Curbside Classic: 1948 Chrysler New Yorker – A Straight-Eight Survivor


(first posted 8/28/2017)     This beauty is a 1948 Chrysler New Yorker.  The only reason I know it is a ’48 model is because the owner said so.  The 1946-1948 Chryslers were carryovers of the 1942s and all look identical to me.  The owners bought the car with very low mileage in 1960 and drove it regularly until 1972 when something happened  to the differential.  They parked it in a garage until recently when they decided to get it running.  The guys at our neighborhood shop where it is being worked on tell me it is almost impossible to find parts.  I’ll bet that’s true because the cars were fairly rare when new and are not all that valuable restored, so many have just been scrapped.  (Personal note:  I have heard of procrastination but have never gotten around to trying it myself.)


When new, the four door sold for $2500-2600.  Competitors included the Buick Roadmaster, Packard Deluxe, and Lincoln Sedan (not the Continental).  Base model Fords and Chevys could be bought for about half this price. Chrysler Imperials, some Cadillacs, and the Lincoln Continental were roughly double.  Here is brochure for the 1947 Chryslers.   And here is a brochure for 1946.

Your carriage awaits.  Up until the disasters of the 1950s, Chrysler had a reputation for superb quality.   Our featured car is 18 feet long, rides on a 127.5 inch wheelbase, and weighs in at 4100 pounds.  All this promised a very smooth ride.

Paul wrote up a 1946 Town & Country.  It is very similar to the featured car but much more expensive due to all of the wood body parts.

This was a luxurious interior in 1948.  To my way of thinking, it still is.   I’ll bet that more than a few New Yorker owners had drivers and mostly rode in the back seat.


Nice feature.


Even if the owner drove it himself, this was a very nice place to be.


Possibly the best Art Deco radio ever.


Pure luxury.  The mileage is thought to be original.


Fluid Drive was Chrysler’s semi automatic offering, and it was quite the novelty.  It seems that owners needed a lot of training in how to use it.  Here is a brochure that explains it all.


The grill is sometimes referred to as a harmonica grill.


Plenty of room to work.


The flathead straight eight was a masterpiece in 1934 but it was getting to be a bit out of date by 1948.  This 323.5 cubic incher was advertised as making  135 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque.  Chrysler knew they had to catch up. While this engine was being made, the Chrysler engineering department was busy getting the FirePower V-8 ready for a 1950 introduction in the 1951 models.  The FirePower was a hemi but was not called that in the beginning.  Here is a bunch of info on all Chrysler flathead engines.


The problem with the straight eight is that it is plenty thirsty.  Just look at the size of that carburetor.


Chrysler was serious about quality engineering.  You may rest assured that this air cleaner really did the job.


In 1948 a windshield washer was a real luxury.


Just to be sure the purchaser knew he had a Chrysler. Here is the 1946 Owner’s  Manual, 52 pages, our recent car had over 400 pages!


One more trim detail.