When Lee Iacocca’s K-cars finally hit American showrooms for the 1981 model year, the ax that had seemed poised over Chrysler’s neck for much of the late 1970s seemed to pull back. For model year 1983, a stretched version of the K chassis became the basis of such luxurious machines as the Dodge 600, Plymouth Caravelle, and Chrysler E-Class. Just to confuse everybody, the New Yorker line bifurcated that year, with the New Yorker Fifth Avenue remaining on the same platform as the rear-wheel-drive Dodge Diplomat and the regular New Yorker becoming an E-platform sibling to the 600/E-Class/Caravelle. Here’s one of those first-year New Yorkers, found in very clean condition in a Denver-area self-service yard last week.
Today’s Rare Ride was commonplace a couple of decades ago, but it’s one of those cars by and large ruined via neglectful owners, inattentive build quality from the factory, and BHPH lots.
Come along as we learn about the most luxurious Chrysler LH sedan of the Nineties.
It’s unofficially been Chrysler Time around the Rare Rides pages lately, and another Chrysler product follows up the New Yorker and Conquest. It was much more important product than either of those two, however, and it signified the end of one of Chrysler’s divisions.
Picture it: 1995, Eagle Vision.
Rare Rides has featured plenty of Chrysler vehicles before, and some of them were even as large as today’s range-topping sedan. But none of them had quite as much trim as today’s subject.
From the last gasp of the truly full-size offerings from domestic manufacturers, it’s the 1979 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition.
Ford really set the standard for designer-edition luxury cars during the late 1970s, with the Lincoln Mark V available with Superfly-grade styling by Bill Blass, Givenchy, Emilio Pucci, and Cartier. The competition scoured the world for competing designers, with even AMC getting into the act, and Chrysler signed up Mark Cross for some glitzed-up luxury cars based on stretched variants of the aging K Platform.
Here’s a 1989 Mark Cross Edition New Yorker Landau, spotted in a Denver self-service yard a couple of weeks ago.
The New Yorker provides us with a nice history of Chrysler’s postwar luxury ambitions, and examples demonstrating various facets of this history are plentiful in self-service wrecking yards. We’ve seen this ’53, this ’64, this ’82, this ’85, this ’89, this ’90, and this ’92 so far, and today were adding another K-car-based New Yorker to the collection.
Nearly 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.
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.
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 Chrysler New Yorker went through many variations during the television era, from Warsaw Pact-crushing expression of capitalist triumph to Slant-Six-powered Dodge Diplomat sibling to snazzy-looking LH. Along the way, Chrysler’s marketers created a series of TV ads that now tell the Thirty Years of New Yorker story. Let’s check out a sampling of those ads.
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.
The last junked New Yorker we saw left something of a bad taste in my mouth, what with its not-very-luxurious Late Malaise Era overtones and general air of diminished expectations. Let’s all admire a real New Yorker, a car that looks classy even when propped on crude jackstands and awaiting consumption by The Crusher.
Traditionally, when Detroit mass-produces luxury, it stamps out heraldic crests and classy-sounding names by the ton. Back in the day, the East Saginaw Lux-U-Ree Works worked three shifts belting out chrome-plated pot-metal emblems for the Big Three, but everything had gone to plastic by the Reagan era. I had forgotten about Salon-edition cars until last week, when I spotted this one at a Denver wrecking yard.
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