Al J 1970 Chrysler Newport 2dr Hardtop Coupe

Mom, can I have your car?

I own a 1970 Chrysler Newport two door hardtop. When it rolled off the car hauler seven years ago at my home in North Dakota, the numbers 00137 were showing on its odometer. Since becoming wrapped up in old cars and pickups my goal was to someday own one like the one my mother drove back in 1970. Finding this same year and model as hers as well as the same nylon fabric interior, I had to have it. With so few miles registered since new there also had to be a story. And, there is.

My Chrysler was ordered by a dealership in Pennsylvania. Upon delivery, the transport driver managed to do minor damage to the driver’s side unloading it. The customer now did not want the car. The dealer in return refused to take delivery even with its minor damage, and Chrysler didn't want the expense of taking it back. So, Chrysler did the next best thing. They donated the car to a Vocational Technical School nearby for use in their automotive studies. The VIN plate was removed as required by the Chrysler Corporation so the school would not sell the car or get any warranty work done on it. At this point, there were seven miles showing on the odometer.

In 1975, the school was given another car so the Chrysler was put in storage. It sat relatively untouched until 1994 when the school applied for and was given a Pennsylvania issued VIN and title so they could sell the car. It was first registered to a gentleman in Pennsylvania. He had bought the car intending to repair the minor damage done at the dealership in 1970 and have a very nice, low mileage driver. He never quite got around to doing the work needed, and in 1998 sold the car to a collector in Massachusetts. It was trailered to his shop and parked with now ten miles on the odometer. Kept in covered storage until 2005, it was given a complete service and check-up to be sure that everything was in working order. With the Chrysler safe and road worthy, it was taken to a body man who stripped the car, replaced the driver’s door, and repaired the other minimal damage. The entire car was then re-painted the original color so all panels would match before it was reassembled. The car was driven sparingly, and in 2008 was put back on the market. I was still looking.

In 1970, my parents bought a new Chrysler Newport. It was my mother’s car. It was also the car in which I learned to drive and used for my driver’s test. I had a great fondness for Mom’s Newport and longed for the day when I might convince my folks to let me have it. How many teenage boys that you can remember, wanted their mothers car for their own? In 1973, they sold it to a business friend of my father’s. I kept track of it so that I might buy it back some day. In 1983, the car was sold again to a gentleman in my hometown. I contacted him and offered to buy the car when he no longer wanted it. A few months later he was in a nasty accident that totaled the Chrysler, and with that it went to the scrap-yard. At that point I started a long, slow search for a replacement. It may have taken twenty five years for the stars to align, but it was well worth the wait. I bought this car out of Pennsylvania and had a transport deliver it to my home in North Dakota. When I drove it into the garage it had only 137 miles on it, and I had a smile on my face.

It is quite a time capsule! Everything about it is still fresh. It still smells new inside. Driving it takes me back to my much younger days. I only wish my parents were still alive so they could enjoy it with me.

The color is Citron Gold Metallic. Mother’s was Burgundy Metallic. Both were built as 1970 Chrysler Newports in the base model 2-door hardtop. Hers had the light group, AM stereo 8-track, remote driver’s mirror, and cruise control. Mine has the light group, vinyl roof, remote driver’s mirror, AM-FM radio, and air conditioning. These Newports had the Chrysler 383 engines, TorqueFlite transmissions, and weighed right at 4,200 pounds. Even with their weight and size, they were not sluggish cars. …Things we never told our mothers.

I have often wondered that should I have been fortunate to have acquired the family’s Newport, would it still be as nice as it was back then. Maybe, but not likely. Would it be as nice as the one I have now? Not likely. And, as it sits in my shop covered for the winter, 00675 is its mileage since new.

For certain I know what happened to two of the 10,292 Newports built for 1970. Even though Chrysler was doing well it was the last year for the Newport convertible and the Newport station wagons. The wagons continued on as the Town and Country and in later years that name became a Minivan.

I enjoy owning this piece of time machinery and regret having put so many miles on it. When it goes to distant shows it goes on a custom built trailer and towed by none other than my 1970 Dodge D-100 pickup like the one my dad drove.

16 Reader Comments

  • 1
    T New York December 3, 2014 at 16:57
    That car needs to be driven. Why let it sit for another 30 years just so the low miles are on it. That car will be worth the same with 10,000 miles as it is with 675 miles. You should enjoy it god knows you waited long enough to find one you should drive it at least all summer long instead of letting it sit you only live once.
  • 2
    Mike Luchia Turner Valley, Alberta December 3, 2014 at 18:09
    What a great story of a great piece of machinery.
  • 3
    Brakeservo Oregon December 3, 2014 at 18:45
    Drive the darn thing - it is after all a car! The local Ferrari dealer had a '67 275 GTS with only about 750 miles on it when he died. Everyone who saw the car 'oohed and aahhed' about it's low mileage but I simply saw it as a lifetime of wasted opportunity, memories never made, fun never enjoyed. It too was just a car and anything damaged or worn out can be rebuilt replaced. So don't treat it as a religious icon!
  • 4
    David Hyatt Franklin Indiana December 3, 2014 at 19:59
    Seeing your car puts a very big smile on my face. my 1st car was a 71 Plymouth Fury and i would love to have another one just like it. The memories I had in that car are irreplaceable. Thank you for sharing.
  • 5
    Mike Davis Royal Oak, MI December 3, 2014 at 20:49
    A wonderful reminiscence. He's a lucky (and determined) guy.
  • 6
    Randy K. Crump Illinois December 3, 2014 at 22:14
    Usually Hagerty puts the current value of the car that is discussed in the article. I did not see it for the 1970 Newport Chrysler.
  • 7
    Norm Shaughnessy santa ana, ca December 3, 2014 at 23:40
    Wow --- thanks for sharing an amazing story! Congratulations on finding such a treasure. As you mentioned, the stars truly were aligned for you on this one. There just can't be many more low mileage vehicles like this out there - and for it to have the family connection that it does for you. It doesn't get much better than that. It has to be challenging to own such a pristine low mileage vehicle while still maintaining it's roadworthiness...and fighting the desire to get it out more often. I think I'd put 50-100 miles a year on it attending local shows and then do as you do with your period truck and trailer. Congrats again - you're living the dream!
  • 8
    Scott Allred California December 4, 2014 at 13:10
    I own a '70 Newport Convertible and am the third owner. I've had it for 11 years. You now know the fate of three of these cars. Ha!
  • 9
    Jim Maz New England December 4, 2014 at 07:31
    Great story. I have a weak spot for these as I own a 65 4 door hardtop Newport. It was on its way to the crusher when I saved it. Five years on, still going strong. Keep 'em on the road!
  • 10
    Todd Nashville, Tn. December 4, 2014 at 09:16
    I like your car , I'm a Mopar fan anyway , but there's nothing like a cruse in a car like your . I hope to have one some day . Drive IT !!!
  • 11
    Bruce C Colorado December 4, 2014 at 23:14
    Great story!
  • 12
    Garth GA. December 5, 2014 at 14:50
    My 1st car was a 1967 Polara with the 383. I got a lot of flack for driving Grandpa's car but in 1978 when I was 18 I didn't have much money and I figured out fairly quick cars like that were better taken care of by their older owners. I got it for $250 with 99K miles on it! It was in good shape and that weird green color. That car smoked the tires as much as I wanted, it was great off road and I could load all my friends in it and go to the drive in. I drove it to the junkyard at about 130K miles and a failing transmission but I do have to admit I didn't treat it well. Lots of great memories!
  • 13
    Anthony Virginia December 8, 2014 at 09:47
    Great story. My high school, (circa 1976 -78), car was a 2 dr, 1971 Chrysler Newport Royale. I loved that car. I bought it with the money I made working after school. She never let me down, never got stuck in the upstate NY winters, and always lots of room for family and friends. My friend called her the Millenium Falcon because of that big hood. She was very fast, though the cops never gave that big green beauty a second look. The car was full of fond memories, and is sorely missed. (If I could add a photo, I would). Great find, enjoy and pamper her.
  • 14
    Peter Florida December 9, 2014 at 21:02
    Nice story. I had taken care of an old dodge for an old lady friend. It had only 10k miles on it and was always promised to me. When she was getting close to dying she forgot about her promise and gave it to someone else who was just a young kid, 3 mths later he totaled it. Oh well. I enjoyed your story. I also have a d-100- utiline w 318.
  • 15
    Tom Central NY December 10, 2014 at 10:37
    Drive it, Al. I completely understand the mindset of keeping the odometer in-check but I cannot tell you how many low-mileage, rare (only now, after all the rest got used up) but not particularly valuable cars have crossed the Mecum Auction blocks for essentially chump change. Like my all original 28,000 mile '77 Charger SE, your beautiful Newport would be in this category. Not a Hemi car, not a heralded Mopar B- or E-body, just a nice old Chrysler. When your days as its caretaker are through, the next owner may drive the wheels off of it. What happens to it 10, 20 years from now is anyone's guess. You should pamper it to the extent desired but DRIVE it while you are able! With 800 miles or 80000 miles, you aren't going to affect its market value. And why should you care anyway? It's clear that you never intend to sell it. Happy motoring.
  • 16
    Tom Central NY December 10, 2014 at 11:14
    Drive it, Al. I completely understand the mindset of keeping the odometer in-check but I cannot tell you how many low-mileage, rare (only now, after all the rest got used up) but not particularly valuable cars have crossed the Mecum Auction blocks for essentially chump change. Like my all original 28,000 mile '77 Charger SE, your beautiful Newport would be in this category. Not a Hemi car, not a heralded Mopar B- or E-body, just a nice old Chrysler. When your days as its caretaker are through, the next owner may drive the wheels off of it. What happens to it 10, 20 years from now is anyone's guess. You should pamper it to the extent desired but DRIVE it while you are able! With 800 miles or 80000 miles, you aren't going to affect its market value. And why should you care anyway? It's clear that you never intend to sell it. Happy motoring.

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