Banker’s Hot Rod: 1962 Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300 was a very unique automobile.  The model began in 1955, and was a combination of a luxury coupe body and a hopped up Hemi engine.  They became the weapon of choice for many NASCAR teams, and they were an instant hit with the well to do who still suffered from having lead feet.  They were often called the banker’s hot rod, because of their amazing speed for their size and opulence, and you weren’t going to buy one on a sanitation engineer’s salary.  The good news for us is that there are still a number of Chrysler 300s from the sixties available today, and the price has become a lot more affordable.  Take for example this 1962 Chrysler 300 found on eBay out of Tacoma, Washington.  The starting bid is just $3,900 for this running and driving example of one of the best years of the 300 model.

These cars were some of the last styled by Virgil Exner’s design team at Chrysler.  Before Exner took charge of the design department, the engineering department was in charge of all styling.  The result was that their boxy designs looked quite stodgy in comparison to other cars on the road.  Exner designed Mopars are best known for large, flowing profiles and for their unique tail fins.  The first cars he could claim that he had full design influence over were the 1955 Chrysler 300 and Imperial.  His later “Forward Look” designs were very long, very wide, chromed out, and he obviously loved massive tailfins.  Some people thought the fins got too gaudy and high, and they shrank fairly quickly in the beginning of the 1960s.  1962 was the first year without fins, and was one of the last years of Exner’s designs as he was forced out at Chrysler that same year.  This Chrysler 300 is fairly unique in being a finless Exner design, but the profile comes across as much cleaner and more purpose built.

Under the hood, Chrysler 300 H models sported a 413 cubic inch V-8.  I assume this is an H model, as the lesser series 300s packed 383 cubic inch engines.  Unfortunately, the owner does not specify so.  These could also be equipped with a cross ram manifold with two four barrel carburetors, but this one appears to have a single carb manifold.  There are some non stock components visible, such as that yellow coil and the valve cover wing nuts, so maybe the owner has a cross ram manifold for it.  We can only hope.  On the good side, the air conditioning system seems intact, and the belts are still connected.  I doubt it is still functioning, but I’ll bet the A/C is repairable.

The interior’s condition is not that bad.  It will obviously need carpet and upholstery at some point, but they seem to be useable as it sits.  A set of seat covers and some good floor mats would be a cheap option to get it back on the road.  Under the dash, there appear to be an aftermarket tachometer.  When you factor in the high horsepower engine and the fact that this year’s Chrysler 300 weighed 300 pounds less than the 1961s, who could blame a guy for proving to others that this luxury cruiser was more than they bargained for!

The space ship style dash appears to be in pretty good condition, except for a crack in the padding.  The unique steering wheel also has a few cracks, but these are not too hard to restore.  The neat thing about these is the push button transmission to the left of the speedometer.  Another unique feature is the dash mounted rear view mirror.  When was the last time you saw one of these?

Perhaps the best feature of this car is the lack of major rust problems.  There is surface rust all over, but there seem to be no glaring, deal breaking spots to contend with.  You have to accept the fact that sixties cars all rust, and late fifties and early sixties Chryslers can be some of the worst (the championship seems to be tied between 1957-1959 Plymouths and all years of Porsche 356s).  This car appears to be solid, but I would still like to put it on a lift before handing over any cash.

All told, these are really good, solid, fast cars with a good reputation.  If I was a collector with a wife and a couple of kids that were eager to be part of the hobby, this would be a car to consider.  It could be put back on the road for a reasonable sum, and upgraded as your bank account allows.  A paint job alone would do wonders.  The interior is large enough to be comfortable for the whole family, the trunk would hold a lot of luggage for overnight trips, and it would be a great high speed cruiser.  The best part is that you no longer have to be a banker to afford one.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Miguel

    This is by no means a bankers hot rod.

    The name 300 took over for the Windsor name from a year back and I doubt many bankers would buy the middle of the line car to impress their neighbors.

    • Ed P

      The Windsor was a lower priced Chrysler, but the 300 did not replace it. The 300 was a sporty and powerful car, The letter models raised horsepower and excitement. The New Yorker was aimed at a different customer. The customer’s were looking for a luxurious ride. The 300’s had tighter suspension and sporty trim.

  2. Sam

    Flip’n awesome. Imagine this with a cross-ram. I can picture this in pearl white or jet black, brown leather interior, kelsey hayes wires and red line or vogue tires.

    Great bones to work with.

  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I gotta say that those things on the back of the car sure look like fins to me. Obviously not as extreme as the ’60 Fury, but fins nonetheless.

  4. Old man Kerney

    The “H’ is because of the year. Here is a list of year and approximate production #s
    1955 (C-) 1,725
    1956 (B) 1,102
    1957 (C) 2,402
    1958 (D) 809
    1959 (E) 647
    1960 (F) 1,217
    1961 (G) 1,617
    1962 (H) 570
    1963 (J) 400
    1964 (K) 3,647
    1965 (L) 2,845
    1970 (Hurst) 501

    • Miguel

      But this is not a letter car. This is a common mid line 2 door.

      • Dave Wright

        You are correct, not a letter series car but not a midline car either……that distinction was given to a Newport. These are very nice quality powerful cars.

      • Miguel

        The models in 1961 lowest to highest were Newport, Windsor and then the New Yorker.

        In 1962 they were Newport, 300 and then the New Yorker.

        Yes the 300 was a renamed Windsor for 1962.

        The letter series cars were a breed all unto themselves.

  5. Reese

    “Another unique feature is the dash mounted rear view mirror. When was the last time you saw one of these?”
    My 1967 Saab 96 2 cycle has one but you can only see out of it when at a light or sitting still. When I get the revs up on the 3 cylinder the mirror vibrates so much you’d get dizzy trying to see what’s behind you. Doesn’t really matter much since whatever is behind you is going to be passing by shortly anyway…Still a lot of fun. As for this 300, I haven’t often thought these were much to look at but I like this one.

  6. Rob'sGT

    Likely just a “300” and not an “H”. I believe the H’s all came with 150 mph speedos and center consoles. This one has neither, but looks as if it has swivel seats. Cool car deserving of a restoration.

  7. Dale Davis Member

    So we picked up a similar car just yesterday. It’s a running 4 door hardtop. Big car but in excellent condition for the age. Going to be looking for a front bumper.

    • Dave Wright

      Great cars but the 2 door will bring a premium. I think our wagon was a pillarless hardtop too…….will have to dig out the photos.

    • C Carl

      Good score Dale, I saw that one on SD craigslist.

  8. Dave Wright

    Jeff, this is not a letter series car, just a standard 300. There were major differences with the letters that went far beyond the engine. I think a 62 (I grew up with a wagon version of this) in an H would have had dual ram 4bbl carbs, beefed up transmission, bucket seats with a center console and the letter H shadowed in the 300 badging. Most people can’t tell the difference between a 361-383-413……they are all the same block and I have never seen a small block in this vintage Chrysler.

  9. Dave Wright

    300 h

    • Sam

      Sharp car…I take it the buckets and console are for letter cars only? I really like personal luxury/big coupes. Understated grace with some in-your-face hp.

      • Dave Wright

        I think you could order the buckets but the center console was uneque. It also has buckets in the rear that are very impressive.

  10. Dave Wright

    300 H engine

    • Ed P

      Big block power. Grunt grunt

  11. Allen Member

    That missing letter “H” cuts the value severely. Don’t grab this one up thinking it could become a six-digit car. It’s really neat and I love it, but notice at $3900 it has yet to get a single bid. There’s a reason…

  12. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    One of the shows on Velocity Channel did a over-the-top restomod of this sled.
    Very nice car…both the hardtop and the convertible.Worthy of a tasteful toned-down restomod. (don’t do it like they did on the show)

    • Dale Davis Member

      That’s exactly the plan for mine

  13. stillrunners lawrence Member

    Boy….you guys get some stuff right and so much more other stuff wrong…..nice car for the money…..

    Nice post – Old Man Kerney !

  14. james r burton

    the headlights were differant in the 300s than just the reg. chry. that’s how you can tell right off it’s a 300 chry. the non letter cars don’t bring big bucks cause there not made with the good stuff.

    • Rob'sGT

      Not sure what “good stuff” you’re talking about, but the they’re the same headlights as in my 62 New Yorker wagon.

      • Ed P

        The letter cars had a high performance 413 v8 rather than regular 413. The suspension was tighter for better handling. Brakes were larger, etc. The trim borrowed some from the New Yorker with some unique touches.

  15. Ric Parrish

    How much difference is there between this 413 and the 413 Super Stock Dodge, ‘winding out in low, while my fuel injected Stingray was really starting to spin’? I saw on Ytube the picture for that song (I think ‘Buddy gonna shut you down’). the 413 is doing a huge wheel stand.

  16. AMXSTEVE

    It says right in the ad that it’s a 413

  17. 64 bonneville

    56 minutes left on e-bay, and no bids.

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