This morning I was perusing the FB group, Finding Future Classic Cars, and my Brougham Radar immediately locked onto this fine 1966 New Yorker offered on Boise Craigslist, complete with the ‘earmuff’ style vinyl accents on the C-pillars. I’ve always liked the 1965-66 Chryslers. Styled by Elwood Engel, late of Ford Motor Company, his designs were strikingly rectangular, but elegant. And if you think 1961 Continental in profile, that’s not a coincidence, he was involved with that car as well.
Sometimes, a name can be more important to success than the actual thing itself-at least when it comes to cars. Chrysler’s premium Cadillac fighter, the Imperial, a separate marque from 1955-1975, is such an example. Intended to move Chrysler Corporation more into Cadillac and Lincoln territory, it never really took off despite attractive design and plenty of luxury features. But for many, it was always a “Chrysler Imperial,” and thus not as prestigious as a Continental or Fleetwood Brougham. That was what ultimately brought the Imperial as a marque to a grinding halt in 1975. Funny thing, though. The car itself continued. As the ‘new’ Chrysler New Yorker Brougham.
The chronic Mopar misfortune held steady through the ’70s. In 1974, all their new full-size C-bodies, from the Plymouth Fury to the Imperial LeBaron, were redone with more formal and Broughamier sheetmetal. Although not drastically different size-wise from their fuselage predecessors, they looked bigger. And when the gas crisis hit in late 1973, just as the ’74s were debuting, Chrysler got screwed–again. Despite the company’s continuing bad luck, all their new models were attractive despite styling cribbed directly from GM–something especially noticeable in the Plymouth Fury’s Oldsmobile 88 cues, and in the Dodge Monaco, which looked suspiciously like a 1973 Buick LeSabre.
At the top of the heap was the C-body full-size Imperial LeBaron, arguably the most attractive car of the bunch–as well it should have been, considering its premium $7,200-7,800 pricing. The Imperial’s 124″ wheelbase was the same as lesser New Yorkers and Newports, but the car itself was longer overall and featured exclusive hidden headlights; button-tufted upholstery, in velour or optional leather; and four-wheel disc brakes.
But it didn’t sell: After selling just 14,483 1974 models and a mere 8,830 ’75s, the Imperial finally left the building. Well, until 1981, but that’s a story for another time. Continue Reading →
NOTE: A friend of mine, Mike Batch Kirouac, who penned the Olds Diesel article earlier this year, has given me the green light on running some of his other posts from the other site. His favorite car is the 1966 Chrysler, and he owns several-which you’ll see more of in the near future. Enjoy. -TK
Elwood Engel left Ford Motor Company in 1961 to succeed Virgil Exner as head of styling at Chrysler. The 1965 Chrysler–which essentially evolved the Engel design language created for the 1961 Lincoln Continental–was his first “clean sheet” production car design for Chrysler. The 1966 refresh was, in my opinion, an improvement on the ’65s that provided greater differentiation between the base Newport (Windsor, in Canada), sporty 300 and high-end New Yorker models, all of which shared most of their sheet metal.
The Chrysler New Yorker was finally redesigned in Autumn ’78. While it may not have been quite as massive and ornate as its 1974-78 predecessors, the new R-body (and its siblings, the Newport and St. Regis) was still luxurious, albeit in a smaller size.
The Chrysler New Yorker was, once Imperial became a separate marque in 1955, the top of the line Chrysler. The most chrome, the flossiest interior trim, and the most standard features-and available options. And naturally, the New Yorker convertible was the flashiest of them all.
In 1961, the New Yorker convertible was the flamboyantly finny and fine glamour queen. Fantastic. And rare. Exceptionally rare, as a matter of fact. To the tune of 576 convertibles built.
Back in June of 2013 the Antique Automobile Club of America decided to have their Grand National Meet right here in the Quad Cities, in downtown Moline. I was excited, because in general, AACA shows have some pretty cool cars, and no hot rods or customs. Ha ha! No 2016 Mustangs, Resale Red 1969 Camaros, and restomod Challangers would be there! Excellent. There were many fine cars at this event, but my favorite car is the subject of today’s post: The fin-tastic 1961 New Yorker Town & Country.
Well! I started off this morning planning on writing up a friend’s simply fantastic 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. But then, I logged onto The American Brougham Society today at lunch and saw that the proprietor of the Broughamiest FB group around had posted pictures of this simply sensational 1978 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham. I love these cars, a lot. Wrote one up on the old site some years back, and fully intend to do a full writeup here on RG eventually. But just look at the color combination! Holy moly! I had to share this immediately! Continue Reading →
For some reason, I’ve always skewed toward American luxury cars. With the exception of Porsches and Volvos, that is-blame my parents and their cars for that one. But as a kid, watching 1980s TV, I always wanted the black Cadillacs, Town Cars and Fifth Avenues the bad guys drove, not Magnum’s 308GTB or Michael Knight’s talking Trans Am. You can probably blame that one on my grandparents, my Grandma Ruby’s 1977 Thunderbird and Grandpa Bob’s navy blue 1977 Continental Mark V saw to it.
One of the earliest memories I have of car shows was when my mom and dad took me to the June Jamboree, a car show and festival in town back in about 1986 or 1987. I would have been about seven. The only car I remember, and have strong memories of, was a gigantic black 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special. Even more imposing when you’re four feet tall.
Fast forward thirty years and I still love vintage domestic lux rolling stock. And with all my car buddies near and far, I never know what I’ll get to check out next. Case in point: K V Dahl, a friend of mine who just happens to also be the local Ford dealer, got a blue 1962 Continental convertible about a year ago. I’ve been wanting to write it up for a while, and though I had some pictures of it, I wanted to get some beauty shots of the car sitting outside. K V said we could definitely do that. So back in May I called him up and said, “Hey, I’d like to get some shots of the Connie sometime this week if you’re around.” To which he responded, “Well sure, but you should see what I got this week in Indianapolis!” “What?” “A 1960 New Yorker convertible. It’s sitting out front of the dealership right now. Wanna stop by?” *long pause* “I’m on the way!”
(Note: Another post by my friend Carmine -TK) In their 1989 hit Love Shack, Fred Schneider of the B-52’s sings about having “a car as big as a whale…a Chrysler, it seats about 20.” Well, Fred, I had a Chrysler that could seat about six…and it just might have been the best and cheapest beater I ever owned.