Pretty in Plaid: 1947 Chrysler New Yorker Highlander

Chrysler front 3

Postwar Chryslers were big and impressive, and this top of the line 1947 New Yorker four door shows well – even with its worn interior and what looks like original paint. This one has the desirable and flashy Highlander option, which means it has plaid seats and door trim and a bit more chrome than the average Chrysler. It’s listed for sale on here on craigslist and is located in Poughkeepsie, New York, where it appears to be driven regularly.

Chrysler front fender

After World War II, like most manufacturers, Chrysler offered warmed over pre-war designs through 1948, but one big difference for Chrysler was that the New Yorker became a separate series. The 1947 Chrysler did have some changes from the 1946 models, including a redesigned dashboard and trim, but the exterior for all three years is pretty much the same.

Chrysler rear 3

This New Yorker is big and heavy, with a large displacement straight-eight engine and fluid drive (Chrysler’s hybrid version of an automatic transmission). These cars are leisurely cruisers and take forever to get from zero to sixty, but they were also reliable and durable, and are wonderful cars for long distance travel. They can be fun-to-drive modern day cruisers too as long as you don’t mind planning your starting and stopping times a bit in advance.

Chrysler rear seat

The New Yorker and Saratoga models, along with the fancier wood-bodied Town & Country, were coded as the C-39 series, slotting near the top of the Chrysler line, above the C-38 Royal and Windsor models, while the even larger Crown Imperial comprised the low production C-40. Out of 109,117 Chryslers manufactured in 1947, 27,268 were New Yorkers and Saratogas – but Chrysler did not break out details any further, so we can’t really know how many of those were four doors like this one.

Chrysler steering wheel

The seller of this particular New Yorker Highlander says it came out of a barn, but provides no details or background story. He claims it also has no rust, by which one must assume he means that it has no structural rust or cancer, as the pictures show a fine patina of rust on the front fenders and roof. Some trim bits are corroded as well.

Chrysler driver door

There are plenty of pictures in the ad and quite a bit to be learned about the car from them. Besides saying it “runs and drives,” the seller does not provide much information about the important to know condition of the mechanicals and electrical systems though.

Chrysler trunk

It’s evident that the car is licensed and apparently road worthy, but any potential buyer will want to inspect the car closely. If it were me, I’d clean it up, make sure the systems are all fully operational, and repair whatever needs attention. I would want to keep the car looking just the way it is now though as it has loads of character and would be a blast to drive around as-is.

Chrysler engine

The asking price is $5,800. I don’t really follow the market for these cars, but I’d guess that most of you will agree that the price seems a bit high. On the other hand, if the engine, transmission, brakes, and electrics are all good, maybe this price is not so unreasonable and it’s a good starting point for negotiation.

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The Highlander interior in this car does need a lot of work, but that plaid can be made to look fantastic, as the picture above shows. I am pretty sure this material is still available.

I do not much care for fluid drive though. For me it’s the one areas of maintenance that would give me some concern. I know that some owners will want to replace the straight eight with a later Chrysler engine and that enables the use of a more modern, better performing, and more reliable Torqueflight tranny too. But that is likely to involve considerable engineering, and of course, more cost.

Chrysler front

This front view is just fantastic, I can’t stop smiling when I see this picture. There’s room in this car for your entire family to ride in comfort and to fit all the supplies you need for a great day out on the open road. And that is exactly what this car was made for!

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Comments

  1. PaulG

    Really amazing condition for being in NY state. I’d leave it -is, like they say, they’re only original once…
    LOVE the dash!

    Like 1
  2. RickG

    I love the dash. And I love the spacious interior with all the upholstery. I can just imagine riding in that car when it was new. But I do have one question that concerns me: Do antique cars such as this one have asbestos in the interior? Such as in the head liner, seats, sound insulation, etc. I’m just fearful if the do they could be hazardous to drive in.

    • Dylan

      I doubt it. Asbestos was used in a lot of things, but I haven’t heard of it in car interiors. Anyway, asbestos is only harmful when broken up and removed. That’s why it can be sealed up and painted over in old schoolbuildings.

    • Mark S Member

      No asbestos headliner is just fabric as are the seats. The seats my have cotton filler or even hemp.

  3. Jim

    Looks like it has factory navigation!

  4. TLouisJ

    Back in about ’75 or so a neighbor in Bend Ore. had a gray ’47 Imperial. Cool car. He was dying and asked for my advice on making sure his widow would be OK for a car after he left. Their other car was a ’56 Chevy sedan. She could drive it OK but not the Chrysler. He sold that to a mutual friends dad and kept the Chevy. :-) TLouisJ

  5. randy

    It looks like it could mow down a bunch of zombies.

  6. Nessy

    If the car is just as he says, the asking price of 5800 is more than fair for an early post war Chrysler that you can get in and drive. I would think that you could buy this car for between 4k to 5k. The days of finding cars like this for 500 are over.

  7. Joe Nose

    Came in a lot of versions plus T&C. Per some online resource, “Four-door sedans amounted to about 75% of New Yorker production in this era, with a total of about 52,000 cars. Additionally, about 10,000 club coupes, 8,300 Town & Country convertibles, 3,000 conventional convertibles, 699 three-passenger coupes, and 545 two-door sedans were made between 1946 and 1948.”

    So, not really rare, just depleted supply over time. Probably still 6 volt. If truly a DD, this could be fun.

  8. redwagon

    i think i know where vw got the inspiration for the gti interior.

    well maybe not.

    see the juxtaposition in your mind between a small, agile hatch and this big, slow sedan makes that funny. get it now?

    sorry.

  9. Mark S Member

    These are fantastic old car. They really were built to cruise, they weighed 4100 lbs, horse power was 135 bhp torque 230 flbs they had a top speed of 85 mph. They amazingly got 13 mpg which is pretty good all things considered. I think personally they had more style then the Caddies of the day. If this were mine I’d do a refurbishment not a restoration.repair the interior keeping as much as possible. I’d repaint with single stage paint to keep the shine more like original. Freshen up the mechanicals. And drive it on nice days. Cheers.

  10. Ed P

    Great example of post war luxury. The scotch plaid was popular and used on many things

  11. Texas Tea

    My favorite kind of car, not screwed with, and so cool. The radiator is large enough to cool the Empire State Building. Okay, not really, but it is “Huge”, as the Donald would say.

    Such a neat car…………

  12. Mike Neff

    I own a twin to this car in about the same condition. It was given to me in 1973 by my wife’s grandfather. He parked it in his garage in 1957 so it truly was a “barn find” when I got it 16 years later. Grandpa was unhappy with the trade-in offered by the dealer when new car shopping so he stubbornly just parked it. This old car in his garage was the source of a lot of family ridicule so he happily gave it to me when I showed real interest. It didn’t take much to get it running – fuel pump, tank flush, some gas lines and brake lines. I drove it quite a bit the first few years I owned it, but less and less over the years. I have to agree with the remarks about driving these cars: zero to 60 is measured on the calendar but once at speed it’s a pleasure. I always find it amazing that at 70 mph with all the windows down you can easily carry on a conversation without shouting. Here’s a picture of my car the last time it was out in 2010. It’s hard to part with a car that I’ve owned for 42 years, but someday it could be the subject of somebody else’s barn find story.

    • Texas Tea

      Nice car Mike! Looks to be in nice condition too. Good for you for hanging on to this old ride. I like the old gas station as well.

  13. Joe Btfsplk

    The dashboard looks to have been a Wurlitzer design.

  14. Marty Member

    I’ve always loved my flannel shirts. Now, at last, one I can drive!

  15. Michael Rogers

    These beasts are really nice! I swapped a late small block mopar and 904 into mine– screwed right in! made it a decent driver that you can get parts for in East Armpit when it fails.
    I screwed a hemi into a 51 Plym Convert long ago and it matched up everything but the throttle linkage

  16. Harold Bisel

    I see the dash and windshield trim was painted in a light tan or white color. (Notice the two dash pictures.) Originally it was maroon. Missing are the door window cranks. Also, I noticed this beast has the double heaters with side vents–you could ride without your winter coat on in 20 below zero weather. I owned a 47 and 48 New Yorker. They were great vehicles. I also had a 37 Imperial and a 36 Airstream 4 door.

  17. Chris Pickel

    I went back and looked at the pictures more closely. They are mixed; some showing a nice, white-trimmed dash with all the door trim/handles. Other shows the original maroon dash with the crank missing. Makes you question the honesty of this seller. Up until I noticed this, he had me at “Offered”.

  18. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I love the plaid interior!

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