"Make Your Move...Step Up To Chrysler." That's what the ads said back then…and it's advice for anyone looking to enter the Mopar hobby without shelling out big bucks for a B- or E-Body.
Randy Harris did just that when he found this all-original '68 Chrysler Newport. "I bought it [from] a private collector," he says, "and it had about 17,000 miles on it when I bought it. I've got about 18,000 on it now."
You read that right: eighteen thousand miles, which explains the condition of this C-Body, including its RR1 Burgundy Metallic acrylic-enamel paint, its cloth-and-vinyl bench seat interior--and its original vinyl top.
Randy hasn't needed to do much to it to keep it looking OE, outside of routine maintenance and having the driveshaft rebalanced. He explains, "I fixed up the battery box and the cables, and put some of the original stuff back in."
Originalities on this "most-affordable" of the '68 Chryslers, include a two-barrel-equipped 383 (standard on the Newports), a "Golden Tone" factory AM/FM radio with a foot switch for the tuner, and a rare, for-dealer-installation Airtemp air conditioning system, which Randy found in its original box in the trunk, then installed. It adds plenty of cool inside to match the Engle-era slab-sided styling's coolness outside.
With 9.6:1 compression, this 383 was built to run on mid-grade gas (like Sunoco's middle premiums), and it gave lively performance back then--and still does now. "It's beautiful!" says Randy of how it is to drive. "I take it to the local Mopar club's meets on the first Friday of the month, and they just love it."
Randy adds that his '68 is also an eye-grabber away from club events. "Every time I take mine out, people just go crazy on it--they love it."
That love for big Mopars led to another addition to Randy's garage last summer. "When I was at the Mopar Nationals (showing this Newport in the Originals class --Ed.), I bought a '66 Newport two-door hardtop while I was there," he says. "It had just 24,000 miles on it, and I got it for $2,200."
If you're a savvy shopper, you can find C-Body Mopars in great condition, at a price that won't blow too big a hole in your finances. "These Newports, 300s, and New Yorkers are still in a price range where the average guy can get in on one," Randy notes. "We can't have a '68 Road Runner like we used to have."
But it's likely that you'll find at least a 383 under a '60s-vintage Chrysler's hood, backed by a 727 Torqueflite. You'll also find them loaded with comfort and convenience features that buyers and Chrysler-Plymouth dealers back then insisted upon, like power steering and brakes, and air conditioning.
Parlor-sized front seat wears its original cloth-and-vinyl trim. Plush for 1968 standards,
Randy's Newport's coolness is enhanced by this ultra-rare, add-on Airtemp A/C unit.
Standard 290-horsepower 383 has plenty of room in the Newport's engine bay.
'68 Chrysler Newport two-door Fasttop
Owned by: Randy Harris, Evansville, Indiana
- Engine: The original (and standard) 9.6:1 compression 383, that is still wearing its original Carter two-barrel carburetor, and cast-iron intake and exhaust manifolds. With only 18,000 miles on the odometer, it seems crazy to change any; it's just getting broken in.
- Transmission: It's a column-shifted 727 Torqueflite
- Rearend: The same 8-3/4 that went in at Jefferson Assembly, with cruise-friendly 2.73 rear gears, is still there.
- Suspension: Stock '68 Newport: Front torsion bars, rear leaf springs, and tubular shocks all around.
- Brakes: Stock '68 Newport front/rear drum, power-assisted
- Wheels and Tires: Five-spoke Magnum 500 wheels on 235/70R14 BFGoodrich Silvertown radial tires add period-correct class.
- Body: Original '68 Chrysler Fasttop unibody wears its original paint, trim, and black vinyl top
- Paint: Original RR1 Burgundy Metallic acrylic enamel, sprayed on at Jefferson Assembly
- Interior: Original cloth-and-vinyl front and rear bench seats, which are more like fine sofas if you ask us.