Are the 79-81 R-bodies actualy C-bodies in disquise?

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  1. King Hooter

    King Hooter Member

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    I kind of like the looks of the R-bodied Newport, St Regis, and Gran Fury. But there seems to be very little love anywhere. I know they're not sexy like a fuselage nor as luxurious like a formal.

    I found a 1981 Newport with some nice patina much cheaper than some of the c bodies in the same condition.

    1981 Chrysler Newport Sloan IA 3.jpg
     
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  2. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    These car were popular as fleet cars and police cruisers and available only as 4 door sedans. Main reason they get no love is because they were under powered lean burn cars with the less than reliable early locker torque convertor. If you like that car, by all means drive it. Everyone has different tastes. They were introduced to compete with the downsized Ford and GM offerings and were a replacement of sorts for the C-Body that was dropped after '78.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  3. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    They are actually B bodies in disguise. The Cordoba/Charger/Magnum was an evolution of the '73-'74 isolated K frame B bodies, and the R body is basically a 4 door Cordoba.
     
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  4. commando1

    commando1 Mr. Normal FCBO Gold Member

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    No, they are not. In any sense of the word.
     
  5. Moseman

    Moseman Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    OOH, this might be interesting!
     
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  6. commando1

    commando1 Mr. Normal FCBO Gold Member

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    Not really.
    Absolutely nothing in common.
    And don't be a smartazz, we know about the names.
     
  7. Moseman

    Moseman Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Cool, just fun to watch some of the interplay!
     
  8. cbarge

    cbarge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Stretched B body.
    Chrysler's failed attempt to answer to GM downsizing of their fuul sized cars.
    Right around the same time Iacocca took over Chrysler and killed off the R for the K as part of revsmping the corporation.
    Cheers
     
  9. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    They aren't terrible cars, but they have their share of shortcomings.

    The doors have a chintzy feel to them. The manual window regulators tend to strip out the gears and the frameless windows can have track issues. Ride and interior noise are worse than the GM and Ford equivalents of the time.

    On the plus side, they were pretty good when it came to rust. They had cool instrument clusters and comfy seats.

    Finding R body specific parts can be a real challenge though.

    Jeff
     
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  10. Pete Kaczmarski

    Pete Kaczmarski Senior Member

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    My '78 is much different than my '79. However I appreciate both for what they are.
     
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  11. USSMOPAR

    USSMOPAR Member

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    They are B bodies underneath
    Stop flappin the gums and Look in the parts books and you will see the interchangeability of all sorts of B body parts with the R body
     
  12. twostick

    twostick Senior Member

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    Including a big block. I should have kept my 79. I have 493 looking for a new home.

    They do have one thing in common with a Formal Stan. Exploding wiper bushings.

    Kevin
     
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  13. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    '79 R Platform was available with the slant 6, 318 and 360 engines only. 360 failed to meet CA clean air standards so it was not available there. Bib blocks went away in everything except trucks in '79.

    Dave
     
  14. twostick

    twostick Senior Member

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    It's a glorified Bbody or as bigmoparjeff put it, a 4 door Cordoba.

    Big blocks came in Bbodies and in Cordobas before 79 so one should bolt in with little to no fuss.

    Kevin
     
  15. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Probably could be done although the '79 and later cars all had the light duty rear end and transmission, so it would be a big project.

    Dave
     
  16. twostick

    twostick Senior Member

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    You'd have to change the trans regardless but I was pretty sure my 79 had a 9.25 in it. It was a 360 car. In any case a B-body 8.75 should bolt in.

    Kevin
     
  17. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    The police cruisers had the 9.25" big rear end as an option, as did a few others with the trailer tow option. Most of the rest were 8.25". 6 cyl still had 7.75" for most applications. I think the perch 0n the 8.75 rear end from a '78 B body should bolt in.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  18. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    You need a big block K member from a '78 down Cordoba or B body. Or possibly swap style engine mounts. Schumacher may make them?
     
  19. commando1

    commando1 Mr. Normal FCBO Gold Member

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    That would be interesting. A BB R-body.
    Just use the BB parts from the B-bodies, right?
     
  20. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    When I got my '80 Newport as a well-used oil field tool co. fleet car, it was still a pretty neat car. 360 2bbl (Fed, a 318-size BBD on a 360--only year for that). Although it had spent its life in deepest, hottest West TX, still had the orig computer and it ran well, for what it was . . . AFTER I got the "low speed jets" in the bottom of the idle tubes cleaned out with a twist drill.

    I was impressed with the quietness of the interior. Later discovered how thick the insulation was under the plush carpet (3"+!!). The isolated k-frame was one reason for the quietness and smoothness, I believe.

    Added some Magnum GT 15x7 wheels with stock P215/75R-15 tires. The 7" rims with that size of tire put the sidewalls pretty much vertical and handling precision was very good, even with less expensive tires.

    Also found a '79 Gran Fury sheriff's car in the salvage yard. Got the factory dual exhaust out of it, the "wide tube" radiator, and the lh rr muffler hanger. Along with all of the heat shielding and related retention screws. Managed to finess the position of the lh converter to clear the floor pan and not hit, or cook the factory undercoat. Had to get the rh exhaust manifold as the clocking of the flange was different than for the '80.

    LH side window glass never did seal really good, no matter how I tried to get better weatherstrip contact. But they were easy to roll up an down, just like the later B-bodies.

    The car had the "load carrying" optional suspension. No rear sway bar, but heavier rear springs. Put Chrysler HD shocks on the front (although the existing front shocks still had a good feel on big bumps, but where otherwise a bit worn. Put Monroe air shocks on the back, as there was already some Midas air shocks there. With no air pressure, the car sat level, so they'd been there for a good while AND were used to do what they were designed to do. Removed the channel iron trailer hitch.

    The lh split bench had the velour worn off of most of the cushion, but still was comfortable and soft. Rest of the upholstery was in good condition. Got the C-pillar interior panels recovered in the spec headliner fabric, but that didn't hold up too well. The headline was sagging, so I just pulled it down to "bare foam".

    By '79, "Lean Burn" had morphed into "Electronic Spark Control". Carb mixture calibrations were still "lean", but not as lean as the LB had been. Knowing the alleged issues with "computers under the hood", I got a reman unit from Chrysler. Ran a bit worse than the OEM item, so it went back in.

    Added a factory electronic-tune stereo tape unit, NOS, but got some Pioneer rear speakers to go with it. Discovered the factory rear speakers were "self-grounded" (i.e., I-wire), so built some jumper wires to ground the 2-wire aftermarket speakers. Worked great.

    Worst thing about driving the car was "no power". TX DPS cars had 360 4bbls. The troopers loved them for their great balance and handling. One told one of my customers, who did mechanical work for the county, that he could do a 180 spin inside of two lanes of traffic. AND the deputy demonstrated it to the mechanic one day. Totally amazing! No drama.

    When I was putting the duals under it in my shop, I noticed that all of the exhaust was positioned above the lowest rocker panel level, giving them the advantage of being able to drive over curbs and not leave anything behind. Also the reason the level of the floor was higher, as was the center of the trunk floor.

    In the stripped sherrifs' cars, factory dual exhaust cars, the front floor section had a console shift pad, which was hidden under the thick carpet and thick insulation. So, conceivably, the buckets and console from a Cordoba would fit, for a more "Euro" feel of things.

    The optimal car would have been 360 HO (dual converter, dual exhaust), 15x7 Magnum GT wheels, 70 series tires, "Open Road" Suspension option (close to the police package specs), good factory stereo, COLD factory a/c, and some other options to taste.

    ALL it does take to put a B/RB engine in one of these cars is the B-engine Cordoba K-frame. Then do the a/c lines, use the B/RB trans, '73 Charger-style hi-rise exhaust manifolds, and it will look stock enough to fool anybody that doesn't know better. I found a '79 St. Regis at Mopar Nats, just like that, one year. I questioned the owner about it. It was a former fire chief's car, with a 360 HO in it. He bought it from a buddy at the salvage yard they took it to when they got a new car. So it was a "legit" law enforcement car. He had fun dusting the Mustangs of that era, whether in a straight line or in the clover leaf off-ramps.

    The splines on the lock-up torque converter will wear, but it's easy enough to replace the lock-up parts with non lock-up parts. Only the non-HO/trailer tow cars got non-lock-ups. Otherwise, the TF is a stout version of the 904TF.

    Like most cars of that era, the flexible bumper fillers look nice when new, but dry-out with age and crumble. Not aware of any replacements, but possibly can be rebuilt with the 3M repair material? Probably a good candidate for "printer" items? I need or will need some.

    Got two Certified speedometers while I still could. Looks better to see 130mph rather than 85mph on the scale.

    These cars were as nice as most similar GM cars were, back then. Just not as powerful. They didn't sell well at all, compared to Chevy Caprices. I think the total production for my '80 Newport was under 25K, with production ending in April, 1981.

    Finding a pristine New Yorker is a treat. Many had the 318 4bbl engine.

    These cars are a true "blank canvas". Put a stroker 408 LA engine, with a beefed LA transmission, aim for a 3.21 axle ratio. P227/70R-15 tires fit nicely, and the production a/c compressor will chunk ice cubes quickly. ONLY thing is with the factory dual exhaust cars (Cordoba 300s included), no power seat on the driver's side.

    THAT is one reason I wanted to look at the production dual exhaust '79 St. Regis. The floor pan has a dimple for lh cat converter clearance, so the lh front seat tracks end up being about 3" apart, with a 1/4" metal strap connecting the seat track to the seat frame base. No room for any power mechanism under there!

    Changing the battery can be a PAIN. The battery ThermoGuard/windshield washer reservoir/etc. takes some doing to get off the battery and then reinstalled after the new battery is in! But if everything works right, you don't have to do it very often.

    One thing I like about my '80 Newport (with the HD suspension) is the general feel that it "Wants to eat some road!" Like it's always up for a road trip to have fun. Put some power in front of the driveshaft and the chassis calibration will be complimented. Not sure about the std suspension, but possibly some good HD shocks will help. IF there's a rear sway bar already there, so much the better.

    Rebuilding one of these cars in an "enhanced stock" manner will certainly be a unique ride that few know what it is OR when Chrysler built them. hehe

    Enjoy!
    CBODY67
     
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