The Chrysler New Yorker was a premium automobile built by the Chrysler Corporation from 1939 to 1996, serving for several years as the brand's flagship model. A model named the "New York Special" first appeared in the 1930s. Until its discontinuation in 1996, the New Yorker had made its mark as the longest running American car nameplate.
The New Yorker name helped define the Chrysler brand as a maker of upscale models priced and equipped above mainstream brands like Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge/Plymouth, but below full luxury brands like Cadillac and Packard. During the New Yorker's tenure, it competed against models from Buick, Oldsmobile, Lincoln, and Mercury.
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.
Small redesign on taillights, convertible option, power steering,and a longer wheelbase.
A less bulky look with whitewall tires, 125.5 inch wheelbase, and optional wire wheels. The DeLuxe Convertible was Chrysler's costliest model for 1953 at nearly $4,000 with only 950 built.
The 1954 was a premium version of a standard 1950s size body. Chrysler's interest in V6 engine model vehicles began to wane in favor of the popular FirePower Hemi V8. The New Yorker was priced a little more affordable at $3,230 for the standard and $3,400 for the DeLuxe.
The standard model had a mild 195hp (145kW) output while the DeLuxe was used as a testbed of the engine's capabilities by outputting 235 HP. (Such power was unheard of in 1954 from its competitors.)
In 1955, Chrysler did away with the previous and generic "lead sled" design of the 1940s with a new sedan that borrowed styling cues from the 1952 Imperial. The hemi engine produces 250horsepower (186kW) this year. The result would become an ongoing trend for increasing engine output throughout the next two decades with Chrysler and its rival competitors.
In 1956, Chrysler christened this model year "PowerStyle" and it was one of the design works of Virgil Exner. The New Yorker gained a new mesh grille, leather seats, PowerFlite selector, and a V8 with 280hp (209kW).
The St. Regis option gave a unique three tone paint job for a higher price and the Town and Country Wagon model was Chrysler's most expensive vehicle of 1956 at US$4,523. Only 921 convertibles were made.
This year, Chrysler cars were redesigned with Virgil Exner's "Forward Look" at the cost of $300 million. The 1957 New Yorker had a powerful 392cuin (6.4L) Hemi V8 engine rated at 325horsepower (242kW). This stylish car was a good seller with 10,948 built, but only 1,049 convertible models. The 1957 models also came with the TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission and a Torsion bar suspension called Torsion-Aire that gave smoother handling and ride quality to the car. The New Yorker also sported fins somewhat similar to the Chevy Bel Air. The car came in two variations: the early model year production had single headlamps while late-1957s came with quad headlamps.
Forward Look remains intact but with new bodyside trim, shrunken taillights and 345horsepower (257kW). The convertible option was still available, with only 666 made and only 15 working convertibles are known to still exist in 2008. Sales were steady, but decreased from last year due to The Recession of 1958. The car's reputation was also tainted due to rust problems.
The New Yorkers this year had 350 horsepower, new tailfins, new front end , and no Hemi. The FirePower Hemi ended production for the cheaper RB engine. It would never return to the New Yorker and slowly ended its image as a performance car and re-branded it as a luxury car. The Hemi engine itself would not return to Mopar cars until 1964 with the second generation 426.
This year had unibody construction, Ram Induction and the new RB engine had an output of 350 horsepower.
The New Yorker entered 1961 with a new grille, slanted headlights, a "donut" tire rack on the trunk lid, and a 413 CID Golden Lion V-8. This is the last of the "Forward" models.
The classic Chrysler fins that made the car unique no longer exist and convertibles and coupes were discontinued by the company in favor of wagons,sedans, and hardtops. The finless car was considered "bizarre" by many critics and sales were slow compared to its entry level sister car, the Newport which was identical in body style and offered a convertible option. The New Yorker was the last Chrysler to have a 126 in. wheelbase.
The 413 RB had a 4.1875 in (106 mm) bore and was used from 1959 to 1965 in cars. During that period, it powered almost all Chrysler New Yorker and Imperial models, and was also available on the lesser Chryslers, Dodge Polara, Dodge Monaco, and Plymouth Fury as an alternative to the 383-cubic-inch B series engine and/or the 318 Poly. With a compression ratio of 10:1 it developed 340 brake horsepower in 1X4-Bbl trim.
Chrysler got a boost in sales in 1963 with the introduction of a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty, a business practice that was unheard of by its competitors in the 1960s. The New Yorker had little changed in style save for a new grille but becomes Chrysler's top seller with 15,440 models made. Engine output is 340hp.
Elwood Engel redesigned The New Yorker with styling cues from the 300L. The options were: a 413 CID V8, dual pipe exhaust and power options (A/C,windows,antenna and steering). The engine itself put out 375horsepower (280kW) and was phased out for the 440 Firepower next model year.
Factory options for 1965 included a 350hp 440 Firepower engine, vinyl rear roof pillar insert, Tilt 'N Telescopic steering wheel and standard power options.
Overall, 1966 was a good sales year for Chrysler with a steady increase in production and sales.
1967 brought only a sheetmetal redesign. Sales slumped 20%, the company's lowest in 5 years.
The 1968 model sported a similar body style to the 300.
The new 1969 New Yorker was a premium version of a full-size V8 automobile, available as a two or four door hardtop, four door sedan, and Town and Country Station Wagon, competing against high end Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Mercurys.
The so called "fuselage" styling featured on all full size Chrysler products remained relatively unchanged until the introduction of the 1974 models which featured a far more massive slab sided effect. These 1974 models timed to coincide precisely with the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, and were a significant part of Chrysler's economic woes in the late 70's. In fact the 1974 models were the last full-size models Chrysler would ever design from the ground up, as the short lived 1979-81 R-bodies were stretched versions of the old mid-sized B-bodies. Chrysler, as the corporation's only division without a smaller "personal" size model, suffered worse than most, stimulating the introduction of the new Chrysler Cordoba, and later LeBaron models.
In 1976, the New Yorker inherited the front and rear end styling of the discontinued upscale Imperial, and its interiors as well. The styling cues formerly used on the 1974 and 1975 New Yorkers in turn were passed on to the base Chrysler Newport. It is interesting to note that Chrysler was the only "upscale" model to never recover its full size model sales to pre-energy crisis levels. Oldsmobile, Buick, & Cadillac eclipsed their old records in 1976, the last year before their downsizing, and continued to sell extremely well until the next gas crisis in 1979. Lincoln and Mercury benefited from any backlash from GM downsizing and set new records in 1977-78. Sales of the Newport and New Yorker continued to decline. The full size Chrysler line remained virtually unchanged until the advent of the downsized 1979 models.
The Chrysler Fifth Avenue began as a submodel of the New Yorker in 1979, after the nameplate was shifted to the Chrysler R platform. The R-body series was a "Pillared Hardtop". The NYR now used the 318 V8 and the 360 engine was optional. While shorter and much lighter than the previous generation, these cars still had a big car look and ride. Hidden headlamps and full width taillights distinguished it from its R-body siblings Newport, St. Regis and Gran Fury. A Fifth Avenue "Limited Edition" was offered mid-1980 and included a stainless steel roof cap and smaller rear window. Other than exterior colours and fabrics there were virtually no changes. The example in the accompanying photo is shown with its headlamp-concealing doors in the open position. While approximately 40,000 R-Body New Yorkers were made, very few exist today (2008) in any condition.
In 1982, the New Yorker (and the Fifth Avenue trim) moved to the LeBaron's M-body. This M-body New Yorker used Chrysler's slant 6 I6 engine. The 318in³ engine was optional.
Available in two models: Base and Fifth Avenue trim. Both used the formal roof treatment. The Fifth Avenue package gave you the rich corinthian pillowed leather seats. Base Models had cloth seats. Taillamps were the same as on the Diplomats, but also had a red reflector panel between them.
Things became somewhat confusing in 1983, as the New Yorker name was used on two different models. The M-body car was now the "New Yorker Fifth Avenue," a title which would last just one year before becoming simply "Fifth Avenue" through the end of the model's run in 1989.
The big news was a new K-car based New Yorker, which used the front-wheel drive Chrysler E platform, the beginning of the extended K-car years. It was closely related with its siblings; the Dodge 600, Chrysler E-Class (which would last just two model years), and the Plymouth Caravelle. The E-platform New Yorker came with state-of-the-art 1980's technology, including a digital dashboard and Electronic Voice Alert, which spoke advisements such as "The door is ajar." Among other standard features was a Landau vinyl roof, complete with electroluminescent opera lamps.
The "new" New Yorker was bigger (see Chrysler C platform) and bore no resemblance to the E-body model (which remained for a portion of the 1988 model year, and was now dubbed New Yorker Turbo). Most underbody and suspension components were carryover. It shared similar upright body styling with the newly-introduced Dodge Dynasty. This new version had a V6 engine - a Mitsubishi-sourced 3.0 liter powerplant, and optional anti-lock brakes. Base and Landau trim choices were offered, the latter of which carried a rear-quarter vinyl top. Hidden headlamps, a feature lost when the R-body cars were discontinued, made a return with this redesign.
Beginning in 1990, a new stretched-wheelbase version was offered, carrying the additional moniker of Fifth Avenue from the just-departed M-body platform. Short-wheelbase New Yorkers continued with Landau and a new base model called Salon. The Salon was a rebadged Dynasty with exposed headlamps, horizontal taillights, and grille similar to the Dodge. All models carried a new Chrysler-built 3.3-liter V6 engine that year. The Landau model was dropped for 1991, but even Salon models now came with hidden headlights, vertical taillights, and a traditional Chrysler grille. A new 3.8-liter V6 engine became an available option. A styling update for 1992 produced a more rounded appearance front and rear.
Trim levels for 1988-1993; See also Chrysler Fifth Avenue.
- base - 1988-1989
- Landau - 1988-1990
- Salon - 1990-1993
- Fifth Avenue - 1990-1993
The last generation of the New Yorker continued with front-wheel drive on an elongated version of the new Chrysler LH platform and was shown at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was released along with the nearly identical Chrysler LHS for the 1994 model year, a year after the original LH cars: the Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid, and Eagle Vision, were introduced. The New Yorker came standard with the 3.5L EGJ which produced 214horsepower (160kW). For 1995, the New Yorker received Chrysler's new logo on its grille, which replaced the old pentastar. Chrysler gave the New Yorker a more "traditional American" luxury image, and the LHS a more European performance image (as was done with the Eagle Vision), but in reality the two only differed by the New Yorker's chrome exterior trim, column shifter, front bench seat, and fewer standard features. This is why after 1996, the New Yorker name was dropped, in favor of a six-passenger option on the more-popular LHS.