I’ve kept my 1969 Chrysler Newport Custom in the family

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Courtesy Paul Smith

The sales manager at Linnes-Weiler Motors, in Albert Lea, Minnesota, ordered this car for my grandparents in October 1968, and they took delivery a month later, on Saturday, November 16. The dealer was located between my junior high school and my home, and I was walking home one day when I spotted it on top of the transport truck. I watched as it was unloaded and driven into the shop. I never gave one thought that one day it would be mine.

My grandparents traded in the Newport in 1984, and by 1990, they had both passed away. Then, in November 1991, I saw it parked next to my great-uncle Chuck’s Texaco station. I stopped in to ask about it, and when Chuck said it was for sale, I bought it pretty much on the spot. There had been two owners between my grandparents and me.

Much to my surprise, the owner’s manual, warranty card, and original registration receipt with Grandpa’s signature were all in the glove box. I was also able to track down the original-issue license plate, which is now affixed to the front of the Chrysler.

Courtesy Paul Smith

The drivetrain is original to the car, and the paint and vinyl top are original as well. I had the front seat reupholstered, but we were able to source NOS fabric in Ohio, so the front and back seats still match and look as they did from the factory. I have personalized the Newport with aftermarket wheels and dual exhaust.

May 16 marked the 30th anniversary of the day I drove it home. I love cruising in this old family car, and I think it’s fun that my grandchildren get to ride in their great-great-grandparents’ Chrysler.

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