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1968 Chrysler 300

parmparm Posts: 723
OK, OK. I know I've got some other forums going in the Classic Car Townhall. But, my negotiations for a '62 Eldorado convertible may have hit a snag. So, unless I relinquish all common sense and pay the seller's high asking price, I may need to turn my attention elsewhere.

To that end, I find myself being rather smitten with 1968 Chrysler 300 convertibles. In case you're not familiar with this car, here are some pictures of a car listed for sale in Texas. I'm not promoting this dealer. I'm just offering this link as a good source of pictures.

http://adcache.collectorcartraderonline.com/10/3/7/1860637.htm

I know absolutely zero about these cars other than it appears you can get a pretty nice one (a convertible, naturally) for less money than a '62 Eldorado convertible - which partially accounts for my attraction.

I think these cars look pretty cool. And, being a 1968, they have more modern conveniences and, one would assume, better engineering than cars from the early 1960's which has generally been my preference.

I'm turning to you guys to fill me in on the basic "street-level" scoop. There is a club specifically for 300's (both letter and non-letter series). But, I'm not ready to jump into the deep end of the pool just yet.

So, let's hear some insightful comments.

Comments

  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    I believe the 300 non-letter series were based upon the chassis of another Chrysler model, perhaps the Newport?

    I looked into a 1970 model, but it was too long to fit into my garage comfortably. The 440 is a strong engine, and Mopars seem to be quite popular the last few years. In the end, it was more than I wanted to spend.

    For 67-68, I prefered the Imperial convertibles, they were much rarer, and built like a tank. Again, too big for my garage, but I think they are going for about the same price. The 300 may be a little sportier, but it is still a huge car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    Good tough car, probably the best powertrain of any 60s convertible ever made.

    On the downside, they are HUGE and gas hungry, but fairly stable to drive. A much better handler than a '62 Cadillac and a lot faster, too.

    The price seems very very high, however. These cars, being non-letter 300s, and also being Chryslers, will never have the collectibility of the GM ragtops. If you paid $12.5 for one, you'd be pretty far ahead of the market and it might be years and years before you could ever get that price for it again. I see appreciation of these cars as very slow but steady. They won't go down like some old cars might.

    For a driver, highly recommended. For an investment, much less so.

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  • parmparm Posts: 723
    You gotta remember that I'm willing to plunk down what I consider to be a reasonable chunk of change for a '62 Eldorado which measures in at a whopping 222 inches (that's 18.5 feet!). I suspect that a 1968 300 or Imperial is not quite that big, but probably pretty close.


    Big is good. Kind of like a house. I want a car so big that I'll need a realtor! Hey, the price per sqft decreases as the size increases!


    I have considered the Imperial versus the 300. You're right, the 300 is more sporty (which I like) - particularly with the optional sport wheels which I believe first became available in '68.


    The Imperial looks rather stodgy in my humble opinion, but I could probably learn to like it if I found an exceptional one at a reasonable price.


    By the way, here's a link to a non-commercial website showing a sharp '68 300 convertible (though the passenger door may not fit perfectly)


    http://www.chrysler300site.com/cgibin/history.cgi?1968a


    Keep those cards and letters coming folks.

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The Encyclopedia says they built 2161 300 convertibles in 1968. Supposedly they weighed 4050 pounds but I think that's probably about 400 pounds too light. The 440/350 was standard with the 375-hp optional.

    The '68 is boxy but clean and the 300 styling cues (I'm haven't checked your links but I think they had a blacked-out rear cove and back-up lights styled like fog lights) are distinctive and sporty.

    If you like that generation of Chrysler I'd check out a 1965 300L convertible. They didn't sell many (440) and they've still got some of the letter series cachet but the last time I looked (15 years ago) they were relatively cheap. The trick would be finding one.

    Yes, the larger the house the lower the sales price per square foot, but you don't drive your house--unless you live on a California hillside.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ........I guess the 'price is high', Shiftright, but 'try to find another one', as they say, especially in this condition. These hardly exist at all, they were unloved new, and not so well loved now (especially vs. letter-series 300s and other big brutes of the era, and probably because they're basically unknown by the novice guy who wants a big-ol' convertible).

    This is a dynamite looking car, IMO, really big and muscular, and unique. Compare the price of this car to a comprable Chevy or Pontiac of the same era and tell me how 'overpriced' this car is.

    Parm, if you like it, BUY it, by all means. I don't think you'll have trouble selling it 'some day' if you take care of it.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,051
    ...same basic car, but it was a 2-door hardtop. 383-2bbl, drivetrain was bulletproof, and the a/c still even worked! Sadly, the body and interior were literally falling apart around this car. It only had about 110,000 miles on it, but I'd say my '68 Dart, with 338,000 miles on it, was in better shape! But then this Newport was given to me, so I can't complain! One thing I'll say for it though, is that it still felt solid...no squeaks or rattles, and there were no water leaks, which is rare for any old Chrysler, especially a free one!


    I remember it rode a 124" wheelbase, as did the 300 and the New Yorker. It was about 221" long, and I'd guess the '68 300 would be about the same, unless that little peak on the grille bumps it out any. Another thing I liked about it was that the seat sat up kinda high, and gave good support (despite the fact that it was missing chunks of padding here and there). It was also a very easy car to drive. It didn't handle nearly as well as my '67 Catalina (but then I'm sure a 300 would have suspension upgrades that a Newport didn't), but had excellent visibility, and you could see all the corners of the car. It also had manual drum brakes, which you'd think would be a nightmare on a car this big, but I didn't have any trouble stopping it (until they failed ;-) In fact, the car belonged to a sweet little old lady before me, who could barely see over the steering wheel.


    I really didn't like my '67's style that much though. To me it looked like a cross between a Lincoln, a Mercury, and a Barracuda! Here's a pic I have of the thing, right before I sold it...

    image


    Of that generation, I think the '65 looks the best, with '66 coming in second. I also like the '68 better because the front end just looks more "Chrysler", than "Lincoln/Mercury" to me! But being a 300 with hidden headlights, and being a convertible, definitley makes it cool in my book!


    Oh yeah, and as for overall length, I think the Imperials would have been longer than a '62 Caddy. Up through 1966 I think they were about 227" long. They adopted the Chrysler Unibody for '67, but were still longer than the regular Chryslers. If I were going for an Imperial 'vert, I'd look for a '64-66. I agree that the '66-68's are kinda stodgy looking. The older ones aren't exactly cutting-edge sporty, but I think there's something cool about a car so tough that it was actually banned from demolition derbies!


    Anyway Parm, good luck on this one! Sorry to hear the '62 Caddy might be falling through.

  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Does anyone know a good source for data on Imperials and 300's for mid to late 60's? I'm looking for exterior dimensions, standard vs. optional equipment, etc. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I already know about a Chrysler 300 car club, but I was hoping to find a quick reference book or website with these tidbits.

    By the way, I'm not really looking at that red '68 300 in Texas - at least, not yet. I just posted that site because it has a good selection of pictures relative to this car in general.

    I'm in Indiana and Texas isn't just around the corner. That's the one good thing about the '62 Eldorado - in that it's less than an hour from my house which made inspections relatively painless.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    I can find you all the 68 Chrysler convertibles you could ever want. Might take me a day or two and they may be all over the country, but believe me, the supply exceeds the demand (if it didn't the price would be at GTO levels, but it ain't).

    It's just a nice used car, and there is no urgency to buying it, they will always be available to you.

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  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    .....but how many 300s? In what condition? Restoring one would be foolish, given restoration costs vs. restored value. I find it hard to believe these cars are all that plentiful, since so few were made and it's doubtful many survived. Of course, the argument can be (and has been) made that people didn't want them then and most don't want them now. Fine, but I still say buy one if you want one. Hopefully, most people don't buy an old car as an investment, because most of them are 'poor' as such. The $13k price may be a bit steep (as has been said, 'asking price is an excercise in first amendment rights'), it would probably go for quite a bit less.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    Maybe it's just that you and I have different ideas of what is "rare". To me, if I can find 5-6 nice ones in a few hours of searching on Internet, that to me is a fairly available car. Rare to me means maybe 75 were made, 23 remain and 7 are running.But I'd find those 7 for you too (if you paid me!)

    Production numbers of 2,000 seem significant to me by collectible car standards and when I hear that "only" 27,600 of something was made, I have to chuckle. That's a lot to my ears and hardly "rare". Even 2000 is pushing it.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, I think Chryslers are the kind of cars you should expect a good deal on. The off-brands sell at a discount. There just aren't enough fire-breathing Chrysler fans to generate much momentum for the car. Letter cars would be the exception but collector interest in those cars tapers off by the early '60s. I remember seeing a 300L in Hemmings, a four speed in great shape, for not much.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    I'd guess about $8,000 should be able to buy that car.

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  • parmparm Posts: 723
    $8,000 for which car? The 300L that speedshift mentioned, or the '68 300 referenced earlier in this forum?
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    .....the '68 300. Most letter cars, save for the last couple years, are fairly expensive, though not outrageous (not at '55-58 Chevy levels, for example).

    I guess I just like an interesting, old car in great shape. I don't especially care if it's rare or not, though relative rarity is a nice thing (as long as parts are easily obtainable).
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    What I think Shifty is saying is that you can't really afford to overpay for a car like that.

    Overpay for an Impala SS or a Mustang convertible and the chances are much better that someone will be willing to overpay to bail you out. People are nuts about those cars. They're "the stuff that dreams are made of" to quote Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of Sierra Madre. Back when I was buying and selling special interest cars that phrase ran through my head regularly. It should be posted over the entrance of every collectible car dealership, along with Dante's "Abandon hope all ye who enter through these gates" ;-).

    On the other hand, cars like a '68 300 are pretty much interchangeable. No one is burning to own one. If your price is too high the average buyer will go off and gladly buy one of dozens of other cars that are acceptable substitutes. With a buyer like that it often comes down to something as superficial as the color of the car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    Yes, that's exactly right. Think of a Giant Pyramid. At the base, all across the width of it, are all the buyers for 50s GM convertibles, early Mustangs, early Muscle Cars, etc. Near the point are the buyers for cars like '68 Chryslers. Far fewer potential people to market to. At the very point are the 70s-80s 4-door sedans.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,051
    ...when I bought my '79 New Yorker. Well, at least now I can say I made it to the top of something in life ;-)
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    The NADA guide on-line indicates the average retail of a 68 300 with the "Town & County" 440 to be $10,560. They suggest average is a "20 footer", or around a category 3 I would surmise. I guess it all depends on how many 300 junkies there are out there at the time one is buying or selling.

    My question is, for me to take my Galaxie to a #2 would require a new paint job, rehabbing the interior a little (rechrome the dash, clean the vinyl, replacing all the rubber seals and felt), and fixing the slow oil leak in the rear seal of the engine. That is probably $4,000 worth of work to have it done to a high standard. So if a #2 is worth only $2,000 more than a #3, one could overpay slightly and still come out ahead over improving a #3 to #2.

    Assuming the 300 is a high #2 low #3, and the NADA guide is accurate, it could be worth $12,000, but since parm is not determined to buy one model, I don't know what else is out there for that price.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    NADA is way overpriced on this car IMO. They are better at modern used cars and don't have a good database for collectibles. $12,500 is a show car price, for a spectacular, flawless, better than new automobile, completely rebuilt in every nut and bolt.

    A strong #2 should sell for about $9K and a #3 for about $7,500.

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  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    I can understand what you are saying. There are a couple of other websites I find are more accurate on the pricing.

    I guess certain makes like Pontiac, Chevy, Cadillac, and to a lesser degree, Ford and Plymouth, are worth more just because of the make. The rest probably fall into the general big 60's American convertible, and are priced more on condition than make, but still lower.

    The 300 is a fine convertible, it is just shocking how much more a smaller Mopar with that engine would cost.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    Below is two links, one to a 66 Imperial Crown Convertible, claiming to be a #2 car, with a buy it now price of $12,000.


    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1820888570


    Also a link to a websit with all the info on 300's. According to this site, 2,161 convertibles were built.


    http://www.chrysler300site.com/cgibin/history.cgi

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    The Imperial, with that 'final year' body in 1966 was looking quite dated (both interior and exterior) by that time. Still, this is a lovely car in general, with lots of cool options. Still, it isn't any cheaper than most '66 Cadillac DeVille convertibles, with which this car competes, and the Cads will probably do better at resale, despite the rarity of the Imperials. Of course, in equipment and rarity, most Imperials of that era are more comprable to Eldorado convertibles, most of which are getting pricey (even the '65-66 models). Bottom line, I'd rather have the Elrorado (especially a '66, droooool).
  • toronadotoronado Posts: 4
    is from "The Maltese Falcon"--no flame,
    just correction.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Posts: 207
    He had that car for about 25 years then sold it to some kid who wanted to restore it without telling me (@##%$#).

    Great car. Built like a tank. The engine and drivetrain were almost bulletproof. It survived my teen years. It moved pretty well for such a behemoth.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    Don't know if it has air, but it looks to be going for a decent price on E-bay


    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1840097003


    Or, something that is certainly unique, a 60 Crown Imperial Convertible.


    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1840885204

This discussion has been closed.