An American Classic – Ian Hadley’s 1970 Chrysler 300


This week it has been a pleasure to receive a guest post from Ian Hadley, who took a leap of faith and purchased a 1970 Chrysler 300 from the States, relying only on photographs and a bit of courage to seal the deal. Read his personal account below:

“The car was a 1970 Chrysler 300, 2 door hardtop (Coupe), 440 Cubic Inches (7.2 Litres), 350 hp, 480 ft lbs of stump pulling torque. Near 20 ft long, 7 ft wide and weighs just north of 2 tons. Three speed automatic transmission (manual not available for this model). She had allegedly been a one family owned car and spent her entire life in and around the environs of Pasadena (a suburb of Los Angeles, California). Originally purchased new by the vendor’s great aunt. I guess that makes her the original “Little Old Lady from Pasadena”! There are two basic types of American car which every enthusiast finds desirable. The first I would term the “Daddy’s Girl Car”; usually a sporty model with upgraded brakes, handling package and all the toys but with the base engine. Just begging for an engine swap. The second I call the “Sunday Go To Meeting Car”; a personal luxury coupe or sedan, little used, low mileage.

With 56k genuine miles on the clock, this old girl of a Chrysler falls into the latter category. Whilst not my first rodeo concerning the importation of a car from The States, one never quite knows what to expect until the vehicle gets here. Relying entirely on photographs and the vendor’s description requires a great leap of faith and is not to be recommended to those faint of heart. In this case she lived up to expectations and I find myself well pleased with my purchase.

The car proved to be totally rust free, an advantage of importing from a dry State. Unusually for a 300, the car was not highly optioned having no Air Conditioning, no Power Windows, and just the basic Bench Seat interior. I managed to extract the Broadcast Sheet from it’s under seat hiding place and discovered the car came with the “fuel economy” rear axle, a fact I found hilarious! Having been maintained in an excellent mechanical state, she needed very little to pass her first MOT. The rear indicators required a rewire and colour change. The washer bottle was non existent. Old technology plastic bottles do not last and are virtually impossible to obtain NOS or used. The old sealed beam headlights needed improvement too. Now in the old days, when headlights came in standard sizes, one only needed to visit the local automotive factor for an off the shelf replacement. Not so easy in the 21st Century.

This is where Holden Vintage and Classic came to the rescue.

These fine folks carry a range of suitable replacements, enabling one to convert your classic to utilise more modern halogen lighting. Whilst I was shopping, I purchased a generic aftermarket washer kit too. Not being a matching numbers aficionado, the lack of originality does not bother me. Suffice to say, MOT passed first time! And finally, just to answer the often-asked questions; you can get four bodies in the trunk and it does 12 – 14 mpg on a run which falls to 5 – 6 mpg in stop start driving. If two litres did it for me, I’d have got me a Pepsi!”

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