- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2001

Rick Ehrmann's affinity for Chrysler 300 models began when he was in high school in Tom's River, N.J. The father of a classmate had such a car and often let the son take it for a drive shared with the youthful Mr. Ehrmann.

The separate 300 model line began in 1955. The next year's 300, the second in the series, was labeled "300 B." The letter designation continued through the 1962 "300 H" model. To avoid confusing "I" for "1" the 1963 model was designated 300 J, with 300 K following in 1964 and the last of the letter series cars in 1965 designated 300 L.

Until the current Chrysler 300 M came along, all of the 300 models in the intervening years were produced with no letter label.

"I've wanted a Chrysler 300 forever," Mr. Ehrmann said.

In the summer of 1999, Mr. Ehrmann, a representative of the Baltimore/Washington Newspaper Guild, took action to correct the Chrysler deficiency in his life.

Shopping on the Internet at "Chryslers 300," he found a 1968 Chrysler 300 convertible for sale in Hawesville, Ky., a small community about 90 miles west of Louisville.

After a month of e-mails, telephone calls, mailing of photographs and negotiations, Mr. Ehrmann flew to Louisville, where the owner of the Chrysler met him and drove him the 1? hours to Hawesville.

Of course, the buffed silver mist Chrysler was cleaned and polished with the convertible top down when he opened the garage door.

It's a good thing that Mr. Ehrmann wasn't on medication because one look is all it took to set his heart pounding. He bought the 4,050-pound car on the spot, July 6, 1999. With the top down and the sun shining on his extra-wide smile, he fired up the 375-horsepower, 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine and headed home.

At the end of the second day, he drove into his driveway completely relaxed after riding 700 miles on a 124-inch wheelbase.

He began to research the history of his new/old Chrysler 300 convertible, one of only 2,161 manufactured. Discovering that it was sold to the original owner from University Chrysler-Plymouth in Lawrence, Kan., Mr. Ehrmann tracked down the now retired Roger Moffitt, the salesman who sold the car. Mr. Moffitt even recalled that a year later the Chrysler was traded back in on a muscular hemi-powered Dodge Chal-

lenger RT.

The next three owners lived in and around Great Bend, Kan. By 1976 it was sold to a Topeka couple who put the Chrysler in storage.

A decade later a Wichita man bought the convertible and had enough mechanical work done to once more make it roadworthy in January 1988.

From Wichita the Chrysler went to a new owner in Elkhart, Kan., in 1993. Two years later, for the first time in 30 years, the Chrysler left Kansas. A Lawton, Okla., man purchased the car and in 1998 sold it to the Hawesville, Ky., man.

When Mr. Ehrmann purchased the LONG Chrysler, the odometer read 106,000 miles. It now reads more the 115,000 miles.

Mr. Ehrmann recalls that the two-day trip home was uneventful except for the oil pressure warning light, which kept flashing on and off. "I worried about it all the way home," Mr. Ehrmann said.

He later discovered that the problem was a frayed wire that kept swaying into a piece of metal. This shorted the circuit and caused the warning light to flash.

The double snorkel air cleaner performed flawlessly on the trip home. The dual exhaust system provides a nice voice as the car motors along. A total of 18 quarts of coolant keep the engine running cool while the single four-barrel carburetor sips fuel from the 24-gallon tank.

Mr. Ehrmann did have to have the rear axle rebuilt because it leaked too much. He had to jack the car up and fill the axle with lubrication each time he drove the car.

He also has replaced the power steering box, as well as the power steering pump and the water pump.

A double-roller timing chain replaced the original.

Starting with a base price of $4,536, the accessories boosted the total cost to $6,409. The car had almost every extra-cost option except the console and leather upholstery. The accessory lists includes:

• Air conditioning……………$406.

• AM/FM Multiplex…………..247.

• Power bucket seats…………183.

• Power steering………………107.

• Power windows………………106.

• Tilt/telescoping wheel………88.

• 440-cubic-inch TNT motor.79.

• Disc brakes………………….74.

• Automatic speed control…..67.

• Power vent windows…………53.

• Suregrip differential…………51.

• Power brakes…………………47.

• Head restraints………………44.

• Tinted glass…………………42.

• Power door locks……………..37.

• Cornering lights……………..36.

• Safeguard sentinel……………34.

• Passenger reclining seat…..32.

• Power antenna………………..27.

• Light group………………….23.

• Special paint………………..22.

• Clock……………………….19.

• Wheel covers…………………19.

• Remote trunk release………13.

• Remote left mirror……………10.

• Right mirror…………………10.

Mr. Ehrmann replaced the enormous boot to cover the lowered top. Fortunately, all 29 snaps lined up.

He has the larger wheels from 1970, which weren't available in 1968.

Mr. Ehrmann confesses that his Chrysler 300 convertible came from the factory with no hood ornament.

Somewhere along the line a 1974 hood ornament was mounted on the hood and Mr. Ehrmann thinks it looks just fine there.-

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