1957, 1958, 1959 Chrysler New Yorker

The 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorker received a large 392 hemi engine packing 325 bhp.
The 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorker received a large 392 hemi engine packing 325 bhp.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

For all the worthy changes in the 1957, 1958, and 1959 Chrysler New Yorker, they did nothing for Chrysler's 1957 model year production and industry rank, both of which held steady from 1956. This must have been a disappointment, but nothing compared to what 1958 would bring. Thanks to that year's deep recession, plus the 1957 Chrysler New Yorker's growing reputation for indifferent workmanship and early body rust, Chrysler slipped from 10th to 11th.

Predictably, the 1958 Chrysler New Yorkers were much like the 1957s. Higher compression boosted horsepower across the board (to 290/310/345 for Windsor/Saratoga/New Yorker), and a minor face-lift typical of an all-new design in its sophomore year involved mainly grilles (more DeSoto-like, oddly enough), smaller taillights, and revised trim.

The market began a modest recovery for 1959 and so did Chrysler volume, though the model year total was up less than 6,300 units to just 30 shy of 70,000 -- still pretty dismal. A more substantial face-lift that year brought rather duller-looking front and rear ends, and the Windsor convertible reappeared (actually, two had been built in 1958) in what was called the "Lion-Hearted" line. That name referred to a crop of new wedgehead V-8s that cost much less to build than the hemis, yet offered more horsepower.

Chrysler New Yorker carried a big-bore 413-cid version (shared with the 300E) tuned for 350 bhp; Windsor and Saratoga ran a 383 rated respectively at 305 and 325 bhp. Chrysler New Yorker convertible sales slowed down to a trickle and, except for the Windsor sedan, no 1959 Chrysler model saw more than 10,000 copies.

Despite the major design overhaul, the 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorker maintained a generous level of in-ride comfort.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Unfortunately, matters would get worse before they got better for Chrysler Division, with product miscues and inept marketing policies taking a big sales toll in the first half of the 1960s. Some -- but far from all -- of these troubles began with the 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorkers, which are significant not only as the last hemi-powered Chryslers but the last with body-on-frame construction and distinctive styling free of outrageousness.

Fine all-round performance and the aforementioned rarity of certain 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorkers have only enhanced their appeal as some of the more collectible cars from this decade.

To see the specifications of the 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorker, keep reading.

For more information on cars, see: