A Tale of Two C-ties

By Larry Jett

As historians of the lettered cars, we often must explain that there was a C300 and then a 300C before the modern cars added a third group with a similar title to the former cars.  I have had the pleasure of owning and restoring both of the first two.  Deep into retirement, perhaps the third iteration is on the horizon.

In May of 2000 the Chrysler Corporation bought back a 1955 C-300 it had first sold in the spring 45 years previously.  It was apparently a case of seller's remorse and the tango red (born in platinum white) hardtop coupe was reshipped back to Michigan, the state of its origin and turned out to pasture and stud so to speak.

3N552462 had spent its entire retail car-eer in Northern California before being reunited with Mother Mopar.  Delivered  in Walnut Creek, CA to a school teaching couple, the car was well remembered by the son of the original selling dealer at Lawrence Chrysler-Plymouth.  Mr. Lawrence, the son, was the current owner of Lawrence Volvo in the same location and had been a service writer for his father during the Chrysler days.  He was able to provide original license plate frames from the 50s but Chrysler probably discarded them after the purchase.  Their merchandising plan was to promote understanding of the 300 heritage by loaning the car to automobile writers and journalists so they had a basis to understand what the 20th century 300 models were about as the grandparents to the new kids in the 21st.

When the last CA custodian (isn't that what we really are?) Lefty Jett towed the bedraggled brute home, it inspired pity and scorn by those who failed to see beyond the ripped missing interior and severely weathered exterior and a non firing engine.  After a cosmetic restoration including the mental consternation process endemic in the 'change-the original-color? community and the changing of running shoes to Motor Wheel (wire division) type, the old battler began a new pampered life, not unlike its salad days of the middle fifties.  The internet was the broker for the deal between buyer and seller with John Lazenby the uncommissioned middleman.

I next heard of its whereabouts when David E. Davis Jr. (ofAutomobile and Car & Driver fame) joined the 300 Club Fall Meet at Williamsburg in 2000 and told me he had been driving my car for a week on loan from Chrysler.  When asked how did he know it had been my car, he said that it had a message written on the glove door saying, "Larry, please don't drive this car over 139 mph and signed Tim Flock 1996".

Some years later Martin Swig (remember him as the storyteller at the Lake Tahoe Meet with details of Chrysler's racing success in the 20's?) hosts his annual CA Mille Miglia Tour for the well-heeled sporting gents with the starting day at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel.  It was co-sponsored by Chrysler and they had the C300 proudly on display at the front of the hotel.  I drove in with my 300C and thought a reunion of the cousins would look good in my scrapbook so I backed up next to the car just to be admonished by a Chrysler Suit informing me that I was not allowed to park there even for moment for the picture.  When I asked him if it said something about a Larry and a Tim Flock on the glove box door, he agreed that it did.  I mentioned that I was the Larry and he gave way thus the photo attached.  I then admonished him that much of the original black ink was being removed by too much polishing of the glove door and that Tim was deceased and not available for a redo.  Hoping he passed that intel on to older caretakers of the car and they knew of which I spoke.  If the archives can ever determine that 3N552462 is alive and well, I'd be pleased to learn.