1955 Chrysler VIN #1
by Josh Ackerman

Built as a factory race car to compete in NASCAR competitions at Daytona Beach, VIN #1 won a NASCAR Speed Trials Championship with Vicki Wood behind the wheel. Later piloted by Brewster Shaw of Daytona Beach and driven by Lee Petty, the car had Lee Petty's 1955 Daytona Grand National race engine and transmission installed at the end of SpeedWeek, where it still remains today.
It has been over 3 years since I bought VIN #1 from Steve McCloud's family. I've done a ton of leg work. I've been shocked by how helpful everyone has been. Of course Vicki Wood is awesome, NASCAR has stepped up and helped me go through tons of old negatives, Richard Petty has provided information, Chrysler has spent several days manually going through old records, papers and so on. The list really is too long.

My biggest surprise has been this club though. John Lazenby and Marshall Goodknight have answered every dumb question I've asked them. Although Mr. Graefen is an ex-member, him and Owen Grigg have been priceless too. Gloria Moon sent me ORIGINAL 30 year old letters about this car from Steve. Gil Cunningham spent several hours sharing information and going over info relevant to my car. This is why the club is so valuable. Every question I've asked has been answered by at least 5 of you. I can't thank you guys enough. My biggest surprise has come from the Brody family in Norco. About a month ago I met Ken and Brad Brody. What great guys. Talk about a dedicated Chrysler 300 family.

To make a long story short, the Brody's offered to come up and get the car back on the road. What would've taken me about 6 months took them 2 days. I've NEVER seen two guys work SO hard, non-stop for so long without one single complaint. Mind you it was 108 degrees on day one. I'm no mechanic, but I've done my share of engine and transmission work. Watching these guys is mesmerizing. They take it to a whole new level. When Ken recites the correct rear seal part number from memory... or Brad gives the correct page number from memory out of the 1955 Chrysler factory manual... it's impressive. The best part is they are just completely hands-on and efficient.

After a nearly 40 year slumber, Ken Brody fired up Lee Petty's 331 Hemi. With Brad working on the carbs the car came to life again. It took a lot of hard work and prep. They're very impressive gentlemen!

Watching Ken fire the very first 300 was fitting and pretty special. He was the right guy to do it. Cool stuff!

Here is a video of VIN#1 starting after 35+ years of storage.