Rarely Seen Today: 1980 Chrysler New Yorker

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This car is the automotive equivalent of a combination of a unicorn, bigfoot, and politicians actually “reaching across the aisle” after they’re elected. Talk about a rarely-seen car today, when was the last time that you saw a 1980 Chrysler New Yorker? Decades? Never? The seller has this example listed here on eBay in Ono, Pennsylvania, and they have a buy-it-now price of $9,700 listed.

Covered headlights and a landau roof?! How and why were those features ever allowed to go away? Some of you might ask: who ever thought that either of those things was a good idea? I think both features are great and this car wears them well. They’re popular features to pick on these days but if every single car looked like every other car, a lot of us would be asleep from boredom. I, for one, would be disappointed if the only cars ever made were two-door hardtop muscle cars.

1979 through 1981 Chrysler New Yorkers were built on Chrysler’s new downsized R-body platform and they were similar to the Plymouth Gran Fury and the maybe even rarer Dodge St. Regis. Sadly, with this new unique body style in 1979, Chrysler put an end to the hardtop body style and also the two-door New Yorkers. Speaking of that, a while ago I tried my hand at a Photoshop two-door New Yorker, as seen here.

Chrysler offered a top-trim Fifth Avenue model above the regular New Yorker for the utmost in luxury, not that a regular ol’ New Yorker is anything to sneeze at. These “real leather and vinyl” seats are what you want here, and they look great both front and rear. The seller says that this car was bought for someone who unexpectedly passed away and was put into storage in storage in 1969, so I’m not quite sure of the timeline since that was a decade before this car was built (12-1979). Yes, it has a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission with a column shifter.

The engine is Chrysler’s 318-cu.in. OHV V8, which would have had 120 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque when new. This one had a leaky water pump so that was changed after it came out of storage and the seller says that it’s a good driver. The original paint isn’t perfect and there are some issues with the trim, but if you just have to have a version of this rarely-seen-today New Yorker, here you go!

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Comments

  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Outstanding job on the Photoshop mock-up, Scotty! Good looking ride.

    Like 19
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Ha, thanks, sir! I didn’t think that anyone clicked on those, that makes my day.

      Like 17
      • Blake

        I always, always, click to see your work. Please keep doing these “what if” photoshops

        Like 9
      • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

        Thanks, folks! I wasn’t sure if anyone clicked on those or if they thought they were ads that would take you to some other website.

        Like 5
    • nlpnt

      I’ve wanted to mock up a wagon of these for a while. The challenge is that it wouldn’t look “right” if I just copypasted the roofline to the back of the car – Chrysler heavily based them on the ’71-78 A body and any wagon would probably just be a straight reskin of those, with new taillights at most.

      Like 3
  2. Robert Levins

    Funny, as I was bringing up this article the first thing I thought of when looking at this 1980 New Yorker was “ Too bad they didn’t make a 2-door version of these”. Then, bingo, your photo shopped 2-door popped up. SIGN ME UP. I’ll take the exact one that was photoshopped. Identical. Yeah, it’s too bad in a way that Chrysler didn’t just keep the R platform going because if my memory serves me correctly, it’s a 121 inch wheelbase, same dimensions as the GM platform used for the Cadillacs. Chrysler version of course. I think they would have been a better competition to the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. The New Yorker really could have “soared “ if done right throughout the 1980’s. However the smaller Volare/Aspen sized New Yorker sold really well, right up to 1989, RWD and all.

    Like 6
  3. nlpnt

    Biggest problem with the ‘shopped 2-door is that it’d be missing this car’s party trick, the almost-free-floating opera window you get when you open the rear door with the main rear window rolled down.

    Like 4
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      That’s very true, nlpnt. I noticed that as I was modifying that two-door version and wondered how I could leave that unusual feature there. I’ll have to work on one of those, and maybe a wagon version. Convertible? Pickup? SUV? Maybe after I get a couple of feet of snow out of the driveway…

      Like 1
  4. CCFisher

    With the state of Chrysler’s finances in the late 70s, it’s remarkable that they managed to get one body style into production, let alone two. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the funds to do it right. The ’79-’81 R-body was arguably the worst car Chrysler ever built, in terms of quality control.

    Like 5
  5. Robert Levins

    The 1979-81 Chrysler New Yorker was actually fairly lightweight for its size. The shipping weight was just over 3,800 lbs where the 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood had a shipping weight of 4,000- 4,500 lbs. So even a loaded 1980 Chrysler New Yorker was 300-400 lbs lighter than the Cadillac. Both had a 121 inch wheelbase. I think that if Chrysler had played their cards right, weathered the recession and kept the R – platform going, they could have really given Cadillac some serious competition. Maybe even done the Imperial on the same platform. I’ll take the photo shopped 2- door please. Great job on the article!

    Like 5
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Thank you, sir!

      Like 1
  6. Stan

    Opera windows 🪟 too.
    Hey how come Nobody mentioned the other luxurious offering the great 5th Avenue.

    Like 2
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Stan, I mentioned the Fifth Avenue in the fourth paragraph, that would be a heck of a find to locate one of those from this era.

      Like 2
      • CCFisher

        Even rarer is the New Yorker Fifth Avenue Limited Edition, with a frenched rear window and a stainless steel roof cap.

        Like 1
  7. theGasHole

    “Too bad they didn’t make a 2 door version of these.” You guys are aware of the Imperial, right?

    Like 3
    • Phil D

      The Imperial wasn’t built on the R-body platform. It’s a variant of the 1980 Cordoba/Mirada, which is entirely different from this 1979 downsized “full size” platform. That makes the ’81 Imperial far more closely related to a Volare or Aspen than it is to this New Yorker.

      Like 1
      • theGasHole

        Having had both an 81 Imperial and 79 New Yorker, I’d say the Imperial was much, much closer to the New Yorker than to a Volare or Aspen! But I am speaking purely about a looks standpoint.

        Like 0
  8. Hollywood Collier

    I love BF and i love all of your write ups Scotty. The photoshops are cool too. Not being picky but what caught my eye the most was he bought a 1980 car and put it in dry storage in 1969?? I wanna go with him on his time travel adventures!!! LOL. Pretty sure he meant 1989 but if not….i will still time travel with them. Keep up the awesome work Barnfinds and Scotty. I read every morning with coffee. Thanks.

    Like 3
  9. Jasper

    It really is a shame Chrysler pulled the plug on these so early. Wouldn’t have seemed so outdated and out of step with their ‘80s design language as the M body.

    I see the photoshop wagon with basically a larger K car wagon rear section. Maybe have a little ride in the roofline at the B pillar like the formal C body wagons. And there’d be one large lift gate!

    Like 1
    • Pastor Ron

      Actually, I see the wagon as a slightly smaller version of a 1977 Town & Country with a New Yorker concealed-lamps front end. That would still allow for one of the most practical and useful station wagon features – a fold-down tailgate.
      It always amazes me: Back when station wagons (a.k.a. ‘depot hacks’) began, they had clam shell doors on the rear. Then a big improvement was made with a fold up window and a fold down gate. Then along came the window that receded into the gate for ever greater convenience and practicality. Then the three-way door/gate came along. My biggest complaint about those was that the gate wouldn’t open flush with the cargo bed (of course, GM’s horrific disappearing tailgate not only robbed users of an extra 20″ of bed, they also were massive rust havens). Then designers made that huge leap backward by getting rid of the fold down gate in favor of the hatch. Dumb! Today, you have to drive down the road with the hatch up in the air if you’re hauling stuff. Just dumb. Minivans are proof that evil is real. Thanks, I’ll keep my station wagons!

      Like 0
    • Pastor Ron

      P.S. I had the same LOUD complaint when Chrysler introduced the Aspen wagon with that stupid hatch on the rear. And they went downhill from there with a cramped Diplomat wagon and a steeply angled rear window, and so on. After the Town & Country and Royal Monaco wagons, well, the obituary was written. Yeah, Ford and GM kept them on life support for a while, but I wouldn’t touch a GM product with a 10-foot pole (or and 8-foot hungarian), and I’ve never been particularly fond of Ford’s very swimmy handling.

      Like 0
      • DON

        It wasn’t just Chrysler that stopped production the the fold down gates ; I think all mid and full size cars had a hatch , the exception being the Torino bodied wagons. Fairmont, Pinto , Vega , Hornet , all the Colonnade wagons, and I’d bet every import were all hatches. It was likely cheaper for the automakers to make them that way, and probably more practical in a small car

        Like 0
  10. CJM

    Agreed, Chrysler pulled the plug on these R bodies way too soon. But they weren’t selling and costs had to be cut. Much classier looking than the M Body. They DID keep it a hardtop, a pillared hardtop that is. Ford and GM had unfortunately already gone to full framed door glass on their sedans. In fact I believe these are the last 4 door hardtops (pillared or otherwise) made in the USA. As someone pointed out, the Cordoba and Imperial were essentially the 2 door versions of these, albeit on a shorter wheelbase. Asking price is a bit rich The Dodge St. Regis was the cleanest looking variant IMO.

    Like 1
  11. Dale

    My dad’s last car was a Riverside green 1979 Chrysler New Yorker, with a matching landau roof, and button tufted leather interior. He was thankfully with my mom at the Chrysler dealership. He was interested in buying a LeBaron. My parents were in the showroom when my mom spotted the New Yorker. She said, “What about that one?” Green was my dads favorite color, so the rest is history. The difference between the 1979, and 1980 car was the ’79 has a rectangular opera light in front of the opera window. When I first saw that car, the only word I could think of to describe it was ‘stunning’!

    Like 0
  12. Pete Kaczmarski

    “When is the last time you have seen a 1980 New Yorker” from the article, well I own a 1979 New Yorker that has the better 360 motor but I doubt he will get his reserve. Mine will come out in the late Spring from Winter storage.

    Like 0
  13. Robert

    My mom had a brown metallic 79 Chrysler New Yorker with the 360. I remember taking it to the local drag strip (unbeknownst to her) and it running a 17.9 qtr mile. On the way home I was so hyped from racing I hit around 100mph on a divided hwy and as luck would have it that’s where a (Florida) state trooper was sitting in the center median. That night I found out the old New Yorker could do 113mph and lose it’s hubcaps when you jump an elevated turn off on a hwy. Never saw the cop after he pulled out of the median with his blue lights on. I was a pretty crazy 17yr old.

    Like 1
  14. Bill Maceri

    The R body was a traditional American car design. I’m sure Chrysler would have loved to continue building them. The problem is nobody bought them. By 1980, most American people had thrown in the towel on American cars. I on the other hand never stopped buying American. I won’t drive a imported car. I was born in Detroit in 1955. My family worked at both Ford and Chrysler since the late 40s, until the late 50s when we moved to California. If it wasn’t for the 73 fuel crisis, the Big Three would have continued building the cars American drivers wanted a lot longer. Now usually if I’m stopped at an intersection, I’m the only one there driving an American car, and that just kills me. American cars used to be work’s of art. They were made with different design priorities. Style and comfort were more important than gas mileage. Today’s cars feature high mileage more than anything else. They’re small, and they all look the same, same style, same colors and they’re either an SUV or some little hatchback. Horrible. I love our cars from the 60s and 70s, even the 80s and 90s. I’ll take a Ford or Chrysler any day. For those of you out there that are my age know what I mean, and understand. You had to be there. Those cars were great. They didn’t get good gas mileage, they didn’t have to. That New Yorker should NOT be so rare of a sight. I sleep well at night because I know I had nothing to do with it.

    Like 2
  15. Big C

    “What a beautiful New Yorker. It’s the talk of the town.”

    Like 2
  16. RICK W

    Down sized New Yorker was a good try,but not enough. Had 83 and 85 Fifth Avenues. Great cars and one of Chryslers best at making a true Luxury Sedan out of existing platform. Subsequent fwd FIFTH AVENUES AND IMPERIALS were so sad! Oh yeah, remember Chrysler Executive limo on Kcar platform? 🤮 Please!😎

    Like 0
  17. PRA4SNW

    Auction ended, but it’s relisted again, now at $8,700.

    Like 1
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Thanks, PRA4SNW!

      Like 1
      • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

        Auction update II: this one has ended with no takers at $8,700.

        Like 2

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