"Where were YOU in sixty-two?"
Back in the early Sixties, the American dream was still alive and well. Bigger was better and steady growth was something we'd come to expect. Detroit's Big Three offered a freshly re-designed full-size model every year. 1962 marked the end of a more innocent era; some have called it "the end of the American Dream."
President Kennedy's assassination, Vietnam, and general downsizing caused by social unrest burst the bubble. Those who grew up in the near-fairytale Camelot of post-WW2 prosperity will be able to identify with this authentic relic of American splendor. This dinosaur is one of the last of the big '50s style cruisers. More than that, this particular '62 belongs to the creme of the crop, in more ways than one.
A gigantic trapezoid grille, canted, chinese eyes, quad headlamps, sculpted body panels, and panoramic front and rear glass are hallmarks of eccentric Chrysler V.P. of Styling Virgil Exner's Forward Look that debuted with the "Suddenly . . . it's 1957 " theme and is shown here in its final edition. For in the 1960s, there was no space for Exner's excess. Angular, straight-line guys like Elwood Engel of 64-66 Imperial fame ruled the design world. The organic shapes of a Charles Eames, Exner, or Raymond Loewy were 'out.' It feels great to drive a car created by one of the masters of 1950s American industrial design!
The '62 Chrysler Newport presented here, VIN *8123202304*, must be one of the finest, all original survivors of its kind in the World. Originally sold in Colorado, always garaged, and sparingly driven, I acquired this Newport from a private collection a year ago and had it shipped to Santa Barbara via enclosed trailer. It is very reluctantly being offered to facilitate my divorce settlement, to a good home only.
This strong MoPar is powered by the Pentastar's 361 cu.in. Big Block Vee-Eight engine, producing 265 real horsepower. Torqueflite automatic tansmission, Centerplane power brakes and power steering where standard equipment in 1962. With only 54,012 actual miles on the odometer, this Newport runs smooth as silk. The engine has never been apart and even sports the original turquoise paint on block and valve covers.
To ensure utmost reliability under all driving condtions, I had a major tune up performed after I purchased the car. In addition to new plugs, wires, distributor cap, and condenser, the STROMBERG WWC carburetor was rebuilt, a new fuel pump installed, and the gas tank was boiled out and re-lined.
I also had the brake system overhauled as necessary, with new brake cylinders, shoes, and flexible lines. Five new radial tires of the dimension 225/75-14 were installed to ensure superior handling, complementing Chrysler's excellent torsion bar suspension. (The original FIRESTONE L78-14 spare is also included, for show display purposes.)
Surveying the big MoPar's body, I'm always taken with the aura of originality only a well-taken-care-of survivor radiates. Apart from some touch-up in places, the paint is all original, as applied by the factory. A very attractive color called coral gray (factory code TT1), it is a luminous lavender rose hue, a great choice for a Fifties car, a color you're not likely to encounter on any other car on the road today. The finish displays a deep shine; the body is 100% rust free and straight; a few small dings and scratches have been carefully touched up (a pint of custom matched paint is included) and give this amazing automobile a patina to die for.
This Newport bears its originality with pride and dignity!
Ready to look inside?
Definitely a highlight of the '62 is its mind-bending dash. Miraculously, the original dash pad is still flawless, without any cracks, warping, or discoloration. Interior is wonderfully color-coordinated to complement the exterior, down to the rose pink steering wheel. Original, aluminum ignition key with Forward Look logo is still present.
Note the dash-mounted rearview mirror.
Then, there's Chrysler's famous ASTRADOME: dazzling chrome and various rocker switches surround a satellite-like globe containing electroluminescent gauges. Jeff Carter of JC Auto Restorations in Lynwood, Washington, an internationally known specialist, restored and calibrated the gauges and glowing pointers to their original splendor, furnished a new transformer, and made sure the Golden Tone radio functions as good as new. Speaking of the radio, I've installed a N.O.S. under-dash REALISTIC FM converter that had been patiently waiting on my garage shelf for a decade. A new power antenna, operated by an original switch, was the final detail on the road to excellent AM/FM reception - along Route 66, many smaller "Oldies" stations still play good ol' Rock and Roll, around the clock.
Click on any of the above images to view the amazing state of preservation!
Above, left to right:
- Chrysler's mechanical push button typewriter shifter. Note turn signal switch and remote mirror control.
- The magic of panelescent dash illumination.
- Golden Tone radio. FM converter sits below dash.
Interior is all original and beautifully preserved. Space-age, light aubergine metallic naugahyde and googie-style fabric provide just the right atmosphere. There is a little wear on the driver's seat cushion, and there are a few holes in the original carpet (mostly covered by period rubber floor mats), but this baby is all original, and that's exactly what rocks my boat! Headliner and sunvisor are flawless. This car has never been smoked in; lighter and ash trays are unused, as new.
Spacious rear passenger compartment. I had a pair of lap belts installed for the kids; the belts can be hidden under the seat when not in use.
Note perfect door panels and factory tinted windows all around.
Ready for a test drive?
So am I, but there are two more areas to inspect: the trunk and the undercarriage!
Boy howdy, what a big, rust free trunk it is!
Check out the untouched, original jacking equipment. Jacking instructions decal. Cardboard trunk liner. Vintage road maps found in the glove box. Mint, original Owner's Manual and Warranty Book. Various maintenance receipts.
Click on any of the above images for a full-size view
The good news continue way down below. Factory underseal is fully intact. This undercarriage has never been exposed to road salt; it is bone dry and 100% rust free!
If you think of a '62 Chrysler as being slow and ponderous, you are sorely mistaken. Weighing in at 3,690 lbs, the big MoPar is not much heavier than a New Mini; it weighs over 1,000 lbs less than most Brave New World luxury cars of 2004. It's an eminently driveable Classic, with excellent acceleration, strong brakes, superb suspension and handling.
Around town, you need but one finger to turn the big steering wheel and operate the push button shifter. With excellent visibility, parking in tight spots is a snap. On the open road, this Chrysler really shines. An average travelling speed of 100mph is easy to maintain. Fuel consumption hovers around 20mpg. No wonder, a '62 Chrysler New Yorker won the Mobilgas Economy Run!
Every switch, light, and gauge works flawlessly. Its--push button operated--heating and ventilation system rightfully has been called outstanding. The Newport is a marvelously relaxing car to drive; even after 42 years, it has lost none of its virginal crispness.
Chauffeuring this '62 Chrysler sedan will definitely get you noticed. It's not an ubiquitous Mustang or Bel Air. In fact, most folks have no idea when it was made, and by whom. Nevertheless, everybody is fascinated by this coral gray whale of a car.
If you are ready to step up into an elevated realm of magnificence, here it is, one of the finest unrestored Exner-mobiles in the Country, an original, wonderfully preserved, rust free, utterly reliable, early 1960s automobile that can be shown and driven anywhere with pride.