As usual, there were plenty of fabulous old cars for sale on Bringatrailer.com in late May, but this 1966 Chrysler Newport convertible was easily my personal favorite. Mopars were my first automotive love (it’s a small miracle that I selected three Fortnight Favorites before picking my first Mopar), and even though big C-bodies aren’t the most lustworthy Chrysler products, I could definitely see myself owning a family-friendly, soft-topped boat exactly like this someday. Assuming, of course, that “someday” finds me with a much larger garage and lots of gas money in my wallet.
This droptop Newport is a superclean, always-in-California example that looks to be in fantastic shape. The eBay ad included dozens of large, high-quality photos that sidetracked me, drooling, for more time than I care to admit. The exterior color — I believe it’s “haze green” — looks great on the Chrysler’s vast flanks, which were sculpted under the direction of Elwood Engel, who designed the legendarily beautiful (and somewhat similar) 1961 Lincoln Continental. The black vinyl interior would be hot in the sun, but it’s nicely trimmed and classy but not as over-the-top as an Imperial of the same time period. The seller claims that the car has a 440-cubic-inch V-8, but it’s an original 383 car according to the serial number, and an astute BaT commenter pointed out that the engine certainly looks like a 383 and has only a two-barrel carburetor (equipment that was standard on this model). Regardless, the 3000 or so Newport convertibles built for 1966 boasted an original curb weight of only 4020 pounds, so the 383’s stock 270 hp was surely enough to move it along fairly well. This isn’t a racing car anyway; it’s a big-as-a-whale boulevard cruiser that would delight the B-52s.
Speaking of planes, my favorite comment on the BaT page was about aircraft: “A bit of a hassle when the F-14s keep trying to land on the deck. But that’s just a nitpick.”
This Newport’s eBay auction ended on June 1 with the car apparently selling for an enticing $14,231. (Hagerty’s Cars That Matter price guide, compiled by Automobile Magazine’s Auctions reporter Dave Kinney, indicates that a Newport like this should sell for about $25K.) Something is awry, however, because the Chrysler been relisted and the current eBay auction is set to end in two days. Perhaps I still have a chance to put this baby (partially) in my garage …
Finalists for my favorite BaT car from May 16 through May 31 include the following, ranked from most tantalizing to least:
1. Another 1960s Mopar, this sinister 1965 Plymouth Belvedere really pulled at my heartstrings.
2. I spent a lot of time riding around in, and driving, my buddy’s 1988 Mazda MX-6 in high school, so this 1990 MX-6 race car made me consider what additional fun we could’ve had if his car had been turbocharged and sponsored by the Schlitz brewery.
3. This gorgeous 1968 Fiat 2300S offered Italian style on a sub-$40,000 budget (as opposed to this very rough ’68 Fiat Dino that, with a $24,103 bid, did not even reach its eBay reserve and looked like quite the money pit anyway).
4. This wood-paneled 1948 Healey shooting brake makes the list solely because of its astounding contrast in condition between “before” and “after” — from woodpile to concours.
5. This good-looking, rust-free 1971 Chevrolet C-10 Cheyenne was made even more attractive by its reduced price (the difference of which was more than enough to pay for another cool General Motors product, this 1974 Opel 1900 survivor).
If you’re not as committed to daydreaming about old cars as I am, check out my semimonthly blog, where I select my favorite Bringatrailer.com car of the past couple weeks. If you want to stay fully up-to-date on what the old-car buffs are discussing, subscribe to BaT’s daily email blast of a wide assortment of old cars for sale and visit automobilemag.com every so often to learn what cars I like best. And feel free to share your thoughts — and your own favorites — in the comments section below.