The New Yorker Special luxury package was originally introduced as an option for the 1939 Chrysler Imperial. The package's popularity caused the car to become its own model for 1939, based on the same platform as the Chrysler Windsor. It was available as a 2-door coupe or sedan with a 323CID Straight-8 and a generous amount of comfort and space to the passengers.
Due to the tensions of war in Europe, and the later rubber and steel war rations of 1941, Chrysler ceased production of its cars to civilians. However, a limited number of 1940 models did make it to the showroom floor. Chrysler would produce and experiment with engines for tanks and aircraft during World War II. One post-war application of this would lead to the creation of the first generation Hemi of the 1950s.
Unlike most car companies, Chrysler was having trouble in restarting its business operations by starting 2 years late. This made full blown production somewhat troublesome. 1947 saw a redesign in tires, trim, and instrument panel, and 1949 was just a renamed '47 save the convertible option and chrome trim.
The 1950 New Yorker was the more deluxe of the regular eight-cylinder Chryslers (Saratoga being the eight with plainer trim) with cloth upholstery available in (unusual for 1950)several colors, 135hp (101kW) Spitfire straight-eight engine and roomy interior featuring "chair height" seats. The "Prestomatic" fluid drive transmission had two forward ranges, each with two speeds. In normal driving, high range was engaged using the clutch. The car could then be driven without using the clutch (unless reverse was required); at any speed above 13mph (21km/h), the driver released the accelerator and the transmission shifted into the higher gear of the range with a slight "clunk". When the car came to a stop, the lower gear was again engaged.
Chrysler introduces the 180horsepower (130kW) FirePower Hemi engine. The engine becomes a popular choice among hot rodders and racers alike, a trend that continues to thrive today with its namesake second generation model. The FirePower Hemi equipped cars could accelerate 0 to 60 in 10 seconds, faster than the Oldsmobile 88 Rocket engine of that time.