The 1963 Dodge Custom 880 V-8 / Photos, Specs

The 1963 Dodge 880 featured in this article is a full size passenger car. It was also Dodge's top of the line automobile for that model year. Though it's a fact that compacts were popular in the early 1960s, the public still wanted full-size cars and the Dodge 880 filled that need.

dodge custom 880

1963 Dodge Custom 880

The Dodge Custom 880

The Unit-Body Dodge Custom 880 first appeared as a 1962 model and lasted through the 1965 model year.

The model was needed for a few reasons. DeSoto was discontinued after 1961 and that left a void. The last DeSoto car came off Detroit's Jefferson Avenue assembly plant on November 29, 1960.  In addition to that Dodge simply needed a mid priced full size car.

During the calendar year 1962 Dodge found itself short of full size cars. The thought at Chrysler was that competitors were downsizing for 1962 a bit more than they really were. The Dodge 880 for 1962, because of design time constraints, ended up being based on the Chrysler Newport. The story here is that the Dodge Custom 880 was actually designed in only three months. Existing parts had to be used from Chrysler's other models. To help differentiate between the two models...Chrysler Newport and Dodge Custom 880, designers put a Dodge Polara front end onto rear Newport quarter panels.

To have the front end look a bit different, stylists used what was called a "Fratzog" emblem in place of the star bar. The term Fratzog was the idea of a Dodge designer and the emblem was used from 1962 to 1975. The term itself means absolutely nothing but did eventually become known as the "Dodge Delta".

1963 dodge 880

Round tail light in a chrome base

Dodge advertising for it's Custom 880 cars stressed luxury and elegance. Ad phrases used included... "If elegance were spelled in numbers, this would be it". " Everywhere you look, inside and out, you'll be impressed with this superb 880's custom touches".

While the Dodge Custom 880 didn't actually come out until January 1962, there were several styles to choose from during this shortened production run. These included a four-door sedan, two- or four-door hardtop, a two-door convertible, and a choice of six- or nine-passenger station wagons. Total 1962 Dodge Custom 880 production was only 17,500 units but considering the shortened production time the model was a success.

Changes for 1963

The 1963 model year marked the second year of a four-year run for the full-size Dodge Custom 880 Series. The 63 model was introduced on November 14, 1962.

Most would say that the 63 Dodge 880 was a better looking car than it's 62 predecessor. All of the model styles from 1962 returned in 1963. In addition, there was a new base model simply named the Dodge 880. This 880 model included only a four door sedan and two different wagons.

Design changes included straighter fenders, a depressed center section of the hood and new Chrysler front bumpers. Also there was a full length grille with convex vertical bars.  The name DODGE spelled out across the hood front in block letters. This block lettering was also on the trunk lid. The Dodge name as also spelled out in script along the front fenders behind the headlights. Tail lights were different for 1963.  The round lights were in large chrome housing.In fact, Dodge had used their round tail lights ever since 1955.

Dodge 880 and Custom 880 production for the 63 model year totaled 28,200 vehicles.

1963 Dodge 880 Specifications

Standard engine for the 63 Dodge 880 was a 361 cubic inch big block V-8. For 1963 there was also an option available for a 383 cubic inch large block V-8. This 383 used premium fuel. The 361's had a two barrel carburetor and were rated at 265 HP.

1962 dodge 880

New full width grille

Standard was a three speed manual gearbox. An option was a three speed TorqueFlite automatic. The Dodge-Plymouth TorqueFlite transmission proved to be quite popular. Having debuted in 1956 on the Imperial brand, it was well known for it's smoothness and was sold to some foreign luxury automakers as well as to competitor AMC. The first generation of TorqueFlites were considered by some to be the best automatics in the world.

Brakes were four wheel drums.

Front suspension was upper and lower A-arms and longitudinal torsion bars. Rear suspension included semi-elliptic leaf springs.

The car was built with a 122.0 inch wheelbase. Same wheelbase as the Chrysler Newport. Weight averaged about 3,900 lbs.

New car price was about $2,350.

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Decoded Classic Car Serial Numbers

References include the 1963 Dodge Custom 880 Owners Manual...Dodge Archives...1962 Dodge 88 Operating Instructions.

dodge 880 specs

63 Dodge Custom 880 dashboard

The Dodge Custom 880 and Dodge 880 Car Collector Values

The 1963 Dodge Custom 880 and the Dodge 880 do not rank near the top of collector interest. By the same token prices for existing models do make these automobiles affordable for new collectors.

Asking prices for the Coupe and Sedan might be found in the $10,000-$15,000 range. Convertibles might be the highest priced at $20,000 and above.

( Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)



A Fine Looking 1966 Ford T-Bird Convertible / Photos, Specs

Ford Thunderbirds have long been know as America's Luxury Cars. The 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible featured in this article was part of the fourth generation models that began with the 1964 car.

1966 ford thunderbird

1966 Ford Thunderbird

This new generation of Thunderbirds of course had new styling. The cars had squarer lines and sold well. Convertibles during this generation made up a lower proportion of total production.

The 1964 models also had plenty of other new items. 1964 was the first year for transistorized ignition, “Highway Pilot” speed control and the Silent-Flow through ventilation system. The ventilation system was for hardtops and landaus only. The Safety Convenience Control Panel was also new to the fourth generation Thunderbirds. This included a low fuel warning light, door ajar light, four-way emergency flashers and a second toggle switch to activate a vacuum operated door-lock system. Fourth generation Thunderbirds had these safety and convenience items as standard equipment.

Thunderbird Models for 1966

There were four styles offered in 1966. Thunderbird choices included a Conventional Hardtop, Town Hardtop, Town Landau and Convertible.

The Landau's were offered as a dealer installed option beginning in 1964. There was no Roadster offered that year. The Landau did give the buyer that 1950's two seat sports car feel.

fourth generation thunderbirdsThe full rear tail lights on the 66 model debuted in 1964. Power steering and brakes were standard for the 66 model.

1966 Ford Thunderbird production totals came in at 69,170 units.

1966 Ford Thunderbird Specifications

There were three engines available for the 1966 Ford Thunderbird. These engines included a Thunderbird 390 Special V-8 with a four barrel carburetor.  This engine was rated at 315 HP.

Another was a standard 390 cubic inch V-8 that was rated at 265 HP. The third engine option was a Thunderbird 428 cubic inch V-8 that delivered 345 HP.

Transmissions used in the 66 Thunderbird was a three speed automatic. During the 1966 model run there were two different transmissions used. The first was a Cruise-O-Matic that was used only on the 390 engines and was discontinued in November 65. The other transmission was called the C6 Dual Range Automatic and was used with the 428's and used exclusively put in the Thunderbirds beginning in November 65.

The 1966 Ford Thunderbird had front disc brakes as standard.

Suspension included Helical Coil Springs with hydraulic shock absorbers. Rear suspension was comprised of Longitudinal Semi elliptic Leaf Springs.

Dimensions included a 113.0 inch wheelbase and an overall length of 205.4 inches. Width was 77.3 inches and height varied by exact model. Height ranged from 52.5 to 52.7 inches.

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The New Sporty 1955 Ford Thunderbird

The 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop

66 ford thunderbirdFord Thunderbird Collector Cars and Values

The Ford Thunderbird was one of the longest running models in Ford history. The automobile was originally designed to compete against Chevy's new Corvette. Both cars would also compete against the foreign sport car imports of the 50's. The Thunderbird however differed from the Corvette in several respects. The car was first marketed as a personal luxury vehicle possessing more creature comforts than the Corvette.

The Ford Thunderbird went from an original two-seater to a four seater and at one time had a design that made it appear as a mid size car. Highest collector values today of course go back to the first generation beginning in 1955.

When you see a 55 T-Bird on the road today it most likely will be immaculately restored and at an auto show or meet. These pristine first generation Thunderbirds as of today have average values of $40,000 to $70,000 depending on degree of restoration. These figures are from recent price guides.

The second and third generation (58-63) values drop to an average range of $25,000 to $35,000. Fourth generation T-Birds of which the 1966 model shown in this article is a part of appear to have top tier valuations in a range of $15,000 to $35,000 with the Convertible model usually with the higher price. After that year the redesigned Thunderbird values drop precipitously until the model was discontinued in 1997.

66 ford thunderbird dash

66 T-Bird dash

Ford brought back the Thunderbird beginning in 2002 for a a four year run. Those models were all two-seaters with Convertible and Removable Hardtops and sold new in the range of $38,000 to $42,000. Today's average top values are in the range of $18,000 to $24,000.

Reference material included Ford Motor Company Archives...The Book of the Ford Thunderbird from 1954 by Brian Long...1966 Ford Thunderbird Handbook.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)


1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S / Photos and Specs

Here is a great example of Plymouth's contribution to the 1960's muscle car wars...the 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S. This car has good looking lines and a powerful engine.

plymouth barracuda formula s

1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S

The Plymouth Barracuda Pony Car

An historical fact is that the Plymouth Barracuda was the first Pony Car coming on the market about two weeks before the Ford Mustang. The first Barracuda (1964) was actually an option package for the Plymouth Valiant model. By the time 1967 came around the Plymouth Barracuda had no resemblance to the Valiant model from which it came although there were mechanical similarities. The connection with the Plymouth Valiant would entirely end with the 1970 Barracuda model.

The base engine for the 64 Barracuda was a 225  slant six. There was also a 273 cubic inch V-8 available delivering 180 HP. These engines would continue to be employed with the 1965 and 1966 Barracudas.

The 1968 Plymouth Barracuda was among the second generation models. Many would say that the second generation Barracuda was what should have been designed for first generation models.The second generation Plymouth Barracuda was available in fastback, notchback and convertible styles.

The Plymouth Barracuda was designed by John Samsen who also did design work for the first Ford Thunderbirds. It was also Samsen who chose the word "Barracuda" for this new Plymouth line. The Barracuda name prevailed over management's suggestion of "Panda". Barracuda was probably a good choice for what would become a true muscle car.

Plymouth Barracudas were produced from the 1964 model year through 1974.

1968 plymouth barracuda sThe Barracuda Formula S

The Barracuda Formula S was available since 1965. The Formula S package for 1968 included engines of either a Commando 340 or the 383 cubic inch design. In addition to this the Formula S came with.heavy-duty suspension and wheels, heavy duty shock absorbers and E70-14 Red Streak tires. front fender badges and special hood inserts.  The Barracuda Formula S was known for superior cornering and general handling.

Your 68 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S would have cost you new about $2,700 for the hardtop, about $2,900 for the fastback version and about $3,050 for the convertible.

1968 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Total 1968 Plymouth Barracuda production was 46,018 units. Out of that number there were a total of 28,775 V-8 models. Total Formula S 340's were 3,917 units and total Formula S 383's were 1,270 units. These production numbers are estimates only. There are some variations depending on source.

1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Specifications

As mentioned above, the 68 Formula S as built with either a Commando 340 or the 383 cubic inch engine. The 340 was rated at 275 HP and the 383 cubic inch at 300 HP. The car's speedometer had a top speed indicator of 150 MPH. The 1968 model year also saw a 426 Hemi package put into only about 50 Barracudas.

1968 plymouth barracuda dashboardThe transmissions available on this 68 Plymouth included an A-833 four-speed or a 727 TorqueFlite automatic.

Brakes on this model were either four wheel drums or an option of front discs and rear drums.

Suspension on the 68 Barracuda included a front independent wishbone and a live axle rear with leaf springs.

Dimensions for the 68 Barracuda Formula S included a wheelbase of 108.0 inches, an overall length of 192.8 inches, a width of 71.6 inches and a height of 52.8 inches. Weight was 3,340 lbs. The second generation wheelbase was increased by 2 inches.

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Reference material and excellent books regarding the Plymouth Barracuda include...Barracuda Model Portfolio 1964-1974 by author R.M. Clarke. Also Challenger and Cuda, Mopar's E-Body Muscle Cars by Robert Genat and Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda by author David Newhardt.

1960's Plymouth Barracuda Collector Cars

The Plymouth Barracudas from the 1960's ate true muscle cars. As mentioned above, the Barracuda was the first Pony Car, coming on the market a few weeks prior to the Ford Mustang.

plymouth barracuda hemiWhen it comes to Plymouth Barracuda collector popularity, everything pretty much starts with the second generation, 67-69 models, where the design departure from the Valiant occurred.

As of this writing you'll likely see asking prices for 1968 Plymouth Barracudas in the range of $15,000 to $29,000 depending of course on overall condition and mileage. Restored Barracudas will be on the high side and priced to the quality and degree of restoration.

You'll also see the limited edition 426 Hemi priced perhaps in the high $100,000 area. There were only about fifty of these Hemi models built for 1968 and of course they are rare.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)