While it would be impossible to document every detail of the past 20 years, this is an attempt to capture the highlights of “This Thing of Ours” as recorded on the forum, website and recollections based on members memories.
Respectfully Submitted By: Bob Day / FIREM / #437 – Club Secretary
The New 300 Enthusiasts Club known as The Chrysler 300M Enthusiasts Club was officially incorporated in January of 2001, some 20 years ago. A small group of enthusiasts met on Edmunds Town Hall Forum that shared an interest in the Chrysler 300M but wanted more. The 1999 Motor Trend Car of the Year just had to have a following. After searching the internet for such a group, they did not find what they were looking for and moved forward to set the foundations of what we are today. Creating a semi formal club where fellow 300M and LH enthusiasts could meet both online and face-to-face and interact with each other for the mutual exchange of information and share our passion for the 300M was the goal. Scattered around the country, from various walks of life, with an assortment of talents and goals, the group focused on a direction for the club. Having professions such as a technical writer, lawyer, web designer, IT manager, etc., the group, sanctioned and recognized by Chrysler, was incorporated as a non-profit organization.
In February of 2001 the founding members were seated as the first “Board of Directors” and elected our first president. A set of by-laws were established and new members welcomed, not only from the United States but we also gained our first international member, from Switzerland, before reaching 300 members.
Unsure how fast the club would grow, the directors were amazed to have over 500 members within the first year. In our 20th year of operations, we have recently welcomed member # 2845 to “This Thing of Ours” and are constantly expanding our community worldwide. While times change, cars and members come and go, we tend to maintain an active group of nearly 300 dues paying members.
The Board of Directors, all volunteers, have been led by six Presidents over 20 years. Each has contributed in their own way to continuously maintain and upgrade the values set forth by our founders. Maintenance of the website and club forum is at times more challenging than maintaining a 25-year-old LH car!
First President, Founding Member Roger Waters rogor2k #1 2001-2002
Second President, Charter Member Robert Powell 99300mricva #33 2003-2004
Third President Ken Eyler Carfan77 #415 2005-2006
Fourth President Tim Stewart Timbo #745 2007-2010
Fifth President Robert Day FIREM #437 2011
Sixth President Keith Jarvis M-Pressive #569 2012 thru Present
It must be noted that the current President, Keith Jarvis, has guided the club for the last 10 years. Half the lifetime of the club. Automating, upgrading, and maintaining not only the processes of membership and the site are only part of his contribution. Coordinating meets, events, and expanding the social media reach of our group only scratch the surface of what he has done to keep us going.
The Website and Forum
Originally, the club website was key to locating the Chrysler 300M Enthusiasts Club on the internet. Serving a great purpose to represent the club, it became outdated as technology advanced.
While the site may have been “state of the art” when designed many of today’s automated processes had to be done manually and were outdated. Photo hosting site Fotki was chosen as the club’s storage option for images. While it also is “dated” it turned out to be a perfect choice. When other image hosting sites changed and evolved images were lost and held hostage. Many other car forums still have not recovered valuable images, we have been able to maintain this member benefit with very little disruption.
Redesigned in March 2015 with a fresh and current look, the club website and forums became a robust representation of the 300M Enthusiasts Club. The new site brought a new mobile-friendly version, a focus on search engine optimization, and capturing historical events of the club. A monthly President’s Message continues to welcome all and encourage involvement with current events and club membership. Additionally, in January 2017 the club received a great advancement while implementing a new one login system for accessing the club forum and website.
The internet today can answer virtually every question one could possibly ask, it can also be a source of misguided information. While this may be true for most things you search, this is not the case for a Chrysler 300M or LH Platform car, we pride ourselves on being the “best place on the planet” for accurate LH Platform information. It has been said “we know more than Chrysler” about these cars and it is true. Service information and manuals are written by engineers, and they can only do so much. The hands-on guys take this information and apply it to the task at hand. Only they know the real deal. We welcome the world to use our free forum, ask questions, and share information. Our Members Only Knowledgebase is not only written and documented by members sharing actual experiences but is also moderated and corrected as needed by folks that are knowledgeable in the field to assure accurate information is available at all times. The Knowledgebase includes step-by-step directions, is supported by images and videos, which means we can fix virtually everything on our cars.
Sharing information is just a natural thing for our members. With the forum set up to include a number of easily identified sub groups it is easy to find information not only for your specific concern but also events and happenings within the group. The search feature is very user friendly and can easily guide you to whatever you are looking for.
As previously noted, one of the Founders’ goals was that fellow 300M and LH enthusiasts could meet both on line and face to face and interact with each other for the mutual exchange of information.
Where to start with this topic?
One of first meets in 2001 was a small group that met in New Jersey at a dirt track a member worked at. Just a small group with some small events throughout the weekend. Not much was documented at that time. A few other localized meets were held including one in Kansas City, Missouri in 2006.
It was billed as the “First Annual National Meet” as the location was near the center of the USA. Unfortunately, it was the only one held there.
The 2002 Carlisle Events All Chrysler National was the first time the 300M Club attended, with 5 members present. “Let’s check this out and see what it’s all about” (The official Carlisle tee shirt featured a 300M that year). While there was no separate class for the 300M, those in attendance swept the Front Wheel 96 & Up class. Well, anyone that has even thought about meets now knows that Carlisle is the place to be. By 2004 there was a class exclusively for the 300M. Besides expanding the show classes the Club has also been honored by Carlisle Events as the Coolest Car Club Hang Out two times. The annual pilgrimage to the fairgrounds in Carlisle, PA has become an annual 300M Club rendezvous. We have never missed the event since and have grown as a family because of it. We have watched each other and families grow up, watched our cars evolve and met lifelong friends thru the years.
Ocean City, Maryland
In May of 2004 a group met for the Cruisin’ Ocean City, May event. While this event is geared for pre 1976 vehicles, it was an event where the club could meet. While we were not officially part of the show, we managed to have our own “Show & Shine” event. While attended by a few over the years we learned there was a fall meet, “Endless Summer Cruisin” in October that does not have a vehicle age limit. Although our cars don’t “have bumpers” a number of members gather there annually to close out the show season. Yes, we were actually told that about our cars by a spectator one year.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDY, what car person does not know what those 4 letters stand for?
Thanks to the efforts of two of our members, who happen to be Indy fanatics, a lifelong dream has come true for a number of members. In 2006 these two guys hatched a plan for the Club to have a meet in 2007 at Indy and it was awesome. Repeated again and again up to 2014. Qualifying Weekend, Mayors Breakfast and crossing “The Yard of Bricks” in your M. What could be better! A few have even stayed for the race! “Disneyland for Cars” was one memorable comment made by a member as she entered the track grounds. Although it is not an annual event to have a meet at Indy, it will always be a goal for someone to be there and remember how it came to B Special for all who attended.
Sadly, one of the members that started this meet, John Benjamin (beespecial) passed away in 2020 and we now honor him with our “Annual John Benjamin Virtual Car Show”.
As part of that face to face interaction, how could we not mention parts and repairs. Over the years as shows and meets are held, usually during the daytime hours, what happens after hours is amazing.
“Sleep is optional” at meets as parking lot repairs and shenanigans are virtually mandatory. Members that need to complete a mod or assistance with repairs are inundated with assistance. From minor tasks such as headlight swaps to complete dash swaps are common place. Touch ups, paint correction, polishing tips and tricks, hood swaps, you name it we do it.
As parts get scarce or unobtainable if it’s not found in a yard it’s in someone’s stash and members ship worldwide to fill the need.
Just a few more examples of who and what we are.
Weddings and More
Wait a minute, this is a car club, right? Gear heads swapping lies about car stuff. That’s what a car club is all about…….
Not so much here folks, this is a FAMILY!!
Over the years as we have watched cars evolve, families and children grow, we have also shared in each other’s personal lives.
Countdowns to retirement, relocation to new homes and places, a Club Cruise to the Caribbean, oh and yes weddings!
This Club has had the honor of sharing and participating in not only one but two weddings, so far.
Who does this?
Not just another car club, “This Thing of Ours” is really a family.
In 2003 the first “Club Calendar” was published, “A Salute to our Founders” featuring their cars. We have since published a club specific calendar based on the ROM & ROY winners as noted below.
Ride of the Month
Started in 2003, the Ride of the Month (ROM) contest is a way to highlight club member’s cars and showcase amazing rides. Monthly contests have taken place since which involves club membership voting and awarding monthly winners with being featured in the annual Club Calendar for the following year.
Ride of the Year
At the end of each year of Ride of the Month contests, that years’ 12 winners are entered into a Ride of the Year (ROY) contest. The club has had winners since 2005 and they receive a special trophy as well as representing the club on the cover of the next years Club Calendar.
Memorializing Departed Members
As Family we also pay tribute to members no longer with us. The “Club Memorial Page” reminds us of the fond memories of departed members.
The 300M was in production from 1999 thru 2004. Five years in production with the last one built 16 years ago.
The 300M Enthusiasts Club was founded in 2001, has since celebrated the 25th anniversary of the LH, the 20th anniversary of the 300M, and now the 20th anniversary of the club. We’re still going strong 20 years later and positioned to last well into the future.