Final Parking Space: 1971 Chrysler Newport Custom 4-Door Hardtop

Murilee Martin

An interesting way to look at automotive history through a junkyard lens is to follow the evolution of a model over time. This is fairly easy with a model that sold well decade after decade, like the Chevrolet Malibu or Honda Civic, but how about a model that was built sporadically from 1940 through 1981 and went through roller-coaster sales highs and lows during that time? The Chrysler Newport is such a car, and today we’ll follow up the 1963 Newport sedan we admired a few months ago with one of its hardtop successors from the following decade.

Murilee Martin

Chrysler redesigned its full-sized C-Body cars for the 1969 model year, giving them what was known as the “Fuselage” look.

Murilee Martin

The Newport was the most affordable of the big Chryslers for 1971, slotted beneath the 300 and New Yorker in the prestige pyramid. The Imperial also lived on the C platform at that time, but it was its own more exclusive marque and not given Chrysler badging until the 1984 model year.

Murilee Martin

This car is also a platform sibling to more affordable Dodge- and Plymouth-badged machines, the Monaco, Polara and Fury.

Murilee Martin

The Custom trim level was one step above the base 1971 Newport, with an MSRP of $4990 for the four-door hardtop (about $38,908 in 2024 dollars). The base Newport’s price tag was $4709 for the four-door post sedan ($36,717 in today’s money).

Murilee Martin

There was quite a bit of overlap involving the prices of the various C-Body cars for 1971, and a heavy hand with options could result in a lowly Fury that cost more than a Newport or even a 300. For example, the mechanically nearly identical 1971 Dodge Monaco four-door hardtop started at $4362 ($34,011 after inflation). This same sort of prestige line-blurring was taking place at Ford and GM, too.

Murilee Martin

That said, the 1971 Newport was a lot of luxury machine for the money. The problem for Chrysler Corporation, then as well as now, was that the Chrysler brand itself didn’t come with a huge amount of snob appeal.

Murilee Martin

The ’71 Newport Custom came with a high-torque 383-cubic inch big-block V-8 (that’s 6.3 liters to those of you laboring under the cruel lash of the metric system) rated at 275 horsepower as standard equipment. Pay an extra 208 bucks (1622 bucks today) and you’d get a Newport with a 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) V-8 rated at 335 horses.

Murilee Martin

Now let’s talk about what you didn’t get as standard equipment in your new 1971 Newport. First of all, even a single-speaker AM-only radio cost $92 ($717 now). Air conditioning started at $426 ($3322 today), and an automatic transmission set you back $241 ($1879 in 2024 dollars), although late-model-year 1971 Newports got the slushbox instead of the base three-on-the-tree manual at no extra cost. Even power steering was $125 ($975 after inflation). We’re all spoiled by the standard features we get nowadays!

Murilee Martin

The build tag says this car was built at the Jefferson Avenue plant in Detroit, where Chalmers and Maxwell cars were built starting in 1908.

Murilee Martin

It appears to have been sold new in Dallas, Texas.

Murilee Martin

Early in its driving career, this Chrysler moved to Denver. It now resides in a self-service yard across town from the long-defunct shop on the southeastern side of the city where its service was performed.

Murilee Martin

Just about every receipt affiliated with this car going back to the middle 1970s was still inside. It appears to have had one owner since at least 1978 and maybe earlier.

Murilee Martin

There were handwritten notes about maintenance and parts purchases spanning more than 35 years.

Murilee Martin

High Plains Colorado has a climate that kills padded vinyl roofs in a hurry, but the rest of the car is very solid. It could have been put back on the road without too much trouble, but that didn’t happen.


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    Even for the early 70’s that car is so boring to look at. Maybe that is why it didn’t sell well?

    Memories. We had a tan-over-black 1969 Newport 4-door when I was a pre-teen. I can picture my mother wheeling it into our garage after a day’s work as a retail clerk, possibly with her second Newport cigarette during the 10-mile drive home dangling from her lips. Cabin was enormous; I recall hauling upwards of 10 kids in the back seat a couple times, with one shoved up on the rear parcel shelf.

    I learned to drive in 1971 with my dads 71 Newport. It was copper colored and comfortable as hell. I learned to drive in Manhattan which required parallel parking that boat in a few seconds! I miss that car and those days. Thanks for the pics, lots of great memories with my dad.

    These cars were generally driven lots of miles as daily drivers. Most Mopar enthusiasts today focus on Cudas, Road Runners, Chargers, etc. but these fuselage cars were the primary people movers back in the day. It would be really interesting to see a 71 Newport with the 3 speed stick.

    Stellantis needs to revive this model name for a lower cost, Chrysler-badged EV, as it would indeed be using a “new port” to refuel. It’s perfect.

    Add power assist brakes disc front brakes and passenger side mirror to “not standard equipment”. I have a super clean ‘71 Newport 2 door I bought from the first owner. Along with the car was a folder with the original bill of sale and a ton of service receipts. The guy bought it off the lot and the only options were the mirror and a/c. The car has drums on all four corners too. I’ll stick with the drums but I plan on adding the power assist booster.

    The good old ’71 “SS Newport”, my wife had when we got married. It was as big as a boat and rode like one, just sailing along the highway. Don’t see them around much any more.

    veeery sad seeing this in a picapart yard. some people would literally cry to get an example this good. i would’ve paid a lot more than the yard gave for it, even w/o seeing anything more than this article’s pics. looks as if it still had the jack & tools. it wouldn’t surprise me if the owner passed away and the heirs only wanted the house (to sell) and NOTHING else. regardless what actually occurred, still a veeery sad sight indeed (imo).

    First car I bought after getting married, a 1971 Chrysler Newport convertible. Metallic olive green with a black convertible, top and interior. For scooting around the backcountry in northern Indiana it was a blast. will always remember getting my first Chrysler and my first son in Plymouth, Indiana

    My first Chrysler a 1971 Newport convertible, metallic army green with black vinyl interior and a black convertible top. Great card to go bombing through the back roads of northern Indiana. I bought my first Chrysler and my first son in Plymouth Indiana. Great times.

    Most likely somebody out there looking for a front bumper in decent shape like the one shown here. Probably the only one like it left in existence.

    My brother had a ’72 Newport 2 door. Some poor fool pulled out in front of him in a colonnade Malibu. The point of impact was the driver’s side B pillar. Scrapped the Chevy – didn’t even brake a headlight on the Chrysler.

    I drove a 71 Newport Royal 2 door olive drab with chrome Sunspoke wheels all through high school and college. Planned on keeping it for life. Had to sell it during my divorce in 2006. Sold it to a guy in western Kansas. I can’t believe the car in the photo still has its quarters and front and rear grills etc. I searched the country back in 2002 looking for a rear quarter when someone sideswiped mine while parked in front of my house. Found one finally and had it shipped in. Cost more than the car did! They are not that plentiful anymore. I really miss that beautiful long 2 door. The wife, not so much.

    My good memories of a Chrysler Newport were the joy of destroying one.

    After graduation from high school in early June of 1988, in early August I had the thrill of going 2 rounds in the county fair demolition derby with my junkyard rescue of a 1976 4-door hardtop Newport.

    Dang, it was a blast… and it checked a box for me on my young life’s bucket list.

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