Chrysler New Yorker
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
The New Yorker was the flagship of the Chrysler range. As such, there were not too many things you needed to worry about. Once you had chosen the colour and upholstery fabric you were pretty much done. Everything else - and we do mean everything - was standard equipment. About the only accessories you could order were an adjustable steering
wheel and a limited-slip differential.
And what made it so special was that it was an extremely good drive – despite its massive dimensions. It gave a rare combination (in luxury cars) of pillow-soft riding qualities and good handling
. Understeer was present with factory-recommended tyre
pressures (22 psi front, 20 rear), but with 28 psi all around, handling
improved considerably, without a noticeable change in ride.
The New Yorker was equally at home cruising on the freeway or winding its way through the twisty stuff, uphill or down. It was no MX5, but it had plenty of power for every situation, along with braking to back up its performance. The 5th generation Chrysler New Yorker was released in 1960
. This model introduced unibody construction along with "Ram Induction" and a new RB engine which had an developed an improved 350 hp (260 kW). Unfortunately, however, 1960
would also be the last year for the New Yorker convertible, of which 556 were built.
The 413 RB Engine
The 413 RB engine had a 4.1875 in (106 mm) bore and was used from 1959
in cars. During that period, it powered all Chrysler New Yorker and Imperial models, and was also available on the lesser Chryslers, as well Dodge's Polara and Monaco, and the Plymouth Fury as an alternative to the 383-cubic-inch B series engine and/or the 318 Poly. With a compression ratio of 10:1, it developed 340 brake horsepower in 1X4-Bbl trim.
The New Yorker entered 1961
with a new grille, slanted headlights, a continental kit on the trunk lid, and a 413 CID Golden Lion V-8. This is the last of the "Forward Look" models. Chrysler built 2,541 New Yorker two-door hardtops this year, the last until 1964
in Canada and 1965
in the U.S. For 1962
the classic Chrysler fins that made the car unique no longer existed and now only 4-door models were offered in wagon, sedan, and hardtop models. The finless car was considered "bizarre" by many critics and sales were slow compared to its entry level sister car, the Chrysler Newport, which was identical in body style and offered a convertible model. The New Yorker was the last Chrysler to have a 126 in (3,200 mm) wheelbase.
Chrysler got a boost in sales in 1963
with the introduction of a 5-year/50,000-mile warranty, a business practice that was unheard of by its competitors in the 1960s. The New Yorker used Chrysler's completely redesigned body with only the windshield showing traces of the previous Forward Look designs. A new, more luxurious Salon four-door hardtop was added at midyear as a trim package. Engine output is 340 hp (250 kW) and the wheelbase is now 122 in (3,100 mm).
Changes for 1964
included a new grille, larger rear window and small tailfins giving the car a boxier look from the side. Canadians were given the choice of a new two-door hardtop, while Americans got the Salon option on the four-door hardtop. One of the main ingredients that made the New Yorker so good was the engine. It used the same husky, 413-cubic-inch, ohv V8 that had powered the much heavier Imperials for years before, but its 340 bhp was more noticeable in the lighter (4600 pounds) New Yorker. Despite it weighting in at a still hefty 4600 odd pounds, the engine had enough grunt to smoke the tyres
from a standing start and clock 0-30, -45, and -60 mph in 4.2, 6.3, and 9.7 seconds respectively, stopping the clocks at 17.8 seconds, with a terminal speed of 83 mph at the end of the quarter-mile.
Excellent TorqueFlite Transmission
Chrysler's excellent TorqueFlite auto up-shifted at 40 mph at 3800 rpm and again at 85 mph at 4400 rpm, with very little forward momentum lost between shifts. Force shifting the automatic
by using the dash-mounted push buttons would enable fractionally better times – but from what we can ascertain there was so little in it that it seemed hardly worthwhile. Besides , while the New Yorker did offer very good performance, it was not really a performance car per se. The TorqueFlite had the ability to hold the 4600 pound New Yorker at a safe pace coming down steep grades and would keep the engine from lugging on a long climb when using the intermediates.
You don’t need us to tell you how good the TorqueFlite transmission
was – suffice to say it gave instant downshifts for useful engine braking when needed. Chrysler engineers had made some improvements to the TorqueFlite for the 1964 Chrysler model range, which made it even smoother, quieter, and longer-lasting. One of these was a new lifetime oil filter. Certain other drive train and engine improvements added to the smoothness and extended life expectancy of Chryslers. An improved automatic choke cut down fuel waste, the carburettor linkage was improved for smoother operation and better kick-down response at highway speeds. Further refinements went into the ignition system.
On the Road
When it came to smooth riding qualities, few cars could match the Chrysler. The New Yorker was arguably softer riding than any others from the then current Chrysler line-up. Chrysler had long been known as a company that wouldn’t sacrifice handling
for a pillow-soft ride, but they seemed to bend their own rules a little to ensure the New Yorker gave the kind of luxury ride owners would have expected. But, as soft as the ride was, the car still retained better-than-average handling
, considering its size and weight. Sharp dips would cause some pitching on rebound, but rarely would the suspension
bottom, no matter how big the bump was. When cornering body lean was present, but it didn't cause too much adverse effect on passengers or driver control.
The car had a sure-footed feel, with understeer noticeable but not really obtrusive. You could even drive the car hard, because somehow the engineers and designers had conspired to make it feel much lighter and smaller than it was. The New Yorker was never intended as a performance vehicle, but it still managed to move six people around in minimum time and effort and maximum comfort and luxury. Steady highway cruising was the New Yorker’s forte. Its big 413-inch engine never strained, no matter how hard you pushed it. Any speed up to 100 mph or better ess right in its stride. Even at its top speed of 115 mph, the engine wasn't close to its red line.
It was so quiet that only a whisper of wind could be heard at the highest cruising speeds. Normal cruising with the air conditioner operating gave would provide fuel consumption of around 13 mpg, but this would drop to around 9.0 in traffic. A combined average of around 11.5 mpg seemed to be the norm. The Chrysler "Auto-Pilot" cruise control also came into its own on the open road. Obviously given the heft of the car, it was equally important that it could stop as well as it could go. The Chrysler engineers lowered the pedal to make it easier and quicker to use with either the left or right foot, so that the 263.5 square inches of effective lining area could do their job with ease.
Behind the Wheel
The New Yorker would require 28 feet for a stop from 30 mph, and 167 feet from 60. Road testers of the time tried to find the limits, but the brakes
were up to the task, cooling quickly and remaining fade free under all but abusive conditions. As in handling
, braking, and performance, the New-Yorker also rated high in dnving ease. The car's design didn't let short drivers see all four corners, but the sloping bonnet gave good forward vision, and the big backlight gave a good view to the rear. Out on the road, the car's fine, light power steering
made it easy to maneuver. With 3.5 turns between locks, the steering
was quick, responsive, and gave good road feel (once you get used to its lightness).
When you got into the drivers seat, you would notice instantly the padded, vinyl-covered roof which gave the car a distinctive look, but the most welcome change for the 1964
model was the return to the round steering
wheel. Lower-priced Newports from this era still used the squared off wheel. The upholstery was finished in a combination crush-grain leather and large-patterned matelasse interior. The seats were well padded, a little too soft perhaps, but that again the role of the New Yorker was not as a sports sedan - but as a luxury sedan.
The standard equipment list included heater, air conditioner, AM/FM radio with rear speaker and vibrasonic sound (whatever that was), Auto-Pilot (Cruise-Control), power windows (vents were hand operated), power seat, power door locks, power steering
, automatic transmission
, and an automatic park-brake release. Other standard items included front and rear center arm rests, tinted glass, reading lamps, a vanity mirror, reclining seats, and two pin-stripes running the length of the car. A full leather interior could be ordered, as could a choice of exterior colors, and you could option a seven-position adjustable steering
In an era when car makers deemed it necessary to cater to just about every imaginable market segment, the New Yorker was not Chrysler's only offering. They also had the Newport series, using a 361-inch V8 of 265 hp with standard three-speed transmission
and floor shift. A complete line-up from a nine-passenger wagon to a convertible was offered. According to the 1964
Chrysler price list, the Newports started at US$2888. Next came the 300 series, with a two-door hardtop and convertible and a four-door hardtop, with a 353-V8 of 305 hp or an optional 413-inch 360-hp engine. The two smaller engines used a two-barrel carb, the bigger ones used a four-barrel, and the top 300-K option had two four-barrels with ram-tuned intake manifold. The 300-K used a 413-inch V 8 with 360 hp as standard. They came only as a two-door hardtop or convertible.
New Yorkers were all four-door models: sedan, hardtop, and two wagons, plus the Salon. Only TorqueFlite was available on New Yorkers, but Chrysler owners of other series could order three or four-speed manual shift or the three-speed automatic. As a flagship the New Yorker was brilliant, but then all Chryslers from this era were built to last - and the company even offered a five-year 50.000-mile warranty - which clearly demonstrated that Chrysler had faith in their products. Hard to believe we are talking about the early 1960s.