This 1962 Chrysler 300 Rat Rod Has a Viper V-10 Under Its Rusty Hood

Rust has never looked so good.

Tim Peeler/Classic Car Studio

When most vintage Chryslers reach this level of rust, the car’s days on the road are over and it decomposes in a junkyard. However, this haggard 1962 Chrysler 300 is just starting a new life.


Classic Car Studio in St. Louis, Mo. got its hands on this classic Chrysler and saw it as a candidate for a fire-breathing rat rod. In keeping with the Chrysler family lineage, the St. Louis shop swapped out the old Chrysler 440 V-8 (Classic Car Studio suspects that wasn't the original engine) for a more modern, more powerful 8.0-liter V-10 from a second-gen Dodge Viper. In stock form, this V-10 makes 450 horsepower and 490 foot-pounds of torque. Previously, this 300 hasn't been driven in about 30 years and had bounced around to different owners as an unfinished project.

"We chose the Gen II [Viper V-10] motor as they are the easiest for overall integration," said Noah Alexander of Classic Car Studio. "Since we were building a cruiser, at the end of the day we wanted reliability first and foremost so we went with a stock motor. John's [Industries] rear ends did a nice 9" set up for us with 4.11 gears. That pairs well with the T56 [six-speed manual] tranny, so it's a pretty lively car!"

The 300 sits on RideTech Air Ride suspension, Wilwood disc brakes, and big U.S. Mags wheels that perfectly fit the look of this rat rod. The wheels, engine, and trim are painted with BASF Glasurit Paint giving the hardware a nice matte finish that flows nicely with the rest of the car. On the engine, the bronze color makes more sense in this application than the stock red paint.

The interior is almost entirely fabricated. The stock steering wheel and dash remain and not much else. Classic Car Studio liberally applied a quilted look in the metal inside on the floor and on the massive tranny tunnel that runs down the middle of the car. Low-back seats made by Scat Enterprise brand Procar cradle the occupants in an industrial, yet classy looking interior while the stock Golden Tone stereo head unit plays through a Kicker “Q” Series audio system.

So where is this car now? "The current owner is a Mopar nut, but he likes some pretty interesting/different stuff," Alexander told us. "This build was right up his alley, and he just cruises around on  the weekends and hits up locals shows now and then."

We’ve been noticing the Viper V-10 as an increasingly common engine swap candidate. “No replacement for displacement” may be an outdated mantra, but we can’t complain about more big V-10s on the road.