Trials & Tribulations of
A “300” Nut

By Chic Kramer

Reprinted from the 1977 spring edition of the Club News Volume IV Number I

How come all of the people that write up a story on their 300 experiences for the newsletter always write how well their cars performed? Never have I seen anyone complain about problems with dual quads, hemis or wedges or long rams, a mechanic’s nightmare! How well I remember my first 300C pink-red hardtop on a certain night in June in California at a drive-in restaurant. I pulled a beautiful hole shot with smoke curling from both rear tires for a couple of hundred feet. How impressive! Then two large bangs and both rear tires blew out and peeled both tubeless tires off the rims. Oh, how mad and foolish I felt!! Then there were times those WCFB’s would decide to flood out when the “C” was performing so well after racing three of four vehicles and returning to the local drive-in restaurant to show off my “brute” to the gang, it would sit there idling rough and coughing, sounding mean as the devil. Then all of a sudden for no explained reason, it would flood out and die completely. Then try to start it, maybe if lucky, the front carb would catch on fire. Then you would have to take your sport jacket off to put out the fire before it burnt the beautiful hood.

Another thing beautiful brutes were famous for was poor brakes, especially if you were doing 120 MPH on Hollywood Blvd at 2:00AM, and some drunk came out of a side street. First hit the brakes, then steer around him even it if meant going on the sidewalk or thru a gasoline station, because those 300C brakes weren’t able to stop your brute. No Way!! Brake fade was really bad after second brake application. In early 1957, the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles came out with suggestion to all Chrysler dealers to drill 5/16” holes in the brake backing plate to aid brake cooling on mountain roads in the state. As a mechanic at a Chrysler dealer, I did many cars in the Los Angeles area. Maybe it did help, but it was a pain to remove brake shoes to drill 5/16” holes on lead edge of the brake backing plates on all four wheels! Oh yeah, while at the same dealer early in 1958, the company for a beautiful Matador Red 300D with those lively fuel injection side medallions and a nightmare of wiring-lines-etc. This was called Fuel Injection

We, the mechanics at Centrala Chrysler on Sepulveda Blvd, had heard all kinds of rumors how well these fuel injected “Brutes” ran and performed. The afternoon the 300D arrived, someone noted it on a car trailer so all the mechanics and salespeople wanted to hear it run and look at this wonder of Chrysler engineering. To our amazement, the D sounded not much different than a regular D. it was ordered by a local doctor that wanted it because it looked different and unusual. The D proved itself very unusual. On its first day out it got stuck and quit at dusk, about 5:00PM. The doctor called Fran, our shop foreman, and said, “This God-damn car is stuck, come and get me, that thing won’t start, NO Way.” Lucky me, Chic, being the last mechanic on the service department working on my C transmission (it was slipping on up-shift). The shop foreman caught me to see what I could do with the fuel injected monster. Not being too informed on fuel injection, myself and Fran, the shop foreman, decided to push the car ten city blocks back to the shop and give the doctor another Chrysler New Yorker to drive home. He did but complained in loud tones about “that damn car!!!” But finally the doctor left. So I, a confirmed 300 nut, rushed over the D with fuel injection medallions on its bright red rear fenders, threw open the hood, looked everything over. Looked fine, so around to the driver’s door, opened it, slid behind the steering wheel, turned the key, hit neutral button and that D came to life, smoked awhile, but cleared out fine. By this time, Fran was at my side saying “what did you do??” I said, “Oh, nothing” and shut it down. Tried again, started again first time, no problems. By now I was late. I wanted to stay and play with the car, but the shop foreman, not that interested, said “Let’s call it a day and go home, Chic. Tomorrow is another day.”

All the way home, driving my C, I kept thinking about the fuel injected D back at the shop. But having a date with my girl that night, I showered and shaved, looking at my watch, it was early yet. I figured I could look over the service bulletin on fuel injections the shop foreman had let me take home to look at. It was large, with many pages, put out by Bendix Corp. I started to read the Electrojector Service Manual. Very interesting! Condition, reason, causes, correction and so on. Now the phone was ringing. My girl is on the line and MAD as can be!!! I was still home and should have picked her up over two hours ago. Oh well, I told her “I’m worth waiting for”. I did not know if she agreed, but forgot fuel injection for a while. Out half the night doing things that lovers do, so of course I forgot the D, other things more important now!! Oh yeah

Next morning, get up!! Had a few drinks the night before, feeling lousy, started to think about first job at work. Oh damn it – “I got the D with you know what.” My first thought was to stay home, go back to bed, maybe?? Oh, what’s the use, get up and face that mean tempered D

I got to work early, just behind the shop foreman, so first thing went over the D. It starts like a dream, so I say to the foreman “I’ll try it up the street.” Got an OK!! Up the street out of sight of the agency, the car is going great. Things flash through my mind, “should I try out this car, Yes, No. Maybe the owner might not like the idea.” To myself “how will you know if the D is OK? ROAD TEST it. So I took off like I’d drive my car. Nothing so great about the fuel injection. It stumbles a couple of times, but pick-up only equal to a regular D. So I return to the shop, tell the foreman the car runs beautiful. But all the rest of the morning I keep thinking about what caused the car to quit yesterday?? So on lunch hour, I got over to talk to the foreman and ask him what the doctor said on the phone yesterday. The foreman repeated the conversation and I said “That’s it.” I think the neon signs at the traffic light could have affected the injection unit. He said, “do you really think so?” Being young and confident, I said “Let’s try it late this afternoon, on the same street and see what happens.” So the foreman called the doctor, who agreed. “Do anything to fix that DAMN car.” I drove the D up Main Street once past the place or the intersection where all the neon signs were lit. Nothing happened. Turned around, back down the street, still nothing. The foreman, along for the ride, looks over at me and shakes his head as if to day “You are nuts.” Now, I’m determined to prove I am right. I turned the car around and drive by the same corner where all the flashing neon signs were flashing. This time the light is red. Stop the car and let it idle. It starts to load up, then quits. Try to start it, nothing helps. Open the throttle plates, it is flooded with fuel. “So, what now?” asks the foreman. I said “If I’m right and Bendix knows something, we get out and push this car ahead about 15 feet.” We did. Some kids helped. You know the question they asked us – “What’s wrong?”, so I explained by pointing to the injection medallions. Enough of that. The car started right up as figured. Turned it around and back to the agency. Both myself and the foreman looked through all the faults and corrections in Electrojector. Nothing there seemed to apply to our D. We go through the recommended checks but nothing seems to apply. So we decided to call the Field Representative for Chrysler in the Los Angeles area. The factory man told us to keep the car, said Detroit was having many problems with this unit and that the field representative would get in touch with Detroit Centerline about what to do with the fuel injected D. The doctor kept the dealers’ car about two weeks, maybe more. Still no answer from Detroit headquarters

The reply from Centerline Detroit was to remove the complete unit, if the customer is not satisfied. We, meaning Chrysler Corp, will supply the complete package deal to convert to carburetors. This service package included the following: two carbs, manifold intake, all gaskets, new gasoline tank, fuel pump and fuel lines, etc. All removed parts were to be returned to Centerline Detroit by the dealer for credit. If I remember correctly, all that stayed on the D was two beautiful side medallions and two chrome air cleaners

This story is written from memory so please excuse any mistakes and please do not hold this story as gospel truth. It is as I, a 300 nut, remember it.