There are some relatively obscure cars from the 1950s and early 1960s that just don’t get their due from die-cast car makers, even though these vehicles are stellar examples of that era’s radical styles.
Now NEO has created a 1961 Chrysler Newport wagon that highlights some of that edgy styling with modified tailfins and an artistic use of chrome side trim. This is another of NEO’s sharp looking 1/43-scale resin models of this exciting era in U.S. car design.
Cars were big in the early 1960s as families were growing (remember the Baby Boom?) and station wagons were needed to haul all those kids around, like minivans today. But not all parents wanted to tool around in a boring box. So Virgil Exner and his Chrysler design team came to the rescue!
The Newport was a stylish full-size wagon. Full-size means big, with a 122-inch wheelbase that would slot in between today’s Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. Like many wagons of the time, it featured hardtop styling without a B pillar, giving it a more streamlined, sleek appearance.
The car weighed just more than 2 tons and packed a 265-horse, 360 cu.in. V8 that would push the rear-drive car up to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds. Not bad!
Pricing was mid-market at $2,964.
As cool as the canted tailfins were on the 1961 model, the fin style was about to be finis. For 1962 the Newport lost its fins, and much of its visual appeal. Sales fell. The age of flat rectangular styling had arrived.
NEO’s Newport wagon is a creamy tan with a medium brown roof and chrome in all the right places.
Most impressive is the fine chrome trim line that starts above the running lights up front and curls up near the front door handle to ultimately run the length of the tail fin that slightly angles out from the car’s side starting on the front door.
But NEO also delivers fine chrome trim around the windows, and there are plenty in a station wagon, four per side including the vent. Likewise there’s a chrome band across the tail between the lower lights and above the chrome bumper. Chrome also is used on the driver’s side mirror, gas cap and wiper arms.
The slanted front headlights that recline at about a 45-degree angle are milky in appearance and feature chrome surrounds, while the big grille also is a nice bit of photo-etched metal with Chrysler emblazoned across the top frame in white.
Everything here is well shaped when compared with photos of the 1:1 car. Every bit of trim seems properly located.
There also are Chrysler decals on the front quarter panels in front of the wheels and another on the tailgate. That rear decal was a tiny bit crooked, but not dramatically so.
The V-shaped taillights are realistic and I like the two rubber pads designed into the tailgate where it would rest on the bumper when lowered in the original car. That’s a detail many makers would have skipped to save a few bucks.
Plainly viewed though is the car’s two-spoked steering wheel and chrome cranks on the doors for rolling up side windows. The car also features wide white-sidewall tires and full chrome wheel covers.
The Model: 1961 Chrysler Newport Wagon