I t is the dream of many vintage automobile lovers to have the ultimate barn find ‘ the car that had sat for decades due to a complicated estate situation or some other factor. The car that was completely forgotten about just waits for that lucky person to open the barn door and awaken it from years of slumber. It is fairly often that a car is discovered, although it seems that most of the “good ones” have long since been torn from the grasp of anonymity and are back on the road.
This 1960 Chrysler 300F convertible was a recent barn find in Connecticut. In addition to being an already-desirable 300F convertible, it is also the last 300F built.
Connecticut, like most other states, can offer its share of barn finds. Rumors had circulated for years in and around Bridgeport that a 1960 Chrysler 300F convertible sat untouched in someone’s garage in neighboring Milford. I had personally searched for the car for more than two years and had no success, chasing one wrong lead after another.
One year ago, someone from one of the car clubs sent an e-mail indicating that a recently discovered 300F convertible was now for sale ‘ and it was in Bridgeport. Of course, I picked up the phone to discover that this was the lost 300F convertible that had long been rumored. The Chrysler 300 Club International was notified; indeed, this was a brand-new find, and the club set up to doing what they will do for any member ‘ a “work-up” for this car.
The original interior features leather upholstery and copious amounts of bright trim. The car is equipped with two-zone air conditioning and vacuum locks.
A work-up is a pretty simple process. Gil Cunningham is the club historian and has actual copies of the original micro-films that Chrysler produced in 1960. He looks up the serial number and some other data on the micro film and provides a report on the provenance of the car. When Gil did the work, he found out “Part Two” of this story was a stunning find: The car was the last 300F built by Chrysler. Among the rarest of the “Letter Cars,” the 300F convertible has stood the test of time like few other cars built in its day. Between the documents found in the car, and the work-up provided by the club, virtually all of the history became evident on this car.
The heart of the 300F is the 413-cid V-8 producing 375 hp. The dual four-barrels use the long-ram induction system to feed the engine.
Sold new in July of 1960 to Mr. Wallace Lines of Milford, this car was ordered from the factory as an extraordinarily optioned car. Among the options selected were two-zone air conditioning, tinted windows, upgraded radio, dual outside mirrors, power antenna and vacuum locks. According to the Chrysler 300 Club International records, this is one of the most highly optioned 300Fs to leave the factory.
Mr. Lines would be the last person in the world to order and receive a 1960 Chrysler 300F. With the completion of this very car, the factory would shut down for retooling to build the next iteration of Letter Cars, the 300G. The very first 300Gs would roll off the line only a couple of weeks later.
The black-and-white convertible is in factory-original condition. The 300F was in a collection of “Letter Cars” for decades before becoming a part of the Schibley Collection in 2006.
Mr. Lines would enjoy the car for three years and then sell it on Dec. 20, 1965, to the second owner, Henry DeSiena of Stratford, Conn., one town away from Milford. DeSiena was an early Letter-Car collector and added this car to a growing collection of Letter Cars that would stay hidden away for nearly 40 years. This 300F went to the Schibley Collection in mid 2006 and has stayed there since.
The car still carries its original 413-cid engine generating 375 hp. It is coupled to the venerable cast-iron TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission and has dual four-barrel carburetors with the long-ram induction system.
The Worldwide Group will be offering this car in running, as-found condition at the Houston Classic Auction on May 5, 2007, along with the rest of the Schibley Letter-Car collection. More information on this car, including photographs, can be found at www.WWGauctions.com.