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.

See the additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

The 1949 Dodge Wayfarer

1963 Ford Ranchero / The Compact Pickup

Decoded Classic Car Serial Numbers

References include the 1963 Dodge Custom 880 Owners ManualDodge Archives1962 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)