The Second Life Of A G Coupe

By George Riehl

Reprinted from the Spring 1983 Issue of the Chrysler 300 Club News Volume IX Number III

Picking up the Detroit Free Press one day in 1977, routine was to go through the “Autos For Sale” ads. To my surprise there was an ad for a 1961 Chrysler 300G coupe in Bay City, Michigan. As things go, other items in my collection of 300s occupied my time and only a passing notice was given to the ad.

About 3 weeks after I first saw the ad, Gil Cunningham and Bob Wieland suggested that we take a ride up to Bay City and check this G out. Once we arrived, all of us found out that none had brought the ad with the owner’s address. A quick call to Eleanor got us the info. Each had thought the other had the directions. A good laugh about that lasted for about ½ hour.

We arrived to find the white G coupe in the garage. The owner had it given to him by his father-in-law who was a retired postal worker. The owner just could not keep it and had to remove it from a rented garage to allow a boat to take its place.

We started it up with a little coaxing and tried to listen to the engine amid the road of the rotted away exhaust system. A little smoke and rattles also greeted us. The body did not completely reflect a daily driven Michigan car. It had some unusual rust in places we were not used to seeing. Anyhow, we three stood out in the driveway and I asked Gil and Bob if they were going to purchase it. Well, each said no, they had no interest in it at the time and thought I wanted the G! I had just gone alone for the ride and also had no interest!

So, we three thanked the man for his time and headed back to Ann Arbor. One thought stayed in my mind. The G was complete in every detail and even had a new set of Goodyear wide white steel belted tires.

About 3 days later, I decided to call the man with a lower price than he had asked for it. He accepted, and my son and I returned that weekend to get the G.

In the next two years, including one year that nothing was done to the car except to patch the exhaust and install new brake shoes, I started to restore it. Paul DelGrande come down from Toronto for a weekend visit and ended up helping me pull the engine and transmission. Rebuilding the engine, starter, carbs, distributor, alternator, brake system, new carpeting and repairing gauges and little things like that, would take about 6 weeks.

At this time, it was in dependable driving condition and now was ready for body work and repaint. After 3 paint jobs and repair to the right rear corner where an employee of the shop drove another car into it and also destroyed the complete tailight assembly, the G was ready to come home to have all the trim and interior put back into it. At about this time, we had some club members come from Sweden for a visit. Needless to say we had a ball, and the G got a good work out evaluating it against my J coupe and C coupe.

In the following year, I was making my tour of company plants in the G and had to show off the car to one of the plant managers. A loud bang occurred from under the G, and the transmission seemed to slip quite a bit. An anxious 30 mile trip back home was made with what seemed like a slipping clutch. Transmission no doubt! Fortunately, I had a used spare and put it in. Same problem. Got another trans out of a parts G coupe. Same problem yet. But this time I looked under the car while it was in gear and the driveshaft was turning but the rear wheels did not. AHA! The differential.

Gil Cunningham came down for a visit and I related my G problems to him. “No doubt a differential!” So, we pulled it out and replaced it with another spare from the G parts car. Same thing again! Driveshaft turns but no power to the wheels.

Drop the rear end again, we thought, but this time we pulled the axles completely out of the housing, instead of just pulling them far out enough to get the differential out. There it was! The splines were stripped on the right axle shaft! I bet you can’t imagine what oaths we threw at ourselves and each other.

Anyhow, another axle went into the sure grip assembly and the G moved under its own power again. So, 3 transmissions, 2 differentials and a lot of labor just to become educated in simple axle replacement. You can bet this will never happen again.

Then we had a member and his fiancée from England visit us to attend the meet in Watkins Glen, NY. John and Helen Hutchinson (now since married) enjoyed their trip in the G and return trip via Canada and stop off in Niagara Falls.

Since then, the G has attended many car meets and all of the Riehl family have enjoyed it. It is still not a high point 300, but it has been driven and enjoyed like a G should be. I have personally seen the speedo needle on 150, and past the 6 grand mark on the tach. The photos will show my labor of love on the H and know that many of you have some through the same thing or are planning to.

If you have anticipated a project of this sort, don’t despair. The rewards are many and it will give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Now, let’s see, next is the G convert, F convert, Hurst…..Oh yes, the G convert, but that’s another story.

I think this G is VIN 8413203501 and is now in Sweden.