Vote for The Forward Look Network on the Mopar Top 100 Sites 

1960 Chryslers and rust

From: Bill K.
Remote Name:
Date: October 10, 2003


Some of you probably remember my post about the parts cars (and you can add a few to the list, notably a '60 Dodge wagon), and the fact is most of them are parts cars - cars that likely can't be moved in one piece, or can be moved but have little useful sheetmetal left. I've been wandering junkyards for a long time, but I never paid too close attention to the Mopars, not that they've been all that abundant to go over (with exception of about a dozen 57/8 Plymouths and a '57 Dodge ragtop to one old yard.. been meaning to ask if they crushed that Dodge or what, he did all the rest). With the GM's it's not hard to figure how much rust is beyond the point of salvation; for example the frames rot in the 59 through '64's, the 61-64 especially. Once it's got a lot of holes and actually breaks or sags, forget it. On 4-door hardtops, if the rocker is so bad the back door is falling off, they're toast too. Chrysler of course went to the unibody in '60 on the Chrysler and Desoto anyhow. (I'm no expert here, I only remember this much from building the Jo-Han DeSoto kit ages ago). So I am looking over this one '60 New Yorker wagon, and.. if I put these cars on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is easily fixed and driven and 10 is lucky it doesn't fall apart when I lean on it, this one's like maybe a 3, 4 in there (discount the missing driveline), looks movable in one piece anyhow. I couldn't get the back door open to look at the rockers there, though. So to get to the point, how much rot is too much? Where do I look over these cars to figure out both what's beyond saving, and what's liable to need to be cut in two before I tried to move it so I don't destroy it in the process? I realize there's different levels of economic reality for everyone, but I'm looking at it from the basis of structural integrity of the body front to rear. Because they lack a full frame, I would tend to assume that if the rockers are bad, the car will be structurally compromised and not easily savable. Does the entire Chrysler line from '60 on use Unibody construction (assumption, yes)? You guys in the salt belt who've been messing with these a long time might know where to look for the rust that would make it a lot easier for me to pick what cars get something done first and what ones wait for a loader (or pray for a miracle) to try moving. I was looking also today at a '61 Plymouth post coupe. Neat, if kinda plain little car and boy it looks like it might not be too bad sitting there... but it's right on the ground, and judging by some of the cars where they meet the dirt is where they end (this one '58 Chevy I can't tell if there's no floor or it's full of dirt.... but I think the former... it is a Chevy after all) But it seems like a car somebody'd want if it was in one piece, even if you had to ditch a slant-6 for something bigger. I was in the '60 Chrysler 2dr again, too, and the whole rear pan is loose from the floor, the trunk lid is junk (one hinge tore right out of it), the one door wont close... scary, I can just see pulling on the back and leaving the front right where it is. The end method to my madness is that green '60 wagon is kind of stuck in my brain - enough to entertain jacking it up and looking under it, maybe open that door and since it's a hardtop give the thing a shake and see if it falls off while I am at it. The fins, the dash, jeeze there's no shortage of roof sheetmetal that could become new floorpans out there... and heck, it's not that hard to find a newer Mopar to rob a running 400, 440 and trans out of... although that begs all sorts of motor mount questions best left out of this post! But I do also need to know what size the wheel bolt pattern is on these.. 4 1/2", 4 3/4", ?


Last changed: July 19, 2018