This picture posted by canadiancatgreen threw me. Yes, seeing an old Polara convertible towing a Chrysler Newport is decidedly out of the ordinary. But what really threw me is that from the grille, this appears to be a 1968 Polara convertible. But where’s the mandatory side marker lights?
It took a couple of trips to Google to solve the puzzle, which in retrospect is all too obvious: it’s a ’67 with a ’68 grille. The difference isn’t all that big, but they are different.
Of course there’s the another issue (other than the towing), and that has to do with the relative rarity of a 1967 Polara convertible. For that matter any big Dodges of these years are fairly scarce, as they sold miserably. And a base Polara convertible? I would have assumed they would only come as the higher trim Polara 500, as well as the Monaco.
I assumed this was a Canadian car, as that’s where canadiancatgreen’s finds all seem to be. FWIW, the Canadian Dodge brochure does not show a Polara convertible.
The US market brochure does show it. Someone else might know if it was available in Canada, but then this might be a US car. In any case, there really was a base Polara convertible. My Encyclopedia does not break out production figures by body style for these cars, unfortunately.
Actually, it would seem that a base Polara convertible would be more likely to appeal to the thrifty Canadians back then.
Let’s move rearwards and take a look at the towing issue. When I first saw the top picture, I rather assumed the Polara was just backed up to the trailer, which has a jack stand. I even blacked out the jack stand (above) so as to try to fool all of you!
But I only fooled myself. This crop makes it convincingly clear that the trailer really is hitched to the Polara, as the safety chains are still attached. And it explains the tail-high attitude of the Polara’s rear end, since the jack was lowered, raising up the trailer tongue and the tow car. I’m convinced. Are you?
And why not? It’s not like the Polara wasn’t up to the job. Even with the base 318, it could have towed it adequately. And there might well be a 383 under the long hood.
The red Newport coupe has seen better days, like the Polara. Both seem to have lost the bottom of their rear quarter panel to rust, but otherwise the bodies don’t look too bad, at least from a safe distance.
Back then? I’m a thrifty Canadian and this Polara convertible still appeals to me!
That lower body rust looks like a bunch of work though..
I love ’65 and ’66 Chrysler two-door hardtops. Today, I think I’d take a ’66 Newport in Turbine Bronze.
Yikes! There might be enough sheetmetal left to make one fairly solid car from the two of these.
I sure as hell do not miss the salt belt.
Googling the name on the sign it’s in Edmonton. Not even salt belt!
FWIW, other than that rear lower panel, they seem reasonably solid. That panel seems to rust with very little provocation.
Bad design by Mopar. With the trunk floor being the gas tank, and having it sit high, the drop off on either side was very narrow and impossible to clean. I also suspect it was not painted knowing how Chrysler would fudge those little assembly details. Get some dirt down there, a water leak from the rear window channel, and the moisture would fester forever. The backside didn’t have any kind of ledge that would provide nice places for snow and salt to reside more than normal. Below a shot of the area which is as wide as the width of my flat fingers. Mine, being a Central Valley car was and is bone dry.
Not just mopar, Mustangs, falcons et al suffer from this same problem for the same reasons. Actually there are “modern” designs like th Taurus with the same problem but it happens out of sight behind the bumper covers that wrap around to the wheelwells. Doesnt get noticeable until rust creeps up above the seam
No, I can actually get into that area on my 68 Mustang and Cougar without a problem either by hand or a vacuum crevice tool. As a result the seam at the bottom is spotless in both. The only way I can see the bottom in the Dodge is by using a small dental mirror and still the body curve makes it very hard. Of course I’m talking inside out.
I mean in terms of the crevice being there lacking full coating and being a place for water/debris to collect and whatnot. Mopars may be harder to clean out but most people wouldn’t to think to clean them out in any car and consequently a lot have r of them have this kind of eaten panel from it.
That’s true and admit I am very anal about my cars being clean in and out.
I’ve got a coffeetable book on Dodge history written by a Canadian. In the ’60s the only real difference was availability of models and engine combinations. He says about the ’68s:
The Canadians varied only in appearance by nameplate and the availability of Monaco and Monaco 500 convertibles. Other series included the Polara 500 in three series and the Polara in two.
The Monaco 500 convertible seems to have been only in Canada, and seems to be the replacement for Polara convertibles.
I’m not sure about the ’67s, but in ’66 the big Canadian Dodges all had Plymouth dashboards.
I always like the round 1968 Mopar side marker lights (one year only?) better than the more intrusive rectangle ones of later models and other makes of cars.
I think there was a brief period when side marker lamps without reflectors were allowed, hence the tiny round Mopar lights and the rear side markers on Pontiacs shaped like the arrowhead logo. Later, reflectors that would glow when the car was parked were also required nixing the tiny lights.
Oldsmobile used the Rocket emblem and Buick the Tri Shield in the rear quarters for markers at that time too.
Yup, the requirement from 1/1/68 to 31/12/69 was amber front and red rear side marker lights and/or reflectors. From 1/1/70 the “or” was dropped. The ’68 Mopars had only lights; the ’69s had only reflectors.
“Reflectors that glow when the car is parked” doesn’t accurately describe the requirement, though. For one thing, the side marker light and reflector needn’t be one and the same; it’s just that both functions are required. Also, the lights come on with the front (“parking”) and rear (“tail”) position lights, and remain on with the headlamps.
I believe that markers are not actually required per se, but the language requires lights/reflectors that can be seen from the side. There are many models with wrap around park and/or tail lamps that don’t have separate marker lamps.
No, side marker lights are explicitly required. The function doesn’t necessarily need to be provided by a dedicated, separate light, but just being able to see the parking and tail lights from the side is not sufficient. As with all vehicle lighting functions, there are very detailed specifications for the intensities produced throughout a range of horizontal and vertical angles. Sometimes this can be met with just a line of sight to the parking/tail light source, but often it requires optics specific to the task. And reflectors are required in all cases as well.
Wayyyyyy back when a Mopar was just as good/sometimes superior alternative to an Oldsmobile or Mercury.
I have never looked into whether Chrysler built some early 1968 models early in calendar 1967 that may have been able to slide through before the marker light rule came out. Sort of the way Ford built 1970 Falcons in 1969 that did not meet 1970 rules. But your explanation of the first used grille available for replacement is probably more likely.
FWIW I’m not finding any “Up to” and “After” for the relevant sheetmetal parts in the US or Canadian ’68-model factory parts cattledogs.
Looking at the Newport, in addition to the missing lower rear quarter, I see some bubbles ahead of the rear wheel. The water that runs down the quarter window exits between the outer sheet metal and the rocker structure. These drains are very thin and any dirt, leaves, etc that gets in there will plug them up.
On the other hand, the area above the rear wheel looks ok, which is good as that is another very common rust spot, and much harder to repair.
I believe 1967 was the year the import tax laws changed, so there started to be fewer differences between US & Canadian cars, and more US built cars sold in Canada.
Yes it was available in Canada and it looks my 7th grade teachers car in Toronto in 1967
Buick, Olds, Pontiac, and Mercury offered base trim convertibles in their full size lines in these years. Presumably they assumed their base trim full size cars were selling against Impala and Galaxie 500, not to true skinflints who wouldn’t consider a glamorous convertible. “By the time you add the V8 and the trim you want to that Chevy, you’re within a few dollars (or dollars per month) of my car.” They usually had a plainer version of their midsize car to placate brand loyalists who wanted the cheapest available car.