I found this really sharp 1961 Chrysler Newport for sale on Craigslist. It’s truly striking in two-tone black and white–but if you want to see something really special, take a look inside…
…it’s sporting the optional Highlander interior, and it looks to be in excellent condition!
Talk about radiant red!
Door panel detail.
Now I was aware that Chrysler had offered these lush and colorful Highlander interiors back in the ’40s, but I never knew that the concept had been revived in the 1961 model year:
Here’s the text of the Craigslist ad:
This 1961 Chrysler Newport Four-Door Sedan is completely stock with only 57k original miles! Has the rare spring-special “Highlander” plaid interior. Completely original condition, from the paintwork and most of the interior to the 361 V8 engine. Even has original service stickers from the 1970s on the door trim molding. Rust-free and in good-running condition, with brakes redone in the past four years or so. Brake drums could use a turning however. The car has a very rare factory air conditioning system that is 100% complete. It will need charging. The AC turns on and blows but there isn’t any freon left to cool down.
Under the hood is Chrysler’s 265-horsepower, 361-cu.in. OHV V8 engine with the OEM 2 Barrel carb, which is original to the car. The 361 is the smallest big block made by Chrysler and has a surprising amount of power still. Starts easily, with a few pumps of the gas pedal, and runs fine. An electronic ignition was added to improve starting with no smoke upon start-up. The engine is matched with a push-button three-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly. The paint is the original factory paint, and while it is very presentable, there are numerous chips and dings, particularly in the doors, a couple of minor bumps, and wear on horizontal surfaces. It’s hard to see in the pictures because they are small but the paint and body will need a little TLC. Additionally, the windshield and other windows are original, showing the Chrysler/Mopar “Forward Look” and “Air Conditioned by Autotemp” logos, along with Solex glass markings. The seals are also original and are in good condition.
The original windlace on the doors is notably worn. All the exterior lights work normally.
Like the exterior, the cabin of this vintage Chrysler, with its unique red plaid seat and door panel inserts, is believed to be mostly original, with the front-seat vinyl and cloth upholstery the only known restored element. The original interior material is in excellent shape—and even the armrests, which are often warped or cracked, are in excellent condition. Additionally, the original carpet, headliner and sun visors are in good original condition, along with the ribbed dash pad, which shows some minor cracks. The dome light lens is also cracked and shows an older repair. All the interior trim is in place and the heater is functional, along with the original AM radio. The optional and rare (for a Newport) clear-and-white steering wheel appears in very good condition for its age, with only minor apparent cracks at its base. The turn signals, with their dash-mounted stalk, need to be held and released manually.
The chassis, suspension, and braking elements are in good condition, with the only issue being a slow power steering leak. During the previous owners 11-year ownership, several service repairs have been made, including replacement of the rear leaf springs and shocks, a replacement idler arm bushing, repacked front wheel bearings, replacement outer tie rods and sleeves, and a front-end alignment. The brakes were also redone within the past four years and have about 800 miles on them. The work included replacement wheel cylinders, master cylinder, and front shoes, and recent radiator re-cored. Additionally, the whitewall tires are about 10 years old and have about 1,200 miles on them.
Pictures all taken within last 3 months and are from Maryland where car was purchased from. Car is now in Phoenix Metro area (North Buckeye). Open to trades for newer vehicles. Changes in work are forcing the sale of this beauty that I searched far and wide for because I don’t have the time to put into that I had planned on. $17,000 obo. I’m open to any trades of approximate equal value, just ask. Prefer 80s or newer.
I consider this to be one of the most notable Craigslist automotive finds ever! You have that super-sharp 1961 Chrysler “Batmobile” styling dressed in black–and the vivid Highlander interior in red. Add in all of the other early ’60s Mopar virtues, including the 361 “Firebolt” V8 and Torsion-Aire ride along with power steering and brakes, and you’ve got a great looking, great driving, rare gem indeed! As to the asking price of $17,000–sounds high, but how do you put a value on this? How many original and intact ’61 Highlanders are left in existence?
Just for comparison, I also found this black 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix for sale on Facebook Marketplace. This car uses the same body shell (with a shorter wheelbase), but has completely different styling:
It’s nice to know that these Forward Look Mopars (which have such poor survival rates) are still out there and available for purchase more than 60 years after they were built–even though you have to scan the whole country to find them! As always, my hope is that they will go to “good homes” and continue to provide motoring enjoyment to both drivers and spectators. Physical proof that at one time, lushly upholstered faux spaceships once roamed the highways of Earth!