By on May 9, 2013

03 - 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNearly a year has passed since we took a tour of the Brain-Melting Colorado Yard, and since that time I’ve shared such diamond-in-the-rough gems as this ’57 Chrysler Windsor, this ’52 Kaiser, this ’48 Pontiac Hearse, this ’51 Nash Airflyte, and— of course— the ’41 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan that is now in the process of getting a Lexus SC400 suspension. I need to go back to this yard (which is located in the high desert to the east of Pikes Peak) soon, because the DMV tells me I need a notarized bill of sale to get a title for the ’41, and at that point I’ll photograph some more of the thousands of 1940-70 cars awaiting new owners. For now, let’s admire this ’53 New Yorker I shot last fall.
11 - 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe big “V” emblem on the hood means that this car came from the factory with a great big Firepower Hemi engine installed.
21 - 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnfortunately, the 331-cubic-inch, 180-horse Hemi in this car is long gone. Perhaps the engine went into a 1960s drag car.
12 - 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe single-digit humidity in this prickly-pear-covered landscape keeps the rust down, but the the sun is rough on paint and interiors.
20 - 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can still detect a bit of the original luxury inside.
18 - 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt wouldn’t be an impossible project to get a modern-ish drivetrain in this good-looking two-door, get the bodywork and interior done, and put it back on the road. Any volunteers?

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21 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1953 Chrysler New Yorker...”

  • avatar

    Now THAT is a starter motor.

    You aren’t right in the head if you didn’t see this on the main page and automatically start dreaming of a project car with all the drivetrain options, whether to leave the patina or clean it up, imaging summer evening cruising with the windows down and wind in your hair. Reality sucks.

  • avatar

    What a fantastic gauge cluster! But why did some goofus have to take a potshot at the window? That glass would be hard to replace, methinks.

  • avatar

    It has the right look and the right amount of doors. If it were nearby for the right price, I would heartily consider a gen 3 Hemi swap out of sheer principle.

  • avatar

    An automatic trans shifter and a clutch pedal? WTF over.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s Chrysler’s “Presto-Matic.” The economy and performance of an automatic, combined with the convenience of a manual. Or maybe vice-versa, but that seems unlikely.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m thinking it may just be a standard three-on-the-tree. In the underhood pic, you can make out what appears to be a standard clutch fork inside the trans bellhousing. Also, no seal or pump body for the torque converter to ride in.

        • 0 avatar

          Correct that, what someone has done is take the front portion of the bell-housing and torque converter setup and just left part of the diaphragm clutch setup used to disengage the fluid coupling as required to switch gears while moving. Guess that’s why the transmission appears so small and so far recessed into the firewall.

      • 0 avatar

        I had the cheaper Windsor version of this 2Dr sedan. Hemi V8 coupled to a 4 speed Fluid Drive. You had a clutch plus a fluid coupling. You floored the clutch pedal, put the column mounted shift into top gear, released the clutch, and drove off in second gear. Around 25 mph, you came off the gas, and an array of solenoids would shift you into fourth. Stopping caused a downshift back to second. If you wanted some real move from rest, you put the shift lever down and up; that started you in first with a shift to third. All shifts accompanied by a chorus of clicks. With those 180 horses towing about 3500 pounds, 0 to 60 was about 14 seconds. I never saw more than 14 mpg. The Windsor had mouse-fur seats that never wore out. Cushy, floaty ride. No cornering power at all. I wish I had it now.

  • avatar

    I know Chrysler had various types of automatic and semi-automatic transmissions starting with Fluid Drive in the 1940’s. I can’t figure out this set-up. There is what appears to be an automatic shift lever, but a clutch pedal. Also from under the hood it looks like a clutch fork and throw-out bearing. What is this?

    • 0 avatar

      This would have been an M6 Presto-Matic (TM) equipped car, Chrysler’s first fully automatic transmission (Powerflite) was still a year away when this New Yorker was built.

      Fluid Drive actually just the name for the fluid coupling, when it first came out, it was connected to an ordinary 3 speed manual, it wasn’t until later on that Chrysler started coming out with a few different semi-automatics to bolt up to the Fluid Drive coupling, and they went under a bunch of different brand names.

      The M6 was the last stage in the evolution of the semi auto before transitioning over to full automatic. The clutch pedal was still present, but it was now referred to as a “safety clutch” – it was only needed for shifting in/out of neutral and reverse, or for changing between “high” and “low” driving ranges. Each range had 2 speeds – a regular, driving gear and an overdrive gear, and the transmission could shift automatically between them, but you still needed the clutch to go between each range.

      Under normal driving conditions, you could start the car in high and just leave it there without ever having to shift, which is what most people did. There was a slight penalty in fuel economy and acceleration, but most drivers have absolutely hated shifting since the dawn of the automobile, so the typical ’50s driver saw that as an acceptable trade off.

  • avatar

    Eddie was a nostalgic guy.

    What a beautiful Saturday. Finally, Eddie had a free weekend to work on the Chrysler. He banged the door shut several times to get the latch to engage. He learned his lesson. He wouldn’t fall out of the car this time.
    The hemi roared to life with thunderous applause that tapered out to a chug-chug-chug from the blown out exhaust connections. It brought a smile to his face. He was pleased with his purchase. The AM radio warmed up after awhile and started emitting sound.

    “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

    Eddie cackled.

    Eddie passed one of them newfangled gas-sippin’ Caddilacs. The owner stood next to the open hood enraged as steam belched forth. Eddie cackled again. In Eddie’s eyes, he was laughing all the way to the bank. The gas crisis had sent everyone into a stupor. They were spending tons of cash on new cars in order to save money. They were throwing away nice cars over a few mpg’s. Nice cars, like Eddies Chrysler.

    It was time to get down to the business at hand. The 27 year old car was not without it’s faults. It had a sick Fluid-Torque. Eddie depressed the clutch and shifted to high range. He accelerated, and then lifted the gas pedal. Instead of the solid “Ker-thunk” of a shift, there was only a “whirrrrrrrr”. Eddie repeated the process over and over, attempting to get a different outcome. This is what Eddie would call “working on the car”. He was the type who would flick a light switch repeatedly until it worked once, then he would smile with satisfaction, and call that “a repair”. Eddie fusseled with transmission controls that were state-of-the-art in the 50’s. He was out of his element.

    At an intersection, the trans failed to downshift. He left it in high range. The hemi made do, but labored. He was passed by a Chevette Scooter. He was suddenly displeased with his purchase. He closed the wonky door for the last time. He picked up the phone and dialed the rotary encoder. He knew “a guy” who would at least give him something for it. He made a couple bucks for his trouble of owning the New Yorker for a month or so. “Hell, didn’t even have to fill her up.”

    The tow truck winched the front of the old mopar off the ground. Eddie thanked the nice man and accepted the cash. Eddie climbed into his rather nice 70′ Riviera he just picked up.
    “I’ll give you a call when this one craps out.”

  • avatar

    well with a registration sticker that reads sep 1979 i would think that the hemi made it at least that long. why do a double swap on an older vehicle?

    love, love, love the patina. unfortunately that would change quickly here in the midwest.

    gotta love the lines too. that is a cool ride.

    snicker of the day……. what a bulging hood you have. is that a hemi in there or are you just happy to see me?

  • avatar

    Going by the plate it was registered in Huerfano county, just south of Pueblo.

  • avatar

    My dad traded his Kaiser Henry J (don’t ask) in on a 1953 Chrysler 4 door sometime around 1956 or 1957. My little 8 year old mind thought it was the most amazing vehicle in the world and my dad owned it! Dad also liked the bizarre “I don’t know if I’m an auto or a manual” transmission. I remember my older sister being dropped off by the State Police after being busted for drag racing in the Chrysler. She never lost a race!

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    They weren’t slow. They raced cars like this in the Carrera Panamerica, and they did well. There’s a wonderful Youtube video of a 1951 New Yorker (same color as this one!) running in some kind of Carrera reenactment. Evidently it gets up to 115 mph on the straightaways.

  • avatar

    I thought the John Nash character in ‘A Beautiful Mind’ drove one of these but the IMCDb shows it to be a ’53 Windsor.

    Wonder why whoever yanked the V from the hood didn’t also take the one on the trunk. Seems pretty nice.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    A 53 New Yorker Deluxe was my 2nd car. Hy Drive was the semi auto, in the Windsors. Power flite , iirc, was the 2 speed auto in the NYer. Is that a Kaiser in background?

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Always wondered why Chrysler , a company known for stodgy styling but great engineering back in the late forties / early fifties took so long to develop a totally automatic transmission . Tho most of its competitors were pretty slow to do that also .

  • avatar
    Andy D

    The 3 speed Torque Flite was a darn fine transmission. Olds had the first 2 speed automatic ~ 1940. GM led in automagic in the 50’s but the base models were 2 speeds. My dream is to own a ’47 Dodge business coupe with Fluid Drive, Probably one of the nicest 3 on the trees. Or a Hudson with a cork wet clutch

    • 0 avatar

      I believe those original Hydramatics were 4 speeds with a simple fluid coupling. NDLR. There was no “Park” position; you could lock up the drivetrain by puttin the lever in reverse position. My 1947 Caddy had one – the dipstick/filler was under the front passenger floorboard; capacity was about 13 quarts! Very rugged; they may have seen service in Sherman tanks.

  • avatar

    This is one of many early Chryslers where they pulled the hemi and took the remains to the crusher where I rescued it.

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