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Lot 472: Chrysler 300 Pace Setter Convertible

Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 June 2012)

When Virgil Exner and the Chrysler Corporation unleashed the "Forward Look" in the fall of 1956, the public was enthralled by Plymouths, Dodges, DeSotos, Chryslers, and Imperials that were longer, lower, and wider than anything on the road. Indeed, unsuspecting designers from General Motors  including Harley Earl  were embarrassed how Chrysler co-opted their position as style leader. However, Exner's helm at the top was short-lived as quality issues plagued all five brands and subsequent designs were out of touch with the mainstream. The Chrysler brand fared better than Dodge or Plymouth (and pity poor DeSoto), although the canted headlights and soaring fins of the 1961s showed an unwillingness to recognize the new decade; the "plucked chickens" for 1962 were not much better. But, for 1963, Chrysler finally emerged from the shadow of the late 1950s. Exner's "crisp, clean custom look" was his redemption, the perfect swan song for his career at Chrysler. The 1963 Chrysler was so new, so handsome, so fast, that the 300 (not the 300-J) was selected to be the official pace car for the 47th Indianapolis 500. Parnelli Jones won the race and among his prizes was one of the Pace Setters on the track that day. It was promptly stolen, many say for its proto-muscle engine, if not its sleek design. A total of 1,861 Pace Setter convertibles were built, all painted Pace Car Blue with Alabaster vinyl and black interior; an additional 1,535 regular 300 convertibles were also built. It would be safe to say that this 1963 300 Pace Setter convertible is the finest example of its kind. Harbor Auto Restoration of Florida removed every nut and bolt, culminating in a $130,000, six-year restoration using only NOS or parts donated from original cars. Equipped with the standard 383/305, pushbutton Torque-Flite, and power steering, brakes, windows, and top, this Pace Setter has won every AACA certification (Junior, Senior, and Grand National) since its completion in 2003. Presented in full pace car regalia  lettering, medallions, and Indy checkered flag  the 300 also includes an extra set of Pace Car Blue wheel covers, original literature, a 1963 Jo-Han model with original box, and show trophies. The buyer will also receive a Pace Setter poster autographed by Parnelli Jones, who makes the claim that "This is the one!" that was at the race.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
Lot Number472
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number8033192643
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2