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by Chris J. Carpenter
In May 2013, Allpar had the privilege of joining the Chrysler 300M Enthusiasts Club at their 2013 Meet in Indianapolis. The club, founded in 2001, began its yearly “Indy Meet” seven years ago. It quickly became one of the club's most highly anticipated events of the year, second only to the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals.
While aptly named for the LH-car chosen by most of its members, the Chrysler 300M Enthusiasts Club is a community of all LH-car owners around the globe. Chrysler produced the LH platform cars from 1993 through 2004 (two generations) debuting the company's landmark "Cab-Forward" design. Models produced on the LH platform included:
Although Chrysler replaced the LH cars with the LX platform over nine years ago, the club continues to be an active resource.
As the new owner of the original Allpar.com 300M, I joined with 300M Club member Igor Netchaev and board member Robert Knapp on the 250-mile drive from Toledo to Indianapolis, where we met up with the club at the Hampton Inn in Brownsburg. The hotel was good enough to provide the club with a reserved wing of the parking lot, which was filling up quickly with some quite impressive 300Ms when we arrived.
Keith Jarvis, club president was quick to offer a warm welcome along with the members that had already arrived. “It’s about the people really,” said Jarvis. “It’s family. We all love the cars of course, but it's about the friendships.”
A strong sense of camaraderie was quite evident amongst the participants, some coming from the south, the northeast and even as far as Russia. That evening, the club gathered for dinner at a local restaurant, with a steady line of 300Ms lining up in the parking lot, as a member of Brownsburg’s finest looked on from a few yards away. After the meal, the club returned to the hotel where more wrenching, general ogling, and story swapping continued.
As the resident newbie to the club, the Allpar 300M caught the eyes of several of the club's members as they looked it over stem-to-stern. Jarvis, Knapp and club vice-president Robert Day solved the problem of the car's peeling pinstripes by removing what was left of them and buffing the paneling. A project that was thought would only take an hour or so, ended up taking nearly three hours - with Jarvis, Knapp, Day and me, scraping, cleaning, and buffing the golden 300M into the wee hours of Saturday morning. Pinstripes, as it turns out, were not original equipment on the 300M, but were a dealer-added option.
Saturday morning dawned a bit overcast- but the cars were polished, shined and ready to head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by 6 AM. A favored tradition, club members got to take their 300Ms for a lap around the speedway track used for the famed Indianapolis 500 race. While Indy cars push speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour, we were asked to keep it to 30 miles per hour or less!
This was followed by a breakfast at the speedway where we got to rub elbows with the mayors of several communities around Indiana. After spending a few hours watching the Indy qualifying rounds at the track, the Ms headed back to the hotel to prepare for the club’s show on Sunday morning.
The cars present for the meet represented the full range of options offered with the 300M. From the 300M Special (2002 through 2004), to models equipped with the performance handling package (PHP), interior luxury group, and stock GPS navigation and satellite radio; the cars displayed how advanced Chrysler was for its time, even back in the early 2000s. While the same vehicle at its core, each 300M had its own distinctive personality and although they differed widely in colors, options, rim sizes and mufflers, they all shared one thing in common; owner's who couldn't be happier to be part of “this thing of ours.”
Allpar is excited to have several members of the 300M Enthusiasts Club signed up for the Allpar New Jersey Show and Meet this September 22 (2013). Join us at Teterboro Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram on September 22nd to see these beautiful 300Ms and many other noteworthy Mopars. Many thanks to the Chrysler 300M Enthusiasts Club for this special time.
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