Junkyard Find: 1985 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

After presenting the Broughamic Treasury of Chrysler New Yorker Commercials earlier this month, I’ve had my eyes open for interesting junkyard specimens of Chrysler’s upscale on-and-off flagship. Chrysler hasn’t built a New Yorker since the LH-based 1994-96 models; before that there was the K-Car-based New Yorker, and before that came the Dodge Diplomat- based version. Actually, there was some overlap between the K-Car New Yorker and the Diplomat-based New Yorker in the middle 1980s, with the latter version badged as simply the Fifth Avenue.

The reliable-but-not-so-luxurious Slant Six engine was no longer available in the Fifth Avenue by 1985 (the 318-cubic-inch V8 was standard) which made its $13,978 price tag (about $10,500 less than that of the 1985 BMW 5 Series) look pretty good.

Still, it looks about 95% similar to the Dodge Diplomat, which was the car used by about 60% of American police departments throughout much of the decade.

The K-based New Yorker was about a grand cheaper, had a comfier ride, and got better fuel economy, but the rear-wheel-drive Fifth Avenue was tougher and more in line with traditional postwar American automotive design.

Which would you have bought?

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Nov 30, 2012

    Had one. A 1989 Gran Fury squad from a county in Wyoming. 318, in white of course. Friend of mine had one of these, in maroon. Tried to get it going again, but had little time or motivation.

  • Markholli Markholli on Dec 06, 2012

    "What a BEAUTIFUL New Yorker...It's the talk of the town" I don't know how I missed this Junkyard Find. My Dad had a 1980 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country for several years. For those who are not familiar, it was a wagon verson of this same car with "wood" paneling. We referred to it as "the woody." I absolutely HATED the car. My dad got it for free from a guy who owed him some money. It was brown and was missing a hubcap. This was the 90's and I was in elementary school in a pretty well-off community. All of my friends parents had Jeeps, Lexii, Acuras, and Suburbans. I was embarrassed as hell when my mom or dad picked me up from school in this thing. Another funny memory: the whole time we owned the car the reverse was out. My dad would have to plan his parking very carefully to prevent having to back out. We lived on a hill, so when he got home he would pull the car up past the house, then roll backwards, gaining enough momentum to clear the slope between the street, sidewalk and the flat driveway.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.