As we show in our Rare Finds column each month, there are still plenty of Mopars hidden in the woods, barns, and garages, just waiting for someone to discover them and fix them up. And while each of us has his or her own personal favorite to look for, we admit that we're suckers for just about any classic Mopar, purchasing more than one project car simply to save the vehicle from a questionable future. Another type of car we're suckers for, especially here in Florida, is any Mopar with a convertible top. As you'll read in Rare Finds this month, we found this '69 Chrysler Newport convertible locally and bought it as a first car for this author's teenage daughter. At 13 years old, she's not sure she really likes the big drop-top yet, but we think it will grow on her as she helps fix it up and personalize it. We also think all that extra C-Body steel makes this Newport safe, as well as cool.

Like many Mopars that are found these days, this Newport had been sitting in a barn, and hadn't been driven or even started in more than ten years. Knowing that the fuel tank pickup was likely varnished, and the engine's oil had probably all drained back into the pan leaving oil galleys and vital engine parts without lubricant, we decided the best bet was to trailer our car home and give it a thorough evaluation. Getting a car running after it has been sitting for an extended period can be accomplished, but you risk damaging the engine, transmission, and accessories by simply throwing a battery in the vehicle, pouring gas down the carb, and firing it up. If you take your time, though, and replace parts and fluids as necessary, the outcome can be a Mopar that runs smoothly, is reliable, and fun to drive.

One of the best ways to initially evaluate a car you've purchased is to speak with the previous owner. We actually purchased this car as a third party from a friend who had spoken to the prior owner, who stated that the car ran and drove when it was parked, but had some issue with the power steering and maybe the brakes. With this in mind, and knowing we'd need to change all the fluids and perform a regular tune-up, we pulled the big Newport into the garage and popped the hood to begin making a list of parts.

C-Body Mopars are simply not the most collectible of the breed, and therefore some parts, mainly sheetmetal, just aren't reproduced for these cars. Fortunately, nearly everything else for this car is available, including all the parts we needed to get the 383 in our Chrysler to fire up. Rather than attempting to find parts at the local store, and wondering about the quality of those parts, we logged onto Rock Auto's website, rockauto.com, and simply typed in our vehicle information. One of the big advantages of Rock Auto is that their website is super easy to navigate, requiring just a few clicks to find everything we needed for our Newport. They also offer multiple brands of the same part, so you can decide if you want to pay for the highest quality, or save a few bucks by choosing more economical items. So if you like these options, and have a little time to plan your work, Rock Auto can save you money and conveniently ship the parts you need directly to your house.