Rare, Canada-Only 1961 Chrysler Saratoga Comes Out of Storage, Purrs Like a Kitten

1961 Chrysler Saratoga 14 photos
Photo: transmerica/eBay
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First introduced in 1939, the Chrysler Saratoga was sent into the history books in 1995. However, it did not survive for so many decades. The nameplate was discontinued no fewer than three times only to be brought back into showrooms for short periods. Its longest stint on the market lasted from 1957 to 1965 and it spend four of these years as a Canada-only vehicle. This 1961 Saratoga is a rare model from that era.
Revived for the second time in 1957, the Saratoga hit the market as a mid-range sports coupe slotted between the entry-level Windsor and the top-tier New Yorker. It employed Virgil Exner's gorgeous "Forward Look" design language and came with a V8 engine as standard. However, Chrysler decided to discontinue the Saratoga only three years later, when it debuted the Newport as its new entry-level full-size.

But while the Saratoga was dead in the U.S., it remained an active nameplate in Canada for the 1961 model year. And it soldiered on North of the border until 1965, long after the new-for-1962 Chrysler 300 arrived in the United States. It's one of those cars that you won't see on American roads anytime soon. Unless you get one from Canada, that is.

If you're a fan of this not-so-popular nameplate, a 1961 Saratoga popped up on e-Bay in Quebec. It's a beautiful Exner-era two-door coupe that, amazingly enough, still sports its original paint. Actually, it's an all-original, unrestored example. A time capsule with a few upgrades to keep it rolling on public roads.

Finished in a metallic brown color that screams for the 1960s to return, the exterior is in pretty good condition. Sure, the paint has a few rough spots and there's a bit of surface rust here and there, but both add to the car's unrestored charm. There are a few minor dents to look after, but all glass is good with no chips or cracks.

The interior is absolutely gorgeous when it comes to visuals, combining a darker shade of brown that almost matches the exterior with light tan inserts on the seats and the door panels. The cabin needs a new headliner, but everything else seems to be in order. The dashboard is clean too, with no cracks or missing trim. There's no rust on the floor, but the trunk has a few holes that need to be fixed.

Under the hood of this finned coupe lurks a 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) V8 engine. The mill was rated at 305 horsepower and 395 pound-feet (535 Nm) of torque back in the day, enough to push the full-size from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in about eight seconds, to go with a top speed of 120 mph (193 kph). There's no confirmation that the 383 is a numbers-matching mill, but it's very likely.

The Saratoga comes with an automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The gas tank, the pump, and the carburetor were all replaced to get the car running after many years in storage. And judging by the video below, it runs as smoothly as possible.

This Canada-only Mopar is looking for a home as we speak. Offered by eBay seller "transmerica" at no reserve, the Saratoga attracted a high bid of $12,500 as of this writing, with two more days to go. That's slightly below the value of a U.S.-spec 1960 Saratoga in fair condition.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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