Q: Did the Chrysler Newport and Dodge 880 receive the same sheet metal in 1962? A friend told me he once had a Dodge 880 that came with a 1961 Newport front end. Also, when did the Newport become a standalone model? Edward, Owego, New York.
A: Chrysler had regularly used the Newport logo in the 1940s and 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1961 that the Newport became a standalone model. The Newport would be Chrysler’s lower price, full-size entry-level model and carried a base price of $2,964 with the 361 V8.
Following the demise of the DeSoto line, Chrysler’s Newport was an instant hit, and most had crank windows and came with way less amenities. In 1962, Chrysler continued to use the 1961 Newport body shell while next door at Dodge, Chrysler gave the OK to share the full-size Newport body and called it the 880 in 1962. However, the 1962 Dodge models used a 1961 Dodge front clip and the Newport's nice looking rear end clip and interior. The Dodge Custom 880 became available in January of 1962, and filled the gap of the now puzzled DeSoto owners, who had to choose either Dodge or Chrysler since their car was eliminated from production.
As for originality, since the ’62 Chrysler has the Newport front end and the fact that Dodge shared the Newport rear clip, your car is truly 100-percent Chrysler Newport, as it was Dodge that shared, or should I say stole, the Chrysler rear body/interior and chassis with a Dodge front end in 1962. The rear of a 1962 Dodge Custom 880 is exactly the same as the Chrysler Newport, sans the badges. (See photos).
Thanks for your letter.