By on December 11, 2012

My quest for junkyard Chrysler New Yorkers has become something of an obsession lately. We’ve seen this ’85, this ’89, this ’64, this ’92, and this ’82 in the series, and today I’ve bagged a K-platform (actually C-platform, but it’s a K at heart) ’90 New Yorker Landau in Colorado.
Yes, the hokey vinyl-covered landau roof survived into the 1990s in Detroit; as far as I can tell, the last year for a New Yorker with this option was 1993. That’s right, we haven’t even gone 20 years since Chrysler killed the vinyl landau roof!
The 1988-93 New Yorker was really just a pimped-out version of the not-quite-Superfly-grade Dodge Dynasty. When I launch my Spec Dynasty racing series and become wealthier than Big Bill France ever was, I will allow the Dynasty-sibling New Yorkers to race as well.
Does Chrysler still use these crystal Pentastar emblems on any door panels these days? I’m assuming that they bought 50 million of them back in 1988 and still have warehouses full of the things.
Much as we make fun of these cars, they turned out to be surprisingly comfortable on the road, and not any less reliable than most of their Detroit competition.
You’ll find one in every car, kid. You’ll see.

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55 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1990 Chrysler New Yorker Landau...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I believe the Imperial version lasted only until 92. Any reason why it was a year shorter? What was the difference with the “Salon” Version?

    Was there much of a price difference between say, a loaded New Yorker and the regular Imperial (since it seems most New Yorkers have cloth).

    I’ve got lotsa-landau questions!

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      1. Saleswise, the Imperial was a dog.

      2. The Salon was a base model Imperial. I never saw one with a vinyl top. Not much different equipment-wise to a Dodge Dynasty LE.

      3. Many New Yorkers had the Mark Cross leather interior. Pricewise, the Imperial was a bit more expensive initially, but later the gap narrowed as it became evident that it wasn’t making it and the decontenting began.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Imperial

      I’m glad to see someone inquiring about the early 90′s EEKs (Extended K-Car)! My specialty!

      I was the proud owner of a 1992 Imperial from 1999 to 2011, when a icy Michigan road retired her at 246,000 miles.

      Anyway, Imperial’s final run was from 1990 to 1993, using the same wheelbase as the Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue from the same years (the Imperial and 5th Ave were longer and plusher than the standard New Yorker). The New Yorker Salon was a “base” model, sharing the same platform as the Dodge Dynasty. The Salon model was generally not equipped with a Landau roof. Salon, basically, is a rebadged Dynasty.

      In Landau goodness, the Imperial’s landau roof extended from the B-pillar to the extra-thick C-pillar. As a nod to the Imperial Le Barons of the late 50′s through the 70′s, the rear window was smaller for extra privacy for the rear seat passengers, giving a limo-like feel. New Yorker 5th Avenue’s Landau roof primarily covered the C-pillar, going approximately a third of the roof length towards the B-pillar. As shown in the Landau model above, the landau treatment is the same as the 5th Avenue.

      Options for the New Yorker 5th Avenue were standard on the Imperial. Interior color options for cloth or leather were the same for both models, just that the Imperial had different fabric patterns. Imperial’s dash cover was unique, as was the longer front clip, and different taillight treatment.

      Imperials came with either the 3.3 minivan v6 (1990-1991) or the 3.8 v6 (1992-1993) standard. New Yorkers came standard with the 3.3, the 3.8 was optional. EDIT: The Mitsubishi sourced 3.0 v6 was standard on the 1990-1991 models.

      Pricewise, there was overlap if one ordered a fully loaded leather 5th Avenue compared to a base Imperial.

    • 0 avatar
      90imperial

      The fwd Imperial in it’s last form lasted until 1993. I just purchased a 1990 Imoerial with 38K origional milkes in museum quality. The ABS is not functioning correctly but the rest of the car is near perfect. Want to buy it?

  • avatar
    brettc

    Where’s the soft Corinthian leather? This is just a hideous reddish maroon cloth interior with 80s clock radio grade fake wood. The Landau top is the pinnacle of cheesiness. (I saw a Ford Contour with a Landau top recently. I LOL’d.)

    This is an awesome tarted up Dodge Dynasty. Badge engineering at its worst!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      LOL! I am still using the 1987 Sony clock radio I bought to take to college, and it does indeed have fake wood trim that is a dead ringer for what is in this car!

      It is pretty impressive that this little $10 radio is still working perfectly 25 years on.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        My third TV, the one in my son’s room is a Magnavox purchased in 89′ for my grandmother when she was in a nursing home, better yet, its only use is to watch the 100′s of childrens VHS’s, I inhereted or picked up, that play in a 82′ or 83′ (panasonic I think) VCR that was the 1st one my parents purchased and still works fine, anyways point is, both have lovely fake wood on the outside and still work fine after 25-30 years.

        And occasionally I break out the C64, that TV still has the screws on the back so I can attach the adaptor, to play games (still have a few floppies that will work)

      • 0 avatar
        RatherhaveaBuick

        My Sony alarm clock is from 1987, my Zentih TV is from 1988 and I refuse to upgrade to a flat screen until it blows up. Fake wood grain adorns both. I also have a Panasonic portable VCR monitor from 1988, and my CD player/reciever/cassette player are Technics (which doesn’t exist anymore) from 1986 as well.

        I’m 20 and most of my electronics are older than I am. That’s the way I like it.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Consider the fact that $10 radio is still ticking, while expensive MP3 players are thrown out with alarming regularity.

        I have a radio that was probably from the 80′s, a desk lamp from the 60′s, a VCR from the 80′s, and they all work fine.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        My RCA brand 27in CRT TV at home was built in Tennessee in 1997, never had a problem. A bit newer than some of your stuff guys but maybe some products were still built well in the 90s too.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        A 28:

        I’d say that even some modern stuff is built well, you just have to find the right brand.

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      Fake wood = extreme durability.

      An interesting correlation. Is there a cause and effect relationship?

  • avatar
    boombox1

    Incredible that you’d say that – I still have my 1992 Sony Dream Machine clock radio w/ faux wood trim and it’s still running great too.

    That era must have been the epitome of Japanese engineering…

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I see plenty of late model Crown Vics and Town Cars with those despicable roof treatments applied. Chrysler isn’t the only one.

    Those Dynasty/New Yorkers were roomy though, I will say that.
    The 3.3 was a decent motor as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      The latest one I’ve seen was on a CTS over the weekend. However, this is aftermarket dealer add-on butchering. The car shown here came like that from the factory.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        I’m in FL Treasure Coast area (Vero Beach, Stuart,West Palm,etc.) for business. The amount of aftermarket or dealer installed fake vinyl and cloth roofs on cars is astounding. And it’s not all elderly people. I’ve seen people in their 50′s driving Camry, Avalon, CTS,with cloth roof. MKS with faux convertible roof was newest. Haven’t seen any of the cars that had factory Landau, maybe an early 90′s Town Car. I know they’re here though.

        Please, let this end with the Boomers. But I have a bad feeling that the Hipsters who are into cars will be keeping these alive, if not buying new.

        I remember we had a 90 or so Dynasty as a rental once when I was a kid. Powder Blue of course with blue interior. The thing was softer and more floaty than the Town Car or even Continental of the same vintage my Dad would usually rent. Tire Rack confirmed my memory of the 195/75/14 tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        My parents live down there, and I can back up your claims.

        I’m surprised I haven’t seen a cloth-roofed minivan down there yet. They will put them on pretty much everything else.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My favorite I’ve seen was a Kia Amanti with a fake convertible cloth roof.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        “But I have a bad feeling that the Hipsters who are into cars will be keeping these alive, if not buying new.”

        The Hipsters will ensure that we Never Forget the horrors of our collective past.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin

      This weekend, I saw a recent Mercury Milan with a landau roof treatment, undoubtedly aftermarket. It looked hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      As much as I question how the K-car New Yorker counts as a luxury car, I’m sure that it was more comfier to keep in a straight line than the Vic of 1990.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    That’s a nice-ass car. Chrysler’s FLW answer to GM’s Louis XIV.

    Nicer materials than the GM competition– less-fussy design. A classic when compared to the 88/98s and Sable. I’d mention the stretched Sable(Continental,) but that’s not really competition for this car; we’d need the Imperial for that.

    Bring back the formal rear window!

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Wonder what this car’s history is. Aside from the torn headliner, it seems that its body and interior were in very good shape. Even the engine bay looks nice.

    Criticize these cars all you want, but for a while I had a nice side business buying FWD New Yorkers from a Chrysler dealership I worked at when they were traded in with high miles, and none of the people I resold them to ever complained. Prior to selling them, I used a few for long interstate travel and they were excellent (and fuel efficient) highway cruisers.

  • avatar
    david42

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I kind of love the very last of the Imperials. I know that they’re a black mark on a glorious brand, but still… on their own terms, they’re kind of handsome. They work much better than the early K-based New Yorkers which look like someone took aim at an Aries with a brougham-gun.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I feel I know the very LAST American car with a factory landau treatment.

    It’s the 2005 Park Avenue. A lady where I work has the “Downtown Edition,” silver with black landau. I know it’s an 05 because the PARK AVENUE script is on the license plate surround.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      I think that was most likely dealer-installed too. There’s a company called E&G Classics that specializes in faux special edition packages, some of which even include replacement seat covers with logoed embroidery to complete the look. Dealers that specialize in the blue hair clientele get these installed as soon as the cars roll off the carrier.

      A quick glance at the Mercury page on E&G’s site shows that a Grand Marquis can be done up as a “Presidential Edition”, an “All American Edition”, a “Tiara Edition”, a “Diamond Edition”, a “Diamond Cabriolet Collection”, an “ES”, a “Montigua”, and my favorite, “Montigua ES”. I’d wager the Park Avenue’s Downtown Edition was one of their doings.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ah hah! Wikipedia says, “The last 3,000 Park Avenues carried Special Edition badging that featured the namesake script underneath a silhouette of the New York City skyline.” So it’s “Special Edition.” I meant to say “SKYLINE EDITION” but instead said Downtown Edition. I never looked that closely at the little badge on the c-pillar.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    I saw a newer Ford Fusion with a Landau top the other day. Like probably a 2010 or so. Definitely did a double-take.

  • avatar
    millmech

    Remember this?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I remember the Ultra-drive transmission in these being a disaster for Chrysler. We sold 3 New Yorkers and a few Dynasties all with a V6 of either 3.0 or 3.3 liters hooked to this lemon of a transmission at our dealership during the later 90′s. Literally ever one of them failed within 6-8 months of ownership and costs us a lot of profit. We stayed away from them from that point onward.

  • avatar
    Towncar

    Nice post & nice car. I love the red velour!

    I seriously want one of the last-gen Imperials. They’ve about hit maximum depreciation by now, and I have my eye on two or three.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    I know of a white early 90′s Accord with a blue Landau top near me. Always made me nauseous on upon seeing it. I’ve seen a few early 00′s Camrys too.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    Had a 92 NY 5th Ave. in the family. Probably no car has ever more pleasantly surprised me. So incredibly comfortable, especially the rear seat. There were two things that always made me fall asleep… Bob Ross’ monologues while he painted and riding in the back of that New Yorker.

    And with an all white exterior, dark blue interior, it was quite handsome. The only perplexing thing about that series was a tendency for the rear coil springs to weaken. Neighbor has the exact same car but with a dark blue exterior and it too is sagging back there as were many others I’ve seen on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Imperial

      The 5th Avenues had the load-levelling rear air suspension. Once those air shocks leak (or the Tinworm eats the air compressor apart), only the coil springs are holding the rear end up-and those coil springs were designed for cushioned, floating ride WITH a working air suspension system.

      OEM replacement of the air suspension system is no longer available-all dealership inventories ran out several years ago. I had to convert my Imperial’s rear air suspension to standard gas-charged shocks. With no load in the trunk, the car drove level-but add groceries from the local Meijer, the car has a reverse-rake stance to it.

      I wasn’t ambitous enough for this, but one could take the coil springs off a Dynasty or New Yorker Salon, and swap them in. Those coils are stiffer, but can hold up much more weight.

      • 0 avatar
        BigMeats

        Thanks for the explanation. I do recall the owner talking about how expensive it would have been to fix the situation, but I didn’t grasp what components he meant because he was (is) utterly car-illiterate and resolute in staying that way.

        Really, had that 5th Avenue been mine I’d definitely have sought and performed a fix with the stiffer coils. It was solid, quick and pretty as well as being ridiculously comfy.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve never said this about a car seat before but I want those front seats made into a loveseat. I doubt my wife would let it in the house though. :P

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    With 97k miles, I say that its most likely neglected FWD Torqueflite gave up the ghost, or something went wrong with its V6. If you ever had any K-Car relative you wanted a 2.2 or a 2.5, those engines being the only well built piece of that series.

    I find it amusing how the steering wheel is very similar to what you could get in a Caravan in the early 80′s, minus the crazy red color scheme. While I understand that luxury means comfort, I also thought that it meant quality, like “not a Landau Dodge Aries” quality.

  • avatar

    “…and not any less reliable than most of their Detroit competition.”

    That is, until the Ultradrive transmission blows up in an epic fashion at 50k.

  • avatar
    jellybean

    I love these things! I still recall auto journalist Tony Whitney referring to the interior as “K-Mart meets Baroque”! LOL I’d love to see one in a movie car chase.
    I always have an urge to buy one, as there are tons of them still on the road up here in Vancouver Canada. I just wouldn’t know how to explain it to my friends, as they look at me like I’m mad.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Those seats would match the decor perfectly on many high scale bordellos.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    These were all over the place in the 90s, I specifically remember them crowding up both sides of the street at large extended family gatherings involving lots of elderly relatives. Also, the parking lot at church on Sundays was basically all stretched Ks with landaus and burgundy velour. Then, they rather suddenly started disappearing, I’d say around a decade ago.

    I guess the demographic for this car are now either driving beige Camrys with aftermarket carriage roofs and perpetually flashing turn signals, or dead.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Rented Dynasty 20-odd ago. No offence – didn’t like it, front end was twitchy & vague. Seemed like 90′s cheap blue-rinse K-mart glitz.

    Thank gawd for plastic wood think of all the trees saved. Have an 84 Panasonic clock radio in fake wood. Still has yellow 2 year warranty label not peeled off. 28 later still waking me fine.

  • avatar
    Allan850glt

    Fond memories. In the summer of ’93 we were living in rural WNY, formerly residing in Buffalo. We had two family cars, an ’86 Taurus LX Wagon purchased new and a ’85 Subaru Gl-10 4wd purchased used in early ’90. Moving quite a few miles from “civilization” and roughly a 100 mile round trip daily for dad’s work really piled the miles on both and the Taurus, well it was a first year Taurus need I say more. Dad took on a hefty mortgage to get us a big renovated country home, so a brand new car of any decent caliber was not an additional expense he looked for. Nonetheless we needed something newer, with more life to give. After looking at tons of more Tauruses, Crown Vics, Caprices, we came across the ’91 New Yorker. White with blue velour. 3.3, ultradrive. It was a program-company car with about 45,000 on it. Nice clean car. Very well equipped and roomy for our family of four. We never had any of the ultradrive issues and besides normal wear items and maintenance, it was trouble-free. Yeah it was a little boxy but it was super comfortable and I was far happier to be seen in the shiny, semi-luxurious New Yorker compared to the rusted blue Taurus Wagon or Subaru with its bellowing exhaust system. It gave us four trouble-free years of service and with well over 170,000 miles at trade in in ’97 on a Wide-Track Grand Prix GT, my dad still got about two grand for it, which he was happy with since he never really put any big bucks into it. My friends and I enjoyed it many evenings, waiting ’til my folks were tucked in bed and pushing her out the driveway and down the road a bit before starting up to cruise around the Elmwood Strip or around the Chippewa Entertainment District. The Chrysler-Infinity stereo was pretty nice for the day and the AC would freeze you out. My Dad felt even more confident driving the New Yorker through the snowy country roads than the Subaru. The fuel economy was pretty good too. I was impressed enough with it that I looked to buy one my freshman year of college when my Sable began showing signs of typical Taurus-Sable cancer. Instead I went with an ’88 LeBaron Premium Turbo Convertible. Not too far off though, being just another re-engineered K-car derivative. Viva la K.


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