I just don't understand... Just what is a 1963 Chrysler, anyway?

FWD Look Fan

Sep 21, 2022
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Upstate New York
I have a 1963 300 Pacesetter convertible. I don't particularly care to pigeonhole it into a category, but where does it belong?

Is it a Forward Look? -- From this forum:
"Forward Look Forum: 1955 through 1961 - The Pre C Body era of Classic Mopars"
No, my car doesn't fit that definition. It's a 1963

Is it an "Early C Body? A Slab Side Year?
"Early C Bodies - The Slab Side Years - Pre 1969"
Well ,it's not sporting slab sides... And has a 1960 Forward Look front end. What to think?

So where does my “shoulder year” 1963 fit in in this club? Where do I post? Maybe at another site? Not much out there for old Chryslers, though.

Just asking. I am confused. I love love love the 1960 and 1961 models. I have a 1960 New Yorker and a 1961 Dart. My handle is “Forward Look,” after all, so I get it.

But when I look to get parts, more times than not, my 1963 is an orphan. Parts can be found, but usually under another model year. It's like the 63's were forgotten. What are your experiences and thoughts about "shoulder year" models? Do you have one? I suspect that 1963 is not the only year where this is an issue.
'63 and '64 are the same body series/platform. Then '65 happened with a completely different platform and designation as "C" bodies.

Working backward from 1965, when all full-size platforms (other than Imperial) could be termed "C" platforms. The Valiant (1960) would be "A" body, as it was later designated. The New for 1962 (downsized) Plymouth Belvedere/Fury and similar Dodges would be "B" bodies, as they later led to the Satellites and Belvederes of later years . . . although they were the "full-size cars" from Plymouth in 1962.

To me, the 1963 and 1964 Chrysler models were larger 1962 Plymouths. Longer wheelbases and such. But being leaner than prior years, in the process. Haven't compared interior dimensions of the '62 Plymouths and '63 Chryslers, though.

The Imperial kept its original 1957 body on frame construction, all the way to the end of the 1966 model year. As to platform designation, I believe it was "D", with the VIN sales code designation being "Y". Then, with the 1967 model year, it was an "extended C-body", with the same sales code of "Y".

This is how I would perceive things, although others might have other pigeonholes they would put the '63 Chryslers into. BTAIM

To me, when the '65 C-body cars appeared, they were finally fully-modern with integrated hvac systems (which had normal heat hose routings beside the engine rather than OVER it), wide engine compartments, good underhood item placement and serviceability, etc.). As if the earlier versions had matured. Easy to look at and easy to own.

Just some thoughts,
'63-'64 Chryslers are "full sized" Chryslers, as noted they are not C-Bodies or forward look cars.

JMO 63/64 Chryslers should have their own category here.
I agree that they are kinda an orphan here.
I suggested it once and got shot down pretty hard.
I was told that they fit in the
FL category.
My vote is to have a dedicated slot for 63/64s
So where does my 1963 fit?
Having owned a 1964 New Yorker, I also had to face a similar dilemma. Fortunately, I had access to a couple of Factory Service Manuals that made the decision rather obvious. The manuals were both Plymouth: one from 1960, and one from 1968. I found that the 1960 manual was a very good reference for my Chrysler. If you have any doubt, just look at the Dodge 880 from 1962 to 1964.
The Dodge 880 is its own unique situation. Being built from a 1962 Chrysler Newport to meet the wheelbase bid specs for the California Highway Patrol, as there was no existing Dodge vehicle that would. The basic platform would date back to the 1960 full-size cars in many respects.

Each generation of full-size car, plus some other smaller platforms, usually shares the ROOF structure with others of its generation. In the case of the Dodge 1964 880, that roof line definitely is very similar to the 1960 full-size cars, to me.

Each generation of Chrysler's full-size vehicles went off into different directions, by observation. JMO, "Forward Look" started with 1955, then bloomed into the 1957 cars. 1962 saw the sudden downsizing of the Plymouth and companion Dodge full-size cars and 1962 Chryslers became a bit more conservative in design. With the transition into a "hybrid" UniBody construction starting in 1960. Woth DeSoto going away April 15, 1961.

Proposal -- IF we can agree that "Forward Look" evolutions ended with the 1961 model year, then the smaller Plymouth and Dodge full-size cars of 1962-1964 model years began a sequential evolution toward the 1965 C-body platforms, why not term these model years as "The Transition Years"?

Now, there will always be transitions in body exterior designs. As the more formal 1973 Chrysler front end sheet metal got us ready for the new 1974 "formal" C-bodies, for example. As the 1964 Dodge 880 still used the 1962 roof lines. As the longitudinal feature lines of the 1963-1964 Chryslers got us ready for the 1965 C-body contours.

In THAT "longitudinal feature lines" orientation, might the rear body design of the 1963 Chryslers be a more conservative take on the 1961 Plymouth rear body design? FWIW

So, the 1962-1964 full-size Chrysler Corp vehicles would be "The Transition Years", in here. Other suggestions?

My two cents.
57-61 Full Size: Forward Look
65-78 Full Size: C-bodies
62/63 Full Size: Why does everything need a label? Just say, 62 or 63. Those who know, know. I'm not going to waste 10 minutes trying to explain.
This thread piqued my curiosity, Chrysler had to have some internal designation for these cars. Although Forward Look was a marketing term and within C-bodies the slab side, fuselage and formal designations are also mostly marketing terms as far as I know so I started looking at brochures.

I think, internally, full size Mopars were identified as 800 series cars. Please see attachments. I didn't find a data book for the Dodge and Plymouth didn't have a full size care until 65 but here's what I found, you be the judge.

1963 Chrysler Data Book

1964 Dodge Brochure

Shot down pretty hard....by who? Let me guess.
Mechanically, the 63 and 64 have more in common with the forward look cars - pushbutton transmission, tapered axles, engine compartment HVAC, 4 bolt valve cover B- engines, bubble windshields, etc. - than the 65 and later cars. You may find more information in the forward look section.
My 2 cents.