The guy selling the car told me that his father in Ohio had bought the car new. He explained that his father always bought expensive "sporty" cars. When he got tired of them or they broke, he would park them in a field on the farm and forget about them. He inherited the assets of his father and decided to bring the 300F and a '53 Buick Skylark convertible back to San Diego to restore. After leaving the cars in his back yard for years, he decided to sell the 300F and work on the Buick. The Buick was there when I went to look at the 300F and it was in even worse condition than the Chrysler.
When I arrived to look at the car, which was advertised as "restorable", it was immediately obvious that the only way this particular car could be restored would be to put the VIN number on another car. The pictures above do not fully illustrate the rust that overtook the car from years of sitting out in a field. There was severe rust everywhere. The trunk, quarter panels, fenders, floors and firewall were rusted out. The decklid was badly rusted under the ornamental hubcap and also on the inside. The frame rails and suspension parts were badly rusted as well.
The engine was out of the car and partially disassembled. It was sitting in his backyard without being covered. The ram intake manifolds and carburetors were just sitting out in the open. The elements had taken their toll on these parts. The carburetors are totally frozen up from corrosion. We had to hammer the pistons out of the block to get them out. The transmission was in the trunk of the car. Fortunately, many smaller parts had been placed in the trunk and were somewhat protected from the elements. This included the original air cleaners, distributor, exhaust manifolds, valve covers, air conditioning system, carburetor linkage, cylinder heads and smaller underhood parts.
The interior of the car was pretty rotten. The back window had been out of the car for some time and water had free access to the inside. The aluminum strips on the floor were almost all gone from corrosion. Amazingly, the 300 emblem from between the rear bucket seats held up well. I think this is because it wasn't sitting in water like the floor. Most of the chrome on the instrument panel was very pitted. The gauge cluster was in good shape still, the hooded dash provides pretty good protection. The instrument panel was rusted out along the bottom.
It was a shame that a car so incredible when new could have fallen to such depths of despair. The owner only wanted to sell the car to someone who would restore it. He was delusional that it could have been fixed. I know a lot can be done to a car to bring it back to life, but this one was beyond hope. A deal was struck for me to purchase the car and it's parts for $500. My best hope was to salvage what parts I could. I figured I could go back and find those cars I passed up previously since I now would have almost any hard-to-get part that could be missing.
When I got this car I worked at a wrecking yard. My boss towed the car to the yard so that I could take it apart. It was much easier than you would think. Most parts just about fell of the car on their own. I could pull the sides of the body out and the quarter window assemblies came out through the bottom. All of their mounting points on the body had rusted away. Dirt was the only thing holding them in. The firewall was so rusty that pushing on the brake pedal caused the brake booster to fall off.
Almost all the parts for the car were there in one form or another. The grille emblem was on the car when I first looked at it but was gone when I went to pick it up. I think I have all four of the wheel covers plus the ornamental one that goes on the decklid. The hood is in reasonable shape and the doors are probably useable. There are lots of bits and pieces in boxes in storage now. I did keep the swivel front seats and the center console parts as well as the dash. I also kept the engine, transmission, drive shaft and rear axle. The front brake drums were in decent shape so I saved those too.
One of these days I'll get another 300F. Hopefully one in much better condition. At least now I'll have some spare parts.