CC Capsule: 1973 Chrysler Newport Custom – A Real Car for a Real Man

My great uncle William was short, stout, and bald, and always chomped a cigar. He wore slacks and a dress shirt and suspenders and, when he was outside, a fedora. Forever he will be the kind of man I think of who drove a full-sized 1970s Chrysler. Because he did, one much like this 1973 Newport Custom.

I don’t remember for sure what year William’s Newport was. I’m almost ashamed to admit that, because I was a car nut from a very young age. But William’s Newport was definitely of this generation and was almost certainly this color. His might have been a post sedan, and it might have had a loop front bumper, which would have made it a ’71.

William could be quite ornery. It’s a family trait – there’s a wicked sense of humor in all of us. I remember one day I was riding with Dad in his ’71 Impala Sport Coupe behind William in his Newport. We stopped at a light. Suddenly, on that clear day our windshield got soaked. Dad hit the wipers to clear it and immediately our windshield was soaked again. Turns out William’s washer nozzles were so miscalibrated that he could fire them all the way over his car and onto ours. If I didn’t have a crystal clear memory of this happening, I wouldn’t believe this story now. You could see William’s body ripple with laughter through the back window of his car.

When I first experienced William’s Chrysler, I was astonished by it — I had never seen a car so large before. And when I came upon this Newport Custom parked behind a popular pub near my office last autumn, I was just as astonished. This car is big, big, big.

It is also a mishmash of styling cues, some stolen directly from GM. Like these tail lights inspired by the contemporary Olds Delta 88.

Or this front end, which looked suspiciously similar to the one on my dad’s ’71 Chevy.

But it had an attractive greenhouse, even if its dashboard favored the functional over the beautiful. Perhaps William’s Newport really was a Custom, as I remember it having an interior color that harmonized with the exterior, rather than the straight black interior of this non-Custom Newport that Paul Niedermeyer wrote about here.

It’s been a while since I’ve contributed here. A number of significant life challenges have piled up on me and my family and we’ve been pretty consumed by them. We’re pushing through them and expect to come out fine, eventually. But most recently, my father passed away after living with lung cancer for 11 years. I’m writing a lot about him and his family to help me grieve (mostly over on my personal blog), and that’s why I’m sharing this ’73 Chrysler today – just to connect to a memory of my dad.

When all this life stuff clears, I’ll be back to contributing regularly here. If there’s one good thing about my hiatus, it’s that my backlog of photographed CCs is growing. It currently includes a ’61 Falcon, a ’68 Camaro, a ’77 Corvette, a ’77 F-150, an ’80-ish Firebird, an ’83 Wagoneer, and more.