Chrysler 300 Club International
Fall Meet in Spencer, NC
September 25 - 28, 1996

Bill Elder trailered his C

Ray and Jo Anne Jones

300F of Michael Burke

At Richard Petty's shop

Lee Petty at far right

Ron Osborne's shop

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Bob Crawford

Andrea Krausmann and Marlou Wiltse

Tim Flock

Tim Flock, Marlou and Jack Wiltse

Tim Flock with Bill Elder's C

Tim Flock with Jerry Kocur's F

Photos by Bill Elder

26th Annual Fall Meet, Spencer, North Carolina
by Rev. Carl C. Kreps

“Crown 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 Brutes.”

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 anywhere.

Well, I 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 attendance.

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!

Now, that’s 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 extra touches.

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 could have.

At the 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 sign autographs.

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.

Again, 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 “OVERDO.”

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.

I give 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.

The 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 matter.

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 incorrect.

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 presents.

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.

So, keep 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.

300ly, “The Preacher”
Rev. Carl C. Kreps

Concours D’Elegance

Class I Second Place Al Vannice C300 760.5 points
Third Place Daryl Miller C300 735 points
Ed Corriher 300B 401 points

Class II Third Place Harry Poole 300D 707 points

Class III First Place Joe James 300G 947.5 points
Second Place Jon Rose 300F (cvt) 940 points
Third Place Bill Spear 300G 856.5 points
Len Berger 300H 685.5 points

Long Distance Award: Frank Driscoll, Rapid City, South Dakota, 300L coupe 4-speed, 1,955 miles

Hard Luck Award: Al Bell, Whitehall, Michigan, 300C coupe, generator failure

300s at the Spencer, North Carolina, Meet

C300: Bill Allen, Daryl Miller, Al Vannice, Jim Wine

300B: Ed Corriher, Doug Mayer

300C: Al Bell, Bob Cornett, Bill Elder, Ken Mack, Ron Osborne

300D: Rick Esselbach, Bob Hayes, Harry Poole, Jack Wiltse

300F: Michael Burke, John Hertog, Jerry Kocur, Jon Rose (cvt)

300G: Dennis Cloer, Joe James, Andy Mikonis, Bill Spear, Don Verity

300H: Leonard Berger, Bob Crawford, Gil Cunningham (cvt), Ed Phillips (cvt)

300J: George Riehl

300K: Don Cole (cvt), David Ellis, Pete Fitch, Vern Graeber, Mike Laiserin (cvt), Ken Langdon

300L: Frank Driscoll, Carl Kreps (cvt), Murray Vise (cvt)

Hurst: Allan Moon, Howard Stoll

62 300: Gary Hitchins

63 300: Mark Rayner

79 300: Ralph Meilander

by Allan and Gloria Moon

Hosts and Helpers

Certain 300L, 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?”

300C owner, 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.

Following are the cars attending the meet:

There were 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 C300.

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.

Bill and 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 headliner.

Who would 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 meet time.)

Since 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?”

Bob Crawford 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 course.

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 missed Eleanor.

300Ks 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 too.

Murray Vise 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.

Howard Stoll 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?

Don Warnaar 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.

Gary Hitchens 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.

In the 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.

Other 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.

Michiganders 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.

The 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.

Those Not Forgotten
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!

Count Them
36 Letter 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