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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

1962 Chrysler

The 1962 Chrysler Saratoga two-door hardtop sold for $5,288 FOB Windsor, Ontario. It weighed in at 1 687 kilos (3,720 pounds).
Styling plans for the 1962 lineup Chrysler Division lineup got under way in 1958. Anything from mild to wild was considered by industry legend Virgil Exner, design chief for the entire corporation. While a full restyle was ordered, at the very last minute, the new look was defined by shearing the fins from last year’s models. The result was crisp and clean hindquarters, one of the most beautiful automotive design packages ever created.

Corporate records show that the high-powered 300 series was not offered to Canadians during the 1962 selling season. 

From St. John’s to Victoria, the public got a gander at the newest offerings at their Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge dealers in the fall of 1961. On the showroom floors were the compact Valiant, the grand flagship Imperial along with the petite, ‘imported from Paris’, Simca.

 With a list price of $3,774 FOB Windsor Ontario, the 1962 Chrysler Windsor two-door hardtop rode a 3 098 millimetre (122-inch) wheelbase and tipped the scales at 1 680 kilos (3,705 pounds). 

First and foremost, all Chryslers were full-sized. Great care was taken to emphasize that potential owners understood there were no compacts to tarnish the storied Chrysler name. 

While Chrysler Canada made compact cars, Valiant was a stand-alone brand that replaced De Soto.
“When you buy a new Chrysler, whether it is a Windsor, Saratoga or a New Yorker, you can rest assured that nowhere on the road is there a smaller cutdown, Jr. Edition that is compromising your investment. Every Chrysler represents the full size value, full size comfort and full size performance. No other car in Chrysler’s class can offer you this. For 1962, Chrysler stands along its class.” 

The Chrysler New Yorker four-door hardtop convertible carried a $5,288 price tag for 1962. The price would be hiked 10 percent as Ottawa added a hefty duty on imported vehicles. 
The entire New Yorker lineup was imported from Chrysler’s Jefferson Plant in Detroit. The price of the four-door sedan was $5,414. The three other models were hardtop convertibles: a two-door and four-door as well as a six-passenger or eight-passenger wagon.

This year’s crop of Chryslers borrowed the 1961 Dodge Polara body shells.

 The fresh, side profile was clean, punctuated only by a pronounced brow over the front wheel well and an understated one at the rear.  Unibody construction gave greater strength, reduced road vibrations. 

 Management wisely kept last year’s attractive face, one approved by the public. The canted dual headlights, in their chrome bezels capped  the front fenders. These were flanked with a canted pair of  vee-shaped, free-flow turn signals that wrapped around into the front fender. In keeping with the theme, the massive bumper was also canted. It flowed around to the side, stopping only at the leading edge of the wheel well.  Front and centre, an isoscelese trapezoid grille, replete with gently rounded corner angles, gave Chrysler a sporty European flair. In the lower right, the Chrysler crest was affixed.   A pair of graceful waterfall tail lamps replaced the fins, and came to rest in a gracious fluid curve that, in turn, crowned the bumper. 

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Interiors befitted the marque.  Swaddled in 43 kilos (95 pounds) of  sounds-deadening material, advertising bragged that Chrysler interiors were as subtly beautiful as the entire car. Vast, 1.52-metre (five-foot) long seats, in ‘perfectly colour-keyed’ fabrics, were hailed.   Designer fabrics were of excellent quality, offered in patterns that were both ‘smart and exclusive. Even the deep foam cushions on the seats were distinctive. 

The shoulder-high Driver Command Seat sported a taller back than the passengers’  and  offered ‘the ultimate in driving comfort’. Door and side panels offered a deep horizontal section that featured rich, two-inch pleats with soft trim above and below. 

Instrument panel of the 1962 Chrysler was futuristic in layout. Advertising dubbed the driver control bubble as Astra-Dome Design. 

The instrument panel was genuinely space age in look. Dubbed the Astra-Dome design, gauges were housed in a large ovoid plastic bubble with the steering wheel affixed to its nose. The affair was covered with a prominent cowl. The steering wheel was unique in that the top half was made of clear plastic laid over a bright chrome core. The remainder of the wheel was, ‘delightfully colour-matched to the interior.’ The Torque-Flite  transmission buttons were located on the underside of a prominent padded cowl to the left of the driver, and heating/air conditioning controls to the right . All other controls were affixed in a brand-new diamond pattered textured metal insert—said to be the ‘perfect touch of subtle background styling.’  The rearview mirror was affixed to the topside of the instrument panel. 

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Salesmen were trained to emphasize the attention that workers paid to the quality of construction. Borrowing from Rambler, Unibodies were deep-dipped six times in rustproofing material, then sealed with Bonderite.  The last bath greatly improved paint quality. Dealers also pointed out that this year’s Chrysler lineup was seven percent more fuel efficient thanks to improvements to the powertrain and lighter design throughout. 

The 1962 Chrysler New Yorker carried a distinctive crosshair grille. The four-door hardtop  weighed 1 800 kilos (3,970 pounds) and cost $5,596 FOB Windsor, Ontario.
As would be expected, New Yorkers were dressed to the nines. Advertising billed it as “An incomparable series in every way, perfectly matched to those discriminating Canadians who demand the best.” The rode on their own 3 200-millimetre (126-inch) wheelbase, while Saratoga and Windsor shared a 3 098-millimetre (122-inch wheelbase). Corporate records show that 531 New Yorkers found their way into Canadians’ garages and hearts. 

On the flank, the decorative spear seen on lesser models was dropped in favour of brightwork strips that crowned the front fenders, ending at the cowl. The New Yorker name was placed on the front fender. The tasteful theme was repeated aft, with garnish beginning at the leading edge of the C-pillar. A series of nine speedy, bright hashmark bars were placed near the trailing end of the rear fender. Wheel wells and rocker panels were also gilded. 

Under the New Yorker’s hood lurked  a 6.8-litre (413-cubic inch), 261-kilowatt (350-horsepower) iron monster, wedded to Chrysler’s Torque-Flite three-speed automatic transmission. 
Pushbuttons were all the rage in the 1960s. Chrysler Canada adapted them to its corporate automatic transmission--standard on all Chrysler models.

There was no lever; the system operated on push buttons. Constant-Control power steering and Total-Contact power brakes were standard equipment, as was a pushbutton windshield washer. 

The most expensive and heaviest Chrysler was the eight-passenger Town & Country wagon. It pushed the scale to 1 989 kilos (4,385 pounds) and listed for $6,407. 

A four-door hardtop station wagon was offered in the New Yorker lineup. The Town and Country wagon could be had in six- or nine-passenger configurations. Price tags were $6,264 and $6,407 respectively. Rear quarters were remarkably different from other models. A chrome spear started at the leading edge of the back fender and wrapped around into the tailgate. Rocket-like taillamps wrapped around, too. The tailgate door was heavily browed, the centre was bejewelled with a trio of gold crowns. 

Built in Canada, the Chrysler Saratoga two-door hardtop listed for $4,049.

A total of 3,487 Saratogas rolled out the Windsor factory doors during the 1962 model year. The four-door  Saratoga sedan cost $230 more than its  Windsor counterpart. Selling in the mid-price range, it was set apart from its lesser kin with more trim, including a rocker panel and a full-length  body spear. It not only ran the full length of the sides, but boasted a snappy upkick that widened at the trailing edges of the doors. 

 A pair of hardtops was also available in the Saratoga range. The two-door sold for $4,049 and the four-door carried a price tag of $4,170. These were powered by a 6.3-litre (383-cubic inch), 227-kilowatt (305-horsepower) mill, coupled to the Push Button Torque-Flite gear set. 

Chrysler Windsor two-door hardtop weighted 1 680 kilos (3,720 pounds) and was priced at $3,774.

The Windsor series was a strong seller in Canada. Although nixed in the USA, Windsor was wisely retained here at home. The price of admittance into the Kingdom of Chrysler was a mere $3,731. The four-door sedan filled in nicely for the recently deleted, De Soto. Two- and four-door hardtops were built in Chrysler Canada’s Windsor, Ontario plant. Windsors zipped along the nation’s highways and byways, courtesy of a 5.9-litre (361 cubic-inch), 197-kilowatt (265-horsepower) engine. Like its brawny brothers, the ‘trigger-quick’ Pushbutton Torque-Flite automatic transmission was standard equipment.

Windsor models sported full chrome wheel covers and brightwork around the windows. A stylized crown emblem was affixed to the leading edge of the front door, followed by a speedy chrome-look spear that graced the side all the way to an indented rear flank.  Add-ons for Windsor included sill moulding, stone shields, electric clock and window frame brightwork on sedans. 

The only ragtop in the 1962 Chrysler model year lineup was the Windsor Newport. Priced at $4,879, it weighed 1 714 kilos (3780 pounds).

Imported from the States was the Windsor Newport sub-series. This consisted of a trio of upscale offerings, more than $1,000 higher than the basic Windsors: a  convertible, priced at $4,879, a four-door hardtop that rang in at $5,002 and a four-door pillarless, eight-passenger wagon listed at $5,146 FOB Windsor. For the extra bucks there was more exterior trim and upgrades in cabin appointments. 

A total of 7,510 Windsors were shipped to dealers across the Dominion during the model year.
The first province to make the wearing of safety belts will be Ontario. The law will take effect on the first of January, 1976.

On January 16th, national highway groups announced a campaign to persuade Canadians that they would be safer in they equipped their vehicles with safety belts. Chryco belts were optional but anchors were included in the base price. Advertising bragged that Chryco’s safety belts surpassed all established strength requirements and met all SAE specifications. Their use intended to ‘ensure safe travel and confidence to both driver and passengers.’

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Optional equipment for Walter’s namesake seemed to be nearly as long as theTrans-Canada Highway, inaugurated by Prime Minister Diefenbaker, that year. White sidewall tires dressed up one’s Chrysler. Sedans could be fitted with a nifty rear window defogger and a backseat radio speaker. Power radio antenna,  and an engine block heater were good choices. The remote control outside mirror was included in the New Yorker. Vacuum operated door locks were optional, but only on New Yorker. 

For both Windsor and Saratoga, rear bumper guards, larger brakes, protective undercoating and under-the-hood insulation refined the Chrysler—at a cost. There was an optional remote control outside mirror, the pushbutton windshield washer, Constant-Control power steering, power windows and Total-Contact Power Brakes. Child-Guard safety locks were a wise choice for young families. A heater was a mandatory extra-cost item, meaning that one could not buy a Chrysler without it. 

1962 Chrysler Canada colour chip chart. 

Exterior colours were sourced from Canadian Pittsburgh Industries Limited in Windsor, Ontario. Chrysler selected CPI’s Ditzler Quickset Enamels. New for 1962 was a spray of metallic hues: Holiday Turquoise,  Sage Green, Dusty Rose, Smoke Brown, Indian Bronze, Blue Sapphire and Empress Blue. Held over from last year were Festival (Corona) Red and Executive (Shadow) Grey Metallic. Other paint choices included Dawn Blue, Buff, Polar White, Grenada Yellow, Black and Pearl Grey. 

On June 26th, the Canadian auto industry’s fortunes changed dramatically. Chryslers imported from the US and the corporation’s European subsidiaries became more pricy. To protect the domestic auto industry,  Ottawa slapped a stiff tariff increase that added 10 percent to the cost of those cars. However, the 7.5 percent luxury tax—added to the price of domestically-built cars since World War Two—was dropped. Canadian automakers immediately lowered prices by an average of $150 a vehicle. This spurred production significantly, giving the national economy a big shot in the arm.

Imported from the United States, a total of 639  posh Imperials were sold in Canada during the 1962 model year.

The boys at Chrysler Canada did themselves proud. The Chrysler Division did well for itself with a total of 11,528 cars shipped to dealers in all ten provinces. The tally bested the 1961 model year which hit 9,980 units.  

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Copyright James C. Mays 2017 All rights reserved.