Jerry Browarski's C300

Back in August of '98, I attended an all-Mopar show at a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Troy, MI., a suburb of Detroit. I was there with my '56 Dodge Coronet 2-door hardtop. In a corner of the parking lot was an old ice-cream truck with a sign that read "ForSale: 1955 C300 $ xxxxx" I really wasn't interested at the time but a friend of mine who was there with his '57 Belvedere kept bugging me to inquire about it. I finally did. The driver of the ice cream truck was not the owner of the C300, it belonged to his brother-in-law. The show was hosted by a local car historian and appraiser. The ice cream truck operator told me that the appraiser had seen the car and said I should ask him about it. I did, and the appraiser told me that the car was well worth the asking price. Needless to say, I obtained the phone number of the owner and contacted him in a couple of days to make an appointment to see the car.

It was in storage on Detroit's east side... not being very mechanically inclined, I dragged a friend of mine with me to go look at the car. It was covered in dust and had obviously not been driven for a number of years. The owner told me that the engine had been rebuilt several years ago and had only about 100 miles on it. He also said that the brakes didn't work. Needless to say the battery was dead; we scrounged up a battery charger and after several minutes cranked it up. It started!

It ran very rough but didn't smoke. We figured the rough running was due to moisture buidup in the gas, etc... ; the carbs were leaking at the gaskets, something we attributed to drying out from sitting so long. I plunked a down payment on the car and made arrangements....

On October 14th the car was loaded onto a trailer and was off to the mechanic to have the brakes redone. After a couple of weeks, the brakes were finished, the old gas drained, fresh gas introduced and we fired it up. The mechanic immediately spotted the bad timing chain and gear... OK, another delay, and a few more bucks to invest. Ordered and installed the new equipment, fired it up, and took it out on the wouldn't get out of its own way! back to the shop... the distributor was bad, a few more days, a few more dollars... back on the road again, still wouldn't get out of its own way! Bummer! Back to the shop, then the bad news. After much investigating and testing, I was informed that the engine would have to be pulled and torn down. Double-bummer! Ok, do it.. After the tear-down I finally realized that I had misunderstood the previous owner - what he meant to say was that the engine NEEDED to be rebuilt because it only had 100 miles left on it! As it turned out the only parts that were salvaged were the block, the heads, and the valves. It appeared the engine had indeed been torn apart before, as it contained all new gaskets and seals, but the cam was shot, the cylinder walls were scored, the crank had to be turned, valves ground, etc...

Now it was a hunt for all the necessary parts - pistons from Kanter, misc. stuff found locally, cam from Iskenderian. However the first cam they sent was incorrect and had to be sent back. Then Isky goofed up and didn't send the replacement by express! It took 1 1/2 weeks before \getting the proper cam. I was not happy... Finally had the engine reassembled and fired up. Drove the 300 out of the garage and onto Powell Rd. and nailed it. Now it felt like I knew it should!

The Brute lunged off the line and around 35-40 mph I could feel the power kick in. At last it felt the way I thought it should. ! I actually smiled! So, on a Tuesday afternoon, in late February, the brute was going home... of course my bank account was lighter by a few thousand dollars, which took away some of the joy, but the frustration has been wiped out by the looks, thumbs up, stares, "beeps", and waves that I get when I cruise down the road.

Got my first trophy with it during the Gratiot Cruise, and I'm planning to drive my Brute to Florida in early December for my annual vacation. There's a car show on Fort Myers Beach behind the Holiday Inn the first weekend in December, and I plan on showing the car there and just driving it while on vacation. Some friends of mine down there are dying to see it in person! The car will need some minor cosmetics in the future, but, for now, I'm a very happy cruiser

Please click HERE for pictures and story of a very special event...