9 November 2015

An awful lot of Gorgeous


When he showed up at Kruse’s Atlanta auction in April 1987, Joe Gross was no novice to old cars. He’d always bought them privately, however, never at auction. He was ready for another car but wanted to see what was available. When he saw the massive Satin Tan 1970 Chrysler 300 Hurst, he wanted it badly. Until that day, Gross hadn’t known about the model. “I just raised my hand and no one else bid,” he says, still surprised to have won the car. “I didn’t think it was within my budget.”

Chrysler’s 300 series came as a coupe, four-door and convertible. The final model was the 300 Hurst (not 300H), based on the coupe and equipped with a 440-cid V-8 uprated to 375 horsepower and mated to a strengthened Torque-Flite transmission. It used independent front suspension and a live rear axle, but the Hurst version had heavier springs, power front disc brakes and styled steel wheels mounted with white-letter tires.

Externally, in addition to the special livery, the 300 Hurst sported several fiberglass body panels: hood with power bulge and rotary latches; roof; trunk lid; and integral rear spoiler and end caps. Equipped with power bucket seats, the interior was upholstered in Imperial tan leather and had all the creature comforts available. Most examples were equipped with a column shift, but Gross’ car has the optional console shifter, which was fitted to roughly 40 of the approximately 485 built. Surprisingly, the cars never received the Hurst shifter conversion, the special ignition or deeper oil pan that had been planned. With little marketing from either Hurst or Chrysler, it was a forgotten model from the start.

When Gross bought his 300 Hurst, it had only 29,000 miles. But because the original paint had faded badly, the prior owner repainted it in his body shop. Otherwise, the big Chrysler is completely original.

Once back in Florida, where he lived at the time, Gross showed it extensively and gathered thorough documentation for the car, as well as many trophies and another 7,000 miles. Now living in Ohio, he continues to show and enjoy it on nice days. He does admit that when his girlfriend is with him they take his 1980 MGB, because she says the Chrysler is a boat. But, he quips, “When I’m doing my own manly stuff, it’s the Chrysler.”

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