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1965 Chrysler 300L

July 2016 Mopar of the Month

Tony writes from Australia: My 1965 Chrysler 300L is in pretty good nick for an old girl.

1965 Chrysler 300L passenger front

I found this Chrysler up in Tacoma, Washington at Seattle Classic Cars, and after a short negotiation it was prepared for the sea voyage to its new home. Waiting for the 300L was nerve-racking as I had not seen the Mopar in the flesh—all I had was about 100 photos of the Chrysler from top to bottom, front to back, and anywhere else I could think of. The worry was—how good would it be in the flesh, had there been any butchers working on it, and how much rust would I find. The seller had guaranteed that I would be happy—and he was very right.

After a quick inspection when it arrived, I backed it off the car transporter in a nearby town—and just drove it home (I was lucky as it arrived with ĺ tank of gasoline). It took me a few months to put it on the road legally, i.e., it had to go thru a strict inspection process. The only real work that had to be done, was changing over the headlights so that they dipped to the left (as we drive on the other side of the road), I fitted a highstop brake light at the bottom of the read screen. Everything else seemed fine. The final inspection process is rigorous, i.e., they take the wheels off, pull the brake drums, measure everything, etc, etc. The Chrysler was checked for any modifications, inner guard linings, seats and carpet are lifted to ensure it has not been chopped. So after all of that—they only picked up that the Mopar needed a front wheel bearing on one side, a tie rod end needed replacing, and the transmission mount was actually in two pieces. As a result I had 30 days to get it all sorted—so quickly jumped on Ebay in the USA—found all the parts, and had them shipped over. Just on three weeks later in the Chrysler was registered and on the road in Australia.

Additionally, to my surprise, when I opened up the glove box and found it jammed packed full of receipts that had been kept for years. They were neatly filed in envelopes under various categories, i.e., engine, body, suspension, electrical. There was some interesting reading in there for sure, but it was really good to see the servicing history on the car, know what had been replaced, overhauled, etc. —  right down to when the new roof material was fitted or when the battery was replaced (under warranty). I get the feeling from the documents that the Mopar was very well loved by the previous owner.

One thing I have changed are wheels and tires. The Chrysler had some very strange 14 inch rims* on it with high profile tires, which I swapped out for 17 inch alloy wheels for a couple of reasons, i.e., the lower profile tires make the Mopar handle so much better and now does not wander all over the place. We do not have the luxury of big wide roads like U.S. guys, and the roads are probably a wee bit more rough and ready in some places, so having the lower profile tires helps me keep my land yacht on the road.

*Re the rims I mentioned:

I was not happy with them as they were fitted with an eccentric stud spacer, using a nylon insert,
which fitted over the original wheel lug; it just did not seem safe, so off they came.

1965 Chrysler 300L 14 inch wheel
One of the 14 inch wheels that was replaced.

Also, when the Chrysler the inner headlights had been changed to an orange lense just like the police search lights that are fitted. I can only imagine that this was done for driving in fog or mist. Also the outer lights had been changed so that they were high and low beam. The first time I drove the car in the dark I had to stop and check the lights were on, as I think I would have seen more using a candle. On closer inspection when I took them out to replace them, I found they were Harley Davidson lenses!Unbelievable.

1965 Chrysler 300L with amber lenses

So I changed the headlights back to stock.

The fender tag may help others decode their 1965 Chrysler.
The VIN tag shows this Chrysler was built by the Jefferson, MI manufacturing plant.

1965 Chrysler 300L fender tag

The Chrysler runs the 413, with a nice Edlebrock manifold and carbie on top.
There is enough there to spin the wheels when/should I feel the need to.

1965 Chrysler 300L 413
1965 Chrysler 300L interior 1965 Chrysler 300L dash and interior

1965 Chrysler 300L passenger side

The big Chrysler has had its fair share of outings to car shows, on a few runs, etc., and gets a lot of looks and great comments. The Mopar by no way perfect, but is in amazing condition for its age; plus being the last of the letter cars, makes it that much more pleasurable to own. There arenít too many of them down here in this part of the world, so it is nice to have something different.

1965 Chrysler 300L driver side from rear

1965 Chrysler 300L rear

By the way, when I first got the 300L, popped the hood and saw the 413, I did have a quick thought of how much better the engine would be in my 1962 Dodge—but that idea quickly subsided once I drove the Chrysler. Iíll just have to get cracking on building a Poly stroker for the 1962!

Contact Tony:  1965 Chrysler 300L owner contact

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