1963 Chrysler Newport

Classic and Hot Rod Cars And Their Stories

Push Button Transmission
1963 Chrysler Newport

I was looking through an box of old photo’s day before yesterday. Having made the transition from film to digital photography over a dozen years ago I still have thousands of photo’s I’ve taken and had printed, only to sit in boxes, sometimes for years, between reasons to stir up old memories. From one of the very first envelopes I opened, out slipped a photo of my our 1963 Chrysler Newport, my first car.

Oh the memories; one morning I took my friends to Oceanside, CA fishing. Leaving Costa Mesa at 5 AM, there was no traffic as I drove Pacific Coast Highway south at 110 miles per hour. The following night my Dad cautioned me about driving fast, he checked the front wheels two days earlier and noticed the bearings and bushings were bad and the wheels could part company with the car if driven too fast...

It was big enough to fit 10 good friends, or that one special friend, the “G” friend. The dash mounted, push button gear selector, when we sold the car a little old lady said she couldn’t buy it because she wasn’t strong enough to “push those buttons”.

In 1961 Chrysler revived the Newport name for their full size entry level model. Still priced at $2,964, the Newport was strategically placed to fill the price gap between Dodge and Chrysler that emerged when DeSoto was discontinued. While the Newport was successful and comprised the bulk of Chrysler production, the base Newport sedans were plain versions of Chrysler's traditional high end market models, featuring hubcaps instead of full-wheel covers, very plain interiors and a minimal amount of exterior trim. The perception of an inexpensive Chrysler hurt their image in the long run by cheapening the brand's value.

The 1963 Newport was available as a 2 door convertible, 2 door hardtop, 4 door sedan, 4 door hardtop and 4 door station wagon. The base engine for the Newport was the 361 CID (5.9 L) V8 engine rated at 265 hp, although most were equipped with the 305 hp 383 CID (6.3 L) V8. The Newport was restyled alongside the New Yorker and Chrysler 300 for 1963, with this body style continuing for 1964. Sometimes known as the "lost years", 1963 and 1964 Chryslers were the result of instabilities within the design team. And although the 1963 model was a restyle without tail fins, 1964 saw the return of small, chrome-topped fins.

The 1963 Chrysler Corporation officially listed a Chrysler Enforcer Police Package. However, no literature as far as I know, ever existed for this model. No production figures exist, and no sales charts were ever found where any were sold. It is rumored that the Missouri Highway Patrol bought some, but I found no records to confirm this.

With the introduction of the Dodge 880 model, the 122” wheelbase drew all the major Police Package orders in 1963 for Dodge. The “RB” engine that remained was the 413 ci V-8, and it joined the Police Force in 1963.
Chrysler liked the results so much that this “Police Only” engine was applied across the board, and could not be had unless specified for a Police agency! It was rated at 360 horsepower. Believe it or not, the standard transmission was a manual 3 speed, with a floor mounted shifter. As has been shown, this would have given the Highway Patrol 130 mile an hour capabilities. However, 1964 was the Enforcer's last gasp, and it was dropped at the end of the 1964 model season.

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