By on May 19, 2012

The Chrysler New Yorker has been a constant in the Junkyard Find series, from this genuinely luxurious ’64 to this Slant Six-powered New Yorker-ized Dodge Diplomat. The most recent New Yorker used the good-looking but shoddy LH Platform, but between the Diplomat and the LH were the K-Car-based New Yorkers. By 1989, the K platform had been stretched out, huge contracts with the largest diamond-tucked velour upholstery company Chrysler could find had been written up, and truckloads of “crystal pentastar” hood ornaments and steering-wheel emblems were being unloaded at Chrysler assembly plants.
Yes, the 1989 Chrysler New Yorker with landau roof!
This one smells like an ashtray inside a Porta-Potty inside a potato-chip factory that’s on fire, but imagine the class when it was new.
I am very tempted to remove this exquisitely dated Digital Instrument Panel™, with its Electronic Voice Alert™ system, rigging it up to function on my garage wall, but I’m already behind on doing the same thing with this even more 1980s Mitsubishi Cordia digital cluster.
The low humidity in Denver means that most cars don’t rust, but the high-altitude sun is murder on vinyl tops. This once-stately Landau roof isn’t looking so sharp today.
The integration of the center brake light was done pretty well by late-80s standards.
I seem to recall that a certain Japanese car company whose name starts with the letter M was the true source for this engine, but Chrysler decided to badge it with their own name.
New Yorker!

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50 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau...”

  • avatar

    If I had the room for another car, I wouldn’t mind finding a clean M-body (i.e. Diplomat) New Yorker/Fifth Avenue and doing a 5.7L Hemi/545RFE swap into it. It would be the ultimate sleeper and a rolling living room on wheels…

    That said, these K-car based “luxury” cars are just an embarassment. Even the ’80’s FWD Cadillacs were better than this.

    • 0 avatar

      I wanted to do the reverse – swap a Fifth Avenue interior into a Diplomat ex-cop car. Alas, both were already becoming hard to find by the time this idea had hatched.

      My father-in-law left us the “champagne” colored version of this, with the maroon interior that looked like the inside of a clarinet case. After its voice told me that the plastic radiator had sprung a leak I traded it on a 1984 RX7 that I still own.

  • avatar

    Cool crystal pentastars!

    Wow! 1989 and landau roof. By that time I thought that those things were the mark of old cars and hence old men. I was 18, so…

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Those are indeed cool. The Lebaron also had them.

      GM sold some versions of the Century in Vzla right until they facelifted the car and rounded the rear end. It looked better than that thing, though.

    • 0 avatar

      It was Lee Iaccoca himself who insisted that the FWD 1988 New Yorker and Dodge Dynasty be so upright-looking and old-fashioned. While the cars sold decently enough, they made Chrysler look very backward-looking compared to all the aero Fords.

    • 0 avatar

      For 1990, a Salon version that was basically a Dynasty with slightly different grille and taillights and no landau roof became available to supposedly replace the Caravelle. The next year it adopted the standard New Yorker front and rear ends, minus the vinyl.

    • 0 avatar

      The domestic near-luxury makes were the last ones to abandon things like vinyl roofs, opera lights, and button tucked upholstery. In 1989, you could still get most of that on an Oldsmobile or Buick. The target market for cars in that class was the blue hair crowd, and that’s what they still wanted.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford to its credit tried to wean buyers away from landau roofs. The completely-restyled 1990 Lincoln Town Car didn’t offer a factory vinyl roof even as a option, nor did the 1992 big Ford and Mercury. However, dealers rushed in to fill the gap with third-party add-on roof treatments.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The best thing about these vehicles is that they are so anachronistic and retro cool that you can whitewash the ownership experience.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s hard to believe one of these could be retro cool to today’s teens, but it’s true. A high school kid down my street has one, given to him by his uncle when he got his license. The uncle must have had it reconditioned because it’s mint. It must be a chick magnet, because he always has a couple girls in the car. When I saw the fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror, it brought a tear to my eye. Despite what you’ve heard, the youth car culture isn’t completely dead.

  • avatar

    That torn up vinyl roof really looks like a cheap toupee blown away by a sudden gust of wind…

  • avatar

    “This one smells like an ashtray inside a Porta-Potty inside a potato-chip factory that’s on fire, but imagine the class when it was new.”

    That caused coffee to get spit on my keyboard and health insurance bill…

  • avatar

    What about the Visa/Mastercard/Discover decal in the back window? Was this a gypsy cab at the end?

  • avatar

    Around this time, my Dad was getting a new company car. He’d been getting Buicks since the late 70s, but the company decided to go with a local Dodge dealer this time around. He had a choice of the brand new Dynasty, which looked like this New Yorker, or a Diplomat, which had been around for at least a decade. He chose the Diplomat because it had a V8. Younger me was so disappointed that he chose to drive an “old man car”.

  • avatar

    I worked in Chrysler cottomer sevis in the late 90s and these things were notorious for crappy ABS systems that cost thousands to repair…apart from the typical crappy chrysler trannies and AC systems.

  • avatar

    Looks like not only does the high altitude sun do damage to the vinyl, but the dry conditions don’t help matters either.

    This one looks to have been maintained reasonably well for much of its life. I wonder if it was a salesman’s car towards the end?

    The body looks straight and the interior looks pretty decent, save for the weathered elements, such as the Landau roof and to a lesser extent, the paint this one appears to have lived a long, and productive life until the end.

  • avatar

    This looks to be in pretty darn good shape beyond the foul odors and destroyed landau top.

  • avatar

    Why does the grille disappear from one picture to the next?

    And I’ve always wanted to make my living room furniture out of Malaise Era/’80s Chrysler seats…..I’ll wait for a perfect set in leather.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    An uncle of mine had one of these also an 89. Black w/ bordello red Mark Cross interior. Served him well for several years till the notoriously bad 4 speed Auto OD transmission gave way. Traded it in for the reliable retirement community standby Toyota Avalon which he special ordered with a bench seat and still owns to this day.

  • avatar

    I happen to own one of the last of the “real” New Yorkers, a 78 Brougham 2 door in augusta green.

    • 0 avatar

      Nice, someone a few streets up used to have a very nice white ’76 coupe all original where I grew up.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a white 76 back in the day with the red leather interior and St. Regis top with coach lamps. It got sold shortly after I married my first wife, I could kick myself. My 78 has the velour, which is cool but I like the leather better. I like the green, but the white on red is by far my favorite, as well as black with white interior, which a friend of mine has.

  • avatar

    Love those seats. If I could find some like that that didn’t smell, I would put those in my van. Reminds me of the seats in my ’75 Olds 98 Regency 2 dr sedan.

  • avatar

    “…but between the Diplomat and the LH were the K…” [1988-93]

    This ’89 was not the first FWD K based New Yorker. The 1983-87 NY’er was on E body [stretched K].

    Only one year, 1982, was the RWD M-body called “NY’er 5th Ave”. Then, was simply called “5th Ave” from 83-89.

    BTW: 1979-81 was R body NY’er.

  • avatar

    I love this style of rolling bordello cars, even though they were probably awful to drive and own. We never got this style of car after about 1978 in Australia, so they seem so wonderfully exotic and louche!

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Actually they were great highway cars, and those seats were unbelievably comfortable, even more in the Mark Cross versions. I took quite a few in trade with high miles, resold them, and never had a complaint. For those who may say these were POS’s, I still see a few of them around, so they can’t have been all that bad…

  • avatar

    This is basically a fussy version of the Dynasty, which I have always called the “Dodge St. Petersburg” after a trip to that part of Florida in the early 90’s where I found that they made up almost 50 percent of the cars on the road.

  • avatar

    I remember going to the dealership and looking at these. Even that the dealership they were awful and uninteresting.

    Nothing has changed about that other than people actually bought them. They felt like a cheap K-car dolled up but they still felt awfully cheap.

    At least the Cadillacs from the same time period were wonderfully silent inside, these didn’t even do that.

  • avatar

    I don’t care how fussy and old-fashioned they might have been, I would LOVE to have one of these in my garage!!!

    My parents had a loaded 1988 Dynasty LE…I soooo wanted that to be my first car. Alas, it didn’t happen.

    • 0 avatar

      K-car or not they (and Dynasty) had very traditional design cues which appealed to me in high school and beyond. Trick now is finding one that isn’t destroyed because they all went the teen driver or beater route in these parts. An Imperial (FWD) would be a nice sub $1500 toy to have, once in a great while I see one of those or a K-car New Yorker on craigslist… usually destroyed though.

      Actually Mopar fans there’s a 64 New Yorker 413/4bbl for $2800 and a clean looking red 81 Imperial for $1300 both not far outside of Pittsburgh on CL.

      Bustleback… *shudders*

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Oddly enough, the Imperials weren’t as nice. I don’t know if it was the extra length front and back, but they really handled poorly in comparison to the New Yorkers.

      • 0 avatar
        19 Pinkslips

        There’s a mint green ’79 Newport for sale for $2000 on my street. I had to drive by 3 times to figure out what it was. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen one.

        Oh those bustlebacks are so odd, a fuelie 318!!!

  • avatar

    My Grandmother had one similar to this, a white 1991 Fifth Avenue with a red velour interior, tufted seats, and all. Bought new, I was 14 at the time. It followed two Diplomat-based Fifth Avenues (the latter with a driver-side airbag), which followed a 1978 Pontiac Bonneville, silver with a red interior (first car I remember).

    It had a warning chime to let you know you’ve left the turn signal on too long when moving, always wondered why other cars didn’t adopt this.

    I believe it being the Fifth Avenue model meant that it was the long wheelbase model, with the opera window fixed into the rear door behind the roll-down (Mercedes refers to them as “crank” despite their power function) window.

    However this one appears to have quite a few goodies that hers didn’t, such as digital instrument cluster, automated climate control, memory driver seat, and power passenger seat, to name a few. Probably the first car I ever noticed with more than four speakers in the stereo (or speaker grilles at least).

    Don’t remember what motor hers had as I only saw the hood up once, but it was larger than 3.0l. Numbers were a bit hard to read, perhaps 3.3l, did they have a 3.8l?

    I understand sometime around 1996 it was ran low on oil and trashed the motor. It was replaced that year with a new Bonneville, white on blue cloth, with a bench seat (only egg shaped Bonneville I’ve seen with a bench seat) and C68 climate control. Replaced a few years ago with a (used) 2002 Bonneville. I’ve always thought it was cool she returned to Bonneville after so long.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      80’s Buick Centurys and Olds Cutlass Cieras also had that turn signal warning chime.

      These New Yorkers could be ordered with 3.0 and 3.3 liter engines, I think the 3.8L only came in the Imperial, but I may be wrong.

  • avatar

    Man that looks pretty nice,I just got my licence 2 weeks ago,my gf loves my NYer most of the other kids don’t like it because its a “grandma car” until I completely cream a kid in a honda civic,then everybody likes it.haha. I own an 86 2.2 turbo with all the options with EVA,and a 1989 landau as well! The electronic voice alert was dicontinued when chrysler changed from the smaller NYer to the Bigger full sized sedan in 1988. There is a 1988 NYer in a junk yard here,its red in untouched condition,its killing me, the carpet has not a speck of dirt,I could eat off the engine,its that clean not a scratch dent or anything wrong with it. Nothing has been pulled off of ot yet,just the tires,it has 25,000 miles,the sticker on the original winsheild reads “runs and drives”.the spare tire and jack have never been used. I want to strangle pick a part as they do not sell cars out of the yard ounce they enter,they don’t leave. Have fun with that 89,there so easy to restore and look great going down the road, be careful with the ultradrive transaxle,they had their faults, I would reccomend changing the trans fluid to mopar 7176 fluid as the dexron fluid they reccomend on the dipstick ruins the tranny.good luck with her!

  • avatar
    19 Pinkslips

    My partner had one of these, it was a ’91 Fifth Ave New Yorker(ie stretched) black with red tufted leather, it was PIMP! The backseat was HUGE for a K-car. Enormous amounts of legroom. It drove and rode terrible, felt like what it was, a stressed out Aires K. It had the reasonably peppy 3.3 which was still in it’s teething stages and the rocker arm shaft bolts backed out and eventually bent the shaft and broke the pedestal off the head!! I had fixed one of these before by drilling through the pedestal and putting a helicoil in the head and did the same with this car. Kept on chugging until it was passed on at 160k miles. Original Ultradrive trans too! Still wish he had bought a similar era DeVille instead.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    These actually weren’t bad cars for what they were. But it was flat out wrong to slap the New Yorker nameplate on it, and even worse slapping the Imperial name on it. Newport would have been ok. I happen to be a New Yorker -Imperial guy. I own a 63 Imperial Lebaron 4 door hardtop, 72 Imperial Lebaron 4 door and the aforementioned 78 New Yorker Brougham.

  • avatar

    I live in Zurich, Switzerland, and there’s an ivory Dodge St. Regis sedan I see from time to time working as a taxi. I know the fuel costs must be horrendous (then again we have Mercedes S600 V12 taxis here!) on that car but I’m surprised it held up so well.

    An American friend once told me any American car from the mid-1970s onwards was “designed to self-destruct within three years…”

  • avatar

    The sheer Panache of a K-Car like luxury with fake suede seats and petroleum based trim. And to top it off, a Visasticker in the back window. The Class people…….. THE CLASS!

  • avatar

    Love it! There’s a gold 1991 model near my work on a lot. Finally dropped by to look at it. It’s gold with beige leather Mark Cross interior. It would be a nice resto-project if it wasn’t for the salvage title that comes with it.

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