1963 300 Help Decoding a Tag

Jalopy Papi

New Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
This is new territory to me. I'm not familiar with the Pace setter cards. It appears that they are based on the 300 model and are a special sub variant.

We see the second digit coding, the 0 Zero in the second VIN position, designating a sub model or "special" model used in later years to designate something similar like the 66 S/S Darts, the 67 S/S Coronet and GTXs, and 68 S/S Hemi Darts and Barracudas. They ar3e all social purpose and built version of an existing model.

So it appears to me that the Pacesetters were a limited run sub variant of the 300 meaning they would have some of the same characteristics of the 300, like the interiors, yet have enough changes from he original model to warrant a sub variant and different VIN. Its not unusual to me to see the interior code for both the 300 and Pacesetter.


There are folks on here far more well qualified than I to answer you question in better detail.
I see, this makes sense. Thank you so much for your help! You're fantastic.
 

Fury Pursuit

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
3,953
Location
.
I think it’s a pace setter, that’s had a manual transmission installed, interior bits from other cars, and an Short Ram set up and or engine from a J or K installed. Console is incorrect for a manual transmission, including the “fake” or incorrect tachometer. It doesn’t fit the car. No inner fender well cut ours for Cross Ram clearance. 120 Speedo etc…etc…etc…Or this is the one J 4-speed that was listed in the dealer option catalog….and it came from Chrysler this way….I don’t think so…

It’s cool for what it is…but I’m afraid that whoever buys this might think it’s real or try to make a great story out of it.

Or…I’m completely wrong, wouldn’t be the first time!
 
Last edited:

saforwardlook

Old Man with a Hat
FCBO Gold Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
7,451
Reaction score
12,680
Location
California
I think it’s a pace setter, that’s had a manual transmission installed, interior bits from other cars, and an Short Ram set up and or engine from a J or K installed. Console is incorrect for a manual transmission, including the “fake” or incorrect tachometer. It doesn’t fit the car. No inner fender well cut ours for Cross Ram clearance. 120 Speedo etc…etc…etc…Or this is the one J 4-speed that was listed in the dealer option catalog….and it came from Chrysler this way….I don’t think so…

It’s cool for what it is…but I’m afraid that whoever buys this might think it’s real or try to make a great story out of it.

Or…I’m completely wrong, wouldn’t be the first time!
If it were a J letter car, I believe the VIN would start with an 84, not an 80. I also do not believe this car is a Pacesetter, as that would have been a convertible only in the 1963 model line up to my knowledge. I believe it is a regular 300 hardtop. Here is a photo of what the original 1963 Pacesetter would have looked like:

1670305769120.png


and here is an image of a regular production Pacesetter that did not have lettering on it as the real car did as shown above:


1670306309617.png


The factory Pacesetter cars did not come with the Ram Induction engine at least standard either and if one was even available from the factory it would have had the 150 mph speedometer also as @Fury Pursuit pointed out.
 
Last edited:

Fury Pursuit

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
3,953
Location
.
Agreed. The car in question has a 361/383 A/C radiator. But from the intake numbers I can make out it looks like it's likely a 413 J engine. J & K letter series cars had "Short Ram" intake manifolds if so equipped, 2129986/7. This car does NOT have the factory cast iron headers , which would be a huge plus. Also the console is from an automatic car, likely the J that was parted,...Someone dropped a J motor in it at one point.

Or,.............???
 

MarkLevi

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
Messages
73
Reaction score
50
Location
Galesville WI
If it were a J letter car, I believe the VIN would start with an 84, not an 80. I also do not believe this car is a Pacesetter, as that would have been a convertible only in the 1963 model line up to my knowledge. I believe it is a regular 300 hardtop.
I don't think we're quite there yet. Getting late and I can't look further tonight, but from what I've found so far:
300-J=84; 300 "no letter"=82; 300 Pacesetter=80. Both body-digits do match/carry between VIN plate and body tag. The blue convertible is 805 (5=conv & only Newports (81) and 300{no-letter} were available as it); OP's is 802 (2=2DrHT). They did, indeed build about 370 "802"s (and somewhere around 1500 "805"s). I'll try to tighten up those numbers' bracketing tomorrow.
I think it "is what it is", albeit quite bastardized?
 
Last edited:

69CoronetRT

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
2,499
Reaction score
3,342
Location
Iowa
I don't think we're quite there yet. Getting late and I can't look further tonight, but from what I've found so far:
300-J=84; 300 "no letter"=82; 300 Pacesetter=80. Both body-digits do match/carry between VIN plate and body tag. The blue convertible is 805 (5=conv & only Newports (81) and 300{plain} were available as it); OP's is 802 (2=2DrHT). They did, indeed build about 370 "802"s (and somewhere around 1500 "805"s). I'll try to tighten up those numbers' bracketing tomorrow.
I think it "is what it is", albeit quite bastardized?[/plain]


Some documentation to support your post.
63+Pacesetter_production.JPG
63Chrysler_VINs.JPG
 

saforwardlook

Old Man with a Hat
FCBO Gold Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
7,451
Reaction score
12,680
Location
California
Some documentation to support your post.
View attachment 570660View attachment 570661

Thanks for the clarification that the Pacesetter models did apply to two door hardtops as well then. For convertibles, the 300 round emblem on the front fenders for that series, seemed to be a hallmark of that series but apparently it was only placed on the front fender on convertibles since they don't have C pillars. So now I am wondering what distinguished a 2 door hardtop as being a Pacesetter vs. just a regular 300? I also find it curious that the Pacesetters were also slotted in the various series as the very base models, even below the Newports.

Also, why are Pacesetter models called out as 383-2 whereas regular non letter 300s were just called out as 383s (implying they could have been either 2 or 4 bbl versions)? Were all Pacesetters really only available as 383-2 engines? Since this is a chart for sales figures, it implies that all non letter 300s were only 383 engines and were not available with 413s as an option, as was the case in 1962 at least?

I think product planning was a bit of a mess in 1963 if this is all correct.
 
Last edited:

69CoronetRT

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
2,499
Reaction score
3,342
Location
Iowa
I also find it curious that the Pacesetters were also slotted in the various series as the very base models, even below the Newports.

Also, why are Pacesetter models called out as 383-2 whereas regular non letter 300s were just called out as 383s (implying they could have been either 2 or 4 bbl versions)? Were all Pacesetters really only available as 383-2 engines? Since this is a chart for sales figures, it implies that all non letter 300s were only 383 engines and were not available with 413s as an option, as was the case in 1962 at least?

Given that the Pacesetter was introduced late year and given the only numbers left to use in the VIN were 6, 9 and 0 and given the use of the number '0' (zero) to designate specific sub models or variants, I don't think the use of ascending numbers designating an increasing upscaling of the platform applies in this instance.

why are Pacesetter models called out as 383-2 whereas regular non letter 300s were just called out as 383s (implying they could have been either 2 or 4 bbl versions)?

In my opinion, this is just an editing issue. As there is no 383-4 available that model year, there is no reason to list the -2 on the Pacesetter as there was no -4 available. The -2 designation could be omitted just like it is on the 300 listing. As there is little choice for optional engines that year, the base or only available engine available is listed. Other documentation shows the 413-4 was an available option in the 300. It may have been best to either list the engines as 'STANDARD' or to omit the listing entirely for clarity and to prevent confusion just like we're experiencing.
 

MarkLevi

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
Messages
73
Reaction score
50
Location
Galesville WI
An interesting snippet quote from the 1960 C300 site. Note comment about engine 'options':

1963-300-pacecar.jpg

"Here's another interesting limited production car commonly called the Pacesetter. It is also referred to as Pace Car. In 1963, Chrysler was again chosen to provide a pace car for the Indy 500, and instead of using the more appropriate 300J, they opted to send out a regular 300 convertible, probably so the crowd could see who the driver was. (Sam Hanks, Indy winner from 1957) Somebody with a chain saw was seen lurking near a 300J, but he was quickly apprehended and sent to work for GM.

The 1861 pace cars were garden variety 300 convertibles equipped out of the box with a 305 horsepower 383 2 barrel engine, with either a 3 speed manual or the venerable Torqueflite. There were also 306 hardtops produced, but nobody seems to get too excited about them, just the ragtops. 1860 of the converts were Holiday Turquoise, (also referred to as Pace Car Blue) and one was black. All had white tops and interiors. They had a special Indy 500 emblem, and that was about it. The wheel covers look to be from the New Yorker, while the actual car used at Indy on race day had 15 inch wheels and 300J wheel covers. The usual list of options was available, including some very snappy 413 engines. For all genuine pace cars, the serial number on the VIN tag has to start with 80.

The pace cars cost $4129.00, and weighed 3840 lbs. That's about $1.08 per pound, which was roughly what steak cost back in 1963."

The "Emblem" mentioned above - below the 300 badge; checkered flags (not on Hard tops I guess)

IndyEmblem.jpg


Unfortunately, I don't have an ordering guide or a salesman's pocket guide for any of this.
 

MarkLevi

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
Messages
73
Reaction score
50
Location
Galesville WI
One additional note on OP's car (bid currently at $5001.00 when I looked last) - The trans appears to have had the manual swap into place instead of an auto. I wouldn't write off the engine as not original without putting hand/eyes on it: What's to stop someone from putting Short/Long Rams on a 383? The (wedge) heads are "the same" from 361 to 440, and since it's not a one-piece intake, I would think they would bolt right up? Deck/valley heights don't seem like they would matter?
 

69CoronetRT

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
2,499
Reaction score
3,342
Location
Iowa
While there is much to discuss, let's not lose sight that this is, apparently, one of about 306 Pacesetter HTs with the optional 413.....

There can't be a lot of those left.
 

Jalopy Papi

New Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
I absolutely wholeheartedly agree...there weren't many in the first place :-/
And @Jalopy Papi one other thing- (I'm sure @69CoronetRT can attest....) ...oh to find steel in THAT condition in our neck-of-the-woods! I am so jealous....
Yes, I went to get a look at the car this weekend. There's a big dent on the driver side, a bit of rust in the lower passenger quarter-panel and the rest looks like surface rust. I only inspected the driver side floor since I couldn't get the passenger side door open, but all considered, it looks really solid.
The interior is rough though.

I do agree with @69CoronetRT , it is a rare bird indeed. I overheard some other potential bidders taking about parting the car out if they won it. That would break my heart! We'll see how crazy the bidding gets.

Thank you all for your help!
 

Fury Pursuit

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
3,953
Location
.
Does anyone know what the car in question sold for? It ended today.
 

Jalopy Papi

New Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
$6,300 a steal! I didn't win the bidding but I another Arizonan did. I feel confident that having spent over $6k the winner will not be parting out the car. I wouldn't be surprised to see it on bring a trailer soon.
 
Top