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.
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.
On Monday, I asked you to tell me about vehicles that improved greatly compared to the prior generation; new models which were instantly and vastly superior to their predecessor.
Today, we’re going to flip it and talk about generational failures. Which vehicles were downgrades compared to the previous generation?
It was impossible to escape the word “Turbo” in the 1980s.
There were Turbo Aviators and Turbo Hoover vacuums. Turbo was a character on American Gladiators. There was even Turbo chewing gum, which came with a cool mini car poster wrapper. Turbo was a helluva drug in the 1980s, and Chrysler took note.
BMW offered one turbocharged gasoline model. Porsche offered three. But Chrysler? Over a 10 year span, the Pentastar turbocharged its entire car lineup, bringing us some 20 turbocharged models powered by no less than six different variations of the 2.2- and 2.5-liter inline-fours.
An investor and analyst argued in column that appears in the New Yorker that Volkswagen engineers may have rationalized illegal behavior by incrementally cheating up to the infamous levels uncovered by researchers last year.
Using the catastrophic failure of the space shuttle Challenger as an example, Paul Kedrosky wrote that “normalization of deviance” could have led Volkswagen engineers to systemically cheat on emissions in the same way engineers rationalized colder and colder launches for the space shuttle until it finally disintegrated in 1986 because of failed, cold o-rings.
It’s more likely that the scandal is the product of an engineering organization that evolved its technologies in a way that subtly and stealthily, even organically, subverted the rules.
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.
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- Jeff S I rented a 2012 Chrysler 200 with the 4 cylinder from Enterprise for business travel and it was not a bad car but I would not buy one. I would have picked a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or a Ford Fusion over a Chrysler 200. I have known people that bought Chrysler 200s that had nothing but problems with them. I appreciate these old reviews and miss the old TTAC before it became what it is now with many articles that are slanted toward politics. Don't have to agree with everything but it is good to read an honest review of a car.
- Jeff S The Cybertruck was first unveiled and announced on Nov. 21, 2019. For over 3 years Tesla has been saying that this truck was going to be released soon. The mystique and surprise is no longer there. I think the Cybertruck is hideous but then I am not the target for this. Since its initial unveiling there has been the introduction of the Lightning, Hummer, and the Rivian truck. The anticipation of this truck and the mystique has faded. There will be a few that will buy this because they are hard core Tesla fans and some because it is different but Tesla should have been the first to market an EV pickup. GM is planning a compact EV pickup under the GMC brand starting at 25 MSRP. This should have been Tesla and Tesla could have downsized the Cybertruck to either a midsize or compact truck and been first. Tesla should have been first at the very least to release a smaller EV truck.
- Bloke Wow, this should make a big difference, to those catalytic converter thieves who don't have tools like 'angle grinders' with them.
- Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
- Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.