By on March 21, 2011

It was a shame how the Cadillac name had all the blood drained out of it by Malaise Era faux-classy models, and Chrysler wasn’t far behind; by 1982, you could buy what was essentially a Dodge Diplomat with New Yorker badging. A New Yorker with a Slant Six?

At least this car came with a “Combustion Computer.” Solid state, no less— leave the vacuum tubes to the GAZ Volga 3102! In spite of the Slant Six being an extremely un-luxurious powerplant, it was nearly bulletproof.

Still, this New Yorker stayed on the street for nearly 30 years. That’s longer than most Corollas live.

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28 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Speaking of Brand Dilution…...”

  • avatar

    Actually, the 1982 New Yorker was basically a mix of the 1980 LeBaron front end with a Dodge Diplomat rear, and all of this derived from the somewhat less than wonderful 1976 Aspen/Volare. As bad and cheesy as this New Yorker was, I don’t think it was anywhere near as damaging to the Chrysler name as the new-for-’82 LeBaron based on the K-car. That unleashed a decade’s worth of pimped-out FWD nasties, culminating in the horrible 1990 Imperial.

  • avatar

    Sorry, I have a soft spot for these.. had a 79 Volare with the slant six and an 87 Diplomat with the 318.. both good cars.. never stranded me..

    • 0 avatar

      I firmly believe these cars were the best cars of the 1980’s. We owned a 1980 LeBaron that was given to us in 1988, and that car was cool. 2 door, 225 slant-six, Torqueflight, factory AC and all. Not decked out in faux-luxury, either. Simply a tank like the AMC Concords and full-size Fords and Chevys.

  • avatar

    Chrysler did what it had to do to stay in business. Consequently, it pimped itself out with this and many other vehicles. All manufacturers promise more than can be delivered.

    Any vehicle clad with as much gew-gaws and craptastic call-outs as this one, is a very dishonest car attempting to pass itself off as something it is not. This is a very decent little Valiant that Chrysler forgot to assemble for a couple of years under a new name. Once Chrysler figured out how to assemble it again, they covered it up with crap to make up for the lost profits they had churning out poorly assembled Valiants.

    But it is still just a Valiant that Chrysler marketers got bored with in 1974. Instead of refining this car, they decided they just had to give it a better image and name – Volare. It was downhill from there for a few years. When Chrysler forgot how to assemble a compact slant six vehicle, our faith in Chrysler died. The Volare was to us what food poisoning at our favorite restaurant is to anyone.

    This is a pimped Valiant. It is kind of like seeing Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry – a little unsettling as all those naughty thoughts dirty your soul.

  • avatar

    “leave the vacuum tubes to the GAZ Volga 3102!”
    Great selling point.
    Much more resilient to EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) from fusion device bursts aloft compared to fragile transistors.
    Tovarich! Buy me!!!

  • avatar
    Buster Brew

    The M body New Yorker Fifth Avenue started life in 1980, as the LeBaron companion to the R body New Yorker Fifth Avenue.  The formal roof treatment was designed by ASC (American Sunroof Company). Chrysler marketed the Fifth Avenue editions as the most luxurious versions of the LeBaron and New Yorker.  With the demise of the R body in 1982 Chrysler did what any cash strapped, struggling 80’s car company, would do…  They shuffled names.  The LeBaron moved to the K platform and New Yorker took over the M platform…  Downsizing on the cheap (by 83 the base New Yorker would move to the new E (read stretched K) platform.  The M body Fifth Ave. was a huge success for Chrysler, it’s distinctive “formal look” embodying 80’s downsized luxury. The Fifth Avenue handily outsold the Diplomat and Grand Fury twins ( those two were predominantly sold to Police departments and Taxi fleets) and was one of Lee Iaccoca’s most profitable cars.  I still see a fair number of them on the road.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Easy way to start an argument between cops: go on a cop-car forum and say that the Panther was a worthy replacement for the R-body and M-body Chryslers.

    • 0 avatar

      You don’t have to visit a forum. Just go where cops buy donuts, or have breakfast, and ask an older cop if he remembered the last of the big R-body Newports. More than a couple PDs kept some of those 360-4 bbl Newports into the mid-90s. I saw just such a discussion a few weeks ago, as an old-timer waxed poetic about the ride, handling and acceleration of the Newport to younger cops who knew only the panthers.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Hey to be fair very few New Yorkers were built with slant 6s.  In fact I’ve never seen one with a slant 6 for sale during the last few years that I’ve been looking at them.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I don’t know that Chrysler ever had as much brand to dilute as Cadillac. To me at least, Chryslers have always been Dodges with better seats and extra chrome- pretty much what Lincoln/Mercury was to Ford for most of the last decade.

  • avatar

    It looks exactly like the red one I did an CC Deadly Sin on:
    But I’ve granted absolution to the M-Body when I found this pristine Dodge Diplomat:

  • avatar

    My dad had one of these.  To be fair, it was a velour luxobarge – i thought it was silly looking, but it was emblematic of a moment in time.  Power was nonexistant, but you were inside a cocoon, so it didnt matter.

    I like junkyards.  Here in Philadelphia, one way to get into the city from the airport is past a huge metal recycler.  There are large piles of brown stuff all over, and one enorrmous pile of pre-digested junk being picked over by the hungry mouth if a crane.  Bathtubs, washers and dryers, assorted brown bits and construction debris…  and more often then not cars sticking out at odd angles here and there.  Splashes of color and form  – irs surreal. Fronts and rear ends, oversize ’70’s bumpers here and there.   People coming into the city by that route are often put off by such an anachronistic victorain era sight. They want to get to their lovely squeaky clean hotels and start drinking martinis.  I assure them that this is a good thing, recycling, right??  Ya they say, roll their eyes and turn their heads.  Not me.  I am identifying cars from the bits I can see.  They are on the conveyer belt of their metallic lives, towards the end and rebirth.  Ok i will stop with the metaphors now.

  • avatar

    Still better than the K based one –
    or the Dynasty based –

  • avatar

    I have to give the LeBaron/5th Ave a pass as well, based on the totally fricked-up standards of the time…

    At it’s birth in the early 80’s, we were probably at the nadir of the malaise era, and while some interesting/improved cars were about to drop… the ’79 oil crisis, still limited CAM/CAM technologies, bad economy, and increasing CAFE standards all combined together to reek havoc on the industry.

    The “gilded Volare” actually WAS pretty posh inside, and though it was a slavish copy of the original 75-79 Seville, like that Seville, it offered traditional American luxury in a compact size using familiar, proven technologies.

    This was an early ‘near luxury’ car…not nearly the prestige of a Cad or Lincoln, but still upscale enough to sell like (relative) hotcakes.

  • avatar

    Well, what WAS the best american made car of the malaise era in terms of reliability? driveability? Attention to assembly details at the factory?

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say probably the big Mercury Marquis in both Panther and pre-downsized forms. They always seemed to be put together more carefully than their Ford cousins and at least to my knowledge were quite reliable.

    • 0 avatar

      Good question. Probably it was a truck.
      Cars? I’d say maybe the late Chrysler A-bodies, or possibly the full-sized Chevrolets.

    • 0 avatar

      Having owned a 1975 Duster 360, I can tell you that the best-built malaise cars sure weren’t the late A-body Mopars. Yes, it was mechanically sturdy and reliable. However, the overall assembly quality was poor and the interior was downright shoddy. Not only that, but the car was a serious rust magnet. A good friend had a slant six ’75 Dart hardtop with the same faults.
      It wouldn’t have been Dodge or GM trucks either. Ford trucks were generally somewhat better.

    • 0 avatar

      A-body?? Only if you lived on an island where rust didn’t exi…. oh.

  • avatar

    Everything else aside, that’s a mighty cool mirror that New Yorker is sporting.  Nice pic.  If you happened to walk away with the “Combustion Computer”, I have a space reserved for it in a server rack, what with April Fools coming up.

  • avatar

    Hell in Upstate, NY most Corollas started disintigrating after 2 Winters. The funny part is that one could easily take a car like this, keep it serviced and have it go 500K miles on the original engine and transmission. I have seen it numerous times. The Slant 6 was near indestructable if treated with anything resembling kindness and the 940 tranny was equally good. The so called Malaise era did produce some crap but i would put these on that list. GM’s B-body cars were probably the best all around from 1977- 1990. I knew loads of Caprice Classic/ Impala owners that put 200K or more reliable miles on there Chevys with the nornal carb rebuilds and service, same with Delta 88’s and LeSabres. Fords Panther line from 1979- 1990 were also good cars. Detroit built solid well made large cars.

  • avatar

    @bumpy, prior to the introduction of the lebaron in 77 chryslers always had different bodies than dodges. They shared suspensions and mechanicals, which was a good thing, but they had their own distinct body panels and interiors, save for some glass.
    Dan, a 4bbl intake manifold from any 340-360 will bolt right onto a 318, as they are the same engine design.  That is why all aftermarket manifolds designed for the small block chrysler such as edelbrocks and holleys say” for small block chrysler”, because they fit all of them.
    Murilee, I would hardly call the chevy the best car of the 70’s. They ate camshafts and burned/leaked oil and had undersized turbo 350 trannies. 

  • avatar

    Howdy folks ! I was wondering if anyone could help me. I’ve got an ’82 Chrysler New Yorker with the inline 6, 225 ci engine. The problem that I am having with it is the idle which is very rough and when the engine is cold the darn thing just dies but once she is underway it’s fine. I would appreciate any advice you could throw my way.

    Thanks, Kane in Canada

  • avatar

    Buster Brew said “(by 83 the base New Yorker would move to the new E (read stretched K) platform…”

    True, only for one model year, 1982, was the Chrysler M-body called ‘New Yorker 5th Ave’. MM posted a new ‘junkyard’ article that infers the 1989-93 was the only K based New Yorker, but 1983-88 were beforehand.

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