Fancy Talker: 1986 Chrysler New Yorker

“Your door is ajar.” My door is a door, not a jar, what the.. Ok, that was lame. I had a somewhat similar car in the mid/late-1980s but it was a LeBaron convertible and it also talked. It didn’t fly over things when I pushed a button on the dash like KITT, but it told me when a door was open, or ajar, or when my lights were on. This 1986 Chrysler New Yorker has that same feature. Savvy 1980s Chrysler owners (is that an oxymoron?) (KIDDING!) know that there’s a tiny white switch in the glove box to turn off that voice if it gets tiring. This beauty of a big, blue cruiser is on Craigslist in Minneapolis, Minnesota for $2,200 and it looks like it’s in great shape. NADA lists the average retail as being $2,200 so this one is right on the money. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for submitting this find!

The photos in this ad look like an art student finals project, they’re all different sizes, orientations, details, and partial-photos. But, there are a handful of decent ones to judge, at least visually, the condition of the nice car. Or, the condition of the front and driver’s side of the car, there are no photos of the passenger side, not one, not even one hint or a glimpse of the passenger side. That’s always worrisome, but I’m sure the seller would send you a few photos of the passenger side, and also a couple of ubiquitous missing-engine photos. There must be some sort of fine print that I missed in Craigslist boilerplate that requires sellers to not add engine photos. There is a photo of this New Yorker parked next to a HUGE mining truck; driver’s side of course. And, there is also a driver’s-side photo with presumably the seller, or friend of the seller since the seller’s name is Amber, standing next to this great-looking New Yorker in the mist, at a distance, in front of some grain elevators. Very artsy and cool. But, as always, filling the frame with what a person is selling is the best way to show off your item. I know that I’m preaching to the choir. Can I get an amen?

The interior looks as nice as the exterior does. I can almost feel myself sinking into those plush, velour seats, locking in the cruise, and heading across a few states. The rear seat could double as studio apartment in Brooklyn; you’d make that $2,200 purchase price back in a month or less. The seller is the second owner, receiving the car from their grandpa, so I can imagine that it’s been maintained and well-loved. I absolutely loved my 100% trouble-free LeBaron convertible, it was a fantastic car. I traded it for a black BMW 318i two-door which wasn’t as trouble-free as the LeBaron was. I’m guessing that this 31-year old New Yorker would be almost as trouble-free even now as mine was when it was new.

There is no mention of the engine or condition of the drivetrain at all, other than the car has new tires and a new battery. In 1986, the standard engine was a Chrysler-built 2.5L inline-four as opposed to the Mitsubishi 2.6L four that I had in the LeBaron – with that balanced-shaft it was as smooth as glass. I have just about that same engine in a 1980 Dodge D-50 pickup and it’s fantastic in there, too. I’m assuming that this engine isn’t the 2.2L turbo with 146 hp but is the standard 2.5L four with 100 hp. There’s only one way to find out for sure: call Amber. Have any of you owned a K-Car based New Yorker, LeBaron, or any of the other variations?

Fast Finds


  1. RayT Member

    I hear that New Yorker talking to me, Scotty. It is saying “Don’t buy me, Ray! You’ll regret it!”

    Like 1
  2. Pat A

    What’s a ubiquitous missing-engine?

    • Scotty Staff

      Ha! Extra points for reading the whole thing, Pat! Missing engine photos…

  3. dave57210

    Do NOT buy this! The steering wheel is upside down!

  4. Mark

    Big blue , big back seat, this is a front wheel drive 4 cylinder. Nothing like a real New Yorker.

  5. Michael

    My father in law got one with the turbo motor from his deceased brother in law, and then I got it from my FIL. Just had a baby, had a Miata and needed something else. My FIL had the head rebuilt after the gasket blew. I hasd the rebuilt after the gasket blew, and the second time it blew? We traded it in on a mini van just after our second baby came along. Not a bad car, but a really bad engine.

  6. Luke Fitzgerald

    Hideous – of historic interest only

  7. Moparman Member

    That HAS to be one of the most akward rear vinyl roof designs ever created!

    • Pete in PA

      Best of all it kept the trunk lid from opening completely. (neighbor had a white over red 86 and I banged my head on that lid a couple of times while working on it.)

  8. Don H

    That’s one big butt truck,what is he ,I mean she compensating for?🍺

  9. RS

    If you lose your keys you can squeeze in through one of the door gaps.

  10. mds

    I live, at most, 10 minutes away from the advertised vicinity. If anyone needs an objective opinion and some photos, let me know.

  11. Jared

    it might be a deal at $300 i think

    • Ralph Robichaud

      AWH- Come on- this aint some 300 junker.

    • Keith

      Come on Jared where are you buying any car for $300……please…..

  12. Howard A Member

    I agree with Mark, a mere shred of what a New Yorker was. Best thing about these cars, was their seats. I had a Dodge mini van with those seats, and like Scotty sez, they were the best. The rest of the car,,,,meh.

  13. MikeG

    I like the dude chillin’ out by the grain silos, just as cool as a cucumber, on rye.

    Never was a big fan of these cars, but the seats look so comfy.

  14. jtnc

    I can find something good to say about almost any car, but words fail me here.

  15. Pat A

    This might be okay as basic transportation for a first time driver, but at only about 1/2 the asking price. I wouldn’t spend a cent over that, other than to get it roadworthy.

  16. Marshall

    I had a 1987 Plymouth Reliant station wagon (2.2 L with automatic) that I bought with 73,000 miles in 1997. I had to junk it two years later at 115,000 miles when it blew a head gasket. It also had “piston slap”, that made it sound like a diesel. But this did not seem to affect the performance of it any. I had to have the radiator replaced in it, along with other repairs I cannot remember off the top of my head. Therefore, I cannot be very charitable regarding my experience with this car. But the stereo sounded good. And the air-conditioning worked. I also put on a lot of rough stop and go miles delivering newspapers with it. Also, I later found out from a junkman that many K cars went to the junkyard because their owners were not religious enough with cooling fluid change out. Unless you’re spot on with this maintenance item, you might just as well be an infidel! But come to think of it, if I had the radiator replaced, then I had the fluid changed out at least once. So go figure! (So maybe I was not a heathen after all)

  17. Ralph Robichaud

    One of the best car I’ve ever owned, the tally is now at over 40, was a 1985 Plymouth Caravelle, with the same parentage as the Chrysler featured here– the E body design. In the early 80s not all fwd domestic cars handled well, but my Caravelle sure did. To me its lines were sleeker than the New Yorker, and the amenities pretty much the same. beautiful seats providing great comfort, the M based 2.6 was a beautiful smooth engine that would cruise all day at 70+ mph without a whimper. car was spacious, provided excellent visibility,something you cant say about most of todays offerings,and had a nicely controlled ride. Took many long distance trips 3-4 k miles return in Canada and the USA. Not one breakdown. Kept it 11 years. Other best cars I’ve had- Mercury Grand Marquis, and Jeep Cherokee Pioneer.

  18. Ralph Robichaud

    * 85 Caravelle- like mine

    Like 1
  19. Mlaw

    K car in disguise. And new name. Witless protection program.

    Like 1
  20. Mikey

    Would be a fun car to have but another one of those finds that you might want to check with luminol. Just saying…..

    Like 1
  21. Ralph Robichaud

    Pat A- Without question, you must be a turd expert.

    Like 1
  22. Seb from Bavaria
  23. Luxurious Lexus Land-yacht

    Not a turbo or else it’d have TURBO under the faux fender vents.

    I know everyone thinks this is horrible, but, um, newsflash…the mid-80s were horrible for automobiles.

    Like 1
    • Keith

      Exactly! Many of these cars, especially 80’s and late 70’s cars need to be seen in the context of what else was available at the time. Were there Porsches, Mustangs, Corvettes, etc. around at this time? Sure. But they were nothing special, historically, either. I think the majority of 80’s cars will have disappeared altogether in the next 10 years or so, leaving the remaining examples interesting (though not really valuable) pieces of an automotive time we hope we won’t have to ever relive.

      Like 1
  24. Pete in PA

    My 1985 Olds Ninety-Eight (FWD) also has that voice synthesis system. It can go on and on with entertaining messages about how driving with low engine oil pressure can cause engine damage, etc.. No kill switch in the glove box AFAIK or I’d have used it by now. Definitely a passing fad.

    Like 1
  25. Bradley Clark

    To call this a New Yorker is just plain crazy, and the subsequent Imperial, EGADS! The talking digital instrument panel was pretty cool, and those Barcolounger seats were VERY comfortable. However, the reliability, fit and finish, and overall driveability was minimal at best. I’ve had driving experience with 3 New Yorkers: My Dad’s brand new 1980, my ’73 Brougham, and a ’77 Brougham. This is not the quintessential New Yorker. It’s a loaded K Car.

    Like 1
    • Ralph Robichaud

      To keep it in perspective, however, the very same can be said of the tarted up Chevy Celebrity called Oldsmobile 88 or Buick LeSabre. As well for Ford peddling LTD and Mercury Marquis being dressed up Fairmonts. So the field was pretty uniform for the domestics. Many of these were fine automobiles, just were wearing name tags we associated with something else.

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