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A Look at the Early Chrysler New Yorkers

A Look at the Early Chrysler New Yorkers

Posted by Collectors Auto Supply on May 28th 2020

The Chrysler New Yorker was produced by Chrysler from 1940 to 1996. It got its name from a trim level called the “New York Special” in 1938. The New Yorker name officially debuted in 1939.

The New Yorker name is what helped Chrysler gain the reputation as the maker of upscale cars that were priced and equipped above Ford, Chevy and Dodge but below the top-of-the-line luxury brands like Cadillac, Packard and Lincoln.

While the New Yorker was in production its main competitors were the upper-level models from Oldsmobile, Buick and Mercury. When it was finally discontinued in 1996 it earned the status as the longest-running American car nameplate.


The first car bearing the New Yorker name had an all new body design and was available in a convertible model too. 1941 had a slightly redesigned body style and the business coupe was a three-window design. As America entered World War II in 1941, all production ceased and thus making the 1942 model one of the years with the fewest production numbers.


After the war, the New Yorker was no longer a version of the Imperial, it became a separate series. There weren’t a lot of major body changes but the one that stood out most was the new “harmonica” grill. The 1947 model had a few small changes with the tires, instrument panel and trim but generally, the models remained unchanged.


The 1949 New Yorker used Chrysler’s new body style which was also the same one used by Dodge and DeSoto. 1950 saw the introduction of the two-door hardtop called the Special Club and for safety, a padded dashboard was introduced.

The 1953 New Yorker was a little less bulky, had a one-piece windshield that was curved and the rear fenders were integrated into the body. The convertible of this year was the most expensive of the models coming in at $3,980. Only 950 convertibles were made in 1953. 1954 was the last year Chrysler offered the long wheelbase sedan.


In 1955 the high roofline was no longer a desirable feature so a sleeker smoother looking New Yorker was born. Engine output increased to 250 horsepower which would be a trend for Chrysler (and their competitors) moving forward for the next two decades. The base model of the New Yorker was dubbed the New Yorker Deluxe and the club coupe was replaced by the Newport 2 door hardtop.

In 1956 the new design was called the PowerStyle and was designed by Virgil Exner. New this year was the mesh grille, leather seats and a Hemi V8 with 280 horsepower.

Amazingly, this year also saw the introduction of 16 ⅔ rpm record player. It was mounted under the dash and was called Highway Hi-Fi. The Town and Country Wagon was at the top of the scale as far as price goes. That model tipped the scales at $4,523.


The 1957 model experienced another redesign by Virgil Exner. This new design was dubbed the Forward Look. The engine got bigger again, this time at 392 cu. In. with 325 horsepower. As with a lot of cars in 1957, this model sported fins that swept up right behind the front doors.

In 1958 the model changed slightly with smaller headlights. Sales dipped slightly due to the 1958 recession and a recurring problem of rust sullied the reputation of this fine car.

The last model of the decade had an even larger engine coming in at 413 cu. in. and 350 horsepower. The 1959 model also received new tailfins, a redesigned front end and the Hemi was gone. It was replaced by a less expensive (but lighter) wedge head system.

With the end of the Hemi the New Yorker rebranded itself. No longer having the reputation as a performance car, the New Yorker was now a “luxury car” with a similar style to the Imperial of 1958.

Do you need classic New Yorker parts or Chrysler restoration parts? Select your year make and model from the home page to see what’s available.