By on May 2, 2009

Fate intervened. I wasn’t going to do another Chrysler product CC for a while, after the two recent Plymouths. But there I was tooling down West 11th when I spotted this red Chrysler up ahead. When I finally got next to him at a light, I waved my camera and gestured if he would pull over for a shoot. A nod of assent followed. But he kept burbling along, and I began to wonder. Suddenly, he pulled into the Lane Memorial Gardens. How fitting.

Especially so since his majestically beautiful 1965 Newport hardtop coupe looks like it has one foot in the grave already. We just don’t see rust like this in this part of the world. The owner said something about it being a “beach car.” I have a different theory.

Studies say that long-time married folks begin to look more like each other. This guy and his car have been soul mates for many decades, and his car is just trying to look like him: a grizzled, hacking, chain-smoking old tough. And the cancerous rust is just the outer manifestation of the state of his lungs. Anyway, you could tell these two were bonded for life and in an unspoken race to see who would end up in the graveyard last. I wouldn’t bet against the Chrysler.

The second half of the sixties was a golden era for Chrysler, perhaps its best after its glorious debut in the twenties. It finally slew the twin dragons of quirky styling and lingering questions of build quality. Good thing, too.

The flamboyant designer Virgil Exner was hired in the early fifties to solve Chrysler’s stodginess problem. His early efforts were exemplary hits, like the superb 1955 Chrysler 300, as well as its over-the top follow-up, the ’57 300 C. But Ex had a tendency to go out of the mainstream of popular taste, like the 1960 Valiant. Technically superior, Valiant sales struggled under the weight of its eccentricity and that fake spare tire.

But the downsized 1962 Plymouths and Dodges were the last straw. Exner was shown the door, and Elwood Engel, the father of the superb (and restrained) 1961 Continental and 1961 T-Bird, was hired away from Ford.

Engel (obviously) was a lover of classic proportions, formal roof-lines, and slab sides punctuated by chrome accents. And his first assignment at Chrysler, the ill-fated Turbine concept has T-Bird written all over it.

The 1965 full-size Mopars were the first production cars with Engel’s signature on them. The Chryslers were the best of the bunch. And Plymouth was mighty happy just to have a full-sized car again. Chrysler sales swelled to over 200k, with the entry-level Newport leading the charge. A handsome car indeed, although its slab-sided edginess made it an outsider from the start, thanks to GM’s tectonic shift to coke-bottle styling in 1965.

But Chrysler’s reputation (back then) was almost always greater for what happened under the skin. It’s torsion bar suspensions weren’t quite as floaty as GM and Ford’s. Brakes were taken a bit more seriously. Engines were all solid, and the TorqueFlite slushbox was the most efficient and reliable in the land. Chrysler’s power steering was effortless but notoriously devoid of feeling. Oh well.

Chryslers tended to appeal to those that still saw a car as an engineered device, rather than a styled appliance or status symbol. In my family’s circle of Germanic-academic immigrant types, Chryslers were the car of choice, especially after Studebaker bit the dust (it was that Mercedes connection). Of course, by the mid-seventies they were buying the real thing (Mercedes, that is). But when this battered but still-proud Newport was box-fresh, it spoke well of its buyer: independent, intelligent and successful. Well, the mid-sixties were a long time ago.

Due to my father’s irrepressible modesty, our family Mopar was a lowly ’65 Dodge Coronet wagon. But his cousin, a traveling salesman of fine German optics, was a real car guy. Always drove in style and had a fine eye for quality.

He first drove a gorgeous powder-blue 1962 Caddy Fleetwood. But it was not with out its vices, and a traveling salesman can’t afford breakdowns. He traded it in for a four door ’65 Newport. With the 315-horsepower four-barrel 383, it was a more-reliable way to get him to the next small-town camera shop in speed, comfort and style. That is, until he traded that it in for a 1969 Mercedes 280SE. I saw the writing on Detroit’s wall a long time ago.

Meanwhile, this pair of old vets will keep rolling along, oblivious to the tattered shreds of their fenders and lungs. In their hearts beats the pride of a glorious past and a healthy, burbling 383. It wouldn’t surprise me if they both outlive the New, New Chrysler.

More new Curbside Classics here

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

55 Comments on “Curbside Classics: 1965 Chrysler Newport...”


  • avatar
    sportsuburbangt

    Oh has my Chrysler lost its way, its multiple handlers have sold them out for a quick buck.
    We are left with a few rogue reminders of its glorious past.
    They have two home grown platforms, and everything else is a bastardized version of a shared platform.
    They’re as doomed as the quarters on that Newport!

  • avatar
    AandW

    Seems that during this time period Chrysler was the Toyota/Honda of its day. Simple, efficient, and reliable. Wow.

  • avatar

    Last week I saw a ’68 New Yorker hardtop sedan. These cars have style and a presence that the current 300C cannot begin to approach.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I love these cars. There is a white one in my neighbourhood…driven summers only. BUT it has a 440. Very elegant car.

    This article makes me weep for Chrysler.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Other than the Charger, ‘Cuda, and Challenger I’ve never liked much from the Engle design era. Everything looks like a ripoff of a GM or Ford product.

    The Exner era had some airballs, but at least those cars were unique.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    In the mid 90s, I had a 68 Newport Custom sedan as a daily driver. I think that the 65-68 full-sized C body was the peak for post WWII Mopars.

    As always, a great article on a neat car. My only quibbles – The torsion bars were a LOT less floaty than anything from Ford and GM, particularly through 65. Chrysler softened them up a bit in 66 to get a better ride. Also, the Torqueflite was no slushbox. In fact, the Torqueflite was the only automatic of its day that routinely met or beat the performance of a comparable stick-equipped car.

    The car featured here exemplifies a point I have made before in these columns: old Mopars were TOUGH cars. When it was young, this Newport probably went into the shop with more minor problems than its counterparts from GM and Ford, but when those cars are a distant memory for even the crusher, this neglected old Mopar is still in daily service.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    And ajla, I must offer a contrary opinion on Engel’s styling (though I think you have a lot of company, judging from the sales figures of the day). I always liked the angular look of the pre-fuselage Mopars of the 60s. I think that the 64-66 Imperial was gorgeous. The Continental based design looked great on the Imperial’s longer wheelbase. When these cars came out they were the antithesis of the flowing GM look. And by 67-68, the FoMoCo cars were a lot more fluid as well. So, by 67-68, these cars were quite unique. I must confess, though, I was always kind of mystified by the trapezoidal C-pillars on the 2 door hardtops of that era. I always preferred the fastback style on the 67-68 2 doors.

  • avatar

    our family Mopar was a lowly ‘65 Dodge Coronet wagon.

    My first car was a ’65 Dodge Coronet sedan. Baby blue with the 225 slant six, automatic on the column, AC and AM radio.

    I hated that car.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Bought a new 1967 Dodge Monaco. It looked great and was very nice to drive when it was running well, which wasn’t often. Among a great number of other failures, it chewed through three transmissions. Chrysler Corporation honored the warranty, kicking and screaming all the way. Sold it the day the warranty expired.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @Frank Williams,

    A/C in a ’65 six! It was another decade before we indulged in that sort of luxury. Our wagon did have the 318. But it was hard work trying to coax a little rubber out of that stone.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I had a 1965 300L hardtop, which shared the basic body with that ol’ Newport. It had the 413 engine that had a lot of minor tweaks to differentiate it, however slightly, from other 413′s, and the heavier-duty suspension that was optional on the letter cars that last year of their production. It was all original, dark blue on white/black with white vinyl top, 84000 miles. I took a ride to LA (well, Oxnard) and back (from the Seattle area) in 1979. At that time, the Oregon troopers were worse on speeding than the Washington ones if that’s possible, and speeds on I-5 didn’t go much over 60. Just as I came into the hills south of Eugene, three new Bimmers passed me, doing about 80. I let them get half a mile ahead, then moved up to that speed, and enjoyed a great drive through the mountains to Grants Pass, where they left the freeway. On the way home, I kept being amazed at how steep the downgrades were; they hadn’t seemed that steep going uphill. I owned the car twenty years or so, and sold it during a time of not enough money. You can see it with the other letter cars at Harold Lemay’s museum.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    See those rust stains on the front bumper, right under the edges of the hood? Those were the mark of an outside-parked 65 Chrysler. Mine had noticeable wear to the chrome plating at those points, but no rust yet.

    I should add a comment about the instrument panel; the zinc die-casting trade group celebrated it at the time as the largest one-piece die-cast item yet. The one on that Newport still looks fine except for the dust.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Maybe the pic is too low resolution, but the grille looks factory-new … just think, if the rest of the car had been made out of plated white-pot-metal!!

  • avatar
    Dr. No

    Geez, if you want to bury Chrysler, pick the Newport. This thing from conception to parturition argues for abortion.

  • avatar
    H Man

    I love this series, Paul! Finding all these gems in Eugene. I know of a few if you need some leads.

    I have an 87 Integra with 256k and running strong if you have that car in mind. Would love to see your take on it. I sure consider it a classic. And an 85 Toyota straight axel 4×4. It’s a custom job with a Monaco Coach (RIP) shell slapped on. The guy I bought it from called it a Faux Runner. Certainly a classic in this neck of the country.

    H

  • avatar
    Ryan

    At first glace I thought this was a 2009 Dodge Challenger. My mistake… To be fair, I was judging by the amount of rust and imperfections.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    Paul, thank you very much for this article. As it should be obvious from my handle, I am quite fond of these cars because not only are they well-designed and powerful, they’re also beautiful (present example notwithstanding). I cringe a little each time I look at the pictures of this car. Even my parts cars are in better condition than that. At least it’s still fighting the good fight and hasn’t been melted down and turned into a half-dozen Toyotas yet.

    Elwood Engel (you misspelled his name by the way) really worked at improving the styling that started with the ’61 Lincoln, and I think he nailed it in ’66. The 1966 Newport/Windsor 2-door hardtop looks even better than the ’65 IMO. Of course the ’66 Chrysler 300 is the most distinctive, with its unique front-end, taillights, and a completely different roofline for the 300 2-door hardtop.

    In ’67 Engel tried an experiment with concave body sides which looked awful. At the same time, the beancounters started chipping away at some of the uniqueness of the car, such as the doorhandles integrated into the trim, and the beautiful instrument cluster. I’m not a fan of the fastback styling of the 2-door hardtop that was introduced for ’67 either, with the giant triangular C-pillars.

  • avatar
    A is A

    This battered but functional Newport is a much, much more interesting car than a garage-queen Newport restored to better than new condition.

    A few Newports like this were imported to Spain in the 1960s, when Chrysler operated in Spain. One of them is (yes, IS, not “was”) a four door Newport in my town, and it is a fabulous eye catcher.

    Mixed with Spanish traffic you would get less attention with a Bugatti Veyron than with this unbelievably large chromed aircraft carrier.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Another great article. That Chrysler is still beautiful just the way it sits. It hasn’t had all of it’s history stripped away in a “better than factory” trailer queen restoration. There’s nothing wrong with that, but old cars like this have a place in the automotive landscape. And the guy still chooses whitewalls for it. [you have to look hard but they\'re there].

    This is a prime candidate for one of those Hemmings Classic Car “Driveable Dreams” pieces : all original, unrestored drivers that have survived the decades just being used as intended.

    The reference to the Valiant and the link to the picture was nice. I have considered the Caliber to be the 21st Century equivalent of the 60 Valiant, the original “road toad”, because of it’s over tje top styling.

    BTW: why no pictures of the car with it’s “better half”? Or was this car the “better half” of the couple?

  • avatar
    mcs

    This series is awesome. I had one of these at one time. With the exception of the speedometer and fuel gauge that kept breaking, it was rock solid reliable.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Pennsylvania’s road salt-crusted winters were not kind to the torsion bar frame mounts (which the front tire would liberally apply the salty slush to on each drive).

    Re-welding these mounts were not uncommon on 5-6yo Chrysler products.

    Also, the welded inner front fender brace would also capture said brine, and the top of the fender would start to rust from the inside out after 3-4 years.

    Both of which could have been remedied by a properly designed inner fender.

  • avatar
    commando1

    As you can see from my handle (Commando V8 – get it?) I’m a classic Mopar guy through and through. If you know the difference between “FL’s (Forward Look), slabs, fusies, and formals, the slabs (’65- ’68) are startng to appreciate in the clasic car market while everthing else is tanking (including Hemi Cudas). Buy one now while you still can.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Shaker:
    Pennsylvania’s road salt-crusted winters were not kind to the torsion bar frame mounts (which the front tire would liberally apply the salty slush to on each drive).

    Re-welding these mounts were not uncommon on 5-6yo Chrysler products.

    Also, the welded inner front fender brace would also capture said brine, and the top of the fender would start to rust from the inside out after 3-4 years.

    I lived in northern Indiana during that period. I recall the MoPars faring much better than Fords and Mercurys during that era. The 65-68 Full sized Fords frames would break, and starting in 69, the doors and quarters were gone after 3-4 yrs. The survival rate of the big Fords and Mercurys of that era has been really bad. Even a Mopar man such as myself would have to acknowledge that GM built the best bodies in that era.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Pennsylvania’s road salt-crusted winters were not kind to the torsion bar frame mounts (which the front tire would liberally apply the salty slush to on each drive).…

    I went to college in upstate NY in the early eighties. Salt was used librally from December to April and it destroyed virtually all vehicles. Most cars were developing holes by 3 to 4 years; by 7, your car was Swiss cheese. Some actually did relatively ok, like Omni/Horizons, yet others were really bad (GM X cars and most Toyotas). Today, cars in the region still rust, but not nearly like they did back then. I had (should add still have in a garage) a 72 Plymouth in college that I did my best not to drive when the road was wet with salt water. Spent a lot of time at the self serve car wash after any major salt bath.

    If you ever find yourself in a place where winter does not exist and a very dry climate, you will be amazed at what you find. My friend had his wedding in Palm Desert. Wow, the Shangri-La of automobiles. I found plenty of 60′s Detroit iron, but couldn’t believe how many early 70′s Japanese cars I saw. Full bodies, too. NO rust at all! Of course, the sun took its toll; paint was long gone, and the dash/seats were disintegrating into dust. Pretty cool, though.

  • avatar
    shaker

    jpcavanaugh: “GM built the best bodies in that era.”

    Absolutely – the frames stayed reasonably solid – rust was usually confined to the lower fenders and rockers – I had a ’65 LeSabre, ’65 Wildcat and a ’69 Grand Prix that were all relatively strong when I wrecked them ;-)

  • avatar
    shaker

    golden2husky : “If you ever find yourself in a place where winter does not exist and a very dry climate, you will be amazed at what you find…”

    Aye, true – I think that Cuba would be an extreme example of this; it’s amazing some of the “Old Iron” that can be found still trundling along the roads there.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Studies say that long-time married folks begin to look more like each other. …

    I’ve heard that many times. I always wonder when I’m going to start looking Asian.

  • avatar

    Who can ever forget those big ass green monstahs- Mass Pike Trooper Newport station wagons from the sixties. I’ve been told they could cruise steady at a buck forty whenever they felt like it (the troopers of course!)

  • avatar

    What a wonderful essay about a beautiful car. But I must disagree with you strongly about the 1960 Valiant. That Valiant is the ultimate art deco car, an absolutely wonderful piece of styling, that got me started photographing cars. It is one of my all-time favorite American cars for styling. (I also love the ’61 Lincoln Continental, the ’64 Chevy and Chevelle, and the second gen Corvair.) Yes, Exner definitely conceived some of the most baroque automobiles ever, cars that flaunted it as if Dr. Seuss had drawn them. Some of them are definitely over the line, like the ’62 Ply, while others are barely on this side of the line, beautiful expressions of ostentatiousness, like the ’60 Imperial. The 1960 Valiant is a perfect expression of art deco. It belongs in MOMA.

    That Chrysler Turbine car is gorgeous. Last time I looked (admittedly a decade ago) there was one in the American Museum of History and Technology in DC.

  • avatar

    Studies say that long-time married folks begin to look more like each other. …

    I think people often choose people that look like they could be from the same family to begin with. Years ago, when my brother was first married, the three of us would go out for dinner, and I’d tell the waitress that two of us were siblings, and ask her to guess which two. Waitresses would invariably pick me and my sister in law.

    I think couples then pick up on each others’ ways of expressing themselves, which accentuates the phenomenon.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I see more 65-75 Mopar daily drivers than any other make or model more than 20 yrs old.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @David Holzman,

    This is art deco:
    http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Design/Gartman/D_Casestudy/1934-Chrysler-Airflow_lit_i.gif

    The Valiant: a mish-mash of Euro-inspired influences and Exner’s attempt to be creative/different. I can appreciate it (to some degree), but most Americans sure didn’t.

  • avatar

    The Valiant: a mish-mash of Euro-inspired influences and Exner’s attempt to be creative/different

    Paul,

    Can you elaborate on the former?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    My dad was a traveller in Australia back in the sixties and after 6 years with a Holden FB wagon we moved into a ’65 Chrysler Valiant. It was miles ahead of the Holden for power, build quality and that terrific Torqueflite tranny. It was the first car I ever drove at 100mph (The ton)and I loved it. When the torsion bars started to sag you could just add a quarter turn and they were good as new. Chrysler sold their Oz factories and dealers to Mitsubishi in the late Seventies and left the country. I wonder if that was the start of what we are seeing today?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @David Holzman,

    The two most influential designs in Europe in the postwar era were the 1946 Cisitalia 202 Coupe: http://www.autodiario.com.br/sgc/sgc_imagens/Image/Design/Cisitalia_3_4_v.jpg
    and the 1960 Corvair.

    The Cistalia now sits in the MOMA. It set the pattern for most fifties cars: pontoon body, classic-shape textured grille, semi-fastback rear, exposed haunches over the rear wheels, etc. Those were all incorporated in Exner’s designs too.

    Not to take anything away from Ex; he was a terrific stylist. But like most of them, especially Bill Mitchell at GM, Ex wasn’t all that original. And his stuff tended to be best in the early-mid fifties, and increasingly declined after 1958 or so. His significant show cars, like the Ghia d’elegance
    http://www.madle.org/xnrdelex2.JPG
    (see the combination of Cisitalia and Valiant in that?), borrow heavily from the Cisitalia, and add some additional details, some that work, others that don’t, like the fake spare tire on the trunk.

    And the Valiant suffers for trying to look like a coupe, but not pulling it off. And the fake rear tire really was a pathetic affectation (as it always is).

    Compared to the 1960 Corvair,(and even the Falcon) the Valiant comes off unbalanced, overly fussy, complicated, and affected. Sorry.

    It made the carscape richer, but Chrysler poorer. Valiant sales only took off after the major re-style in ’63.

  • avatar

    Paul,

    I see a lot more Cisitalia than Valiant in the Ghia d’Elegance, although yeah, definitely some of that too. I never thought the Valiant was trying to look like a coupe. And to me, that fake spare actually works. It is certainly true that the 1960 Corvair and Falcon are very good looking cars in their well-designed simplicity (as is equally the 1970 Valiant)*, I think the 1960 Valiant does the baroque thing beautifully, and I consider myself a very tough critic of style. This is a lot harder than to create a beautiful, relatively simple style. The fact that the Valiant is maybe a bit derivative doesn’t take away from that, IMO. So I give Exner a lot of credit. (I also think very highly of the 1960 Imperial, although again, I definitely prefer the Valiant.)

    Did Ex or Engel do the 1964 Imperial? That has the simplicity and slab sides you describe as being the latter, and it looks a lot more like the ’61 Lincoln than the Imperials of that era.

    * disclosure: my first car was a ’62 Falcon, and my parents bought a new ’70 Valiant when I was in high school.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I think it’s spelled Engel.

    Nevertheless, imagine if he had been brought aboard to replace Exner in 1960. The 1960 Valiant would still have been the goofy Exner car but maybe Engel could have saved the 1962 full-size line when William Newberg made the fateful decision (based on an overheard comment at a Detroit party) to downsize the 1962s at the last moment (with the well-known, disasterous results).

    When Engel finally got to Chrysler, his first assignment wasn’t the Turbine Car, but to salvage what he could from the 1962 line. He ended up hastely tacking the 1961 Dodge front end (no syling tour de force) onto the 1962 Chrysler Newport to come up with another bastardized (but more mainstream and, thus, saleable) Dodge, the 880, for a midyear 1962 introduction.

    I suggest the 1962-65 Dodge Custom 880 be the next curbside classic. It’s such a mediocre, but interesting, one-off, forgotten oddball, looking like something to come more from AMC than Chrysler. The first time I saw one, that’s exactly what I thought it was until I saw the ‘D O D G E’ lettering across the front of the hood.

    The 880 didn’t exactly save the day for Dodge’s full-size line, but it helped until Engel could clean up the butchered 1962-63 cars for 1964. Although it was still basically Exner’s design, Engel did a magnificant job of getting rid of virtually all of Exner’s styling touches, making the car appear to be nearly a completely new design.

    The next year, of course, all Chrysler products were Engel-approved. Even more than the ’65 Chrysler line, the ’65 full-size (for real, this time) Plymouth Fury is the car that really has Engel written all over it.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    David Holzman:
    Did Ex or Engel do the 1964 Imperial?

    Both. By 1960, the Imperial was the only body-on-frame Mopar left. The inner body and frame of teh 57 Imperial soldiered on thru the 66 models. When Engel arrived in 61, He did some clean-up on the Imperial for 62 and 63, and did the reskin on the 64. While you can still see the old Exner windshield, the rest of the car is all Engel. Note the strong resemblance to the 61 Lincoln with the slab sides and the chrome moulding that ran across the top of the fenderline from front to back.

  • avatar

    Note the strong resemblance to the 61 Lincoln with the slab sides and the chrome moulding that ran across the top of the fenderline from front to back.

    I thought so. Thanks for confirming that for me. I love both the ’61 Lincoln and the ’64 Imperial.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @David Holzman,

    I don’t mean to pick on the Valiant too hard. I can appreciate what Ex was trying to do with it, and it certainly isn’t boring. For me, at least, it just doesn’t quite pull it off.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    Great write up. I love the discussions here on classic Detroit iron. All the history and neat tidbits of information have helped me learn so much about the rich history of these cars! Good show to the posters who share their insights.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Since the discussion has diverged a bit to the Valiant — can anyone explain the similarities in the styling direction/changes of the Valiant and the Rambler American in the early 60′s? Seems like somebody was copying someone there.

    Side note: Could the “New Chrysler” pull off a serial hybrid with a turbine-engined range extender and skin it with a 21st-century rendition of the 60′s turbine car? (As Butt-Head would say: “heh heh… cool”)

  • avatar
    727

    Nice,I had many Mopars,they handle great,go like hell..The 440 you can light the tires up by flooring them at 20 mph!!Way better excelleration than my 2007 Dodge Charger R/T.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Talking about influental european design, don’t forget Pininfarina, and his Florida concept cars, that resulted in the 1957 Lancia Flaminia. That design spawned a number of cars during the sixites, among them the BMC Farina-sedans, and the Peugeot 404. And if I’m not mistaken, what’s so influental was the lengthwise side-crease on the side of the car, that divides the car visually in an upper and a lower half. From headlight to rearlight, through both doors and wings. With shading, it makes the car look longer and lower, not unlike how flame-surfacing works today. It’s a trick that virtually any car maker used for about every car made after that.

    So, I’d say there are at least three highly influental europeans designs during that time, the Cisitalia, the Florida, and the Corvair.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I think the 66-67 Plymouth Belvedere/Satellite were the first thing Mopar got right in the 60s.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @Ingvar,

    You’re right. Trying to condense the evolution of design into a top two or three or four is too limited. But Pininfarina’s leading role in the fifties and early sixties cannot be overstated.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    @Paul Niedermeyer:

    I think this sub-topic is interesting enough for its own editorial. What car-designs have actually been influental over other makers for, say the last fifty years? One example that springs to mind is the 1983 Audi 100, with its flush doors and windows.

    Though I’m not the one to write that kind of stuff for 800 words. But somebody should…

  • avatar
    geeber

    Paul Niedermeyer: It made the carscape richer, but Chrysler poorer. Valiant sales only took off after the major re-style in ‘63.

    Exner supervised the restyle of the Plymouth Valiant for the 1963 model year, so he deserves credit for its success.

    He had actually completed Chrysler’s 1963 line before he was fired. When Elwood Engel looked at the corporation’s planned 1963 lineup, he said that he didn’t need to change much of anything, as the cars looked good.

    A few years ago, Collectible Automobile ran a story on the 1962 full-size Plymouths as Exner had originally planned them. They were very unique, highly styled cars. They probably would have sold better than the Plymouths that did make it to market. The longer wheelbases, wider bodies, more complex bumpers and use of curved side glass made the design “work.”

    Especially interesting were the greenhouses on the two-door and four-door hardtops. The roofline of the two-door hardtop looks exactly like the one on the 1965 full-size Chevrolets. The greenhouse on the four-door hardtops looks like the one GM used on its 1971 full-size cars.

    shaker: Since the discussion has diverged a bit to the Valiant — can anyone explain the similarities in the styling direction/changes of the Valiant and the Rambler American in the early 60’s? Seems like somebody was copying someone there.

    Dick Teague, the head of styling for American Motors, was at Chrysler in the late 1950s before he moved over to AMC. Plus, Chrysler was the styling leader for the industry from 1957-59.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Thanks, Geeber!

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Mike66Chryslers :
    May 2nd, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Elwood Engel (you misspelled his name by the way) really worked at improving the styling that started with the ‘61 Lincoln, and I think he nailed it in ‘66.

    Thanks Mike66 — Though I’m no relation, I appreciate you’re pointing out the correct spelling of Elwood Engel’s name. You wouldn’t believe how many people misspell mine. And I agree with you about his design legacy.

    - Peter Engel

  • avatar
    rodster205

    Paul, nice red steelies on that xB!

  • avatar

    I had a 67 Fury II, with the “supercommando v8″, a rorty 4 bbl 383. If you could get past 10 mpg, this car was very fast for a three ton sled.

    Huge interior. Ran very well for the two years I had it.

    Stolen in Boston. I’m sure for the engine. Shouda de-badged it.

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    I never stop hearing about my stepfather’s newport and challenger sounded like pretty cool cars back in the day…

  • avatar

    What grand old cars. I actually think that those Valiants were so fugly that they were cute. My friends’ cousin had a wagon with the push button auto-transmission. At the time it was no big deal but looking back we were riding in greatness.

    Oh what a sad time it is. Hoping some new class arrives

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Memories of my Grandpa’s 1965 Newport sedan have come flooding back. Aquamarine with matching cloth-and-vinyl interior. I loved the hum of the 440 engine. Whenever I heard that sound, I knew my grandparents were showing up, and I dutifully prepared myself to be spoiled.

    Wow. At one time, Chrysler actually built nice cars.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India