As one who was somewhere between being a twinkle in the eye and weak concept at the time, it seems the year 1969 is one of milestones, large events, and transition. Such has always been the perception to someone who simply was not around.
The world has continued to change in the last fifty-four years, in ways both immense and minor, with the automotive market being no exception. Any car built in the idiom of this Newport would be horrendously challenged today but it certainly made sense in 1969. Well, maybe not universal sense, but for its intended audience it did. It’s a product of its time and what an interesting time it was.
Technically, the reign of the 1969 Chrysler, that first year of the fuselage styled C-body, began in September 1968. While no specific date of this new model’s introduction can be determined, it’s safe to figure the introduction would have been in mid-September.
That was the timeframe in which Albania withdrew from the Warsaw Pact and the Tet Offensive came to an end.
In the philosophy of longer, lower, and wider that permeated the automotive market in those days, both front and rear track increased a fraction of an inch while overall length was up four inches. Wheelbases remained at one hundred twenty-four inches for every short-roofed Chrysler. Weight was up around one hundred fifty pounds. All that extra-ness does add up.
This was also the time when it always appeared the prevailing wisdom (among many) was more of a good thing is a good thing. This thought process didn’t just apply to automobiles, such as our Newport. There were other elements of the transportation industry in which this philosophy could be found.
It was in February 1969 when a Boening 747 flew for the first time. Any plane dubbed “jumbo jet” will indicate it is simply more of an already good thing.
Further, it was less than a month later when the Concorde had its first test flight. Speed is good; more speed is better.
It also seems the year 1969 was rife with conflict of varying types, even about how to spell words. Perhaps the “e” could also stand for extraordinary, as in being extraordinary that such a disagreement occurred and one had need to clarify.
But, just like the rest of the year, I wasn’t there to get the full story.
As it relates more to this Newport, and demonstrating how more can indeed be more, on May 14, 1969, the final segment of Interstate 5 was completed in Washington State. This last piece connected Everett with Marysville, allowing one to travel from the Canadian border to the California state line without interruption.
While no 1969 Chrysler traveled as fast as a Concorde, or even a mere 747, Mother Mopar certainly gave it what she could for motivation, all of which allowed for effortless cruising on interstate highways. Powertrains were carry-over from 1968 with a 290 gross horsepower 383 cubic inch V8 being standard for the Newport.
For those of a more motivated mind-set, there was the optional 350 gross horsepower 440 that was standard for the rest of the Chrysler lineup.
While not the fastest thing on the road, a 440 powered Chrysler certainly had that hard to quantify but impossible to overlook quality of executive presence.
If one is to examine history as we are doing here, there are several good lenses for doing so. Automobiles are great lenses but music is very insightful also.
When this Newport was new, the musical world seemed to be in a period of transition (or perhaps inconsistency might be more descriptive). While Billboard says the top hit song of 1969 was the fingernails-on-a-chalkboard and toothache inducing “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies, the second biggest hit song was something with a bit more, let’s say, sophistication.
While it’s challenging to imagine the first owner of this Chrysler ever listening to either of these songs over this Newport’s radio, 1969 has always seemed a bit more astrological than sugary. Let the sun shine in on decent, thoughtful music.
That still doesn’t detract from how sweet this Chrysler is and how this newest Newport provided a new dimension to Chrysler’s history.
Speaking of music in 1969, in researching this I stumbled across reference to Melody Maker magazine, the late British publication. For both 1969 and 1970 the magazine named Christine Perfect, of the band Chicken Shack, as the UK’s best female vocalist.
Christine left the chickens at the shack in 1970. She is infinitely better known for her tenure in Fleetwood Mac with the married name of McVie.
Sadly, this lady with the amazing voice passed away in November 2022 at age 79.
McVie’s music, much like this Chrysler, endures. The Newport name was the inadvertent songbird for the Chrysler brand.
Endure is an apt word for this particular Chrysler. It appears to currently be owned by a younger person as evidenced by the child’s safety seat found mounted between the rear doors. As these pictures were taken at about 6 am one July morning, the dew prevented any interior shots.
There is no way to know where this particular Chrysler originated; the dealer tag I remembered was apparently a figment of my imagination. However, this sticker provides some undeniable insight. With the Airtemp being a $406 option on a Chrysler having a base price of $4,252 this Newport likely did not spend its early years in a place having mild summertime weather.
Its presence makes this Chrysler all the more interesting now.
Television is another insightful lens into a particular era. Among the three American network’s primetime television offerings, the best rated show in 1969 was Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In on NBC, a product very much of the late 1960s.
For years, Chrysler Corporation was the third largest automaker in the United States. In a sense, it was like ABC, the American Broadcasting Company, in its seemingly perpetual third-place standing.
While the next two highest rated shows were Gunsmoke and Bonanza, respectively (with neither involving the 20th Century, exhibiting a dissonance similar to the music world), ABC’s best rated show was Marcus Welby, M.D. It was the eighth best rated show on American television.
A review of an episode of Marcus Welby, as found on YouTube, revealed Dr. Welby drove none other than a blue 1969 Chrysler for the 1969 (and through at least 1971) television season.
Further, the Chrysler brand was the 11th best selling in the United States. In another parallel, ABC had the 11th best rated soap opera which was also their most popular daytime program. It hit its peak in 1969, and the show was called Dark Shadows.
It is likely the only American daytime drama to have ever inspired two motion pictures (plus a remake of sorts), a board game, a comic book, and action figures. Perhaps that is simply a reflection of pop-culture in 1969.
While no 1969 Chrysler has merited a board game or comic book, a 1969 Chrysler has been turned into its own action figure. However, this bronze action figure is of the more upscale 300 but still using the same body as a Newport.
Should I suggest it as being a Marcus Welby action figure? No, that’s too much.
In the time period between taking these pictures and beginning to type, a few curiosities struck me. While these curiosities could apply to countless other cars featured here over time, for whatever reason this Newport really strengthened the curiosity.
One was about the dealer itself. Was it a large, medium, or small establishment? Was it in an urban, suburban, or rural area? Was the dealer tenured or new? Was the salesman who made a commission from the sale of this Newport novice or experienced, personable or off-putting?
Was our base model Newport a special order or was someone’s next car simply a unit from dealer stock?
Did the original owner color coordinate his shoes with the upholstery, and his socks with the exterior, as seen here?
But, more seriously than one’s socks, what events transpired between the time this Chrysler was built and found a home? As mentioned in the opening, 1969 was a year chock-full of large scale events.
Was our Newport awaiting sale when Neil Armstrong blasted off for the moon in July or when Teddy Kennedy took an Oldsmobile for a swim in Chappaquiddick three days later? Or had it already found a home?
Where was our featured Newport in August when that rock concert happened in New York? Or, did our Newport play a role with someone in the military, perhaps even 90 minutes from its point of discovery at Ft. Leonard Wood, as seen here the day after that concert ended?
Incidentally, my father broke his hip at that very military installation on Easter Sunday in 1969. And, mentioning Laugh-In earlier, there is an episode in which Jo Anne Worley jokes about Ft. Leonard Wood. Might that episode have been from 1969?
The questions are endless. Yet despite all this, we know three things. First, the wheel covers have undoubtedly been changed. The utilitarian ones as seen retrofitted on our Newport tend to hang around quite well.
Second, the color doesn’t easily match with what was available. Most of the colors weren’t on the dark end, with “Formal Black” being the closest. This Newport isn’t black, it’s more of a gray, which makes one wonder about a color change or a mid-year color addition. Any color change is hardly the end of the world; rather, it may have helped extend our Chrysler’s fine physical condition.
Lastly, our Newport is still on the road. While the base model Newport was the most popular Chrysler, proving the adage people liked Chryslers as long as they were cheap ones, time and entropy have both exerted their undeniable influence. Of the 55,000 Newport sedans built for 1969, they are no longer plentiful on the ground.
Found at an auto repair facility, it appears our Newport is being prepared for more happy usage. Perhaps this Newport has found a lingering member of its intended audience. Let’s hope this remains to be the case.
Found July 2022 in Jefferson City, Missouri
This just reminds me again that there could be an interesting CC feature on the cars of “For All Mankind,” whose first season of course begins in 1969.
You got me curious as I had never heard of the show. The premise is fascinating. A peek over at imcdb.org shows they have a great variety, with timeline of the series helping juice the variety considerably.
It’s a mixed bag as a show: It’s got a great premise, and the way it handles subsequent divergences from real history is quite interesting. It’s obviously the product of people who are really excited about the space program as a thing, and some of the storylines are great. On the other hand, its pacing is sometimes awkward (which the periodic leaps forward in time don’t help), it does not treat its characters of color well at all, and both the second and third seasons have culminated in plot twists I would classify as “preposterous melodrama.”
Anyone who liked the 1983 movie The Right Stuff will likely enjoy the show, and Curbside Classic readers will appreciate the sequence in the first episode with the astronauts zooming around in their different Corvettes.
Being less familiar with the sedan versions of these fuselage Chryslers than I am the wagon versions, I am struck by just how enormous the trunk appears on this. Absolutely huge. Not that that’s a bad thing.
So many of the things you note about 1969 hit on my personal memories of 8 year old me. Perhaps 8 is a very impressionable age for things like cars, planes, space travel, and of course TV. That was the year when my family purchased our first color TV. A 19″ Philco (something that barely got past my mom and into the house given that she was for some reason a die-hard Ford-hater and was therefore suspicious of the Philco). The first show I remember watching on it was Laugh-In.
Eight to ten years of age does indeed appear to be a very impressionable time for youngsters. I can see how that age has influenced my daughter.
I had utterly forgotten about the Ford connection to Philco televisions.
I turned 10 in the summer of 1969 and remember it well, at least from a kid’s perspective. The people I knew who bought new cars in 1969 were my father (a 69 LTD) and my grandma (69 Pontiac Catalina). The neighbors across the street bought a Delta 88. Nobody I knew bought a 69 Chrysler.
Everyone talks about the boomer 1969 with things like Woodstock, Viet Nam and such, but there was also the adult/midwest 1969 where those songs you mentioned played on AM radio top 40 stations, interspersed with Sammy Davis Jr. singing “I’ve Gotta Be Me” and The Lettermen with “Hurt So Bad”. My mother was into the twin pianists Ferrante & Teicher, whose theme from “Midnight Cowboy” was a hit. Richard Nixon was president and most adults around me were convinced that the world was going to hell in a handbasket.
That color is interesting – A little noodling around found a color and trim book (in the 1969 Chrysler data book) at oldcarbrochures.org. There was a color called either Dark Gray or Charcoal (Code A9) there. I don’t really remember seeing any of them at the time, with all of the golds and greens that were so popular.
The 1969 Fuseys always seemed to be their own thing, with significant style/detail changes for 1970-71. Of those early years, I liked the 69 the best. I do remember a teacher in the mid 70s who was driving a copper colored 69 Newport convertible that I thought was cool. Great find!
Thank you for inclusion of your 1969 experiences. Being -3 to -4 that year, I have no experience.
In putting this together I also knew some of the mentioned events had limited to zero appeal to the overall population of the time and even now (in other words, Woodstock) although with any hope the moon landing has more universal appeal for all.
I took a look at the 1969 Chrysler data book. That does look like A9 Charcoal.
Your 1969 is my 1982; at that time the only Chrysler products I saw had “Volare”, “Aspen”, “Omni”, or “K-car” stuck on the trunk lid. I vaguely remember seeing a Dodge St. Regis on the lot new but seeing one on the road was a true rarity.
I was 19 in ’69, and remember it well from an adult’s perspective. In ROTC in the middle of TET, discovering amazing things about being a new adult, best undescribed, and scared shitless about going to ‘Nam. I lucked out later with a barely high enough draft number. Dad got a ’69 Galaxie and I had the old family ’63 Country sedan. I loved the Fuel cars right from the start, but it was a crazy time to be in college and enjoying adulthood, so didn’t pay much attention to cars for a couple of years! But I owned a bunch of Fusey C’s when I woke back up to reality!
…writing from Treasure Beach Jamaica, this may or may not go through!
1969 was my sophomore and junior years in high school. The year I turned 16 which meant the year I got my driver’s license, the year I got my now 55 year old Mercury Cougar, the year I could go places by myself. Because of that I pretty much recall all of what went on in 1969 from movies (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), to TV, to music (Abbey Road), to space (Apollo 11 which I’m around every weekend), the 747, body surfing and Dr. Denton Cooley.
Unfortunately there was always Vietnam in the back of my mind. I recall reading American KIA tallies in the newspaper starting in 1996. My feeling then mixed. Then Tet happened and my feeling was this wasn’t going to end. Now 16 it was wouldn’t be long till I had to register for the draft. My lottery number ended up being 13, clearly the odds weren’t in my favor, so I was going to be OCS in the Navy till Nixon ended the draft. Who knows where I would be today if it didn’t end?
As for Sugar, Sugar I hated it along with Venus by Shocking Blue. Yet AM at the time pretty much played that bubblegum stuff and one rarely heard rock much less heavy metal. Then a friend introduced me to a new album he got to go with the hundred or so he already had and the first track blasted out…
Obviously don’t know how to embed a video now
My best friend’s Mom drove a blue ’69 Newport like below.
The back seat was big enough to hold an entire little league baseball team with room to spare. I would image this one has the 383 V8 two barrel.
What a beast…I love it!!!
Wow! It had that many seat belts in the back?
Remember…it was 1969. The number of people worried about seatbelts was remarkably small.
Having been born in 1974, cars of any era previous to the late seventies seemed so much
more stylish and substantial than the ones I generally encountered on a daily basis, my
fathers 1977 Cutlass coupe for example. At that age, the past had a mythological power
exemplified by beasts such as these.
I graduated high school in 1969 in Hyde park ny. Last vacation I took with my parents on cape cod mass. We watched the moon landing while having lunch at a restaurant on the cape, we were still on the cape when teddy went off the bridge in chappaquidik a few days later. Oddly enough years later I was on the cape when news came of the Concorde crashing… And on another cape vacation jfk jr. crashed his small plane… I was 17 on that summer of 69 and looking forward to driving a 1963 comet convertible my brother had given me upon his entry in the marines… I was admiring the new camaros, boss and mach 1 mustangs, Gtx’s and and challengers and chargers… Yes the music was an odd mix but mostly optimistic… I actually, this last September, bought a comet just like my first car. Now retired for five years.. Looking forward to spring and car show season here in the northeast.. it’s good to see young people with an interest in the old cars… When I was in my 20s I was driving an mgb roadster and a 1938 Buick special sedan.. Now I have 3 90s BMWs along with that 63 s22 comet… Still eclectic but now I’m the old guy with the old cars… 69 was a good year… Pic of me summer of 69 leaning on my dad’s 66 skylark and my aunt and uncles new 250 6 cylinder camaro…
It’s just amazing to me how fast time passes by. I was only 4 in 1969 and now will be 58 next month. But I do have memories of the moon landing that July (just hearing it on TV as my Mother had it on). Times still seemed simpler then than now.
Any my “new again” 63 s22 comet… From the summer of 69 to the upcoming summer of 2023.. Now I’m 71 and still playing with cars…
With the dog dishes and blackwalls, this lightly optioned sedan looks almost like a cop car. I think the last true cop car Chrysler made though was the 1962 Enforcer, made available when the downsized Plymouth’s and Dodges no longer met CHP specs. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these in the wild without full wheel covers.
Always liked the fuselage cars. From a time when Chrysler actually led styling trends instead of following them. Had a friend whose parents had a 1970 New Yorker sedan. Huge interior and comfortable. Effortless cruising with the 440.
There were still Chrysler branded police cars available for a long time after 1962…in 1981, both the Newport and LeBaron could be built for police duty. I owned such an ’81 LeBaron for a few years.
A lens into the past is most interesting when you’re able to look at everyday objects that otherwise get lost to time. And there’s few better 1969 vehicles for doing so than this Chrysler.
Speaking of that general era, my sister recently found some home movies that my parents made in the late 1960s. Most (predictably) involve just family, but this screenshot from mid 1968 taken from the front door of their house is great on many levels. I could definitely see a fuselage Chrysler driving down this street a few months later.
And what a difference six years can make. A ’69 Chrysler would have really made that ’63 Ford look archaic in comparison.
Enjoy those home movies. They are the true lens into time!
Incidentally, that Galaxie didn’t belong to my family, despite it being parked in front of our house.
But my earliest childhood memory involves when my mom’s late-60’s Galaxie or LTD (can’t remember which) was parked right there and was hit by a drunk driver who was swerving down the street hitting parked cars. Hers was the last to be hit. Being Philadelphia, the driver was dragged out of his car and beaten up.
Sorry, but I grew up with a few of these cars, and none of them were any good. I actually started driving in them. They were nothing to recommend.
Thanks for your highly insightful comment… oh well, we like them anyway.
I didn’t want to repeat myself from the other times the fusilage Chryslers were posted.
Thaks for a nice essay bringing us back to 1969. Well done!
One of my first memories involving TV was watching Walter Cronkite reporting on something pertaining to VietNam. I would have been maybe 4-5 years old circa 1970. Very few MoPars in my neighborhood, aside from a fuselage Dodge, I think it was a Polara. I seem to recall that it had a weird looking radio with both dials on one side and rheostats not knobs. My mother’s 69 Olds 88 was long enough tht the rear bumper dragged the ground is she wasn’t careful backing out of the driveway, but the trunk was so shallow that my dad put a roof rack on top for longer trips. This “getting old” thing is kind of a drag, but it does beat the alternative.
63 Pontiac tempest off to the right. Probably 4 cylinder half of a 389 for power… Lady in my neighborhood had a little white convertible.. Her husband was President of the local savings bank.. Remember her son and his family coming to visit in a 55 nomad all stock. Just a fancy family hauler…
Almost the last model year when a Chrysler was a viable (if not superior) alternative to a Mercury or Oldsmobile.
And of those 3 you mentioned look who is still here. And my dad, like Ralph Parker on “A Christmas Story”, was an Oldsmobile man.
I started high school in 1969 and remember the historic and cultural events very well, even these fuselage cars which just seemed bigger than anything with their smooth style. Other than school, significant events for me were our first-ever TV (definitely not color) and the Schwinn Varsity 10 speed bike I bought with my own paper route and lawn mowing money.
1969 was of course a very memorable year for me (or at last my family) being as like the Chrysler, it is the year I too rolled off the assembly line.
Charcoal gray (metallic?) makes Chrysler strangely prescient, far ahead of their time, one might say.
The first ad is interesting in that the words can be moved around and it still works…
Your next car:
The great new Chrysler.
Your new car:
The next great Chrysler.
Your great car:
The next new Chrysler.
Yeah, it’s early…
At least looks and styling wise, I liked the Chrysler Fuselage cars from 1969-1971 the best and to a bit lesser degree, the ’72s. But in terms of quality, I’ve read that the slab sided models from 1965-1968 were superior. And I also liked the styling of these models.
Graduated High school in 69. I remember all those and more touchstones o the era. Still had my first car, the 64 Cutlass. Parents traded my Mms 67 Grand Prix on the really new 69 Grand Prix. Dad stayed with his 68 Bonneville until 72. Autumn o 69 was the big change in my life, going form St. Louis suburban teen to University student with roommate in our first apartment in the west end of that city. I remember these 1st of he Fuselage Chryslers. Nice looking. but not for me, an 18yr old long haired Uni student. Owing to the area, might the dealer you mentioned have been in Lawrence Ks? AC is needed for the humid summers known all to well in Missouri and Kansas.
The newspaper ad looks like it’s from Chicago, the address lines up with Lawrence Av.
Newports were fairly popular with middle aged and up buyers of the era, and with Dodge, hurt Plymouth in long run. “Why get a “bargain brand? Get a mid-lux for less” most likely used to upsell at C-P stores.
And while some wonder why Chrysler did offer low price model, consider Buick LeSabre, Olds low level [Delmont] 88’s and Mercury Monterey were same level competition.
Yes, that ad is indeed from Chicago. Notice that “Free Turkey Dinner!” as a bonus with a car purchase… offered by the now – defunct Chicago Treasure Island supermarket chain. It was *the* upscale grocer here for decades – their ads touted Julia Child as calling it “America’s Most European Supermarket”; fresh bread from the famed Boulangerie Poilâne in Paris was jetted in daily. The original store opened in 1963 on N. Broadway in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Alas, time, poor management, and competition caught up with them, and they closed in 2018; that store was razed and now a high – end apartment building is there. CC contributor Joseph Dennis may remember them:
Treasure Island Closing All Locations After 55 Years, And Sad Customers Bid Farewell
“CHICAGO — Treasure Island, the beloved local grocery chain that first opened in 1963, told its employees it will be closing its locations in two weeks.
Treasure Island has seven locations — six in Chicago and one in Wilmette. All are reportedly scheduled to close by Oct. 12…”
Yes, exactly. We were a Western IL rural family; as my parents earned better money we moved from a stark ’59 Ford Custom, then a snazzy ’65 Fury III coupe, a ’67 Fury III sedan (our first car with A/C, I remember that Airtemp sticker on the rear left passenger window) which was purchased for our “road trip” to Expo ’67 in Canada, and then the “step up” to a yellow ’71 Newport sedan. Our local C/P dealer was Thede’s in Aledo IL. My Depression Era folks (married in ’34) felt that they had “arrived”. After that it was Delta 88’s, Caprices, etc. The car was lightly – optioned, with A/C, PS, and the basic radio, but it was fine and smooth Interstate cruiser… in it’s five years it went from Cape Cod to Seattle, Atlanta to San Francisco, etc. on our many “road trips”…
What a great piece. We read about these old cars and isolate them as good, bad, or indifferent, but it’s hard to really understand them unless the context of the times is included.
While there are many years for which Charles Dickens’ famous Tale of Two Cities quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” can be applied, 1969 would almost surely be one of them. In addition to all of the events mentioned in the article, it should be noted that it was 1969 when the horrific Tate-LaBianca Mansen family murders occurred, as well.
The transition year to the fuselage Chryslers would seem to fit right in with that whole scenario. Great, memorably styled cars with abysmal quality (which would only get worse in the seventies).
Just loved this. (Is that your Dodge peeking out in the lead shot?)
Musical selections on point (my Christine Perfect jam is “And That’s Saying A Lot”), cultural references (love Jo Anne Worley, who is 85!), and, of course, a first-year Fusey. Love the “executive” (great choice of descriptor) style on these, though for me, the rear falls a bit flat compared with the great rest of this car’s overall look.
I love watching old episodes of “Absolutely Fabulous” where Eddie and Pats take the Concorde to the U.S. and back in one day. No more.
1969: Age 16.
Took LSD for the first time. Music: everything from early Pink Floyd to Bitches Brew (Miles Davis). Got kicked out of Loyola High because I refused to do any homework and my grades were too low. Went to Europe for 6 weeks in the summer. Watched the moon landing on a tv in a store window in Innsbruck. Hit 100 mph for the first time in an older friend’s 1962 Cutlass coupe somewhere on the Eastern shore of Maryland on the way to Ocean City (I did not have a license). Came within a whisker of going to Woodstock with my older brother and a friend in the friend’s clapped out Porsche 356. Parents put their foot down as news reports came out (we told them we were going to the sports car races at Warkins Glen). Transferred to Towson High where I finally found peers who were into the same things I was (arts, politics, drugs, sex, etc.). Got a weekend job at a gas station; I would come back in the evenings and take out the ’65 Chevy Suburban that was kept there as a parts/customer runner. I eventually got caught and fired. Used my earnings ($35 cash per weekend) to buy my first stereo: Dual turntable, Nikko amplifier, AR speakers and Koss headphones. Came extremely close to buying a ratty ’57 Chevy 2-door V8 (despite having no license). Smoked lots of pot and took lots of LSD. Got very good at driving on LSD. Hooked school incessantly, took the bus to downtown Baltimore, to Reed Street, our little local “Haight-Ashbury”. Brought home a kitten in the pocket of my Army surplus jacket one time. Avid reader of R. Crumb comics.
That’s probably enough for this morning…
As an owner of a 69 Town and Country with a factory 383 HP, dual pipes, limited slip, no options at all. I was compelled to read this article and all the replies. I think we could be brothers.
So hilarious Paul, love it! Like you, I was raised Catholic, but I actually believed the morality nonsense that was dished out. So, none of that illicit stuff for me — all mortal sins. And I spent way too much time on homework in high school. It’s clear in hindsight that many (most?) of my teachers probably never glanced at my work.
Woodstock would have been totally out of question, even if I wanted to go (I didn’t). Also, it would have been almost impossible to sneak our one car out of the garage, even in the dead of night, without getting caught. (Mom was a light sleeper, and her bedroom window faced the freestanding garage.)
I did listen to AM Top 40 radio, and managed a trip to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that summer with the high school Spanish Club (7 students, plus teacher and her husband). It was my first time flying (in a DC-8, like you on your first transatlantic journey).
Newport owners might not listen to the Archies or the Fifth Dimension but they surely listen to Anne Murray or “These Eyes” by the Guess Who. 😉
I always thought it fascinating that the last cars owned by both Harry Truman and John Lennon were fuselage Chryslers (and not Imperials, either).
or maybe “Undun”, same artist…
Great band, and I think I see a young Randy Bachman, who would go on and create the mighty Bachman Turner-Overdrive in the 70s
Great car, and nice contextual account.
Worth getting up early for!
Lots a fun memories here, lots “no so fun” ones rolling in my head as well.lol Any “interior pics”?
Car oud look nice in “burgundy”. (and of course , full wheel covers)
Owned 70 Dodge polara (very similar to Newport) the airtemp a system was the coldest on the planet v-twin compress did a helluva job. Mine only had a 318. Inherited from uncle Pete. Miss the car. Tin worm took over the rear quarters
Great storytelling and reflections Jason, and a remarkable find. I can understand why the song,’Summer of ’69’ was so big for Bryan Adams. Though before my time, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music, always gave me the vibe of what it was like being there.
Interestingly, a decade later, Armstrong was doing commercials for Chrysler. Featuring the then new New Yorker and St Regis. Gran Fury didn’t return until 1980.
I found those wide whitewalls Chrysler offered on the R-Body New Yorker, succeeded in giving the Chryslers a strong neo-classic appearance. As powerful in some ways, as the bustleback on Sevilles.
Classic John Fogerty. ’69, was a huge year for CCR.
And sadly, CCR never hit #1 at the Billboard Hot 100 but “Lookin’ out My Back Door” did hit #1 on Billboard rival, Cashbox.
My grandma drove a ’69 Newport when I was no more than five. In retrospect, I didn’t understand how strange it was that a 13-year-old Michigan car was still on the road, and I don’t remember its being rusted into oblivion (those were things I noticed at the time). Back then, a 1969 anything was OLD, but for some reason, it just didn’t register with me.
Today, I’d love to take it for a spin. From what I remember (and my memory could be shaded by my imagination), it was an army green two-door hardtop with a black vinyl top. I included a picture of a car that looks similar (except that it’s a four door).
Wow ~ so many memories brought back by this car and the comments .
I didn’t like the fuselage MoPars when new but I do now .
So much presence .
Quality control at that time was all over the map but if you got a good one it was _great_ .
Yes, they played The Archies and other long forgotten bands on the AM radio back then, I rather miss much of the music .
Really enjoyed the 1969 ” flashback ” !! I was a 10 year old with no apriciation for anything old back then, so anything with fuselage styling or hidden headlamps was cool! The subject car reminded me of my boss’s stripped 1973 Lesabre sedan; hubcaps, blackwalls. He could well afford more ; but was as straight( as defined in the 70s) and boring as they came.
Thanks Jason for this 1969 retrospective!
I turned 17 that year and therefore remember it well: Nixon’s first year, the moon landing, Ted Kennedy driving off that bridge, Woodstock, and the rapidly changing music scene.
I was not a fan of Chrysler at the time; GM was king in my mind.
I turned 4 in 1969, so I don’t remember these being introduced. But a neighbor had a ’69 VIP and another had a ’70 Newport Custom so I was welll exposed.
But I retain one of my oldest memories: sitting on my grandfather’s lap in our living room watching the Apollo 11 liftoff. My grandfather was born in 1894, and remembered hearing about the Wright Brothers. It was quite a moment for him, and all of us.
One other important thing happened in 1969, at least to this Pittsburgher. The Steelers hired Chuck Noll, the first of only three coaches they’ve had since, each a Super Bowl winner, and Chuck with four.
Fellow Pittsburgher here. Yes I remember Chuck Noll starting that year. The Steelers were laughingstocks before then; he really turned the team around!
I was 7 in 1969, in Australia our Valiants were still the square kind, and to be honest, I never liked em, but I was starting to take notice, I loved the sound of the V8 cars starting up, due to the unique sounding starters.
Our cars were starting to become cool at last, with Monaros and the Falcon GT, we had to wait until 1971 to get Fuselage Valiants.
I remember going home from school to watch the moon landing. Saw the Concorde on TV, it really felt like the start of the modern age to me.
The car in the advert, (2nd Pic down) looks like the perfect Fuselage.
Great article, but I couldn’t finish it due to eye strain. My eyeglass prescription, with progressive lenses, is up to date, but the combination of grey on white with impossibly small print makes it too difficult to read.
Please consider a redesign. Thanks..
Looks to me as the standard size print I see in all articles including the ones I have done. Don’t recall picking out a font or size. If your Rx is up to date then I’d question what your acuity is first off. If it isn’t 20/25 to 20/20 then that could be an issue. Also progressives aren’t the best tool to see a computer screen. I wear near variable focus lenses which for lack of a better term would be computer glasses. My lenses are Hoya Tact 60, have several sets myself for use everywhere, and have prescribed them dozens upon dozens of times. More versatile than my progressives which I now rarely use unless I go to a movie or ballgame.
Are you talking about CC as viewed on your phone? It’s hard for me to read also; I generally wait until I’m home with my laptop.
Try the Firefox browser for your phone. It is very good for adjusting the text size, and it also maintains whatever you’re reading in an appropriate column size so you’re only scrolling up/down and no side to side as well.
Thanks much for the suggestion!
Ideally the font size would be larger. We’ve been looking into it; surprisingly it’s not as easy to do retroactively for all our posts as you might think.
On my laptop (Windows format) hitting “Control” and “+” embiggens everything on the page including the text. There seems to be plenty of space on the left and right of the page layout to go quite a bit larger without losing anything.
It only affects the current tab (so a different open tab with a different website stays how it was).
On an iPhone I often just rotate it 90 degrees so I am reading the site in landscape format which then enlarges everything as well.
I just tried the Control + on my laptop. Works slick! Thank you
Wow so many memories, thank you.
We lived in White Bear Lake Minnesota at that time, I was also 10. I remember my dad taking me to the airport in the Twin Cities to see the 747 for the 1st time. I remember hearing at its debut that the wing span was greater than the Wright Brothers’ 1st flight.
I also remember seeing the moon landing as we were visiting relatives in Wisconsin. On a black and white TV.
The 1st fuselage Mopar I ever saw was a highly optioned Chrysler T&C in the show room of the CP dealer in White Bear Lake. I thought it looked really cool! Green and Di-Noc wood and all!
My dad would take me to Polar Chevrolet to see the new cars. The salesman freely let me sit in all the cars in the showroom including a Le Mans Blue 4 speed Corvette roadster. Wow! The salesman freely gave me brochures and posters of their variety of cars.
I remember us going by White Bear Dodge, then the largest Dodge dealer anywhere. They had no less than 6 Dodge Charger Daytonas parallel parked in the front! My dad always commented that they looked hideous. It was also at this dealer I saw the Batmobile from the TV series Batman in the showroom. Also saw the Dodge A-100 based “Little Red Wagon” there as well.
That Summer I went with a friend and his dad in their yellow ’67 Country Squire to the local drive-in to see the movie Bullitt. I had a hard time understanding the film until I saw Bill Hickman buckle his seat belt. That got my attention real quick!
Do you still have the brochures and posters?
I wish. They were pitched many years ago. The posters were taped to a wall and yellowed over time. The brochures got lost over many years and a number of moves to new locations.
Lots of great references here and a truly unusual car to find on the road.
I will have to check out For All Mankind. Lately, I haven’t been watching much new TV. More old shows, like 24, where in the second season I was watching recently Jack Bauer inexplicably shows up to an undercover op driving a 1970 Chrysler Newport sedan very similar to your subject car. CC Effect!
In 1969 I was 13, and would start high school the next year. Besides everything that has been mentioned, the Civil Rights movement was still going on. I was well aware of this because I grew up in the home of the Black Panther Party, Oakland Ca.
At this age, it was all about the anticipation of an unknown future. The past was comfortable, childhood, home, and all of my years in Catholic School. I knew that I would have to enter the adult world after high school, and the draft for the Vietnam War was still something to be worried about. I had older cousins that were drafted into the military.
The best thing that happened was when I got my drivers license at the beginning of my Sophomore year.
I started reading this as I am a fan of Jason Shafer’s writings. I was shocked when I saw the picture of the trainees at Ft. Leonard Wood. I was one of the last people drafted from Peoria county prior to the introduction of the lottery system, and I arrived at Ft. Leonard Wood in February of 1969. I did not recognize any of the guys in the photo, but I could certainly be one of them. Left FLW and traveled to Ft. Gordon, Georgia for MP training, back across the U.S. to Ft. Lewis, Wa for three months, before finally being sent to Kaiserslautern Germany for the remainder of my one year, 11 month forced enlistment. Swore I would never forget how much I hated having that slice of my life stolen from me.
Now at almost 74 years of age, I’ve only slightly mellowed, but still wear my hear shoulder length as an outward sign of my disgust with our country’s military/industrial complex. Lets spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars shooting down a weather balloon?