Hemi Powered: 1954 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country

Older station wagons remain a strong performer in the classic market with a lack of new alternatives. That is one factor that will attract some potential buyers to this 1954 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country. Its cause is helped by its originality, lack of rust, and affordable asking price. It would ideally suit an enthusiast seeking a first project or someone seeking a practical classic. The Chrysler is listed here on Craigslist in El Paso, Texas, for those interested in pursuing it further. It could be yours for $7,950.

The Chrysler’s Alpine Blue paint is pretty baked, with the seller admitting the wagon underwent a repaint years ago. It is destined for a repeat performance, but the buyer won’t face significant rust repairs. The worst is in the tailgate, although it appears patchable. The rest of the panels look okay, and the seller doesn’t mention any hidden issues. There are some dings and bruises, but the buyer could address these without replacing panels. A few trim pieces are missing, and the buyer may need to exercise patience in their search for replacements. The tinted glass looks good, and the overall impression is that returning the presentation of this Town & Country to a respectable level may not be difficult. However, given the potential value locked away, I won’t be surprised if they elect the rotisserie path to achieve perfection.

It is no surprise that life in a climate with harsh UV rays has exacted a toll on this Town & Country’s interior trim and upholstery. The front seat and dash pad require refurbishment, although the back seat looks surprisingly good. There are no missing parts, with the factory AM radio and other difficult-to-locate components intact. The buyer will probably elect a retrim but may strike trouble finding the correct upholstery. If this proves the case, utilizing the existing pieces as a template for an upholsterer seems feasible. Apart from the radio, the buyer receives a classic wagon with the convenience of power windows.

The 1954 model year marked a significant mechanical change for the New Yorker. Buyers were restricted to the 331ci “Spitfire” straight-eight until 1953, but the company introduced the 331ci Hemi V8 in 1954. While the old engine produced 180hp and 312 ft/lb, the Hemi pushed those figures to 195hp and 320 ft/lbs. Also new was the two-speed PowerFlite transmission. This combination dropped the ¼-mile ET from 20.2 seconds to 19.6. The indications are that this wagon has lain idle for many years, but there is a glimmer of good news. The owner poured fuel down the carburetor, and the Hemi coughed into life. It needs work to become roadworthy, but the initial signs seem positive.

Total New yorker production for 1954 was 20,415. The Town & Country was one of the rarer models, with only 1,100 people willing to splash their cash. Today, a spotless example will easily top $60,000, although perfection and originality could push that figure considerably higher. Our feature wagon is far from perfect, but it has potential. If you were in the market for a wagon project, is it one you might consider pursuing further?

Comments

  1. normadesmond

    The interior doesn’t yell “original” to me. Looks too modern.

    Like 1
    • David Sebben

      I had a ’54 Chrysler Windsor 2 door club coupe and this dash is spot on. Just a bit different than this NYer, but oh so close.

      Like 1
      • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

        Yep, that’s exactly right. Pop bought a new 54 Windsor 4-door in December of 53. It’s a really gorgeous dashboard with one of the first padded dashes. Ours was sky-blue with a black top (2-tone was the rage). Around the speedo it was machine embossed. Very classy. We got ours with seat covers over the original seat upholstery (it was an option) to give it a longer life span. Incredibly comfortable car to ride in. He used to let me sit in his lap and steer as we got close to our house. Loved that car.

        Like 2
  2. BlondeUXB Member

    331 Hemi V8 was available beginning in 1951.
    I owned a ‘52 NewYoker so equipped…

    Like 4
  3. CCFisher

    The Hemi was introduced for the 1951 model year.

    Like 3
  4. tom crum

    My first car was a 1951 Chrysler Imperial 4 door. Beautiful and fast dependable car. I wanted a 55 Chev. conv. but dad said “NO” you will drive a car that is not a “clunker”. Fluid drive, power brakes, no power steering. Served me while going to high school and working after school.

    Like 1
  5. Heck Dodson Member

    I haven’t seen very many Town and Country wagons like this one. Very fair price, yay about the Hemi. I would start with the mechanicals like drivetrain and brakes and worry about body and interior later. Good find

    Like 3
  6. Pete Phillips

    The Chrysler straight eight disappeared after 1950, not 1953.

    Like 1
  7. princeofprussia

    My parents brought my newborn self home from the hospital in a ’54 New Yorker four-door sedan, pale green with a dark green roof. I personally like the sedans, but think all Chrysler wagons of the early-mid ’50’s look especially dumpy and dowdy…idk, the proportions seem off to me. I like the dash, but that Yugi-o hair dash pad would have to go. LOL!

  8. MICHAEL LLOYD GREGORY

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a ’54 wagon. I grew up riding around in a ’54 New Yorker Deluxe, so the dash is very familiar to me. I never got to drive that car. I wanted my dad to keep it for me, but he traded it in when I was 13 or so. Still wish I had it.

  9. Heck Dodson Member

    I’m surprised this 54 Town and Country didn’t have the same faux wood treatment paneling like some Ford and GM versions did. I’m more partial to the 1960 year of this wagon, and just haven’t seen many of this year. Kind of dowdy looking, but good bones to work with.

  10. bone

    Are there actually specs on 1/4 mile runs of 68 year old Chrysler station wagons , or is that just made up BS ? Rear gearing , and additional weight added to a car – like options, can make a huge difference in times

  11. CenturyTurboCoupe

    LOOK at the size of these bumpers. How horrible and gaudy!. Oops, wait…wrong decade. We can only complain about 1973 and up!

    Like 1

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