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Horace Dodge’s Drop-Top: 1964 Dodge Custom 880

Most any one of us reading or writing for a website like this enjoy history to a certain extent. We all know how vintage cars and trucks become more than just a four-wheeled conveyance given how much history can be captured between the seat cushions and underneath the tires. This 1964 Dodge Custom 880 convertible was recently revitalized here on the AMMO NYC YouTube channel and it has a fascinating history: it was purchased new by Horace Dodge, Jr. as a gift for his mother.

Horace Dodge, Jr. purchased this 880 Convertible for his mother, and there’s some fascinating documentation associated with this car. The 880 was documented here on TheCommonGear.com, a site that digitizes records for historical and vintage cars, and the amount of records that have survived with this car is staggering. There’s even a piece of correspondence that, sadly, captures a note from a sales representative after Horace passed away unexpectedly, promising that the 880 would be delivered in time as her Christmas present.

What always amazes me about vintage American cars and trucks is the level of detail found in the interiors. We often talk about how domestic interiors from the 80s and 90s are some of the crummiest cabins you can find, but in the 60s and 70s, Detroit was top-of-the-heap as it related to opulent interiors. Even with mold and plenty of decay, the interior of this 880 still looks incredibly handsome. As you’ll see in the video, Larry from AMMO NYC brings a lot of the luster back to this forgotten classic.

The story of this 880 is as colorful as it gets, as it once belonged to the wife of the Buffalo Bills owner between the time it left the Dodge family and ended up in the sorry condition it was in when it got to Larry’s shop. It had been restored at some point in the past before falling back onto hard times, so the 880 absolutely deserves a chance at a sustained rebirth. The Dodge is being sold via a raffle that benefits WDET in Detroit as part of NPR’s Car Talk broadcast; you can learn more here on the official Car Talk website.

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Harvey Member

    Don’t know who Horace Dodge Jr. is but he must be some big shot.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Will Fox

      Hi dad and uncle started Dodge, and it became part of Chrysler Corp.!!
      THAT “Dodge” family!!

      Like 15
  2. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Maybe he’s the son of Horace Dodge, who, along with brother John started the Dodge Brothers Company in Detroit? Walter Chrysler bought them out around 1925 I think.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Will Fox

      Correct!!!

      Like 4
  3. Avatar photo Andy Prieboy

    “Horace Dodge Jr: The only Dodge that runs on alcohol”

    This is a fantastic read.

    https://househistree.com/people/horace-elgin-dodge-jr

    Like 11
  4. Avatar photo normadesmond

    Damn, that video was fun.

    But I was a little confused because it appeared he put soapy water on the instrument panel, which I can’t imagine doing.

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Gary

    As I recall, President Truman was a Dodge man. Just saying.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Lance

      Well sort of. He liked Chryslers. But yeah a Mopar guy.

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo MikeG.

      Why must so many
      replies end with the worthless observation
      “Just saying” ? It adds exactly nothing!

      Like 11
  6. Avatar photo Nicknack

    I had a Dodge 880 Custom. It was the 50th anniversary Dodge vehicle. It had gold valve covers, gold radiator, gold horn bar on the steering wheel along with other gold accents for Dodges 50th golden anniversary. It was my Turquoise Tank!

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

      Any chance your Turquoise 880 was a convertible? I had one about 30 years ago, it was loaded with options including factory A/C. Would love to find out what happened to it.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Nicknack

        Sorry to say it wasn’t a convertible. Had a lot of offers on that car which in turn was kind of funny. I acquired mine by accident. An old girlfriends neighbor was going to junk the car for $35 because she couldn’t get in running. I told her she was crazy due to the good shape the rest of the car was. I asked what she wanted for it and she told me the $35 she was going to get for it anyway. I gave her $40. I then went next door and asked my old girlfriends mother what she was doing with the Newport she had in the yard and she said probably junk it. I asked her for the distributor out of it which was a 383ci and gave her $5 for it. Dropped it in the 361ci in the 880 played with it a little while and got the car started. I loved that old tank of mine but my girlfriend was embarrassed to ride in it due to the turquoise color. Sorry for the winded reply.

        Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Al Dee

    I had a ’64 Dodge full size 4 Door sedan – I think it was the “300”. It didn’t look anything at all like this Dodge 880 – and the dash in my ’64 Dodge didn’t look anything like the one in this “Dodge” (why would they have two separate dashboards for different models of the SAME year???). In fact, the ONLY thing in the Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth line in ’64 that looked like this so-called “Dodge” in our town was the Chrysler full size luxury car – and it looked exactly like this car but it was a Chrysler – NOT a Dodge. So – this “Dodge” 880 is really weird – makes no sense to me.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo 814series

      That was probably a Polara 500

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Nicknack

      Not a so called Dodge, it is Dodge. Not all same year vehicles had the same dash! Why would they? My 64 880 looked just like this one. Mine had gold accents throughout the vehicle especially in the engine compartment.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Tom

      Dodge 880 came out in ‘62 after dealers wanted a large car to sell – the shrunken ‘62 Dart was rejected by customers. So they took the Chrysler body, put a ‘61 Polara front end on it, and presto! The Dodge Custom 880. Same basic body was used with a modified front and rear end until the ‘65 redesign.

      Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Malcolm Greer

    Chrysler Corporation played a lot with switching around sheetmetal during these years. They would make one or two platforms and do a sleight of hand with the doors, fenders, grilles, bumpers, etc. Get some old car magazines from the Exner days (’55 on) and take a close look at the cars. Eventually, you will see what I mean.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Al Dee

      Switching around and sharing sheet metal between models (ALL manufacturers do it – back then and even more today) is one thing – but the front end of the ’64 Dodge full size sedan looks nothing like this one – and neither does the rear end. Both the front and rear end of this “Dodge” looks like the ’64 Chrysler full size sedan with a modified grill.– I was a teenager at the time these vehicles rolled into the showrooms, and being a car-guy-teenager, I knew every car of every year of every car maker from post WWII onward. The “Dodge 880 Custom” must have been a very low numbers production car, as there was none of them anywhere around when I was growing up or thereafter – and I had never seen one before this one posted here.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

        For years I had a Dodge custom 880 convertible, and even while living in the Washington DC/Baltimore area, I never saw another Custom 880 of any body style. They’ve always been rare.

        That said, Barn Finds has featured at least a couple of them over the last few years.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Leslie Martin Member

      The very same @Rex.

      The less well known part of the Dodge Brothers story is what they did before they started their own company. Their contributions to the beginnings of Ford Motor company, including helping design the Model T were seminal. It’s a sad historical footnote that once they left, Henry Ford basically screwed them on their stock equity and they both succumbed to Influenza at a young age.

      https://jalopnik.com/bar-fights-lawsuits-and-the-flu-pandemic-the-war-betw-1830081587

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Richard A Clifton

      One day at a traffic light I noticed 2 Dodge minivans used the same taillight lens on different model years by turning them upside down on one year.

      Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Bunky

    Wow. Who is Horace Dodge-really? Hint: “Dodge Brothers”. My sister bought a refurbished California Hiway Patrol car in 1966. It was a ‘64 Dodge 880. New paint, upholstery, tires, etc. $1000 off the lot in Seattle that specialized in refurbed cop cars. 426 wedge with a push button Torqueflite. Stupid fast! My Dad took my Mom and another couple out in it to see just how fast it would go… Came back and said that it was accelerating up a hill at 110 mph- and hadn’t upshifted out of 2nd. It was at that point that he decided that he really didn’t want to know how fast it would go. The story about Horace Jr. and his Mom is interesting, but I would have liked to get more info on the car.

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Eric B

    Great channel that I haven’t watched in a while, so thanks for the reminder!! Looking forward to watching. Also, a Buffalo resident.

    I encourage and hope everyone takes some time out to check out Larry’s channel, he’s one of the best detailers/preservationists out there. There’s a lot of folks from older generations (no offense meant, I respect my elders) who may not be aware of what tricks can be done these days to bring a car back to life. Sometimes a car truly is just too far gone and needs to be restored in the traditional sense, but in many cases the days of repainting a car because the paint is faded or something along those lines, are over. If a car can be preserved, even if it means not being perfect, it should be. Save the survivors.

    Like 5
  11. Avatar photo Captain Breakfast

    Like Al D- I don’t know think that I’ve ever seen one either. My dad got a ‘64 Dodge
    4 dr. sedan in ‘67 w/low miles…slant six & three-on-the tree. His Dodge also only had a Number for a Name… Not sure what it was though. But I do know- it was what people called “intermediate” back then, and it was PLAIN JANE man !!

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo Alan R Henry

    The Custom 880 was created due to all the complaints about the looks and size of the downsized “big” Dodges. Plymouth finally got back to a big car in 1965 with the VIP. Someone visiting a neighbor across the street from me had a white Custom 880 four door sedan. That was in the 1970s. Chrysler Corporation sure had some interesting mix and match models back in the day.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo 814 series

      The full size Plymouth in 1965 was the Fury 1 2 3 and Sport Fury. VIP came out 1966 to do battle with the Ford LTD and Chevrolet Caprice.

      Like 2

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