For The Big Car Person: 1962 Dodge Custom 880

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“It’s the big one, Elizabeth!” (with apologies to Fred Sanford). Looking like it’s been sitting outside a garage shading grass from the sun for a long time (just look under the car at the green!), this 1962 Dodge Custom 880 looks like you could walk up, turn the key and drive off. While that’s not the case, it might not take much more than that to get it running. The big Dodge is keeping the grass green in Springfield, Missouri and is being auctioned off here on eBay, with a starting bid of $800 and a buy-it-now of $1,800.

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Let’s hit the issues with this car head on–oh, looks like that’s exactly what someone did. Or maybe they hooked the bumper on something, and what looks like body filler above the headlights is from something else. The seller says a previous owner did the damage and the attempted repair. Regardless of responsibility, that bumper is either going to need some serious straightening and welding of the torn portion or replacement. I wasn’t able to find one right off, but this guy may be able to help.

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While there are some minor dents and a little rust showing on the sides, there’s a lot of sheet metal that does look good. Interestingly enough, when faced with a need for a speedy restyling and upsizing of the large Dodge for 1962, Elwood Engel quickly adapted the rear 2/3 of the Chrysler Newport to the front fenders of the ’61 Dodges. The tooling bill for the ’62 Dodges was $400,000, an unheard-of low figure at the time for a complete revamping. I think they did a really good job of blending the two, and it’s certainly more attractive than the 1961 Dodges (no offence meant to the vast army of 1961 Dodge fans).

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Contrary to what some reference sources state, the Dodge interior was kept almost completely intact from the 1961 cars, merely massaged to fit within the Chrysler shell. Very “space-age”, complete with in this case a push-button transmission. The interior doesn’t look too bad–similar to the rest of the car condition-wise. Used but not terribly abused, I’d say.

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Assuming this is the original engine, it’s a 361 cubic inch V8, which when new put out 265 horsepower. The seller tells us it is free, but that they have not made any effort to start it. That always surprises me, because it doesn’t take that long to prepare an engine to start even from a long slumber. I even have a bottle feeding system made from an old gear oil bottle and fuel line that I keep on one side just for that purpose. A change of oil and filter, some oil down the bores, a few turns over by hand and I’d at least try to start it. But that’s me.

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Image courtesy curbsideclassic.com

Dodge certainly thought this 1962 model would appeal to the big car lover (no, I’m not going to say “man” in this age of political correctness), and with the merged design actually improving sales to over 17,000 cars in 1962, they were right. This is especially notable as the cars got a late start, only being introduced in January rather than the fall before as was the norm. I like this one, but I’m curious if you would you give this big car new start by taking it home? And if you do, let us know!

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Comments

  1. Andacar

    My wife had a 64 very similar to this one. It was quite a great old car!

  2. Ben T. Spanner

    It was one of the luckiest days of my life. My Father had ordered a new 1962 Dodge convertible with blue paint, blue interior and blue top. The car came in with black top and interior. The long time Dodge and Chrysler dealership owner, who looked like a short Ed Sullivan, offered a Chrysler at the same price. The catalog showed blue interior, but a call to the factory rep confirmed that blue paint got a black interior and top. My Father refused both.

    My Father was in shock. I steered him by the elbow to the nearby Pontiac showroom. Catalinas had at least five top colors. He picked Bamboo Cream, with 2 tone brown interior, and tan top. He never had another Dodge, and he drove until 2001.

    That dash looks as if it had been lifted out of his 1960 Phoenix convertible. The 880 was a true parts bin special.

    Like 2
  3. Rick

    The dog dish hubcaps are the best feature on this Frankenstein-like automotive creation. Looks like Dodge only spent $400K on styling. I was 5 years old when these came out in ’62 and even I could tell the back half was a’61 Chrysler.

  4. PaulieB

    From what I can recall of the Hemmings Classic Car story, the Dodge lineup had been scaled down due to a rumor that they had heard.. the rumor being that Chevy was scaling down their cars. That left the Dodge Dealers without a “full sized” car and the dealers were upset to say the least. The folks at Dodge quickly sprang into action and the end result was the combo that we see here. That’s also why the cars came out in January ’61 instead of September of ’60

  5. Jim

    It’s not a bad entry level car FIR someone to drive while they work on it, it’s a boat but they ride nice with torsion bar suspension and the 361/automatic us a good reliable combo. You hardly see this body style anymore, it’ll stand out in the crowd. An acquaintance just bought a nice running two door sedan Seneca ready for paint for $3,000, it needs some little stuff but they look kinda cool.

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    Some folks look at me like i have a third eye in my forehead but, my all time favorite Ford is the ’60, and i like this Dodge. A lot of people forget the days of the Ramchargers (not the trucks).

    • David G

      I’m with you DG, the 60 Fords are odd but kewl to me too. Especially like them in Country Squire form. Ooh wait; I ‘d take almost any year Country Squire!

      Anyway i also like this quite-interesting 62 Dodge, especially for its oops-y last-minute Chrysler Corp design backstory per ‘PaulieB’ above…

      Somebody else, PLEASE save it. I’m up to my gills in mid-century car work already…

    • Jim

      The Ramchargers were a very important part of the advancement of drag racing. They are Ramchargers are fresh in my mind like yesterday. My first time at a dragstrip as a kid seeing the Ramchargers up close and one of the crew letting me see the engine, then looking at everything in the pits and watching the gassers and altereds run I was hooked and never looked back. I played with road racing an 89′ thunderbird but it didn’t last long, the dragstrip was calling. Great memories and I still go.

  7. Wayne

    As much as I love Chrysler products, the 61 had to be one of the ugliest cars of the 60’s if not the ugliest! A freind called me a few years ago with a wrecked 61 Seneca. I had the parts to fix it and this is what it looks like now.

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