The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hyfire, Aug 11, 2015.
Have you seen this article? http://www.allpar.com/cars/chrysler/chrysler-300-at-daytona-beach.html
I found this in Google books.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=Ign8btHPbvMC&lpg=PA27&ots=vvlI2RT1BC&dq=tom mccahill 1955 Chrysler 300M&pg=PA20#v=onepage&q=tom mccahill 1955 Chrysler 300M&f=false
I'll never understand the thinking of someone who would let a car like this sit outside.
Great info, thank you!
I talked to Burt from the first link. Great guy who had a lot to do with these cars. He was involved with this whole project,from the prototype to the introduction and press test drives., I think)
Regarding the past owners state of mind, the car did look really nice when he bought it 45 years ago... he was an honest to God car guy. But early on his very young son (7 year old, I think) died and it changed him. It's hard to blame anyone after something like that. His family was exceptionally helpful and very kind.
I'm very happy it was at least partially covered. It wouldn't have lasted 10 more years.
Contact NASCAR corporate office and ask to speak with an archivist. For a nominal fee, they will find photographs (and, perhaps) other details on the car. They sent me loads of info a while back while researching the Johnny Mantz Plymouth (winner of the inaugural Southern 500)
Is the car driveable? Have you driven it?
I'll call and see if I have any luck, thanks!
The car hasn't run in 45 years, but I'll start soaking everything in preparation of firing it up. It's really rough, so it will have to be pulled apart before its on the road. But I'll try to get the engine running....
I sent you a new PM with updated contact numbers . I hope they are able to help..
Here are two videos with Vicki.
96 years old... And still amazing.
great thread. thanks for sharing and best of luck.
in ormond beach ,the next town north of daytona beach is a museum called the birthplace of speed. they have lots of info and old timers who might be able to shed some info . nice find
I'll give the museum a call and see if they can help, Thanks!
I got a package from the Daytona Speedway archives today. It's got a few new photos of the car on the beach.
This one appears to be the acceleration run? The car's weight is shifted and sand is flying, so I'm guessing this photo was not the Flying Mile? I don't have a clue if it is Shaw or Wood driving. The wind shield number should answer this.
When he parked it this was just a old used car to him and many other people. A fast car but old.
W O W ! ! !
Pretty cool huh Quentin? That's the money shot. I'm thinking by the shirt, that might be Vicki Wood, but I could be wrong. She won the Championship in the car, so I'm hoping it is.
I'm hoping a program (1956 would have the results from '55) will shed more light and provide more images of the car. The two 300s were the "big news" of the domestic manufactures this year, so I'm hoping they were well photographed.
Here's a photo of Brewster Shaw in Vin #001. It was taken on February 22nd, 1955. Just before the Men's Speed Trials.
I've tracked down and talked with Brewster's son, Bill. A very hard guy to get a hold of. Bill thinks he may have something related to the car in his Dad's old paperwork, but doesn't seem too interested in the topic of his Father's racing history. He seems like a very nice guy... he just doesn't seem interested.
Brewster was in a small group of pioneering Daytona surf enthusiasts back in the 1930's-40's. During the war Shaw was questioned by the U.S. Military after reports of Germans arriving on "torpedos" late at night, which turned out to be Shaw and a friend catching waves after dark. The Shaw family was very well off and Brewster was Princeton educated. His father ran San Juan Motors, but upon his sudden death, Brewster had to take over the dealership. He knew the Daytona SpeedWeek events were a great chance at marketing and actually hosted Chrysler staff in his garage. When Chrysler would send a team of engineers and cars to Daytona, they would work out of the San Juan Motor's garages.
This kind of explains why the very first 300 ever would end up in Brewster's hands.
Cool find, congratulations on finding it!
I will add another avenue to research - it might at first sound like off in left field, but bear with me. You may find some information on your car, buy doing some looking at the history of the Kiekhaefer car. Both were built together before being sent to the respective owners.
Two people might prove good sources - Fred Kiekhaefer (Carl's son) is still around. He would have been just a kid, but may have some family archives that could add information. He ran Kiekhaefer Aeromarine, then sold it to Brunswick. They folded it into the old Mercury Performance Products, and I believe it is now named Mercury Racing. I think Fred is retired, but still shows his face around there on occasion, and lives in the area. A call to their public affairs people may get you a contact, or get them to forward something to Fred for you.
More importantly, Charles Strang is still alive (really old, but still sharp as a tack last I heard). Charlie was Mr. K's right hand man and chief engineer during the Nascar period. Better yet, Charlie is known to be somewhat of a historian, never get rid of everything, and have an amazing personal archive. He was in the thick of it, and could be a wealth of knowledge on the who / where / when / why that may apply to your car as well.
Mr.Strang went on to be Chairman of Mercury's chief rival Outboard Marine Corp. (Johnson/Evinrude) in the 70's, and I believe is still retired in the Chicago / Waukegan Il. area. Best place to start looking for a contact would be Nascar - he was the Nascar Commissioner for years (the final appeal guy). Maybe they have a contact, or can forward something to him.
If you pursue this angle and hit a brick wall PM me, I might be able to help though some of my contacts, but better to try the front door first.
Still trying to string a legible sentence together Josh.!! This has to be way up there with Nads find. Absolutely incredible. You are number one. I am no one. Can.t wipe the smile off my face for ya.
Excellent info! THANK YOU! I will start working on this within the next day or two!
Quentin, don't be so humble. Anyone can buy a car... Very few people can actually fabricate and build them.
Here's another photo of Brewster in the car. This photo was taken before the start of NASCAR Speed Week. It's Brewster sitting in Vin#001, in front of the San Juan Motors showroom. What's funny is Brewster took this exact same photo in 1956 again with a 300B. This image is currently being sold by Getty, however it's in the Daytona International Archives.
Josh (@Hyfire) -
Congrats on your very cool find/purchase!
I'll be sure to scour my archives for any vintage photos of #3N551001.
I appreciate it! THANK YOU for any help you can give!
I enjoyed your archeology on the 300D. This one is getting just as good.
@StillOutThere & @johnl - It would be wonderful if you could share some of this knowledge here in this thread!
That car was kind of a long journey. Every time I thought I reached the end of researching, I would find new leads. I think this car is a little more "up-front". I don't think I'll have as much luck here. Although I'm very happy with what I've found already. I think this car is more historically significant than the 300D (The very first production Chrysler 300 made, a NASCAR Championship Speed Trials record car, the only know '55 racer to date), but the 300D is a much more personal story. The cool thing is I'm planning on flying out to Florida really soon to meet Vicki in person. Where Norm died before I was even born.
Here is my final Vin#001 photo from the Daytona Archives. Here's the woman herself..... Just before running the C300 and cleaning the clock of over 600 other vehicles at Daytona Beach.
I have a timeline question. With the cars entering Daytona in February of 1955 and being No.1 and No.2 does that mean the C-300 was a mid year introduction for Chrysler? Obviously the regular forward look New Yorkers came out in September of 1954 as a new model year introduction.
Are there any ads stating when the 300s were available at dealerships?
Since the production cars wouldn't be ready by Daytona in February, Chrysler arranged for all the major publications to test drive and review the Engineering Prototype car. It was an unusual move as everything 300 specific was hand fabricated on that car. Many of the test drives actually state that it was simply a prototype and that production wouldn't start until March.
Looking through trade magazines, they also confirmed that the 300 wouldn't start production until March. Which brings up the question as to how NASCAR accepted a car that wasn't available. I've found an article that says the other auto manufacturers were pretty angry that Chrysler could get away with creating the 300 and selling it as a "stock" car. Even after selling over 1000 units, GM and Ford didn't consider it "stock". While that sounds like sour grapes... The question for '55 SHOULD have been how they could race pre-production cars in a production class. There was truly no homologation involved. It might have been that they could point to the magazines they arranged to test the prototype and say "see, it's a production car". It seems it was an aggressive push by Chrysler.
Here's the early ad they released at the time... Before this ad I found press releases and the newspaper ads earlier in this thread.
Found these two PDFs about Vicki Wood. They offer good background.
April 1960 Feature: "Vicki Wood, Now Top Race Driver"
October 1960 Feature: "Fastest Woman In The World"
I just went to the Swope Auto Museum in Elizabethtown KY. They have a 63 Chrysler K edition car for sale for 25K. 440 car, auto transmission, A/C with supposedly original paint. Doesn't seem like too bad a price for a pretty rare car in great condition. Wish I would have taken a picture of it.
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