Chrysler 300 Club International
Kokomo, Indiana

May, 2024

Annual 300 Letter Car Spring Meet
written by Ralph Rhees and Jim Rockey

A foreword from Noel Hastalis - Echoing the positive comments that others who attended our Kokomo Meet have offered! A big Thanks! to Ralph and Rockey for their hard work planning and producing this big party, as we nearly tipped the 100 attendee bogey. Though a bit wet on Wednesday for those driving in from the south and a couple other showers that followed, the weather cooperated nicely. Our Saturday Car Show was all blue skies and sunshine, with 22 Letter Cars showing off their chrome - only missed having a J and a Hurst! - along with 7 other older 300 Sports and Mopars by our members, and a nice collection of other interesting Mopars with a few random GMs and Fords. Standouts among these were the radically modified '35 Chrysler Airflow and the 1919 Dodge Brothers Touring Car with an RB motor topped by '64 Short-rams stuffed in its narrow engine bay.

A special Thanks! also to Jeff Bailey, who not only trailered in his sweet Silver Mist L coupe from Oklahoma, but also brought his 1:25 scale models that he had beautifully built - including one of almost every Letter Car (missed C and E) – and then generously donated to be raffled off to 14 lucky winners at our Awards Banquet.

A summary from Ralph and Rockey … We would like to thank everyone who attended the spring meet here in Kokomo, Indiana. We especially appreciate those members who made the soggy trip into Kokomo on Wednesday, May 15th. The meet’s initial gathering took place at the host hotel on the south end of town. Attendees rolled in to complete their registration process and obtain comfortable accommodations. Later that evening, we held a general meeting to get to know each other better, to provide an orientation about what to expect over the next few days and to answer any questions. The rains finally came to an end overnight; hopefully everyone got a good rest in preparation for the great activities coming up.

On Thursday, May 16th, we took a trip together up to Auburn, Indiana. Our destinations were twofold, first to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum (or ACD) and then also to the NATMUS (National Auto and Truck Museum). Approximately 65 club members were in attendance and around 10-12 letter cars were actually driven from Kokomo to Auburn and back again, without any incidents of course. – almost! The Millers‘ – Tom, Amy and Rita – ’55 300 failed to crank. A jump by Vic Millis’ Kiekhaefer recreation B got it to the local restaurant; after lunch got it fired up with a new battery; made it to the hotel and Car Show; then dead again with an internal generator issue – to qualify hands-down for the Hard Luck Award. The ACD tends to focus on elegant motor cars of the past and as well as the history and evolution of Hoosier-based automobile manufacturers and parts suppliers. The NATMUS houses a great selection of muscle cars and trucks, race cars and customized vehicles in many different flavors.

Our group seemed to enjoy both museums and the stunning contrasts between the two collections. After returning to Kokomo, participants broke for dinner individually but reconvened later that evening for a Chrysler 300 Club International Inc business meeting. Afterwards, everyone retired at their own leisure to prep for the next day’s festivities.

Our Club was invited to visit the Grissom Air Museum in Peru, Indiana on Friday, May 17th. Again roughly 65 or so members were in attendance and a dozen or so letter cars were driven to the site. We were broken up into smaller groups and then guided by museum volunteers, first through the inside collection dedicated to the history of the US Air Force in general and Grissom Air Force Base (GARB) in particular and second, outside and around the grounds where many historic aircraft and armaments are on display.

The folks who are in charge of the museum very much appreciated our interest and our patronage. The club received a nice letter from Frank Faulkner, who wrote “Good afternoon Ralph, Rockey and the 300 Owner’s Club members. Thank you for visiting our Grissom Air Museum today. We GAM docents (Larry. John, Thom and Frank) enjoyed hosting you today and sharing some stories about Bunker Hill ARB, Grissom ARB and several of the GAM artifacts on display. Thank you also for bringing your classic Chrysler 300 vehicles to GAM.”

The club once again returned to the host hotel in Kokomo for a brief respite, and later that afternoon, everyone travelled to “A Summer Place” in Sharpsville, Indiana for some “eats” and a walkabout. This is a “genuine” 1950s-style Hoosier small town, including a barber shop, a gas station, a diner, a movie theater, a fire department and more, constructed in Jim Richardson’s own back yard. Given our sizable attendance, we had to break into two groups, and each had its own dinner schedule. Ever the consummate gentleman and host, Jim watched over his guests carefully and everyone seemed to enjoy their visit to his own personal village.

The ‘Big Day” was Saturday, May 18th. Things got kicked off with a letter-car themed show hosted by Button Motors in Kokomo. Our prayers were answered for nice weather; bright blue skies, comfortable temperatures and light breezes ruled the day and helped everybody at the show stay feel great. A special area was prepped along the front of the dealership’s property, where most of the 22 letter cars were parked in order of model year (and letter sequence of course). Space was also provided for a variety of other MOPARs (non-letter cars and others) plus a few nice GM and FORD models. 300s and other Chryslers were selected for awards using a “people’s choice” methodology and the winners were announced at the Awards Banquet later that afternoon. Button Motors was definitely grateful for all the attention our 300 Show brought to their car lots and they did a great job taking care of us all while we were on their property.

The awards dinner took place at Elite Banquet and Conference Center in Kokomo. The site did a nice job setting up the venue and provided great food and drink service. After we had all eaten and drank our fill, awards were called out and presented to very worthy owners. Following the People’s Choice Awards, Christina Park picked names out of a basket and announced the winners of each of Jeff Bailey’s hand-built 1:25 scale models. We hope that everybody left happy.

In closing, we would like to thank Noel for all his efforts toward coordinating with club members and providing needed information for our attendees and the events club members. Many thanks to Sandy Henderson for creating the center pieces for the banquet and to Mark Henderson for helping us out with event pictures. Finally, many thanks to each of our Chrysler 300 Letter Car members who attended the Spring Meet. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves and look forward to seeing you again soon.

With very best regards, Ralph Rhees and Jim Rockey

Photo credits: Warren Anderson, Carl Bilter, Kurt Brueski, Bill Elder, Noel Hastalis, Dawn & Jamie Hyde, Don Verity, Gloria Moon, Mark Obermann, Ralph Rhees.

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