Auctions and Brokerage
Gregg Ziegler, Elgin, Illinois (acquired new via Chrysler Engineering in 1960)Robert McAtee, Bloomington, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1960)Larry Tarantolo, Wilmington, Illinois (acquired from the estate of the above in 2008)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Chrysler 300 Club Seventh National Meet, Tahoe Vista, California, June 1977 (Best of Show)
For the 1960 model year, Chrysler’s newest installment of the 300 “letter series” was the 300 F, which for the first time featured unibody construction as well as a Wedge-head 375 bhp V-8. Of the 964 300 F hardtops built, six were taken off the production line and sent to a secret location. There, as part of what was dubbed the “Gran Turismo Program,” a team of Chrysler engineers prepared them to compete for the coveted Flying Mile record at Daytona Beach. The cars were equipped with Pont-à-Mousson four-speed gearboxes, special induction and exhaust, as well as experimental cylinder heads and cams and a 2.93:1 final drive ratio. Prepared exclusively for the high-speed runs of Daytona, these brutes cranked out more than 400 bhp and prodigious amounts of torque.
Gregg Ziegler, an enthusiast who had come to the attention of Chrysler for his driving at Daytona Speed Week, was given the opportunity to purchase and race this factory-prepared 300 F. The car, fitted with custom-made Goodyear whitewall Blue Streak tires that had been shaved to 1/8" tread depth, placed first in its class in the Flying Mile with a speed of 144.9 mph – a NASCAR record that still stands. In fact, all of the original six GT Specials appeared in the Daytona Beach competition, and in a remarkable sweep, they claimed each of the top six spots – one of the most exciting finishes by a marque in auto racing history.
Ziegler drove the car home to Elgin, Illinois, and later in 1960 sold it to enthusiast Bob McAtee of nearby Bloomington. The car was kept in a climate-controlled facility and occasionally driven over the next 40-plus years until 2008, when, after Mr. McAtee’s passing, it was acquired by Chicago-area collector Larry Tarantolo, who had tracked the car for many years. It was acquired by the consignor in 2013, and has been a featured display in a major museum dedicated to the many eras of American racing.
This 300 F GT has been amazingly preserved in original unrestored condition and has accumulated only 11,400 miles. Included with the car are the original Goodyear Blue Streak racing tires and a wealth of documents, many signed by Mr. Ziegler, which chronicle the GT program, racing results, and subsequent history of this remarkable Chrysler.
Just two of the original six racing GT Specials are known to exist today, of which this is the Daytona Beach Flying Mile record holder. Its place in the history of the American Muscle Car era that was to come cannot be overstated.