Start Spreading The News

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This is a 1968 Chrysler New Yorker. I just want to say how good it feels to have a big, old fashioned, American land yacht on Forgotten Metal again. We’ve had some in the past, but I feel the gas guzzler deserves better representation around here. And how appropriate- the city of New York, the biggest of the big, actually takes its name from this big old bruiser. No, wait. Hold on. I think I got that backwards.

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The New Yorker traces its origin back to 1938, when it was an optional trim level on the Chrysler Imperial, and called the New Yorker Special, which sounds like a delicious deli sandwich. In 1940 it became its own model, which was available as a coupe, convertible, or sedan, and featured something called Fluid Drive. While it sounds like an 80s synth pop band, this system actually replaced the flywheel with a hydraulic coupling system. Put simply, this converted the circular energy that the engine produced into usable energy that spun the wheels. It’s actually pretty fascinating, here’s a (mildly sexist, but in an old-timey way) link if you’re interested.

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This car is a seventh generation, which is a testament to the nameplate’s longevity. Over the course of its life, the New Yorker went through fourteen different generations, some of which were great, some of which weren’t. What’s more, within those generations were distinct and outlandish changes in design and technology. The New Yorker, at least those produced during this particular car’s generation, truly existed in a time when cars changed drastically every year. I’m not going to be one of those people who says it was a better time, that the golden era of automobiles is long behind us- cars are better today, they just are. But it must have been something to see. It was a different, interesting time to say the least.

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The seventh generation New Yorker featured a 440 cubic inch V8, dubbed the “440 Firepower” which, according to my inner child, is an awesome name. Power was at about 350, and torque figures came in at 480 pound-feet. That means this car was very powerful for the time, which isn’t surprising, as the Firepower was the largest displacement engine Chrysler ever made, at 7.2 liters. Don’t go thinking the car was fast though. This was 1960s American luxury, after all, meaning the New Yorker was more of a cruiser than a drag racer.

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Cars that are as excessive as this one aren’t really around anymore. Yeah, the Chrysler 300c gets close, but somehow it’s just not the same. The overhangs aren’t big enough, the seats aren’t as wide as park benches, it doesn’t come in this blue-green color. And that’s not a bad thing- I like the 300c just fine. But there’s still something captivating about a car as unabashedly American as the New Yorker. Even the name, in its gold, overly-curly cursive script is spot-on. I can see myself getting into the lifestyle that this car represents: relaxed, slow, endlessly luxurious. And yet it still has a personality. An attitude. As a temporary New Yorker myself, I like that.

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Additional Thoughts

  • 1968 models actually set a sales record of 263,266 units, a pretty impressive figure considering the economic slump of the previous year
  • I found a New Yorker in New York! And it wasn’t a magazine or an angry city dweller! Who would’ve thought it would’ve taken this long?
  • I know I mentioned it earlier, but I’m a big fan of the font they used to spell “New Yorker” in the second picture
  • For those of you wondering, yes, I did sneak into someone’s backyard to take these photos.
  • There’s a plane in the last picture! I didn’t notice until just now!
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4 thoughts on “Start Spreading The News

  1. Pingback: Slumming It | Forgotten metal

  2. Pingback: Safety Dance | Forgotten metal

  3. Pingback: Planned Obsolescence | Forgotten metal

  4. Pingback: If You Have To Ask | Forgotten metal

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