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History of the Chrysler New Yorker

Wikipedia also has an excellent historical account of the New Yorker nameplate.

The Chrysler New Yorker faced amazing success and popularity in the nearly six decades it remained in the auto industry. Introduced originally as the New Yorker Special in 1938, the name was eventually simplified to the New Yorker. America's longest continuously used nameplate, the New Yorker kept this title for the entirety of its 58 years of production.

While the flag ship Imperials were normally available with only the largest available production engine, the New Yorkers were often available with the largest engine as well as an optional smaller engine to reduce cost and often improve fuel economy.

In 1951, both the Imperial and New Yorker were available with the very first V8 engine Chrysler Corporation produced. This V8 was the 331 cid V8...later to be dubbed the "Hemi" due to the unique hemispherical combustion chambers in the heads. The "Hemi" continued to be available in 354 cid and 392 cid configurations over the years until it was replaced in 1959 by the new 413 cid wedge head big block engine.

In 1955, the New Yorker (along with the whole Chrysler lineup) was refreshed by Virgil Exner's successful Forward Look style. With these cars, Chrysler seized the industry's design leadership and produced several genuine classics.

In 1957, the second generation Forward Look cars appeared and Torsion-Aire was introduced. This was not air suspension, but an indirect-acting, torsion-spring suspension system which drastically reduced unsprung weight and shifted the car's center of gravity downward and rearward, resulting in both a smoother ride and significantly improved handling.

In 1960, Chrysler introduced unibody (unitized body) construction, thus making the company first of the Big Three to offer it. Unibody was standard in all Chrysler products except the Imperial. This gave the body more rigidity and less rattles, and would soon become an industry standard.

In 1961, the New Yorker's generator was replaced by an alternator. This was also an industry first.

In 1966, the 413 cid engine gave way to the new 440 cid engine in the Imperial and New Yorker. This engine would be available (standard or optional) until 1978.

The 1967 and 1968 the New Yorker (C body) employed concave sheet metal on the car's side. This gives the 1967 and 1968 C body a unique and distinctive look.

The 1969 New Yorker (C body) was essentially a re-skinned 1968 although the appearance was remarkably different. This "fuselage" style remained until 1973.

In 1974 the New Yorker (C body) was redesigned dramatically. This design carried on for five model years. The 1974 - 1978 New Yorker used the identical body as the 1974 - 1978 Newport, Newport Custom, 1974 - 1977 Town & Country, and 1974 - 1975 Imperial. The trim level New Yorker Brougham also appeared for the first time this year. The New Yorker's standard engine in 1974 was the 440 cid big block V8.

From 1976 to 1978 all New Yorkers were correctly referred to as New Yorker Broughams, there were no plain New Yorkers. The styling of this car was carried over from the discontinued 1975 Imperial. This change gave the New Yorker Brougham the beautiful waterfall grille and other styling cues that had been designed for the 1974 - 1975 Imperial. This made the New Yorker the flagship of Chrysler Corporation's lineup for the very first time, but not the last. The 440 cid V8 was the standard engine each year except 1978 when the 400 cid V8 was the standard engine. 1978 would be the last year Chrysler would offer a big block V8 in a passenger car. It is noteworthy that 1977 was the last year for New Yorker's station wagon version, the Town & Country, to be built on a big block powered C body platform. In 1978 the Town & Country was moved to the much smaller B body platform

In 1979, The New Yorker was scaled down to follow the trend away from the fuel hungry full sized, big block powered cars. The largest engine available was now the small block LA 360 cid as the passenger car big block was a thing of the past. The new R body New Yorker was a slightly modified B body (1975 - 1978 Cordoba). There also appeared for the first time an upscale sub-model of the New Yorker called the Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue.

In 1982, the New Yorker was moved to the M body, the same rear wheel drive platform as the popular Diplomat and (Canadian) Caravelle. This car was powered by a standard 225 cid slant six or the more commonly found LA 318 cid V8. Only a 4 door sedan was available.

In 1983, the "New Yorker" name was moved to the E class (Extended K) body (a stretched wheelbase version of the new K platform that saved Chrysler Corp from bankruptcy). This new front wheel drive car was powered by a four cylinder engine and would therefore offer the smallest displacement and the highest fuel economy of any New Yorker ever made. The E-platform New Yorker came loaded with "state of the art" '80s technology, featuring a digital dashboard and the infamous Electronic Voice Alert.

At the same time, the 1982 M body based New Yorker was rebadged as the New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition. These cars were also equiped with the standard 225 cid slant six or the more commonly found LA 318 cid V8.

In 1984, the Fifth Avenue became distinct from the New Yorker in name but remained the same M body car. This car simply no longer carried the New Yorker badge. The New Yorker name was now limited to the luxury E body front wheel drive car. The E body New Yorker was built until 1987.

In 1988, the New Yorker was moved once again. This time it was built on the new front wheel drive Chrysler C platform (a second generation K body). This New Yorker was also avalable with the first V6 engine ever offered in a New Yorker. This was a much maligned Mitsubishi 3.0 litre OHC V6.

At the same time, the New Yorker Turbo stayed on the older E-body platform with a turbocharged four cylinder engine. The New Yorker Turbo would be the last New Yorker equipped with a turbocharger and the last with a four cylinder engine.

In 1990, the New Yorker remained on the second generation K platform, now called a C body, although having nothing in common with the C bodies of the 60's and 70's.

The Fifth Avenue once again became a New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition and was built on a new extended wheelbase version of the C body, dubbed a AC body. The newly resurrected Imperial was built on a nearly identical platform called a AY body.

This New Yorker was available with the very first domestically built V6 front wheel drive passenger car V6 engine, the venerable 3.3 litre V6. This new engine was coupled with a brand new electronically controlled four speed overdrive transmission, the A604. This transmission has become the butt of much critisism over the years but it is this author's opinion that this was caused by misinformation about the differences in service procedures for the new transmission. Other advanced technological features that also appeared for the first time in this year are such things as Integrated Security System, Driver's Side Air Bag and Four Wheel ABS Brakes (preceeded only in 1971 on some imperials equiped with "Sure-Brake ABS).

In 1994, the New Yorker was moved to the new LH platform. This was Chrysler's second-most well-known automobile platform after the Chrysler K platform of the 1980s. The platform was loosely based on the AMC-developed Eagle Premier. Like the Premier, the LH-cars featured a longitudinally-mounted engine with a front-wheel drive drivetrain, unusual in most American front-wheel drive cars. The engine actually uses a chain to couple it to the transmission. This layout allowed the engineers to easily adapt drive layouts from front drive to rear drive and even all wheel drive with relative ease.

In 1995 the New Yorker remained largly unchanged from the 1994 model. To the dismay of the New Yorker faithful, 1995 would be the last model year that they would see Chrysler Corporation place the name New Yorker on a passenger car. To date (2014), they have not resurrected this name plate.