Hibernation is a four-letter word for old cars because they come out of long-term storage with a lot of problems they didn’t have before they went for a big sleep.

This 1960 Chrysler 300F is a classic example of what can go wrong when you park a car too long.

Jerry Sutherland

Angelo Canal is the proud owner of this vintage piece of Mopar muscle. He owned a non-restored ’59 300E but he sold it, so now this 300F carries the letter car tradition on in the Canal family.

Angelo knew the previous owner, plus he knew the car came from Portland, Oregon. The car traded hands in the late 1980s and Angelo said the latest registration was probably in 2006—based on the information he found in the car.

He had tried to buy this car from the guy, but he turned down Angelo’s offers many times. Opportunity knocked when Angelo found the car listed in the man’s estate sale, so he became the proud new owner of a 300E.

The car was in great shape overall, but under the surface was a giant list of problems—every one of them related to the ravages of long-term storage. For example, the brakes were seized up, so Angelo ended up doing a complete rebuild on the whole system.

The carbs were a mess, so Angelo learned how to set up the exotic cross-ram induction system on the 413 cubic inch big block. He used tech manuals and his own skills to get the carbs to synchronize properly because, as he explained—one carb serves only one bank of the V-8. The biggest issue is the linkage setup—in Angelo’s opinion.

The front end was another issue. Angelo replaced the ball joints and made sure the rest of the suspension was up to par. He had the radiator rebuilt because of the risk factor—and sludge builds up with storage. He also replaced the timing chain.

One cylinder was down in compression, but after some driving it came back to normal. Angelo theorized that the ring “was stuck a little and loosened up” when the car had more miles on it. There are other things like seals, but Angelo is going to drive it more and see if it helps slow the leak.

The interior was redone by a legendary supplier in the Forward Look community, so Angelo has no concerns about how it looks now. Nevertheless, he still has the original seat covers because they came with the car.

A new gas tank also came with the car, so that saved Angelo time and money, because he didn’t need to source it out and get it delivered. Angelo replaced the radials on the car because they were so old, they didn’t have a date code on them.

The 300F was painted years ago and the car still looks good. Angelo said, “there’s not a spot of rust on it”, so he’s not worried about putting a new paint on the big Mopar. Some of the undercoating flaked off but this Chrysler is in excellent shape overall.

Angelo has a list of things he’ll address over the winter. The tach and the neutral safety switch don’t work so he’ll focus on details like that and others over the winter.

The biggest detail is done—the 300F is back on the road. Angelo said it’s “one-finger smooth and quiet” when he drives it—and he plans to put a lot of miles on the car.

That’s how you fight back against hibernation problems in old iron. 

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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