Exner’s Last Stand


1963 Chrysler 300-J—the rarest of all the 300 Letter cars.

story and photos by Cliff Gromer

The 300-J essentially was a ressed-up and beefed-up New Yorker with standard leather interior and special trim. Unique or Chrysler in ’63 was a high- peed wiper blade that used an airfoil to hold it against the glass at peed. Chrysler 300s captured 10 of he 12 Sports Car Club of America national rallies in ’63.

Things were slow at Barrett-Jackson. It was the first
night of the auction some 5 years ago, and Jim
Lawson was there for the 1963 Chrysler 300-J he had
seen on the B-J’s website. When the car rolled onto
the block, It caught the interest of 3 or 4 other bidders. A couple
dropped out as the bids rose close to 20 grand. Jim raised
his card when the bid went to 25. The auctioneer begged for a
higher number but was met with a barrage of silence.
Jim’s newly acquired 300 joined a second 300-J inside his
garage. That car had been bought years ago and was slowly
being restored. Jim’s brother, Butch, would come to Michigan
once a year for the Woodward Cruise, and he and Jim would
spend a week or so working on the car. Who knew if they
would ever get finished.
Jim’s affinity for the J began in ’63 when he was 15.
Butch was a year older. Their father had been transferred

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