Annual Fall Meet, Spencer, North Carolina
Rev. Carl C. Kreps
Jewells in the South”
America is a
throwaway society. We eat off of paper plates and drink from plastic
cups and use plastic table cloths and throw them away after one use.
We change our babies’ diapers and throw them in the trash. We
buy a new car, drive it a few years, trade it in and it soon goes to
a scrap yard. If something breaks around the house, we buy a new
one. Only lately are we becoming concerned about recycling and
preservation. That is the thing that I like about our club slogan:
“Dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Chrysler 300
Letter Series Automobiles1955 thru 1965 – The Beautiful
Now this has
to do with how our club met at Spencer, North Carolina, September
25-28, 1996. I knew for some time that the N.C. Transportation
Museum at Spencer was going to celebrate their 100 years’
history of the old Spencer Shops in 1996. Driving past the place one
day with my two sons, Glenn and Alan, they said,” Dad, that’s
a perfect place for the 300 club to sometime have a show.” That
stimulated my thinking, for indeed local car clubs had been having
meets there. A Studebaker club has an annual show and there is
always an annual truck show. I knew the transportation Museum was
spending a lot of money for restoration and preservation of the
Spencer Shops for 1996 and so I thought, why not? I volunteered to
host a meet in September of 1996 and went to the museum early in the
year and asked permission to have a show. “Yes, that will be
fine,” they said. “we are trying to schedule a hundred
events through out the year to celebrate the centennial of the Shops
and that can be one of our events.” Of course, when you make
inquires like this you run the risk of getting involved and being
asked to do something else. They said “Would you be on our
events committee planning these things and would you become a
volunteer guide, or ‘Docent’ and help guide visitors
around the museum?” Well, I did and one thing lead to another.
At first, the
date that I chose was an open date with nothing else going on, the
weekend of the 28th. That’s fine. We can show off
our Chryslers. Then it became apparent that the remodeling of the
roundhouse was going to be complete in mid-September with a grand
opening on September 15. Great, I thought there will be a lot to see
besides our Chryslers that weekend. Now another annual event that
always happens is what they call “Rail Days” when they
emphasize the railroading aspect of the museum. It was scheduled for
another time but about midyear, the committee decided to move the
Rail Days to the same weekend as our Club Meet. Again, I thought,
great! Lots to do and see and many people coming to the museum to
take in the activities.
Let me back
up to September 15 when the dedication of the reopening of the
remodeled roundhouse. On that day the local newspaper’s
headlines were “Roundhouse dedicated – Crown Jewel of the
South.” In the speeches given, it was said that this
roundhouse is one of the finest in the Southwestern United states.
In fact, North Carolina boasts one of the best transportation museums
reflected on that as I was there that day and thought to myself that
in a few more days, there were going to be some other jewels here –
our Chryslers. Hence my idea – our Chryslers were jewels
within themselves. Yes, Crown Jewels of automobiles. Where else are
you going to see all of those pretty Letter Cars gathered in one
place. As the pictures testify, the Crown Jewels looked especially
beautiful on the green lawn at Ron Osborne’s place. Later the
museum really complimented us on the pretty cars there on the 28th.
One staff member, Ed Robinette, said he did not know that Hurst made
a Chrysler edition. There is another staff member who drives a Hurst
Oldsmobile to work each day.
Now to some
specifics. I began planning the extra days activities that we always
do. In discussing everything with Ray Jones (who helps the meet host
plan activities), we decided to visit Richard Petty’s Museum at
Level Cross and the Charlotte Motor Speedway near Concord. I went to
visit the powers that be and learned that we could visit Petty’s
Museum on Thursday and Friday we could do the speedway. I talked
often to Brad Bowling who is in charge of public relations and the
non-racing activities at the race track. Our thanks to him for
arranging our parking at the “Avenue of Flags” and eating
lunch at the Speedway Diners Club and touring the speedway.
I have a good
friend, who collects license tags by the thousands and I thought that
would be something different to see from anything we have done in the
past. So, I arranged for us to visit Ted Cline’s Museum in
Salisbury where he claims that he has a collection of 125,000 license
plates from all over the world. If any of you want a license plate,
the year of your car and from the State or Province, or country that
you hail from, you can write or call him at his address: Ted Cline,
700 Sunset Drive, Salisbury, N.C. 28144. (704)636-6928.
Most of you
know that I am perhaps the only “Preacher” in this club,
although another minister may have membership or did at one time. I
have been interested in old cars all of my life and it is my favorite
hobby. Maybe for some people who look at “a man of the cloth”,
that might be a strange hobby. Years ago, I had a member of one of
my churches look over the parts and pieces in my garage and as he
looked at it he said “What does a preacher want with all this
stuff?” Well. I like it! Then, I get a pleasing kick from
some of you who like to tease me, such as saying, “Reverend,
how did you keep the rain away today? You must have some influence
with the man upstairs.” Yes, at one point or another. I
sometimes get called officially or unofficially, the “Chaplain”
of our club. Sure enough, I did get to say the invocations a couple
of times before our meals and somebody said. “How did you pull
off an eclipse of the moon just before our show dates?” But
anyway, do you believe in divine guidance, or divine providence, or
good luck, or a lucky break, or whatever you want to call it? Let me
tell you how some things fell into place just beautifully. I am
amazed how some things came along at just the right time.
One day my
phone rang and it was club member Ronald Osborne who lives at
Pleasant Cross, near Greensboro and he says, “Carl I see you
are going to visit Petty’s Museum Thursday. How about coming
over to my place next. I live just 3-4 miles from Petty and we’ll
have a good old-fashioned N.C. barbecue supper in my building.”
Bingo! Just what I wanted for my attention was turning to meals and
extra shopping opportunities for the ladies and I had in mind a small
barbecue restaurant in Lexington that is fantastic. It is a small
restaurant and I was afraid they couldn’t seat everybody and
they couldn’t as it turns out, due to the size of our club
Over the road
I go again to see Ron Osborne and set up the details. Now, this was
my first time to meet Ron and be at his home. Was I ever surprised
at his garage and beautifully restored cars, which he does
professionally! I could not be happier as he arranged with his
caterer with whom he works, often hosting meals for local car clubs.
Nothing could have been greater! There was my barbecue taken care
of. Thanks Ron!
not all! My phone rang again on another day and the voice says, “I’m
Leonard Berger. I just joined the club and I just purchased a 300H
and I want to come to your show.” He told me that he was a
friend of the Petty family and knows the officials at the speedway.
Also, he used to race cars, was a personal friend and had worked with
Tim Flock and Buck Baker. Leonard told me that he would try and get
them to come to the speedway. We could also go to the Pettys and see
if we can visit their shops, (which the public normally doesn’t
see). Well, Bingo again!
Over the road
I go again retracing my earlier steps with Leonard to arrange a
better deal at Petty’s with a reduced price and opportunity to
see the shops. I personally met all the Pettys, Richard, Lee and
Kyle, which was a thrill for me. Then Tim Flock agrees to come to
the speedway on Friday although Buck Baker planned to be out of town
and couldn’t meet with us then. Thanks to Leonard for these
Well, that is
how it worked out. Talk about good luck, or divine intervention.
That made my show. Another thing, I like about our club is the
accommodating spirit of our officers to make sure the members have a
good time. For example, the admission fee at Petty’s Museum is
usually three dollars a person. Now that is reasonable by anybody’s
standards in this day and time. But with Leonard Berger’s
influence, they gave us fifty cents off, so we got in for $2.50.
Right on the spot, our officers decided to treat everybody and the
club paid the admission price and we all saw it free of charge. One
other thing, as strange events have it, some of our members lingered
a little late before going to the Osborne’s and were able to
meet Richard Petty as he came strolling in after an earlier
engagement. We thought that he would not be at the museum that day.
I’m glad that some of you got to meet him. Wish all of you
speedway Friday, Tim Flock made our da, as he spoke to us after lunch
at the beautiful Speedway Diners Club and then went outside and
allowed us to take pictures of him and his wife with our cars and
Let me give
credit to several others who helped me in special ways. Thanks to Ed
Corriher, my neighbor and newest club member who lives about two
blocks from me. He and I own, we think, the only Letter Series 300s
in the Spencer-Salisbury area. He had a copying machine for his
business and copied all of the papers for our brochures and booklet.
through a minister friend of mine from seminary days, the Rev.
Kenneth Bishop, his son, Nick Bishop lives in Spencer, is manager of
Stoudemire’s Furniture store and is involved in the museum
activities. He had some artistic ability and helped me design my
dash plaque and furnished a door prize and also to the many merchants
in town and two Chrysler dealerships, one in Salisbury and one in
Lexington, for supplying nice door prizes. Thanks to the Cheerwine
Company for all of the soft drinks furnished for the hospitality
room. Thanks to my wife, Ann, who did a lot of typing and ran
errands, my two sons, Glenn and Alan, who helped with the banquet,
joined in and helped with other activities and generally helped look
after me since I am somewhat disabled. They make sure I don’t
I thank the
club members who pitched in at the last minute, especially Gloria
Moon, Brian Wolfe, Don Warnaar who helped in the hospitality room,
George and Eleanor Riehl, who did much of the preliminary work for
the meet. Thanks to the officers who help in so many ways. I would
like to thank Tricia Adkins, our niece, who made the posters for me.
Thanks to Ray Jones for the many phone calls of advice over the
summer. My thanks to the ladies for sewing some door prizes out of
fabric designed as license plates. The ladies were: Mrs. Ted Cline,
Mrs. Susie Drum, Mrs. Naomi Devereaux and Mrs. Ruth Walton.
appreciation to Tom and Bea Gorse, who came in a camper and camped in
my backyard and helped put the booklets and packets together. They
also helped decorate the tables before the banquet. The list could
go on and on.
I thank the
N.C. transportation Museum for allowing us to use their facilities
for the Friday night business meeting. I apologize to those who
failed to find the meeting room as the lighting was very poor, but
the grounds Saturday where just what we needed for our show. By the
way, not everybody may have known it, for many did not come in, but
the transportation Museum had set up a hospitality room for us. I
was surprised myself. It was located in their office facilities and
some of you found it.
facilities at the Holiday Inn were very good and I apologize to those
who could not get a room there and had to go elsewhere. I was
assured early in the year that they would have plenty of rooms for
us, but circumstances at the last minute beyond my control prevented
this. It would have been so much nicer if all of us could have been
together in the same motel. We appreciate, your understanding of the
As they say.
“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” I have
since discovered, now that our show is over, that the Spencer Post
Office, which is right across the street from where we had the show,
has some interesting items for sale if you are a collector or like
souvenirs. I never dreamed of going over to the Post Office on the
Saturday of the show but lo and behold, they have yet for sale the
following items: Green coffee mugs (Southern Railway green) with 22
karat imprints showing a steam engine and in large print the date of
September 28th (which was our show date). The interesting
thing is, the manufacturer made an error on the zip code. You get a
set of these at a reduced price. The deal is, you buy one with the
misprint and in about a week or two, a new shipment is coming with
the correct zip code. You get a set of each for 8 dollars or 4
dollars each. There are about 20 sets left (that is misprinted
sets). If anyone wants a set, write me soon and send me the money
and I’ll get them for you. But you have to buy both mugs to
get the deal. Now an artistic person could easily take some gold
leaf paint and very carefully fill in the little bit of space on the
number 3 and turn it into an 8. But some are saying as collectors’
items, to keep the two mugs as they are – one correct, one
By the same
token, if anybody collects stamps, they issued an envelope and a
postcard with a first day of issue cancellation of September 28.
They are, of course 32 cents and 20 cent stamps and the cancellation
mark is a pretty one with a picture of a steam engine and appropriate
information. Also, some T-shirts with the wrong zip code are for
sale in large and extra-large sizes with the same information but
wrong zip code and they are selling for $4.00 each. So, if anyone is
interested in any of these, send me the money and maybe include a
little bit for postage and I’ll wrap them up and mail them to
you. These could make some nice souvenirs to give out as Christmas
And the beat
goes on. After the show, Tom and Bea Gorse and the Kreps family went
junk yarding the following week, finding some 300 parts and cars at a
local yard. I located another 300L coupe out of state, which I plan
to tow home in early November. I think it will be a new serial
number for the club’s L registry.
preserving and restoring those beautiful brutes. It can be done.
They are Crown Jewels! They don’t need to be crushed,
destroyed, or thrown away. Just one weekend before our meet, there
was an antique truck show at the Spencer Shops. I took a truck I own
but I noticed two unusual vehicles. One was a 1914 red truck with a
sign board saying this truck had been underwater about 45 years in
Lake Lure, one of North Carolina’s beautiful tourist spots in
the mountains. They fished it out and restored it beautifully.
Another, a 1934 Dodge truck, a good old Mopar, was there with
pictures of its restoration. If there ever was a junk heap, it was
when the man started. But there it sat, resplendent in new red and
black paint, like it came from the factory. Don’t give in to
the clunker bills and those pessimists who say it can’t be done
or isn’t worthwhile. The old Spencer Shops lay in ruins after
the 1960s when it closed. Albeit, it takes a lot of money. Eight
million dollars were spent on the restoration of the Roundhouse
alone, but now it is called the Crown Jewel of the South. I hope you
had time to see it and their display of some 20 antique cars, called
“Bumper to Bumper”, where I do my volunteering. I stay
with the old cars!
Come again to
Carolina, enjoy Cheerwine, our locally made cherry flavored soft
drink and sit back and enjoy our southern hospitality. I hope it
made it’s mark on you while you were here. Yawl come again.
Rev. Carl C.
I Second Place Al Vannice C300 760.5 points
Place Daryl Miller C300 735 points
Corriher 300B 401 points
II Third Place Harry Poole 300D 707 points
III First Place Joe James 300G 947.5 points
Place Jon Rose 300F (cvt) 940 points
Place Bill Spear 300G 856.5 points
Berger 300H 685.5 points
Award: Frank Driscoll, Rapid City, South Dakota, 300L coupe 4-speed,
Award: Al Bell, Whitehall, Michigan, 300C coupe, generator failure
at the Spencer, North Carolina, Meet
Allen, Daryl Miller, Al Vannice, Jim Wine
Corriher, Doug Mayer
Bell, Bob Cornett, Bill Elder, Ken Mack, Ron Osborne
Esselbach, Bob Hayes, Harry Poole, Jack Wiltse
Burke, John Hertog, Jerry Kocur, Jon Rose (cvt)
Cloer, Joe James, Andy Mikonis, Bill Spear, Don Verity
Berger, Bob Crawford, Gil Cunningham (cvt), Ed Phillips (cvt)
Cole (cvt), David Ellis, Pete Fitch, Vern Graeber, Mike Laiserin
(cvt), Ken Langdon
Driscoll, Carl Kreps (cvt), Murray Vise (cvt)
Moon, Howard Stoll
62 300: Gary
63 300: Mark
79 300: Ralph
Allan and Gloria Moon
H and C owners are responsible for one truly memorable meet. 300L
convert owner Carl Kreps did a terrific job. Wife Ann and sons Glenn
(new owner of a 426 Hemi powered belvedere) and Alan made sure that
everything went smoothly. It was a big job. THANKS!
A 300H owner,
Leonard Berger (an associate of Tim Flock’s back in the old
racing days) was responsible for Tim & Frances Flocks appearance
at the Charlotte Speedway. Wow! Leonard also got us into the Petty
Racing shops located behind the Petty Museum. The tour was long,
informative and plain amazing. One group had the living legend, Lee
Petty as their guide. We sat in the Richard Petty for Secretary of
State bus (N.C. – not U.S. damn it). We saw the engines, tires
chassis and all sorts of racing items in progress. We enjoyed
showing off our 300s to the Petty shop personnel and crew. Their
exclamation upon seeing a ram induced 413 was, “Holy Smokes!”
and the Hemis!! Motors are their thing. “What do you think we
could do with one of these?”
Ron Osborne had a real Southern barbecue for all of us after the trip
to the Petty Museum and shop. Most everyone had to wonder down and
check out Ron’s personal junkyard in the back. The garage that
could hold about a million cars, held all of us with ease. The cars
were lined up along one wall and outside to honor our dinner. Most
folks were either in awe of the grounds or just plain envious.
Either way, all appreciated the fine hospitality.
the cars attending the meet:
four of them. Two of them now have their glove box doors signed by
Tim Flock. (Do judges deduct points for that?) Bill Allen was
finally able to bring his C300 to a meet and then let John Lazenby
drive it. We don’t know who was happier. Another southern,
Jim Wine brought his C300 from South Carolina. Daryl Miller and his
C300 came to their first meet. Daryl entered his white C300 in
concours and did very well as did the irrepressible Al Vannice who
just seemed to grin his way through the meet with his new, white
Ed and Betty
Corriher brought their 300B. It was originally a 3-speed manual
transmission car and who knows, maybe a race car sold out of Daytona.
They are trying to trace the history on it. Doug Mayer had no
trouble at all, cruising down from New York in his 300B. Doug is our
Web Master. For those of us who don’t know a thing about
computers, just call him “Spiderman” for now.
Louise Elder trailered their beautiful black C with a really neat
“Viperish” (Indy Ram), Dodge pickup. This was one of
those meets when anyone could be seen driving any vehicle. Jo Ann
Jones sure drove that truck a lot, but it was just Bill in the C.
Bob Cornett brought the unusual two-tone 300C again. Anyone seeing
it for the first time, will use at least one roll of film on it. We
appreciate seeing just how differently a 300C could be ordered. They
weren’t all white hardtops after all. Al and Ann Bell did
drive a true white hardtop. This car was the first parking lot
repair job of the meet. The generator quit a couple of miles from
the meet so they took it across the street and got bushings installed
for just $10. We should all have gone across the street for that
price. Ken and Ann Mack trailered the stick coupe with a specially
outfitted, older Dodge truck. The C’s truck was the meets
established party area.
No meet is
complete without Jack and Marlou Wiltse’s copper D. All three
are lovely, even “Cut her loose!” Jack. Harry and Irma
Poole came in their white D. We appreciate the extra effort it took
for them to join us. Rick Esselbach brought his new (to us) white D
and Bob Hayes brought his original air- conditioned white D. All
four have the cloth “luxury” headliner and we were all
wondering just who out there might own a D with an original vinyl
drive an F to the meet with little or no brakes? Why, John Hertog
would and did. Can’t let stuff like that get in the way of
going to a meet. He fixed them Sunday morning, so he wouldn’t
miss any meet time. Another meet regular, the yellow F was there
brought by Michael and Linda Burke. Finally, after years of
last-minute problems, Jerry Kocur drove his black F. Jerry plans on
driving his F to as many meets as he drove his K. To do this, he
must drive at least 43,000 miles just to meets. Jon Rose trailered
his beautiful white convertible. It took a second in concours by
just a few points and it was some kind of close decision! At the
banquet, Jon thanked all of the judges for their efforts – a
very nice gesture. Entrants very rarely take the time to recognize
judges for their work (and essentially giving up a whole day of fun
George’s J was sick, Don Verity and his G did the honors this
meet by leaving at least 3,000 miles worth of tires on the meet
parking lot pavement. Thanks Don. Bill Spear trailered his
brand-new white G. Former owner of this white G, Joe James, brought
the cinnamon G. Both were terrific looking. Joe’s G was the
best of concours taking the top points in a really close race.
Dennis Cloer brought the sign and the G. The neon sign that said
“Chrysler 300” hung in the hospitality room window all
weekend. The G has been his since he dated and then married the
girl, whose father owned it. Andy Mikonis drove the white G as
always. It’s expected. Don’t know what we will do if he
drives something else. Probably say, “Where’s Andy?”
is a regular, Canadian H driver. (Did you know, Canadians speak a
slightly different language? The lead car in a race is not the draft
car – it’s the car that breaks wind.) Ed and Angie
Phillips trailered their red H convert with no problems before or
during the meet. Finally, perseverance pays off – they really
deserve a good meet. Another regular meet threesome, Gil and Carol
Cunningham and the red H convert, motored up from Florida. The H
behaved, but Carol never does. Gil, as always kept concours on
The only J
belonged to George Riehl. He made it to Salisbury and back home with
2 rods a-knocking’. George is a new daddy and we were all
somewhat surprised to hear he had fathered an elf – the elf was
pretty surprised too. We’ll say it officially – we
The two ram K convertibles showed again. Mike Laiserin’s red
one just came from the body shop, where it received body damage.
Take it back, Mike. Don and Pat Cole trailered their K and had two
blowouts on the trailer. Think the K doesn’t like trailers?
Don also had a little trouble with a Boy Scout Troop that liked his K
so much, some of them tried to drive it. Vern Graeber brought his K
and made Dave Werner very happy. Dave was seen driving it around.
Vern is another meet regular. Pete Fitch brought his sparkling
silver K and more jokes than Jack Wiltse could take standing up.
David Ellis (another familiar face now) and family brought their K
came in a very, very nice L convertible. First time for both to
attend. This is one of those cars, that the more you look at it –
the nicer it gets. Frank and Barbara (Mother Armadillo) Driscoll
again vacationed down in the yellow L 4-speed from the Dakota
Territory. Frank opened up the 300 experience to a new generation of
driving kids in the L during concours.
brought the Hurst, Sharon and a trunk full of Chelsea Proving Grounds
goodies. These proving ground items were a big hit with meet goers.
Howard and Sharon both work there. Again, the Moon’s Thirsty
made it to a meet and home again, problem free. The on the road
repair days could be over?
drove his ’68 Imperial and did not forget his video camera. We
believe he took a 3-hour video of the full lunar eclipse. Bob
Merritt drove his ’69 Imperial with the super fast headlight
doors and power antenna. We need an official timer next meet.
and his entire family came in the ’62 (originally a 3-speed)
300. Gary is one of the few original owners who raced it a lot (not
at Charlotte though). Of course, Mark Rayner arrived unannounced in
his dependable ’63 300.
Chrysler family, Ray and Jo Ann Jones brought the best buy of the
decade – their new ’83 Dodge convertible. These two were
pressed into club service, twice during the meet for which they have
the club’s gratitude. Thanks Guys! Ralph Meilander brought
the ’79 300 and pictures of Barbara’s red G convert that
is now for sale. Not one, but two 1961 Chrysler station wagons
showed up – both terrific looking. Wayne “Spanky”
Cox came with a mascot. Scott Smith’s wagon brought Lou (his
Mom) as well. All had a great time and were saying how dad will
regret missing this one.
Means of Transportation
We are not
sure what Terry McTaggart drove. We just know it wasn’t the D
or the F. Two Tar Heel members, Herb McCandless and Bob Wooten were
in attendance. Bob and Betty Eaton couldn’t bring the D yet,
but we hope to see it in person one day soon. The newest Southerner,
Brian Wolfe learned the hospitality room ropes this meet since he
will be the next Treasurer. His H is a few states removed yet. John
Hannon and his C and D all live in different states, so he made the
meet this time without a 300. New member, Jay Walker was on hand.
He’s new to the club, not 300s.
Dave and Nancy Warner made it along with Jim and Andrea Krausmann.
Andrea shops on occasion and a 300 trunk may not hold everything.
Speaking of trunks, Don and Kathy Rook had lots of jams. jellies and
vinegars, but no actual trees were in the van this trip. Tom and Bea
Gorse made a welcome appearance. We hope the meet brought them a
well-deserved bit of sanity – it works for most of us.
We have no
idea how Russ Vaughan made it to the meet, but we know he was there.
Paul DelGrande brought the Lexus chase car once again. He loves to
fix 300s and was hands and elbows into Al and Ann Bell’s C, all
the while reminiscing about radiator caps boiling over.
Californians – they might as well just give it up and move
East. We thank John and Christy Lazenby and Larry Jett for putting
up with all of our California Jokes.
To those of
you who could not make it to the meet, we did not forget you. We
missed you all. See you next meet!
Series Cars! A big meet. Thanks again to the Reverend Carl Kreps
and to his family for hosting a really good meet.
Thanks to Bill Elder for typing this article for the web