Pick of the Day: ’61 Chrysler Newport, when even wagons had tailfins

Rare hardtop roofline shows off the high style of this example

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The Newport wagon is a stylistic standout

“Over-styled” might be one way to describe some of the sheet metal coming out of Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s.  It seemed that every manufacturer was pushing the envelope just a little further each year to catch the eyes and hearts of American buyers. 

The more chrome, the better – or at least that seemed to be the guiding theme.  Add in some hood ornaments, tailfins and space-age body style, and the 1961 Chrysler Newport embodies exactly what the end-product looked like.  Did we mention offset headlamps?

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The Pick of the Day is low-mileage 1961 Chrysler Newport station wagon that appears ready for a museum or dealership showroom.  The private seller on ClassicCars.com in DeRuyter, New York, mentions that this example has a rarely seen hardtop roofline, with has no B pillar between the front and rear doors. 

Out back, boomerang-style taillights frame the opening for the drop-down tailgate.  The roof is outfitted with an accessory rack, ready to take on the family’s luggage.  A longhorn-steer hood ornament has been added to the mix.

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The Newport name carries a great deal of history for Chrysler, first launching in 1940 on the Chrysler Newport Phaeton model.  By the early 1960s, the name was attached to the brand’s entry-level, full-size car lineup that was priced starting just under $3,000.  Chrysler was careful with its marketing to emphasize that the Newport was a full-size car at a lower price. For reference, that price tag undercut the brand’s next model up (the New Yorker) by about $2,000. 

RELATED:  Pick of the Day: 1956 Continental Mark II, Ford’s short-lived halo car

This Chrysler is powered by its original 361cid V8 that was factory-rated at 265 horsepower.  The engine is mated to a three-speed, floor-mounted manual transmission.  A 120-mph speedometer is housed within a globe that surrounds the gauge cluster in a Jetsons-esque bubble. 

The five-digit odometer in the cluster reads just 25,562 miles.  The seller states that the car has been stored indoors, adding that it recently received a new battery and runs great. 

For the 1962 model year, the Chrysler Newport’s rear design was reworked to eliminate the tailfins, marking the end of an iconic era in automotive design that had begun in the 1950s.  At $25,000 or best offer, this Newport wagon is a chrome-laden work of art that Chrysler enthusiasts will definitely want to check out. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Tyson Hugie grew up in a family of gearheads and enjoys anything to do with automotive and motorsports. He is a contributing editor to Redline Reviews, a YouTube channel with coverage from major auto shows. He also writes for Arizona Driver Magazine and holds leadership positions with a number of car clubs. Tyson has lived in Arizona for 10 years and his current obsession is Japanese cars from the early 1990s which, though hard to believe, are now becoming classics. Tyson can usually be found exploring offbeat and obscure road trip destinations on his blog "Drive to Five," which started as a way to share travel stories and experiences with his now-550,000-mile Acura.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome car. Too bad I already have too many. I’d like this one. I have a 61 Chrysler 300G convertible. This would look great in the garage next to it. I used to have a 62 New Yorker Wagon with a 413 and front and rear A/C, power everything. The fins were gone by 62. Once I got the convertible, the wagon just wasn’t getting enough use to justify keeping it.

  2. Reminds me of my 1960

    desoto 4dr sedan 383 auto. I could cruise at 100 easily in Newfoundland. ( Not manny mounties back in 1966. The torsion bar suspension made the car. I got 15 to 17 mpg.

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