3N55-1001…The First 300…Where is it now?

By Steve McCloud

reprinted from the 1986 Club News XII Number III

In the June 1975 issue of the Club News, Volume II Number 11, we printed a letter from a member about the first 300 built having been destroyed by the crusher. It had been reported in the April 1975 issue of “Car Classics” magazine. But. . . was the story true? Steve McCloud of Tennessee has a white C300 with serial number 3N551001. Here is his story.

I had been looking for an H and a club member called to tell me that there were two advertised in a magazine near me in North Carolina. I called and the Hs had been sold; but the man invited me over to look at a K and to talk. So, in a couple of weeks we made the trip to High Point, NC. During the course of the conversation, this man tells me that he knew where the first 300 ever built was. I chuckled under my breath and told him about the newsletter article that had the car crushed. He stood by his story. I came back to Tennessee hell bent to prove him wrong. I sent copies of that newsletter to him and later I called. He had been back to check it and stood with his story. So, I journeyed back for a look. There sat the 300 at a service station, locked up. I looked under the hood and to my dismay the plate had 1001. He said that it might be for sale and I told him, if he would help me acquire the car, I would give him something for his help. He worked on this for a couple of months and finally called for me to come and get it.

It was the next day that I went after it for fear of losing the chance. The owner related this story to me. The car was sold in Daytona beach, Florida for testing there (here may be where the engine went). Later the owner went to Michigan, where the car was sold to an officer in the navy. He was then transferred to Norfolk, Virginia. The car was either sold to someone in Taylorville, NC (near High Point) or this was the original home of the navy officer. The car was given to a son in North Carolina to drive. It was driven for a few years and then parked in 1970 in a shed. Later, it was found by High Point’s Jim Davis. Davis and the others were aware that the car was the possible #1001 (first). It took two months to get him to sell the car. I brought the car over the Appalachian Mountains to Johnson City; where Bob Dupin saw the car as I brought it in. He helped me take the car on in.

The car sat for a while before I tried to start it. It does run and I drove it about 100 miles to Knoxville, Ten. Now she sits, waiting for me to get panels and begin a long process of restoration. That’s the story as I know it. I need help to get started on it. The problem is, I have only found one lower quarter panel. The inner panel and trunk are really bad. I also need rocker panels, I prefer not to use caps; but if I can get some parts now, I could get it to the meet. Do you think members would like to see it there fixed or not fixed?

2019 update
#1001 is now owned Mike McCandless. The car was at Chryslers @ Carlisle.
Thanks to Bill Elder (Wild Man of the North) for preparing this article