1964 Chrysler 300: A classic you can drive

Staff reports
Farm Forum

The original owner of this 1964 Chrysler 300 died just two years after purchasing the four-door hardtop sedan. The second owner took possession of the Chrysler sedan in 1966 and took extremely good care of it for the next 40 years before deciding to put the 300 on the market.

That’s the time John Cramer was interested in acquiring an antique car. With the car seller located in Pennsylvania and the prospective buyer in Virginia, the two exchanged information and photographs of the car and agreed to the deal if the car was in as-advertised condition.

Cramer enlisted the help of his son to accompany him on the 220-mile trip to inspect the Chrysler. After driving the car around the block, Cramer was convinced that this 1964 Chrysler 300 was the car for him.

Cramer’s son drove the car to his Dad’s home so that his father, who was following behind, could see how it looked driving down the highway.

“I didn’t want a show car,” Cramer says. “I wanted a car I wouldn’t be afraid to drive.”

Once Cramer arrived home with his white Chrysler, he replaced the brakes, bearings, seals, tires, and all things rubber. He installed a new 23-gallon gasoline tank and fuel gauge, along with a fuel pump and power steering pump. To be on the safe side, he also replaced the alternator and regulator. He clearly did not want to break down in the future.

He reports the 383-cubic-inch V-8 engine beneath a two-barrel carburetor has never failed him; however, the push-button automatic transmission went out in 2013. Cramer suspects the 305-horsepower V-8 can comfortably push his car to the 120-mph limit of the speedometer. From top to bottom the push buttons operating the three-speed transmission are Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and Second. A vertical lever to the left of the push buttons activates low gear.

Records indicate that when new, the 3,865-pound Chrysler had a base price of $3,521. A total of 11,460 such 300 series cars were manufactured. Surprisingly, Cramer says his car left the factory with very few options. It has no air conditioner, no power brakes, no power windows, and only an AM radio. If fuel economy was the goal, then the outcome was questionable, since Cramer reports fuel consumption in his car is 10 miles per gallon. But that figure does not include the style factor.

The interior of the stylish Chrysler is upholstered in blue leather and cloth fabric. Both flanks of the car wear a strip of silver anodized trim.

The car had 47,600 miles on the odometer when Cramer became the owner almost five years ago. That total now reads 57,605 miles, each of which have him smile.

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