Rusty Runner: Hemi-Powered 1954 Chrysler New Yorker

This thing gives a new meaning to the term surface rust! This 1954 Chrysler New Yorker is listed as a survivor that is mostly complete and runs great. Best of all it’s equipped with a 331 CI Hemi! This car has lots of potential to be a cool project especially considering the reasonable asking price of $2,800 OBO. Find it here on Craigslist in Wilmington, NC .

This Chrysler has definitely seen better days, but it may not be as bad as it looks. From the little paint that is left, it looks like it was white. Lets hope there are no major areas that are rusted through and that it’s structurally sound, this would be a good project to make safe to drive, preserve and enjoy. According to the ad, the car is complete, runs great and has 81,000 miles. The owner is letting the car go due to health reasons, that is about all we know from the ad. This is a deluxe model, I think this grill is specific to a deluxe with the center bar over the Chrysler emblem. Most of the trim seems to be on the car or in the trunk with the wheel covers.

It’s got a Hemi! The engine looks complete and original except for the flexible radiator hose that seems to come standard with a classic car. The engine is a 331 CI FirePower Hemi that runs great. The 331 was the first generation of the famous Chrysler Hemi family of engines, it produced somewhere between 180 to 235 HP.

The interior needs work but is complete. From what is shown the dash looks good with the gauges and knobs being intact. The steering wheel is deteriorated and will need some attention before driving. If this were my car I would leave the exterior alone. On the inside I would restore the door panels and steering wheel, recover the seat and maybe some carpet; that would give you a fun driver that would be a hit at the car show. The other option would be to make it a parts car, but lets hope that doesn’t happen. I don’t think it would be a good investment to restore this one. What are you ideas? Would you save it?


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  1. ken TILLY

    How does a car get so rusty on the outside of the body? It looks very uniform so I think it must have been in a field or desert.

  2. Steve A

    Looks to be a good deal. Great opportunity to own a hemi for reasonable price.

  3. Steve A

    Wish it was closer to me. I think I’d jump on it!

  4. JP

    This is actually a car that looks good in “patina.” If the rust is only surface, a little interior work would make it a nice driver. If the rust is elsewhere, then…

  5. Howard A Member

    Pull the hemi, drop a Perkins diesel in, and Voila! Cuban taxi.

  6. Dave

    Me personally, I would restore it. You don’t see too many of these around and that looks to be in good shape.

  7. Ikey Heyman

    I like the idea of fixing the interior and driving as is. Wilmington,NC is a coastal town, so that probably explains the uniform distribution of surface rust.

    • ken TILLY

      @Ikey Heyman. I lived on the Indian Ocean coastal city of Durban, South Africa, for 50 years where sometimes we had temperatures of 38 deg. C and 107% humidity but never ever saw a car with surface rust such as this one has. Underneath and inside the doors and fenders, yes, but topside, never.

      • Miguel

        Try living in Arizona or any desert town.

        This happens all the time.

        Remember this car is 65 years old.

  8. Little Cars

    Seems too big a coincidence that one just like this, with the same amount of patina, was on the Nashville, TN Craigslist for about three months. I wonder if it was purchased and brought to NC. Very odd to find two exactly alike in adjacent states. Hmm

  9. Scott

    Pull the hemi and keep \ sell it for a better project. Put in a common 318 if you want to have an easy to live with classic driver.

  10. Bob C.

    Reminds me of an oversized Plymouth Cranbrook of that era.

  11. Daryl Conley

    I bought my 1954 New Yorker for $400.00 and it was in much better shape, in fact only took a change of fluids to get running and drivable. Admittedly, this was 15 years ago and even then it was a great deal, but have they increased in value that much? Maybe if it were a convertible or even a 2 door hardtop. I would be curious to see what it sells for.

  12. Kenneth Carney

    @Howard A: You must’ve watched the
    same Cuban car videos I did on YouTube.
    Some of the videos featured Chryslers
    just like this one. My search turned up no
    fewer than 20 or so on the streets of Havana. As for this car, I too woild be
    inclined to restore it. I see it wearing a
    coat of dark French Grey metalic with
    a light Grey roof. Add some Tru Spoke
    wire rims wrapped in Coker WSW tires
    and you’d have a real winner. It’s been
    at least 30 years since I saw one here
    in Winter Haven. Saw it at a car show
    at the Steak’n’ Shake restaraunt down
    the road from my house one Saturday
    night while ordering some take out.
    That car was dark Red with a Cream
    roof. And yes, it had wire wheels too.
    The owner lived in Lake Alfred and was
    selling it for $1,800. I nearly had it bought when my wife said no. My
    loss was someone’s gain.

  13. Bill Parker

    When I was a teenager a long long time ago there was a one man garage a few miles back toward town. The owner brush painted our farm trucks and sometimes even cars as needed for a pittance. He actually did a creditable job of it. So with this one, I could see laying in a gallon of rustoleum rusty metal primer followed by a gallon of implement enamel, say John deer green or ford blue or for more pizzaz, IH red or Case yellow. Fix the brakes etc as needed and drive it. At cars shows I’d be saying “yep it has a Hemi” for hours.

    • ken TILLY

      Bill Parker. I LIKE your style!

  14. Wrong Way Member

    I like it, and it deserves a complete makeover! I can visualize what it would look like redone! It would look nice!

  15. Wayne

    “Steering wheel needs some attention”. Really I hadn’t noticed. Lol.

  16. Timmy

    I know a person who had a garage kept one,mint condition same hemi, needed no work had factory record player he got 2500.00 seller drove it home 150 miles

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