There are many cars which embody everything that the Malaise Era was about, but few do it so well as the eighth generation Chrysler New Yorker. Or is that the Chrysler New Yorker Brougham. Wait, no it’s the Chrysler Imperial or is it just Imperial? Ok, lets sort this out real quick. Imperial was it’s own separate marquee for years, but with Chrysler’s economic woes coming to a head in 1973, it was clear that the end was nigh. The Imperial LeBaron rolled on the same platform as the Chrysler New Yorker for 1974 and 1975 before the nameplate was dropped all together and from 1976-1978, Imperials were now New Yorker Broughams. Brougham was now the sole trim level for the New Yorker and the previous New Yorker was now the Newport. If you’re confused, just imagine how buyers of the era felt. We have the internet to help sort all of this out, those folks just had a guy in a polyester suit with greasy hair.
Regardless of what it was called, at 232.7 inches long the New Yorker was truly a land yacht, a living room on wheels, a rolling representation of 1970s American excess. With it’s pop up headlights, rear wheel covers, and plush tufted velour interior, the New Yorker was the height of luxury. While more people are no doubt familiar with the Cadillac Fleetwood and Lincoln Town Car, the New Yorker beat both of them in terms of pure opulence. The grille was chrome plated zinc, not plastic, the side emblems were gold plated, and of course you could opt for fine Corinthian leather instead of velour if you wished to do so. Yep, while many people associate Corinthian leather with the Cordoba, it was actually offered on the New Yorker first.
To further kick the luxury up a notch, Chrysler also offered the St.Regis package on the two door models. The St.Regis gave the New Yorker opera windows and a padded vinyl top, but don’t worry, you get built in rear seat pillows and a center folding armrest no matter what trim you choose. Although, if you want those oh-so-useful lavaliere straps, you’ll have to get a four door. Personally, I’d be after a four door anyway as I like the limo looking roofline more than the two door coupe roofline. Regardless of body style, the New Yorker has an oddly beautiful look for such a behemoth of an automobile. It’s striking from any angle, the pointy chrome bumpers and thick chrome trim around the taillights see to that. I’d go so far as to say that a well kept example of New Yorker Brougham would be at home in a Baroque or Victorian art museum. Too far? Okay, too far.
Under the seemingly endless hood, you will find one of three engines, a 7.2L V8, 6.6L V8, or a 5.9L V8. If the car was optioned to meet California emissions standards, or you lived at high altitude, the 5.9L was standard and the 7.2L was optional. Everywhere else it was the 7.2L that was standard while the 6.6L was optional.. A larger, more powerful option standard you say? Alright Chrysler, it’s your money, do what you want. What’s that? You’re going to flip that around for the final model year? Okay, I can see how that probably makes sense given that you’re nearly bankrupt. Quick, somebody call Ricardo Montalban!
There was no saving the New Yorker Brougham from its fate, not even the offering of the Salon decor package with its high gloss silver trim steering wheel and aluminum fascia road wheels. The American public had indulged Chrysler long enough and 1978 was the final year of the glorious New Yorker Brougham. Things got ugly for the remainder of the Malaise Era and somehow, got even worse after that. The New Yorker soldiered on in one form of blasphemy or another until 1997 when it was finally killed off for good. That so many Landau topped, Mitsubishi powered, digital-gauge-having vehicles bore the New Yorker badge is a shame. Though the pre-Malaise Era vehicles are also worthy of praise, it is these over the top barges that really live up to the moniker. New York City in the 70s was a world unto itself, and for the better part of the decade, it had an automotive counterpart that was as bold as the place from which it borrowed its name.
*images courtesy of Flickr
** technical information sourced from Allpar.com