In the Garage: 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport convertible

1962 Chrysler 300 Sport convertible owned by Joseph 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport convertible owned by Joseph Luciano Photo Credit: Handout

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THE CAR AND ITS OWNER

1962 Chrysler 300 Sport convertible owned by Joseph Luciano

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING

The muscular, limited-production Chrysler 300 “letter” cars built from 1955 to 1965 (i.e., 1956 300B) have become sought-after legends among collectors and enthusiasts.  But in 1962, the company created something of a fork in the road by offering both the higher-end 300H and the new 300 Sport Series for a slightly larger audience.  Although both versions exuded luxury and refinement, the Sport Series came standard with Chrysler’s 383-cubic-inch V-8 rated at 305 horsepower, about 100 less than the letter version.   Luciano notes that just 1,848 of the Sport convertibles were produced.  “There are very few convertibles left,” he says.  “It’s a great highway car.  It rides like brand new.”

HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT

Since June 1995

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WHERE HE FOUND IT

It was advertised in an upstate New York newspaper.

CONDITION

“It was in fair condition,” Luciano says.  “The paint was perfect and all the body panels were original.  It needed a full interior, brakes and convertible top.  The motor was tired.  I did the motor over at 100,000 miles.  I have all the original literature and paperwork, and a copy of the window sticker.”

TIPS FOR OWNERS

“Spend a lot of time and money to keep them correct,” he advises.  “Don’t put in ‘brand x’ parts. Use new-old stock, if possible.”  Chrysler enthusiast clubs helped him find parts and restorers.

VALUE

Luciano insures the Chrysler for $40,000.

THE BOTTOM LINE

“In 1962, I purchased the same car new for my 18th birthday,” he says.  “I kept it until 1965 when I traded it for a Plymouth Satellite.  The day I drove the Plymouth off the lot, I had already started missing the Chrysler. Thirty years later, I found the exact car with the exact color in a convertible.  It brings me back to a different and earlier time and place in my life.”

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