Hagerty: 1977 New Yorker, right car at wrong time article

Pete Kaczmarski

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Maybe will bring more people to appreciate our cars.

The 1977 Chrysler New Yorker was the right car at the wrong time

The 1977 Chrysler New Yorker was the right car at the wrong time


by Richard Bennett //

September 20, 2019
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During the 1970s, business at the Chrysler Corporation must have felt like being on a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs were many, but the latter certainly outnumbered the former. There were certainly some bright spots during the decade, most notably the Cordoba, the Aspen/Volare (for about 10 minutes) and the Omni/Horizon. Unfortunately, the full-sized models—cars that Chrysler was actually good at making—faced an uphill battle as the fuel crisis hit, and they just didn’t catch on with the buying public as well as the large cars from Ford and GM.

After the moderate success of the “fuselage” cars during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, it was decided that a new large car was necessary, so in the fall of 1973, an new line of big Imperial, Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth models debuted for the 1974 model year. Boasting decidedly ornate and formal styling, the big Mopars had to contend with something that also debuted when these cars did: the 1973 fuel crisis. Suddenly, large cars were no longer all that desirable. Seeing how the cars were already in production, Chrysler had no choice but to just go with them, and hope for the best.

Now that we have the bad part of our story out of the way, let’s turn our attention to the good part, mainly the beautiful and luxurious New Yorker.

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mperial line after 1975. Chrysler came up with “New Yorker Brougham” as a nameplate for the discontinued Imperial. It was actually a good idea, as a lower price tag combined with the more luxurious styling and interior trappings of the Imperial caused sales to increase for 1976 and again for 1977.

A number of people will point to cars like the Cadillac Fleetwood and Lincoln Continental Town Car from this era and proclaim that they were “the” cars when it came to opulence and luxury. Obviously, these people never sat in a New Yorker Brougham. Thick, loose-pillow-look seating, upholstered in either a plush velour or optional Corinthian leather, ensured all-day comfort. In the rear, one would find assist straps, and a padded C-pillar “pillow.” Fold down armrests front and rear, ashtrays and lighters for everyone (remember, it was the ‘70s). An optional Chronometer clock, full power accessories, and stereo sound were all there for the choosing. Chrysler may have been on the brink of collapse, but they certainly didn’t skimp on the luxury.

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Richard Bennett
For the exterior, old-school touches such as frameless glass, vent windows, and ultra thin B-pillars lent a touch of glamour, along with the crisp, relatively unadorned flanks, waterfall grille (that was still made of metal!), and stand-up hood ornament. Optional road wheels gave a slight air of adventure. All of this elegance was propelled by either a 400- or 440-cubic-inch V-8, mated to a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

Our feature car here is one of 45,252 New Yorker Brougham sedans produced for 1977. Pricing on these could top out around $7200, approximately $30,400 when adjusted for inflation. It was, and still is, a lot of car for the money.

1977 was the year that General Motors introduced their scaled-down large cars, and by late 1978, everyone knew that Ford was following suit for 1979. Chrysler Corporation, which was running perilously close to bankruptcy, did the only thing it could: completely restyle their midsizers and introduce them as the new large R-body cars for 1979. While the styling was pleasant, and the fundamentals okay, they would ultimately flop in the market. By 1982, the biggest Chrysler sedans would be minuscule in comparison to these gentle giants—but that is a story for another day.

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Richard Bennett


I was 17 in 1977, and my dad came home with a silver New Yorker Brougham 2 door, that had blue pinstripes, blue corinthian leather and road wheels. That was hands down the most beautiful car on the road at the time. After taking it one way on the auto train to a Disney vacation that summer, he allowed me to drive it on I95 part of the way home. That was a thrill I will never forget, and I am sure he didn’t either as I had trouble keeping it from drifting all over the lane!

10h
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b.wohlfarth
Hop in my Chrysler, its as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail…

10h
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khan2002
Yeah, I have a very clean 1977 New Yorker Brougham 4dr. Has only 41000 miles and drives like a Dream. It’s wedge wood blue with a white vinyl roof. It really turns heads at cruises and car shows.

10h
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coach02116
Always loved those tear-drop styled tail lights!

9h
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hughwhipple
While working at an imported car dealership while at college, ran into a few large land yachts from Chrysler on the used car lot. The Fox River Valley in WI was typically all American and a bit conservative. A lot of big-body Chrysler’s drove the highways, usually some shade of brown/yellow, ideal to hide the rust. Was asked by the dealer principal to drive one or two of these behemoths around to keep ‘em running. Was aghast as to the prodigious size and being severely underpowered. The car’s 440-V8 huffing/puffing its’ 180hp around was surely a sad disappointment to Chrysler’s earlier “Golden Age” of fire breathing V8’s. Agree, The New Yorker was a delight to drive as. Boulevard Cruiser or Interstate Gladiator. With low-teen mpg’s and threatening OPEC Embargoes, its’ lifespan became fodder like that of the dinosaurs.

1 reply 8h ▶ hughwhipple
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farmer895
sounds like you were huffing and puffing. had one of these for my daily driver and the 440 had plenty of power and had no problem spinning the rear tires. maybe your lot mechanic was not proficient in the tune up department. the car had a fantastic ride, the cabin was very quiet and i enjoyed driving it.

1 reply 6h
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mstaihr
No one mentions Chrysler’s crappy lean-burn system?

6h ▶ farmer895
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paul.cantin
General Manager of a Chrysler dealership in 1977 so my special order demo was a white New Yorker with every possible option.Lots of good times!! – If it could talk I would have to shoot it.

1 reply 4h ▶ paul.cantin
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b.wohlfarth
Those seats look mighty comfortable. One could have a pimping good time on them.

3m
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Mhschine
My father bought a '74 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham in the fall of '73. With nearly every options [sans CB radio and rally road wheels], 440, 4-wheel disc brakes, and Radial tires. It handled marvelously and returned excellent mileage for the day, far superior to single digit MPG from Ford or Chevy with similar big blocks. Big plush seats front and back, power everything, steering horn in the rim, and four-speaker stereo. The Imperial for '74 looked exactly like the New Yorker pictured here, because the waterfall grill and large teardrop tail lights were from the '74 Imperial. The mayor of Tampa, Florida drove a full-size Chrysler at the time, and was in a accident with a full-size Ford. Made the front page of the Tampa Tribune the next morning. The Ford was totaled, the Chrysler could drive away. Sold it in 1980 with ~50K miles for $1500; this was the same amount I sold my '74 Valiant Brougham with 70K miles for the same summer. Sad reflection how values had changed in 6 short years.
 

detmatt

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I wish they would have featured a different color...:poke:
 

marko

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I wish they would have featured a different color...:poke:

yup, that looks like the dreaded "golden fawn", aka baby shit brown
but it could also be light mocha tan, both nasty; ive owned a couple......
 
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rapidtrans

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I drove a 74 2dr New Yorker to Florida at Xmas break 74.
What a ride! Rolled all day at 80+ and 15 mpg.
No huffing or puffing that year. The thing could chirp the tires easily from a red light.
And yeah, probably the last color I would have chosen.
 

Imperialist67

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There are a WHOLE LOT of nicer examples of this car to go by than the one they have here, which would have made for a nicer article. They often (for better, or worse) use "period" colors with cars like this...… thus the brown...….
 

detmatt

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There are a WHOLE LOT of nicer examples of this car to go by than the one they have here, which would have made for a nicer article. They often (for better, or worse) use "period" colors with cars like this...… thus the brown...….
That’s not brown, if it were I might be less repulsed!:lol:
 

Imperialist67

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That’s not brown, if it were I might be less repulsed!:lol:[/QUOTE

well, "light brown" or "beige" then - I'm a non-fan of this shade as well, and I agree with you that dark (or dark-er) brown would have been better...….. nice to see a write-up on a C-body at least; and at least it is better than the other recent Hagerty article that treated them like second banana when you can't afford a muscle car...….
 

Sport Fury 67

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Hey now...all you Golden Fawn haters...what happen to the comments of over-abundance late 70's Spinnaker White? Commando1, back me up. Would I have liked another color, yes, but would it have 17K miles, a 440, be brand new inside and out, oh without Air Temp II. Might as well let the derby guys have her because it is "brown". Over the years I have seen photos of YOUR cars and politely kept quiet....just saying....

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Pete Kaczmarski

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My chief concern is the condition of the collector car NOT the color. If someone has that much money to complain about it then spend the $5k plus to paint it. People tease me because the majority of my cars are maroon in color. Guess what I don't care what they think.
 

sixpkrt

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Come to Volo next year if you want to see the beautiful New Yorker owned by @Sport Fury 67
I've never seen a cleaner, original example any where.
 

detmatt

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Hey now...all you Golden Fawn haters...what happen to the comments of over-abundance late 70's Spinnaker White? Commando1, back me up. Would I have liked another color, yes, but would it have 17K miles, a 440, be brand new inside and out, oh without Air Temp II. Might as well let the derby guys have her because it is "brown". Over the years I have seen photos of YOUR cars and politely kept quiet....just saying....

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Everybody has an opinion and that’s all it is.:D
 

75LandYacht

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My dream car in High School.
Oddly enough it was for me too. I’ve always been one to have the oddball car that nobody else would want, my first car was a 68 Plymouth valiant 4dr with the 225. I loved that car and wish I still had it. Other car I had as a teenager was a 77 Thunderbird, All the other kids were driving the Trans Am’s Camaros Chevelle’s etc. But now my last car is your 77 New Yorker. And I couldn’t be happier.

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SIPLOWGUY

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Oddly enough it was for me too. I’ve always been one to have the oddball car that nobody else would want, my first car was a 68 Plymouth valiant 4dr with the 225. I loved that car and wish I still had it. Other car I had as a teenager was a 77 Thunderbird, All the other kids were driving the Trans Am’s Camaros Chevelle’s etc. But now my last car is your 77 New Yorker. And I couldn’t be happier.

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Gorgeous car!!!! I had a 68 Valiant too! It was traded in at the Pontiac store. I paid $50 for it. It had the 198 Slant 6. It was awesome in the snow because you couldn't spin the tires on glare ice!
 
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