All Original and Hemi Fast: 1955 Chrysler New Yorker

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1955 was a great year for Chrysler styling.  Gone were the K.T. Keller high rooflines and in was a much sleeker, more modern design packing a Hemi V-8 under the hood.  If you have a desire for a fifties classic that is luxurious, fast (for the time), and minty original in every way, then have a close look at this 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe for sale on eBay in Palo Alto, California.  This two-tone gold and white New Yorker is an incredibly well-preserved factory original California car.  While the buy it now price is $29,000, the bidding is currently sitting at a low $5,600.  The seller is open to reasonable offers.  What do you think is a fair price for a time capsule Chrysler of this vintage?  Thanks to T. J. for this incredible find!

The problem with writing for Barn Finds is that you get an early look at some really amazing automobiles.  While I seem to have taken an involuntary vow of poverty that prevents me from acting on my impulses, if I had the means I’d be on the next flight out to California to inspect this Chrysler.  As I have gotten older, my tastes have changed from thundering sports cars with side pipes and a suspension that would rattle your teeth going over a penny in the road to casting a longing eye towards something more luxurious with ample oomph under the hood.  High on that list would be a 1955 or 1956 Chrysler 300.

As prices for 300s in good condition slowly climb, there seems to be less attention paid to the other Chryslers in the lineup for 1955 and 1956.  That is a shame, because the styling, while not as clean as the 300’s curves, is still stately and elegant in its own right.  The 331 cubic inch first generation hemi V-8s in these cars can benefit from a number of vintage and still available speed parts, and the success of Carl Kiekhaefer’s army of Chrysler 300 race cars that briefly dominated NASCAR competition shows that these cars can be made to handle.  One could even live with the dash lever shifted two speed Power Flite automatic transmission or upgrade the car to the three speed Torque Flite transmission that came in 1956 models.

The seller describes the car you see here as “near mint condition.”  As you can tell from the photographs this is not an exaggeration.  This New Yorker runs and drives, and the seller states that there are no indicators that it has ever been in an accident.  All of the gauges and accessories work, even the rare power front seat.  The lights all come on and the heater is functional.   In fact, this car is such good condition, that there is a possibility that it has benefitted from at least a cosmetic restoration in the past.  It is advertised as all original and that may be the case, but the paint is absolutely stunning for its age.

Inside, the expansive yet simple dash carries over the gold and white paint scheme.  The leather on the seats has a supple, well worn look that is perfectly presentable and likely quite comfortable.  The only visible fault is on the driver’s side.  There may be about a 2-3″ rip in the leather in the third pleat.  Otherwise, the steering wheel looks to be in mint condition, as does the carpet.

Under the hood is the previously mentioned hemi V-8.  This example is one of the last produced of the first generation of these legendary powerplants.  Everything except the belts and the fuel pump have that worn but serviceable look to them.  Looking even closer, the fuel line to the fuel filter looks to be a fairly recent replacement, and the fuel filter may be a new addition as well.  The ad states that the vehicle’s engine has been attended to by a local race shop.  I am sure that the car runs and drives well, but it may be a good idea for the buyer to reposition the glass bowl fuel filter or replace it with a metal one.  It might also be a good idea to re-route the new fuel line under the heater hoses instead of between them.

Even the most jaded among us would admit that this is a fantastic car and would be hard to pass up.  This unicorn appears to be a California car that was well maintained throughout its life.  The colors are eye catching without being garish, and the whole car has that air of subtle elegance that fifties cars would lose as fins reached ever higher.  If I had the means, this one would end up in my little stable after a cross country trip on the backroads to bring it home.  A fellow can dream….

Have you ever owned a pristine original like this stunning New Yorker?  Tell us what you did with it in the comments.

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  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Cue the REM song, “It’s the end of the world as we know it”,, ( love that song), Russ had mentioned the ’55 Chrysler 300( New Yawkah not much different) was the 1st musclecar, and that could be true, but I think, looking at this car, it was more a car with muscle. These cars were for folks that meant business, bosses loved them, workers,, not so much. The mind reels at who might have owned this outstanding car, one of the most expensive cars in 1955. Only the Imperial was more.
    I don’t mean to paint such a dismal view of what I think is happening. $5 grand is an insult for this car, and it may be temporary, but seems like a lot of examples lately to bolster my claim, “but I feel fine”,,and thanks Jeff for the Kiekhaefer mention. He kicked everybodys axx and some( me) consider him the “father” of the modified hemi. He knew they had potential, and wasted no time in proving that. Beautiful cars, for a paltry $6 grand?

    Like 11
  2. Gerardo

    Worth only $3k tops.

    Like 1
    • Yblocker

      $3000? You funny guy you

      Like 1
  3. Frank Sumatra

    Some cars and areas are a perfect match. Driving this car back to Palo Alto after an evening out in San Francisco in 1955 must have been as close to heaven as one could get, without having to go through the preliminaries.

    “Sherman! Set the Wayback Machine for Palo Alto, California, April 1955!!!” “Yessir Mr.Peabody!”

    Like 13
  4. TheOldRanger

    The only negative thing about this car was all the chrome around the taillight assembly… it just looked like it was stuck on at the very last minute. I thought it would have looked nicer to have them look as if they were part of the original car color when some chrome around the lenses…. but that’s just me. :-)

    Like 3
    • Milt

      another negative thing is the dashboard mounted gear shift. Imagine some 4 year old kid seated between mom and dad who decides to “help” dad drive the car at 50 mph. Also, imagine the cost to replace the stripped out transmission on this beast.

      Like 0
      • Yblocker

        The same thing could happen with a column shifter.

        Like 2
  5. 64 Bonneville

    The New Yorker Deluxe was 1 step below the Imperial in the Chrysler higher archy . somewhat surprised with power steering, brakes and seat that it didn’t have power windows, also. And of course, air conditioning being about $800.00 extra, and not really needed in California. As the car is now I would do $18-20K, values don’t suggest a $29K buy price.

    Like 0
  6. Wayne

    I bought a 1957 Dodge Coronet convertible from the original owners after they had it for 50 years. They had maintained the car meticulously and used it regularly until 1976. It wasn’t pristine, but it was close. The only things I have done to the Dodge are regular maintenance, replaced the water pump, and had the interior redone in NOS original fabrics. The cloth inserts had been replaced in the distant past with something incorrect for the car, and the foam had degraded, so I like to think I’ve made the car more “original”.

    Like 8
  7. paterson guy

    Dad was a Chrysler Guy; Had a new Newport for Mom and bought a 56 300 for his window cleaning business. I loved the old one; pink and gray with the push button trans. I would leave rubber in that in 3 gears!

    Like 0
  8. Terry

    While I agree that the taillight bezel is a bit garish, I find the body – especially the roof-line and rear window flow – quite easy on my eyes. This will be a real gem eating up the highway.

    Like 3
  9. Yblocker

    As nice as these were, the 56, though much the same, was a vast improvement. Beautiful car, worth the asking price.

    Like 4
  10. Will Fox

    Another seller throwing “All original” around as if it’s true. And it’s not in this `55’s case. It’s been repainted at some point, so that’s not original. the leather seats with maroon sections that don’t match material on door panels or anywhere else–not original. I’ll admit this is a very clean `55, but be careful using that phrase. Especially when it’s not true.

    Like 4
  11. Milt

    another negative thing is the dashboard mounted gear shift. Imagine some 4 year old kid seated between mom and dad who decides to “help” dad drive the car at 50 mph. Also, imagine the cost to replace the stripped out transmission on this beast.

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      Did you have to mention that twice?

      Like 4
    • DON

      A 4 year old should be in the back seat anyway .

      Like 1
      • Rodney - GSM

        ….or just don’t have kids.

        Like 1
  12. JohnfromSC

    At the GAA fall auction, one in similar condition sold for $30K. My dad bought one of these new. I remember him taking the family in it on a cross country trip in 56. At some point a guy in a 56 BelAire wanted to race him, and my Dad with all 5 of us in the car, smoked this guy. Of course Mom was furious. Great memory. I even got to drive it as a teenager. My holy grail of these is the ’56 2 door Imperial.

    Like 2

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