1968 Chrysler 300 Convertible Restoration

The Chrysler 300 has a history that spans 9 generations. Today’s 300 is a shell compared to the original—which is arguably the first American muscle car ever. Introduced in 1955, the name stems from the groundbreaking 300hp delivered by the original engine. By the 60’s horsepower grew to a stout 415, but the name 300 always remained.

The Chrysler 300 went thru what seems like a never-ending array of changes in both options and body styles, although we can simplify the classic version into 2 sections: Letter Series and Non-Letter Series.

For seven years, commencing with the 1955 300 hardtop and moving ahead to the 1961 300G, Chrysler churned out some of the most exclusive and exciting blends of luxury and performance in America. The letter actually appeared in 1956 with the introduction of the 300B, but 1957 marks a groundbreaking time for the 300 series—and Chrysler as a whole.

The 1957 Chrysler 300-C came equipped with a standard 392CID, 375-horsepower HEMI, two four-barrel carburetors, a high-output camshaft, Torsion-Aire suspension and the new Torqueflite transmission, making it the fastest, most powerful production car built in America that year and earning it the title “beautiful brute.” The Chrysler letter series would go on to set speed records in Daytona and was driven by some of popular culture’s coolest customers.

Hoping to capitalize on the celebrity of these flagship cars, the company introduced non-letter “sport series” versions of the Chrysler 300 in 1962. The price was lower but so was the performance, and these (what some would call “false” 300s) would eventually aid in terminating the line of authentic 300s. After 1965 the Letter Series was gone, leaving the Non-Letter 300 as Chryslers lingering performance car, though at that time any Chrysler could be optioned with the 300′s performance parts.

The 1967-1968 Chrysler 300 2D Hardtop and Convertible were continuations of the non-letter 300 series, with new styling on the basic 1965-66 platform (wheelbase and overall length were unchanged). By this time, all ’67-’68 Chryslers sported sharpened lines and concave body sides, but 300s stood apart with the traditional “cross-hair” grille motif and, for ’68, hidden headlamps. It was by no means as unique as the Letter Series, but the 300 was still deemed as one of the best performing large cars of its era.

By the end of the 60’s people had become more interested in less expensive, smaller and quicker muscle cars and the 300 would say goodbye in 1971—not to return until 1999.

1968 Chrysler 300 Emblems

The 1968 Chrysler 300 that we are here to introduce to you is rare not only in production numbers (2,161), but also in that it is an original owner hand-me-down bought by our customers mother off the showroom floor. The story of this restoration starts off when the recipient of this second-hand car and her husband decide they would like to breath some fire back into this beast. To their discontent, the car was being restored at a snails pace of five years—and still nowhere near complete when it reached our garage doors on a trailer. It probably goes without saying that this Florida based restoration shop is now defunct. Luckily, through word of mouth and some due diligence by way of web research done by the owners, the couple now has 2 cars here at American Resto Mods: her 1968 Chrysler 300 and his 1970 RT Charger (which we will tell you allllllll about in a later blog post).

When we received the Chrysler 300 it had already been painted, but not assembled at all. This became our task. As you might guess, the most dreaded part of any car that comes to us from another shop is that it usually shows up in boxes and in pieces. If you follow our articles, you know that we do our best to document our restorations with plenty of pictures, so that if we have any questions later, we have something to refer to. In this case, we did not take it apart, so we were unable to document the disassembly which means we have no point of reference for putting it back together other than assembly manuals. Lucky for our customer, our techs are very much in tune with these old cars, so we were able to get the job accomplished correctly in a reasonable amount of time (about 1 year).

In addition to just plain ole reassembly, the task included adding Dynamat to the floors, covering the seats, replacing the carpet, dying interior parts, a new convertible top, touch up paint, and new tires. When it comes to the engine, it remains the all-original 440CID V8 that came with the car. Following suit, this came to us with its own set of problems, including an overheating issue, which we were sure to cure before dropping it back into its bay.

This Chrysler 300 has been reunited with its very happy owners after a long and hard 6 years apart. As for the RT Charger we mentioned earlier, it is still being reconstructed. This one is a doosey because as with the 300, this car is also missing a lot of parts. And the Charger is a car that is hard to find parts for. Ugh! Stay tuned to see if we are up to the task…and in the meanwhile enjoy this vintage commercial for the Chrysler 300 that boasts of an 8-track stereo! OH MY!

Oh, one more thing. During our research we found this great site that documents the full history of the Chrysler 300. We hope you enjoy and find it helpful.

1968 Chrysler 300
1968 Chrysler 300
474 photos
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