Chrysler back to its original glory

IT’S the elegance of the car that made John Lloyd want to get his hands on a Chrysler Newport.

About five years ago he got his chance, online through a South Australian firm that specialises in importing such cars for enthusiasts to restore.

“I totally restored it,” he said.

“It had a fair amount of rust when I got hold of it.”

But the 1961 model two-door hardtop was still basically sound — and totally original — and now is in pristine, show condition.

Mr Lloyd will travel from his Rutherglen home this weekend to put the car on show for half a day at the 22nd annual Chryslers on the Murray event.

Staged by the Albury-Wodonga Chrysler Club, the show attracts entries from across Australia.

Last year was the first time Mr Lloyd was able to take his completed car to the show, where it got in the top five out of almost 700 entries.

All the restoration work was done in the Albury area, starting with it being totally stripped before being given an acid dip.

“Then it was taken back to Fineline Automotive Refinishing in Albury and he did all the body work,” he said.

“He replaced all the bits and pieces and the metalwork that needed to be redone — new floors and the boot — and he repainted it.

“It wasn’t in bad condition for its age given it was 50 years old.”

The engine was taken to Shepparton to be totally refurbished, while the gearbox, chroming, suspension and upholstery were all done on the Border.

“All this expertise is local, you don’t have to go anywhere,” he said.

Mr Lloyd said the Newport was a model he had been interested in since he was a boy.

“It’s the last model they made with fins — that’s why I wanted it,” he said.

“And it’s a two-door hardtop, which is a lot more desirable than the normal four-door sedan.”

The work took a little less than three years.

Mr Lloyd said he tried to take the car out on club runs when he could, as well as sometimes driving it locally.

“But it hasn’t done many miles. It’s a left-hand drive still so it’s really original,” he said.

“I just love the style. It’s an elegant car, and it still goes quite nicely.”

Chryslers on the Murray will be held at Gateway Lakes today and tomorrow.

The show will include a cruise down Dean Street of show cars today from 5.45pm to 6.15pm.

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