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Now 15 Years Old, This Chrysler 300B Is Still One of the Greatest Restomods Ever

Built by Troy Trepanier and his talented Rad Rides team, this 1956 Chrysler 300B is not just a radical custom but a full-blown work of art.
Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B 22 photos
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
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Introduced in 1956 and produced in only 1,102 examples, the Virgil Exner-designed Chrysler 300B was an important milestone for the American automotive industry.

Following its predecessor's footsteps, which became the first US-built production car with an output of 300 hp (hence the name), the improved 300B was the first American production model to make one hp per cubic inch.

Furthermore, it was the only American ride that could challenge luxurious European grand tourers in terms of styling, maneuverability, and power.

Considering all that, it is hard to argue with those who say that a surviving example in good shape should be, at most, restored and certainly not modified.

Daring to be different

Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
However, some people always dare to be different and go against mainstream principles. One such person is Roger Ritzow, a custom car enthusiast who wanted to build a unique 1950s ride for his wife, Nancy.

Roger discussed the idea with a close friend and renowned custom car builder, Troy Trepanier, who suggested the iconic 300B.

Although the future owner knew that restomodding one of the few surviving examples would be considered blasphemous by many, he agreed to finance the project, knowing that his friend would focus on retaining the car's original styling.

From 1950s icon to retro-modern masterpiece

Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
After months of searching for a viable base car, Troy found a reasonably clean 300B in Arizona and purchased it for a little over $10,000.

Once it arrived at the Rad Rides by Troy headquarters in Manteno, Illinois, the car was stripped of its original chassis, and its remarkably rust-free body was fully restored.

Unlike typical restomod projects, this one focused on subtly improving the original styling. The front grilles, bumpers, and side chrome trims of headlight surrounds were all refreshed, but none were dramatically altered.

Furthermore, each body panel was diligently reworked, leading to smaller panel gaps. Though not obvious to the untrained eye, this improved the silky smooth look of the unique custom.

Bespoke chassis with Dodge Viper hardware

Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
While the original body was refreshed, the old chassis was discarded in favor of a completely new chrome-moly steel structure fabricated in-house by the Rad Rides crew.

The custom chassis received front and rear suspension assemblies borrowed from a 2007 Dodge Viper. On the rear, Moser axles were added to reduce overall width, while Hypercool springs were used for the desired ride height.

The steering rack and four-piston brake calipers were also borrowed from the legendary supercar, but cross-drilled Baer rotors were added to improve stopping power.

NASCAR V8 power

Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
While the 300B was initially powered by a 354-ci (5.8-liter) FirePower HEMI V8 rated at 340 or 355 hp (depending on the compression ratio setup), Troy and his team decided to give their build a modern engine.

They could have just gotten an OEM crate HEMI from Dodge and called it a day, but that's not how the Rad Rides crew did things.

Instead, they opted for a race-bred HEMI 354 (same displacement as the original engine) used in NASCAR Dodges during the 2008 season.

After painting the block and creating custom valve covers resembling the FirePower, the team sent the V8 to Bob Care at Jesel Racing to optimize it for road use.

Even if it didn't feature any stock internals and received many upgrades, such as custom manifolds, dry sump lubrication, and twin-turbo induction, the eight-cylinder monster was tuned to behave in daily driving conditions.

However, if needed, all 800 horses could transform the custom 300B into a veritable weapon that could obliterate modern sports cars.

Mated to a heavily reworked Bowler four-speed automatic based on GM's 4L80-E, the race-bred HEMI was fitted inside one of the cleanest, most beautiful engine bays we've ever seen.

A classic interior with cleverly concealed modern tech

Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
As with the body, the 300B's interior retained its original look and received many subtle improvements.

Rad Rides' Lawrence Laughlin fabricated the steering wheel from scratch, designing it to look like the original. But to give it a modern feel, he reduced the diameter and integrated paddle shifters behind each spoke.

Moreover, the original push-button transmission controls were also retained and modified to work with the new automatic.

The 1956 300B had two bench seats, which interior specialist Jim Griffin reupholstered. He used a combination of fine tan leather and rose cloth that emulated the original bird pattern.

The car also received a small console with cup holders and a tray designed to house the infotainment system's remote control. Speaking of which, the Kenwood system was cleverly tucked away inside the central glovebox, alongside boost and fuel pressure gauges.

An award-winning custom

Rad Rides by Troy Chrysler 300B
Photo: Rad Rides by Troy
Sitting on custom Dayton wire wheels and finished in an exquisite mix of colors called Nancy Rose and Charley Brown, the restomodded 300B was finished in 2008.

In the following months, it toured America's most prestigious custom car shows, including the 2009 Autorama, where it failed to win the coveted Ridler Award because it didn't make its official debut at the legendary event (it was unveiled months earlier at another show).

Nevertheless, it earned first place in the Full Hard Top and received the Casi Cup Award.

Awards aside, Nancy and Roger Ritzow's impeccable custom is a rare example of a restomod that even purists can't criticize.

The Rad Rides crew flawlessly infused modern tech into an iconic car without altering the design that made it special.

Though there are many incredible restomods, this one remains one of the greatest ever conceived, even 15 years after it was completed.

For a virtual tour of this epic custom, we recommend watching the YouTube video below by Richard Fleener.

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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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