This is a variation of the CC Effect™: It’s six o’clock Wednesday, we’re heading home from our afternoon hike, I’m hungry, and there’s no kick-off CC scheduled for the morning. I say to Stephanie: I really hope there’s something new and good at the Cohort to inspire me. Is there ever. tbm3fan came through with a very big present: it’s not just the last big Chrysler, it’s the last genuine Brougham from Chrysler. And it’s even ever-so conveniently parked next to the first really small and Japanese car sold by Chrysler.
The end of an era, and the beginning of another.
Let’s get the formalities out of the way first. By “last Brougham”, I mean the last time that vaunted name was actually used by Chrysler. Which is a bit surprising, considering that Lee Iacocca, the father of the Great Brougham Era, was just arriving at Chrysler. And Lee kept the brougham (with a small “b”) party going there longer than anyone (think 1993 Imperial). But Lee was never that big a user of the actual B word, at Ford and at Chrysler.
I’m thinking it’s time to do a CC Complete Guide to the Great Brougham Era. I started some notes on that in 2011; time to put together.
This is not the first time we’ve covered these relics; I’ll give you the links at the end. But my point is that I’m not going to do the whole grandiose long-format CC again. Not that it doesn’t deserve it, but we all know the broad strokes.
This waterfall-grilled behemoth arrived in 1974 as the Imperial. 1974 was a terrible year for big cars, and a truly horrific one for Chrysler’s big cars. After selling just 14,483 1974 models and a mere 8,830 ’75s, the Imperial was euthanized. The car and the brand. Well, St. Lido of Iacocca did miraculously bring it back to life, sort of; twice actually, in 1981 and 1990. But the results were more like zombies; not the real thing.
Anyway, those terrible sales numbers for ’74 and ’75 meant that a Chrysler already in serious distress could no longer support a separate brand, so what had been the 1975 Imperial was reincarnated as the 1976 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham. But you know all this.
And it was built with very minimal changes through 1978, by which time it was more than obsolete, thanks to GM’s downsizing. Unlike the last big Lincoln Town Car, which got a bump in sales in 1979, before it was downsized, the New Yorker’s sales just shriveled away, down to 44k in 1978.
That’s not say its 1979 downsized successor did much better, but that’s another sad story altogether.
It was also the end of the road for the mighty 440 V8 big block. Now making a mere 195 hp through its single exhaust, it still had plenty of low end grunt that would not be felt again for quite some time.
Nor an interior quite like this (picture from another New Yorker).
There it is, in all its faded glory. But since this is a California car, we can be pretty sure it’s got some more living to do yet. Who could possibly resist the last 440-powered big Chrysler Brougham?
CC 1976-1978 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham by Tom Klockau
CC 1976 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham by Perry Shoar