1975 Chrysler New Yorker
By Vern Parker
One summer day in 2014 Ruben Alvarez was driving by an automotive tire shop in Stafford, Virginia where he observed a for sale sign in the windshield of a distinctive car in the shop's parking lot.
The sheer size of the 1975 Chrysler New Yorker caught his attention,. On a daily basis he drove by the shop not too far from his home, always admiring the car that came within an inch and a half of being 19 feet long.
Finally, in August, he took his teenage son, Quentin, to show him what American cars used to be like. Quentin was impressed.
The father and son examined the well worn luxury car and according to maintenance records it had been gently treated. As was typical of many cars in 1975 the rooftop of the four-door sedan was covered in vinyl.
The Chrysler was equipped with power assisted extras including steering, windows, door locks, seats, exterior mirrors and brakes. Disc brakes were on the front wheels while the rear wheels had drum brakes.
Another feature the pair noticed was that the two-spoke steering wheel was mounted on a collapsible steering column which had both tilt and telescopic functions.
After comparing the almost 40-year-old Chrysler to modern automobiles the father and son left and went home.
However, with his son nearing driving age Alvarez couldn't help but think this would be a perfect car for his son – and the rest of the family too.
On Quentin's birthday, at the end of August, the family went to buy the car. The odometer had counted 9,000 miles but Alvarez believes it more likely has been around twice.
The handsome top-of-the-line Chrysler is black with white pin striping the length of the car. The upholstery and interior trim, Alvarez says, is ocean blue.
Most any car with some age is in need of some care. Alvarez reports that the dual exhaust system had virtually disintegrated and was replaced. Additionally, the non-functioning air conditioner needed to be upgraded.
A total mechanical tuneup did wonders for the car along with a replacement suspension system including hard-to-find parts. The 4,660-pound car now provides a luxurious ride on the 124-inch wheelbase supported by 15-inch tires. The Chrysler still takes 48.2-feet to turn around.
Not only do the occupants have an abundance of room in the 79.5-inch-wide car but their luggage can easily fit inside the spacious 20.2-cubic-foot trunk.
A four-barrel carburettor delivers fuel to the thirsty 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine at the rate of 10.5 miles per gallon. The 25.1-gallon gasoline tank is filled through the centrally located opening between the two backup lights. A decal on the nearby bumper cautions: “UNLEADED GASOLINE ONLY.”
At the other end of the Chrysler, atop the leading edge of each front fender is a small waning light visible to the driver. When either turn signal is activated the corresponding light flashes to alert the driver.
Defogging the rear window is accomplished by the heat passing through the 15 horizontal red wires embedded in the glass.
The patient father and son keep improving the Chrysler with detail items such as the windshield wiper motors and the power steering pump. Both father and son agree they are happy when the car starts and moves. Next on the agenda are some electrical gremlins to work out.
Only 12,774 cars like this one were manufactured, each one with a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The luxurious sedans were not inexpensive with each one carrying a base price of $6,424.
But even after all these years, Alvarez says, “It's fun to drive.”