Staying at Fisherman's Wharf, great dining, jogging along San Francisco Bay, fabulous shopping, and a scenic drive down the Pacific Coast Highway put everything in perspective. This was a divine excursion! I met MOPSY in person for the first time at 2:00 pm January 11th! I drove her for 40 miles on the Pacific Coast Highway during an overcast day….but to me the day couldn't have been brighter! She was what I expected with a few congenital defects that I learned later were common to 1957 Chrysler products that could be corrected with time and patience. Oh, and with emotion and money! I gave John the check for the balance that day and before I knew it he signed the title over to me! YES!! A 1957 Chrysler 300C, VIN 3N57-3216, engine # 3NE57-3312….` MOPSY was mine!! John proved to be a most delightful person who shared the same passion for this era of automobiles and was very forthright and honest in his dealings. Marnie and I loved touring his palatial home in Half Moon Bay and visiting his car barn 20 miles away. I arranged shipping with Exotic Motor Transport after there were a few corrections John agreed to have made on MOPSY. John kept us informed over the next month and sent a myriad of "baby" pictures…the coolest were his farewell shots as she was loaded on the enclosed transporter in San Francisco.
At 10:00 pm on a cold night of February 9, 2003 (my father's birthday!!) MOPSY arrived in front of our house. Gary and Linda Parker and the whole Rivera family were bundled up in night clothes to watch MOPSY come off the second tier of the transporter with exhaust steam coming out her dual exhausts and her grand tail lights greeting us!! There were only a few other times in my life that my heart raced so much (Meeting Marnie for the very first time, and seeing RJ and Sean for the very first time, and when my parents brought my sister Meg home from the hospital). The transport driver asked me if I wanted him to pull her in the driveway…from Gary Parker's and my response it was readily obvious that the answer was NO THANKS and we were off like a couple of car jackers with the rear wheels squealing as we rocketed down the street! Marnie had the foresight to go to bed early with the admonition to remember to let Duke (my little buddy a Yorkshire terrier) out before I retire to bed in the early morning hours! I took a complete mental inventory then and there of what I wanted corrected to bring her to the next level! Again I was staring the devil in the face!
February 11th was a pleasant winter afternoon in Oklahoma…one of those days that we had a break in the chill and the temperature reached 70 degrees in the afternoon! I took MOPSY out for her first tender daily drive to get her registered. Windows down and radio blaring! (See interesting experiences section about this) The experience at the Tag agency was another interesting story with a very neat ending. (See interesting experiences section about this)
Jerry Wise entered the picture on February 12th when I left MOPSY in his and Dan Crawford's hands to commence the mechanical and functional/cosmetic restoration process I had outlined in my mind. Never did I expect that the odyssey would last for 9 months. (See restoration section for details) Things kind of snowballed out of restoration momentum and out of need. Many lessons were learned but positively greeted and accepted by all of us to bring MOPSY to where she is today!
Finally, on July 31st I drove MOPSY home from Pamplin's body shop. Jerry Wise, et al and Dan Crawford shared a bittersweet moment….happy to get this car out of their shops, not only was she a unique vehicle to work on, requiring a lot of patience and establishing a learning curve to correct things, but also a nuisance to keep people away from her while she was at their place of business! They however, developed an enthusiasm and affection for what was being done to her and to see her evolve into the beauty she is. Marnie was on her summer sojourn to the northeastern part of the country and I had MOPSY all to myself. Yes, I was seen driving her at midnight with the windows down and the radio blaring….out of excitement to have her back and because I just couldn't
sleep with her in the garage! The following week I dropped her back to Dan Crawford for some "adjustments". I noted that she was running rough, ran hot, and trembled at speeds of 35-50 MPH. I left for a week to visit with my family in upstate New York and Dan had her for this time. Then came the FATEFUL PHONE CALL of August 14th.
All Dan said was "I found two things wrong….. they are not good. The engine is out of balance ….and…there are 3 cracks in the engine block that were not present two weeks ago." OHHHH….KKKK!! Several calls to George Riehl, Greg Leggatt, Larry Jett, Wayne Graefen and Henry Hopkins were made. I decided to put liquid glass engine sealer in as a temporary fix. I emphasize TEMPORARY, because by that evening I reconciled myself that I purchased this vehicle to drive it like a 300...a muscle car, not like a Checker Marathon taxi cab…and it was time for a rebuilt engine! By midnight I had located a 392 hemi long block replacement kit from Chuck Taylor in Cottonwood, California. George Riehl agreed to rebuild the transmission and I found Fox radiator in Lawton to core and refurbish the radiator. Also, I decided to replace/refurbish/rebuild all the other components under the hood. Carl and Rexanne Reimer gave me a solid recommendation in Al Wiess to rebuild the engine in Wichita Falls, Texas. Two- thirds of the complete engine compartment/drive train restoration project were in place within 18 hours of the FATEFUL PHONE CALL. However, I needed a crucial step yet to fall into place….to find someone willing to remove and install the drive train and engine compartment componentry. This person had to be meticulous, fully understanding and appreciative of this era of automobile, knowledgeable of these cars and their intricacies (i.e.QUIRKS) and have the right attitude to work on her. Attitude meaning no ego problem in that he would be happy to call for consultation along the assembly process for advice should a problem arise. Also, be available to make the final adjustments to have the car run the way it was designed. This became a major concern and lead to a restless night of sleep (if that is what you want to call it) on August 15th. Saturday August 16th, while playing with Duke, another voice came into my mind, saying how about calling George Fogg? George is married to Patt Fogg, one of our fine outpatient surgery nurses at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. George and Pat happen to be quite involved with hot rods and Yorkshire terriers. So I called George and explained my dilemma. George said he knew of a few people who may be able to help me. He stated that he would try to contact them and would call back in a few hours. Ten minutes later George calls back and gives me Larry Wagner's name from Duncan, Oklahoma to call. George said that Larry restored his hot rods and was willing to do what I needed. I immediately phoned Larry and MOPSY was delivered to him without hood on Tuesday, August 19th. Larry called on the morning of August 21st and said that it was time for me to pick up the engine, transmission, and radiator. That afternoon all was loaded on Jerry Wise's trailer and I made the journey to Wichita Falls to drop off the hemi to Al Wiess and Tommy Keeter to be rebuilt. The transmission was shipped from the Wichita Falls Yellow Freight terminal to George Riehl in Jonesville, Michigan.
September 3rd through the 7th found Marnie and I journeying to our first 300 Club International Meet in Dayton Ohio. During this odyssey we joined the Chrysler 300 Club International and the Chrysler 300 Club, Inc. The Dayton meeting was a concours gathering…needless to say an excellent opportunity to visit with the owners and experience all the 300 letter cars. I finally got to hear and feel what a 300C should sound and ride like through the courtesy of Jim Kraussmann, Dan Giese, Bill Woodman, Bob Cornett, and Sam Molina. Listening to more voices, I decided to replace the fan clutch, obtain a 180 degree high performance thermostat and learned interesting engine compartment detailing facts. Also the crucial decision was made to rebuild the generator and power steering pump while the engine was out and to obtain a new A/C condenser.
October 1st brought a telephone call from Tommy Keeter saying "we have a hemi!" I picked up Jerry Wise's trailer and headed for Wichita Falls after office hours. The 392 was sparkling clean and ready to be mated back to the 727 Torque-Flite transmission and put back into the engine bay. Of course I took the wrong exit heading north on I-44 and literally ended in a corn field. The On-Star lady even confirmed this!! Fortunately a farmer came by, shut down his tractor and inferred that I was certainly lost and inquired, which would not be the only time I would be asked…"is that a HEMI?". Bless his soul he helped me get oriented and we finally reached Duncan before sunset. Larry Wagner reinstalled the engine and transmission along with the myriad of other new or rebuilt components and she was cranked for the first time on October 15th. Tommy Keeter and Al Wiess then came and got her and put her on a trailer to return to Wichita Falls for final Carburetor settings. I picked her up sans hood on October 21st, two months after I hauled the engine and transmission to Wichita Falls. The drive back to Lawton was exciting to put it mildly. Especially when I filled the newly refurbished gas tank for the first time! (See interesting stories section) After a varied high speed run to Lawton, Jerry Wise and colleagues replaced the hood and I drove her home!
Over the last week of October and the first few weeks of November many final adjustments had to be made to the transmission, fuel system, and speedometer and A/C system. Can I say that she is complete? I don't dare say so, superstition definitely matters with a collector car, but I feel so!
The whole odyssey was a hoot and a challenge. Not only was a Beautiful Brute brought back to her shining glory, but I experienced a rather religious experience and definitely solidified positive memories of my happy childhood days being raised by my fantastic parents. So to Betty and Bob Kern, I dedicate MOPSY.
I was 49 months old when Mopsy came off the assembly line at the Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan plant and 49 years old when I purchased her.
My father owned a 1957 DeSoto Firesweep Sportsman 2 door hardtop. It was perhaps my most favorite of all the cars he owned. I frequently remember riding with Dad on a summer day with the windows down and the AM radio blaring Yankee's Baseball via the voice of the Yankees, Mel Allen. When I took Mopsy for her first ride in Lawton, it was a warm day with the windows retracted and when I tuned the AM radio the first signal found was ESPN Sports! (Rod Serling where are you?)
The lady at the Lawton Tag Agency asked me the value of Mopsy when I went to register her for the first time and pay the Oklahoma Excise Tax. I just looked at her when she inquired and without having to say a word, she responded by saying that the car was a 1957 model and not on the state's guide for used car valuation. She said that usually they assign a value of $1000 and the charge will be $68. Next year it will be $25 less. Who am I to argue with this plan?!
I pulled up to the Texaco station in Wichita Falls, Texas to fill Mopsy's tank for the first time since the drive train restoration was completed. Part of that process was to drop the gas tank and clean it out and repaint it and replace it along with the newly rebuilt fuel tank sending unit. I also replaced the complete exhaust system, since the existing one was not having the exhaust tips exiting in the correct location and there were a series of bends by the front of the tank by the sending unit that were not correct. I started filling the tank and went to get a soft drink and use the rest room. As I exited the rest room I glanced at my beautiful restored car and exclaimed OH _ _ _ _!! There was an under frame irrigation system of gasoline going in all directions!! At first I thought it was the pump not clicking off, but much to my horror that was not the case! The proprietor of the gas station crawled under the car and said that there was a leak around where the fuel tank sending unit was attached. He said that after driving the car a few miles the level of the gas should be below the area of the leaking sending unit and this should stop. For once I was thankful that Mopsy gulped premium fuel. Ironically, we had been experiencing a grounding problem with the fuel gauge and could not get the fuel gauge to register full with a completely filled tank. As I high-tailed it back to Lawton the gauge read FULL for the first time but LEAKED!! The most alarming thought was that if I hadn't replaced the exhaust system, the leaking fuel would have first trickled over the hot exhaust pipes and probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to hit the ground before exploding! LISTEN TO YOUR VOICES.
- completely rebuilt 392 Hemi engine with replacement block to 300C specifications
- rebuilt Torque-Flite 3-speed automatic transmission
- rebuilt fuel, water, and power steering pumps, harmonic balancer and generator
- new high speed Road Runner starter
- new oil pump, coil, distributor cap and rotor, voltage regulator and fuse
- new front universal joint and transmission mount
- cored and refurbished radiator
- all new hoses and fan belts
- fully detailed engine compartment
- new A/C condenser , blower motor, dryer, and heater control valve.
- converted factory A/C system from R-134 back to R-12
- new hood insulator pad
- rebuilt WCFBs and located matching carburetor number tags
- new Jiffy Jet hoses, pump, electric wiper actuating switch and diverting valve
- new push-button transmission selector mechanism, push-button starter switch and back-up lamp switch
- new fan clutch and 180 degree thermostat
- new battery cables, battery disconnect switch and battery hold-down brackets
- new Pertronics Ignitor Electronic ignition system
- new dipstick and tube for engine oil
- new coolant recovery tube
- new front suspension upper and lower A-arm bushings and rebuilt center-link
- converted front drum brakes to disc
- new brake lines and distribution valve
- aligned front end and adjusted torsion bars to factory specifications
- installed new Detroit-Eaton 7-leaf rear springs with new bushings
- installed 4 new Gabriel gas shock absorbers
- new aluminized exhaust system and Longfellow mufflers
- refurbished and restored gas tank
- rebuilt fuel tank sending unit
- undercoated complete undercarriage
- 5 new Coker 2.5" WWW radial tires
- repainted center red ring of full wheel covers
- replaced one full wheel cover
- realigned and tightened steering mechanism
- realigned front and rear bumpers and frame supports
- shimmed hood hinges forward of firewall and realigned hood to front grill; necessitating building cowl forward to match
- new windshield wiper blades
- rechromed grill surround, and grill and trunk 300 emblem bezels
- repainted aluminum grill and brake vent louvers
- repainted hood and various body areas
- new tail light gaskets and new left tail light lens
- insulated trunk
- new carpeted custom spare tire cover
- new jack hold down bracket system
- obtained and refurbished metal spare tire cover
- new wheel chock
- replaced all trunk, tail light, back-up lamp, directional signal, and interior light bulbs
- new speedometer cable and housing
- rebuilt speedometer
- converted clock to quartz movement
- replaced all interior wiring, and electric window and seat wiring harnesses
- rebuilt rear electric window motors, electric seat motor and seat transmission
- rebuilt 4-gang driver door and 1-gang passenger door electric window switches
- rebuilt power seat switch
- removed dash and repainted dashboard and all gauges and control knobs
- new dashboard pad
- repainted all interior trim pieces
- new interior wind lacing
- rechromed interior rearview mirror
- new visor vanity mirror engraved with the Forwardlook logo
- sound proofed and thermal insulated firewall, doors, rear-quarter panels, rear-seat back and floor
- new interior carpet
- custom made carpeted front and rear floor mats
- new headliner
- refurbished sun visors
- rechromed dash trim, turn-signal lever, horn ring, rear ashtrays, and sun visor supports
- new horn cap lens
- new dash ashtray escutcheon
- installed new high-tech Pioneer AM/FM stereo and trunk mounted CD changer with remote infra-red sensor in concealed location
- new factory rear speaker grills and speakers
- new front panel speakers and grills
- custom made hardwood base upholstered arm rest bolsters
- refurbished arm rest pads
- new courtesy light dome lenses
- adjusted all electric windows
- replaced driver's door vent-window divider bar and channel flocking
- rebuilt driver's door handle and latching mechanism
- new rear arm rest panels
- new front door panels
- new high beam indicator lens
- new glove box compartment
- new 300 medallions for grill and trunk lid
- 300C-57 Oklahoma vanity plate
- new 300 door sill plates
- new front seat end covers and seat track covers
- new engine compartment and trunk instruction labels
- new visor instruction sleeve
- polished outside dual rear view mirrors
- new custom made vintage era front seat belts
- AirTemp A/C sticker
- Adjusted rear seat brackets
- Painted spare tire rim
Parts were obtained from locations in 19 states and 4 countries
- Mopsy was assembled at the Chrysler Corporation Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan plant in August, 1957. The production run of 300C cars for that year totaled 2251 units, 464 convertibles with the rest being 2 door coupes. VIN numbers were from 3N57-1001 to 3N57-3251, Mopsy being 3N57-3216 made her 35 numbers short of the end of the production run. August, 1957 was the last full month of 300C production with just a few assembled in September, 1957 before the conversion to 1958 300D production.
- The VIN number is separate from the engine number and frame number.
The engine and frame numbers are the same. Mopsy's engine number is 3NE57-3312. Engine numbers for the 300C went from 3NE57-1000 to 3NE57-3338. Mopsy's original engine block has been retained by me to maintain authenticity or "matching numbers".
- Regimental Red was a special order factory color. Only 9 cars
were specified in this color; 2 of them being convertibles.
- Base retail price of a 300C coupe in 1957: $4864
Standard equipment: -Air Cleaner, Dual
-Air Foam Seat Cushion- Front and Rear
-Air Foam Seat Back- Front
-Carburetor- Dual- 4-barrel
-Safety-Cushion Dash Panel
-Drip Rail Cover Molding
-Dual Exhaust (2.25" w/2" tailpipe)
-Carpet Floor Covering
-Interior Light (remote control)
-Handbrake Warning Signal
-Custom License Plate Frame- Rear
-Full-Flow Oil Filter
-Spare Tire Cover
-Custom Steering Wheel
-"Blue Streak" 2.5" White Sidewall Nylon High
Speed Tires (Goodyear 9.00 X 14")
-Special Chrome Wheel Covers
-Luggage Compartment Light
-Mirror- Inside- Glareproof
-Genuine Leather Upholstering
-Silent Fan Drive (limits fan speed to 2500 rpm)
-Heavy Duty Suspension
-3.36 to 1 Axle Ratio
-Firepower 90 degree V-8, hemispherical
combustion chambers, overhead laterally
inclined, mechanically actuated valves
(solid lifter/adjustable rocker arms). High speed
-150 MPH Speedometer (late production cars
equipped with 120 MPH units due to supply
shortages at end of production run)
Factory Optional Equipment on Mopsy:
-Air Conditioning $377.30
-Power Antenna $?
-Mirror Rear View- Outside Right $4.30
-Mirror- Vanity $2.00
-6 Way Power Seat $96.80
-Power Steering $107.60
-Power Windows $107.60
-Electro Touch Tuner seven
button radio (w/foot control
-Solex Glass $32.25
-Stone Shields- rear quarter panel $6.25
TOTAL RETAIL PRICE: $5722.20
(freight not included)
- Shipping Weight: 4235 lbs.
- Wheelbase: 126" Width: 78.8" Length: 219.2" Width: 78.8"
- Coolant Capacity: 25 qts. Fuel Capacity: 23 gal.
Crankcase Capacity: 5 qts. (+ filter)
- Compression Ratio: 9.25:1
- Brake Horsepower: 375 @ 5200 rpm
- Torque: 420 ft.lbs. @ 4000 rpm
- Engine Bore & Stroke: 4.00" x 3.90" = 392 cu. in.
- Wheels: 14" x 6.5"
- Top Speed: 145.7 mph (Chrysler Proving Grounds)
- 0 – 60 mph: 7.7 seconds
- 0 – 100 mph: 24.4 seconds
- Quarter Mile: 16.3 seconds, 84 mph
CAR COLLECTOR PEARLS OF WISDOM
- Anticipate the restoration process to take three times as long and at least three times the cost as originally expected
- LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICES
- Nothing of value comes easy, quick, or cheap
- Patience is a VIRTUE
- Murphy's Law will always rule….just learn to expect it and always have a back-up plan
- Be careful for what you wish…you may get it
- Never lose sight of the fact that a collector car is a machine, the people that you deal with, ask for advice, or meet along the way are more important
- Just think….all the time, money, emotion, and patience that you are putting into the restoration project was originally assembled by a crew of people who viewed the process as JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE PLANT!!
- Respect signs at car shows not to touch the vehicles….the other person went through just as much of an ordeal if not more than you did to get to the point of restoration that you did
- Make sure you have a good collector car insurance policy and read and understand the FINE PRINT
- Don't ever let anyone drive the restored vehicle unless they have the same vested interest in her care and appearance, have good insurance, or have plenty of cash to take care of unexpected contingencies
- Don't let YOUR EGO GET THE BEST OF YOU when the car is completed…..it will come back to bite you. Promotional opportunities, parades, and showboating usually end up in scratched paint, bruised egos and lost friendships. Especially beware of leasing your collector car to a movie studio….the last time it will look good to you is when you send it off to the movies.
- Do share all your knowledge, experience, sources, and extra parts with other collectors/restorers/club members…..it will come full circle sometime to help you and will promote the legacy of your collector car
- Learn everything you can about your collector vehicle…you may need to fall back on that knowledge when on the side of a highway some sunny afternoon with the hood raised, or to help assimilate knowledge and make important connections when sorting out a problem
- Always travel with a cell phone and the directory of club members for your collector car
- Join and participate in as many collector car clubs that exist for your vehicle
- Purchase the gospels of collector car ownership: SERVICE MANUAL and PARTS MANUAL
- Keep in mind that your efforts are helping to preserve automotive history….you are a caretaker/curator in this part of human manufacturing prowess
- SAFETY should be a priority in your restoration project especially if you plan on driving your collector car; consider disc brakes, radial tires, and by all means install seat belts
- DO IT RIGHT…. or the phrase "a penny wise and a pound foolish" will become true
- It's OK to be Obsessive/Compulsive, remember It's As Good As It Gets!!
- Know how to navigate the Internet….it will make this experience FUN!!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the myriad of people who have assisted me in this odyssey of finding and restoring Mopsy. Without their cheerful help and encouragement nothing would resemble what she is today. They selflessly helped me along the way sharing the same vision of preserving a piece of American automobilia.
From the Chrysler 300 Club International and the 300 Club, Inc. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude:
George and Eleanor Riehl George McKovich
Wayne Graefen Larry Jett
Greg Leggatt John Hertog
John Lazenby Bill Spear
Gary Goers Gloria Moon
Jim Krausmann Sam Molina
Dave Geise Bob Cornett
Henry Hopkins Bill Woodman
Karl Pippart Tony Rinaldi
Bob Merritt Paul Holmgren
Jack Wiltse Jeff Carter
Larry Carrel Tim Wood
From the great people of Texoma:
Jerry Wise Dan Crawford
Larry Wagner Al Wiess
Tommy Keeter John Ramirez
George Fogg Carl and Rexanne Riemer
Cleland Staggs Pete Landoll
Gary Parker Billy Beeville
Maxie Crouch Mittie Dragosylovich
Wes Lower Mike Harrison
Bob Zwaan Butch Durbin
From friends and family:
G. Robert "Bert" Hagerty George Hagerty
A special tribute to my wife of 28 years, Marnie, for enthusiastically supporting me in this venture and for my sons RJ and Sean who were understanding and quick to appreciate the significance of this project.