Before you start, I didn’t pick this thing for our latest cheap-car hunt because it’s a Mopar. I mean that. Trust me, at the hour that I’m writing, I would’ve taken anything that was under five grand that wasn’t some clapped-our newer machine or a pile of rust with a missing title. It’s the presentation of this $2,995 1963 Chrysler Newport that caught me…park this thing right and you could re-create any of the advertising shots for the car when it was brand new. No 56-year-old car should look so perfect that you spend time wondering if you’re looking at one great restoration or a survivor that hasn’t seen sunlight or snow since the LBJ era…no 300, no Max Wedge, and no lowly four-door Newport for sure. But here it is, sitting on thin whitewalls, looking pretty much like the day it was purchased and driven home for the first time. How does that happen? There’s only one answer: devotion to a Mopar that not even Arnie Cunningham himself could match.
There’s no big surprise underhood or anywhere else. It’s a 361 car with the push-button TorqueFlite, with original chrome and a smattering of new parts to keep the car functional. If it’s been painted, don’t tell us, we don’t want to know. If it’s been hot-rodded, we don’t want to know either, though we do doubt it has been messed with. You can see some imperfections in the body if you look close enough, but remember that this is Chrysler in the early 1960s…”quality control” was making sure that whoever got donuts got the good stuff and not just a box of plain cakes each morning. As a project, just read a book on how to wake up a early 1960s Mopar and you’ll be on your way, or at least dress up the incoming 383 or 440 to look like it belongs underhood before you remove the 361. This isn’t your average hot rod, this is a time warp waiting to happen. Hop inside, key up an oldies station, and see if you can picture the 1960s for yourself.