Name: 1964 Chrysler 300K Convertible
Year(s) Produced: 1963-1964
Number Built: 625
Class: Sports car
Body Type: 2-door convertible
Engine: 413.2 cui, Chrysler RB-series V-8 413
Power: 360hp @ 4600 RPM
0-60mph: 6.8 seconds
Top Speed: 124mph
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Length/width/height: 215.3 in./ 80 in./ 55.3 in.
Wheelbase: 122 in.
Base Price: US$3,803 (NADA)
Highest Price: US$32,500 (Hagerty)
We’ve been covering some pretty good stories recently about how genuine car lovers are so intertwined with the lives of their cherished classics. For us here in ClassicCarLabs, we believe that beyond the dazzling chrome and timeless looks of the classic and vintage cars that we cover, it is the story behind each vehicle that truly matters.
This fiery red, 1964 Chrysler convertible tells a story of the daughter who wishes to see that priceless twinkle of joy in his father’s eyes. It started with a secret that Jennifer Wilson from Macomb Township, Michigan has been keeping for quite some time. She needs to ensure that her dad – Jim Klein, 71 year-old resident of Troy – doesn’t find out where she is keeping his convertible until this coming weekend on February 27. Jennifer has been telling her dad that his car has simply been undergoing some minor adjustments in the same shop that her classic truck is being worked on.
“That’s the biggest problem, because he likes to get involved in everything in every aspect, so it has been such a challenge to keep it under wraps, so we’re still kind of hoping it stays under wraps,” Jennifer said.
Jim never thought of having a classic car that he’ll fall in love with. Being a member of the Navy for 28 years, he struck up what would later become a deep friendship with a man whom Jennifer referred to as “Uncle Al” somewhere off the coast Connecticut during the 60s. As it turned out, Uncle Al had an impressive array of classic cars and when he passed away in 2012, father and daughter Jennifer and Jim Klein became the beneficiaries of a few of those vehicles.
“This particular car, he (Jim) remembers him driving it up from Ohio, and visiting him in it before he put it away, so that’s why he wanted this particular one when he passed away,” Jennifer said. “We got a couple cars from him, but this one, my dad said, ‘This is mine.’ It’s very important to him.”
Jennifer has enlisted the help of restoration expert Rick Dyer, 68, to breathe new life to her dad’s convertible. Rick had a great reputation in restoring classic cars and in fact, Jennifer had her 1939 Cadillac La Salle done by Rick as well. He is now helping her prepare her classic truck for the Detroit Autorama. “I thought with the way he feels and the way he treats people, he’s kind of carried this legacy out for his friend, so I said I would do the car,” Rick said. “Not too many people do things for a memory of somebody else — they’re always out for themselves and how much money they can make. He’s more of a quiet guy, and he would love to see this.”
Jennifer had fond memories with the Chrysler convertible, especially during cruises with her father throughout Detroit. She now has another trip to make that will surely be happily remembered by her and her dad. When Jennifer and her father Jim go to Autorama, Jim might not realize the surprise that awaits him once he sees his convertible as one of the featured cars on display in the motor show dubbed as the greatest and largest in America.
“He (JIm) thinks I’m just tinkering on it,” Rick said. “I got a chrome strip back the other day, so I told him I had to pull it out and put it on, which isn’t a lie — it did come the other day, but he just has no idea. He’ll recognize it, but it will be a pretty emotional moment.” How we wish we can see that delightful surprise on Jim’s face – it will surely be priceless.
Autorama begins Feb. 26 at Cobo Center in Detroit and will run through Sunday, Feb. 28. More than 800 vehicles are expected to be on display, together with several celebrity appearances.