(first posted 9/9/2013) It’s always sad to see a CC reach the end of the line, but that is the nature of a Curbside Classic: As much as we love them, they are consumer products designed to transport people to their grocery store, work, school and vacations. I think it’s safe to say most of us here cherish old cars, but to some folks an old car is just an old car. And when they reach their sell-by date? Well, as Porky Pig used to say, “That’s all, folks!”
I spotted this 1992-93 NY a week or so ago, and immediately guessed it was a “turn-in” at the local pick-your-part. Its really rough and rusty condition and lack of license plates told the story. So, the next morning, on the way to work, I decided to stop and get some pictures before the inevitable happened, much like documenting an old building the day before the bulldozers come.
We’ve written up the Salon during Mopar Week (thanks, Jason!), but his example was the earlier version. Later Salons gained the hidden-headlamp schnoz and vertical tail lamps of their flossier Fifth Avenue sibling, resulting in a less Dynastic appearance. They more or less replaced the NY Landau, as the new-for-1990 Imperial reduced the Fifth Avenue to second-fiddle status–but of course, Lido’s favorite Landau top was still available on the Salon!
But even if you got a fully-equipped Salon–one with the Landau roof, wire wheel covers, and every other ’70s luxury-car styling cue on the option sheet–it still was not a Fifth Avenue! Got Brougham? Yes, indeedy! If you’re in a more Germanic state of mind, think of the Salon as the New Yorker SE, and the Fifth as the New Yorker SEL.
Yes, the Fifth Avenue was even more plush, with a longer wheelbase, more chrome and more available options. Button-tufted seating and door panels held sway inside.
I captured this identically-hued Fifth Avenue back in April. Obviously, this pristine-looking Chrysler has enjoyed far better care; could it still be in the hands of the original owner? The difference in the respective condition of the two cars may be as simple as this one being a one-owner car versus four or five owners (and the attendant neglect and misuse) for the other.
Not a stitch had let go on this Fifth Avenue’s vinyl roof. The color (Champagne, if memory serves) is not my favorite on these; they look far better in maroon, navy blue or black. But Champagne was quite popular with this car’s owner base when new, and it was seen around here quite often. So for those of you on the West Coast, finding two NYers in this color is no amazing coincidence.
For the most part, these were essentially the same car as the Dodge Dynasty, NY Salon, Fifth, and Imperial, but somehow seemed more popular here in the heartland, where Broughaminess ruled for about twenty years longer than on the coasts. The limo-like legroom in the LWB model might have been one reason–or maybe it was that more elaborate landau roof with a vinyl-padded opera window…such excess!
Actually, the inside is still pretty solid on our featured Salon, though the plasti-wood door trims have fallen off, leaving their shiny chrome surrounds–as well as exposed backing. And, for some reason, someone had tried to peel back the dash pad from the base of the windshield. As I recall, the clock showed 146,000 miles and change. Chrysler was one of the first car makers to install air bags on their regular production models (GM offered them as an option in 1974-76, and both MB and Volvo included them starting in the ’80s), and starting in 1990, all New Yorkers (and other assorted EEKs and Ks) were so equipped.
Despite the button-tufted Mark Cross goodness of the Fifth Avenue, I always liked the simple, pleated interior of the Salon. The door handles on these Mopars are rather different too, set into the topside of the power window control panel rather than on the vertical surface of the door card–or down low, below the armrest, like Cadillac and Lincoln had done for years.
Seeing the end of the line for a CC always makes me a bit sad. This was once a brand-new, comfortable American luxury car. Maybe the owner worked at the nearby Arsenal, drove Plymouths for years and, upon retirement, decided to get that NY he’d always wanted. It is a local car, originally coming from Kimberly Chrysler-Plymouth, and bearing the same dealer tag my Dad’s ’95 Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis had when he brought it home.
What finally did this one in? The Ultramatic is a likely suspect, but the car was quite rusty, even for around here. Or perhaps the car’s owner’s fortunes improved so that he or she was able to get a brand-new car and was more than happy to ditch the Chrysler. Another old car traded in, and a new car to make more memories in. That’s kind of nice.
That night I swore I could hear taps being played, softly…
The shattered remains of his major award….
If this car is a major reward, then I prefer to soldier on without honors!
My 1992 Salon looks good. The only problem the lights won’t go out when the car is switched off-I have to disconnect the battery.
That is the worst case of cancer I’ve ever seen on one of these. The poor thing almost looks like it was lovingly kept in the salt factory’s warehouse. If it has just 146k, you are right – it’s either the rust or the tranny, as a 3.3 just keeps ticking along.
For some reason, I’ve always liked these (big shocker). Is it just a Dynasty with a nose job and a butt-augmentation? Maybe the Dynasty was a New Yorker with a nose job and a butt-reduction. While many may cringe, but this was, for me anyway, one of the most comfortable cars built in that time period.
I agree. I drove the one I wrote up a couple of times, and was amazed at how much I liked the way it drove. The gorgeous navy blue leather made it even better.
My favorite color on these was Dusty Rose Pearl Coat. There was actually a Fifth Avenue in this color around Davenport a couple years ago, but it was before CC and I have no pictures. It was in nice shape, parked in a neighborhood off Brady Street.
I wrote one of these up as well – https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1991-chrysler-new-yorker-paging-bill-blass/
What killed this one? Lord knows. These cars became quite brittle with age. This one is rusted worse than most of these. The transmissions were never very robust. But my betting is the engine or body electronics that had many, many failure points and were hard to diagnose. These things are probably the cheapest car you can buy on Craigslist in any midwestern city, and many of them look quite nice.
One thing that did NOT kill this car was its 3.3L V6. I am not sure what is worse – a great car saddled with a terrible engine or a terrible car powered by a great engine.
C-bodies are almost extinct in Massachusetts. Most of them I see are in similar condition as this Salon, sans the wrong colored door. For some reason the original (and presumably middle-aged to elderly) owners didn’t hold on to these like they did their Cadillacs and Lincolns.
My favorites were the Imperials. I liked their more razor-like nose and full-width taillights.
My only gripe with them is that their additional length only makes their narrow width all the more noticeable, making for a really strangely proportioned car. That said, I have one in my photo trove, awaiting time and inspiration.
Agreed. Chrysler could stretch the K-platform as much as they wanted but they couldn’t make it much wider.
What I’d liked to have seen was a Chrysler with the exterior styling of the 1990-93 Imperial but with the interior plushness of the rival New Yorker Fifth Avenue.
I never got why the supposedly ‘lesser’ New Yorker 5th Avenues came with sumptuous button-tufted seats while the supposedly ‘fancier’ Imperials did not.
After all back in 1972 buttoned-tufted floating pillow seats made their debut in the Imperial (along with the Olds 98 Regency of that year)
And speaking of button-tufted floating pillow seats, by 1993 the New Yorker 5th Ave. was the last car on the market to offer this very Brougham-esque feature.
Still wondering what the Chrysler marketing mavens were thinking when they named the car “Salon”.
The only thing salon means to me is hair salon.
Chrysler was enamored with that “Salon” name for much of the 80s, and applied it to the mid-upper trim level of lots of cars. I never cared much for it. But it is not as bad as “Highline” which they also liked during that era. But, I guess its a fair question: what do you use for the upscale model when you have already used and discarded DeLuxe, Custom, Brougham, Limited, and a bunch of others.
Anything other than Salon….
Chrysler’s affection for “New Yorker Salon” goes back a few decades…
Olds liked the Salon name too, as a sub-model of the Cutlass line from ’73 to ’79.
Salon harkened back to an earlier time in Chrysler ‘s history and of New Yorker’s history as well. Think of a Salon as a quiet place (formal living room) were folks could commune with each other.
Though I usually never gave a 2nd look at K-car mutations like this, I now see that the Landau blob spoils the lines of what could otherwise have been a pretty clean-looking car. The relatively simple, rational dash isn’t bad either, esp. compared to modern ones which look like the work of a hyperactive sci-fi movie set designer.
The past mania for carriage-roofs is something I’ll never understand.
Having the minor gauges front & centre with the speedo off to the side is an ‘interesting’ choice!
Perhaps that’s a hint the engineers lacked confidence in the cooling system.☺
Porsche, OTOH, usually puts their tach in the middle, in keeping with their racing mindset.
My grandfather bought a white Dynasty in about ’05, and the car was barely ten at the time. It suffered a rough life after that, and while the running gear stayed strong, due to neglect and the environment it lived in, the front floor of the car was about to fall out when it was traded in.
It was too bad, really. I still remember the day he brought it by to show us. It was pretty much in mint condition, one owner, and always maintained. About a year later, you’d never have been able to tell. Parking it in a muddy driveway under trees tends to make a mess of both the metalwork and the interior.
Here in southern Arizona, rust isn’t what generally does cars in. It’s generally the sun, gradually destroying the clearcoat and then the paint underneath, cracking the dashboard, rotting the rubber, probably roasting the electronics. I see a lot of cars on the road here minus their hubcaps, too. Tucson’s streets can look like a rolling junkyard, full of cars that refuse to quite die: Escorts that need escorts because they can’t get out of their own way, Camrys that refuse to die (despite headliners sagging badly), minivans in faded white paint and missing their wheel covers, and so on. I don’t see too many K cars here these days; maybe their transmissions have mostly self-destructed.
Hey David, do you get a lot of windshield cracks & tire punctures? Tucson has lots of debris on its roads.
My dashboards have lasted fine, probably because I always garage my cars at home & use a sunshade while parking elsewhere. I’ve never used Armor All or the like. Also, solid light exterior colors hold up best; I hardly ever waxed my white ’88 Accord, but it was its black plastic trim that decayed, not its paint. This is why I think chrome is better.
Technically I’m not the David you were addressing, but here in Houston it’s ridiculous. Especially now that construction has ramped up again (the region has added an estimated 500,000 new residents since the census…).
Thankfully my in-laws are in the glass business….
At least your local economy seems healthier. Tucson is double-minded about urban growth, unlike many TX cities, & has a shallow industrial base. They keep fancying that if they just spruce up Downtown a little more, people willl come. I doubt it.
I could be biased here about debris; my daily driving tends to the outskirts of town, where landfills, heavy trucks, & construction are more common.
My Dad had a deposit on one of these in 1990 (champagne with matching leather to be exact) but decided to test drive a new Coupe deVille before he actually took delivery of the Chrysler. He fell in love with the Caddy and the rest was history. I really did like these cars and felt bad at first that he had changed his mind on the New Yorker, but he loved the deVille and it was a great car for him right up until he passed.
My Mom kept it for another 7 years with virtually no repairs at all. I still see these Chryslers every once in a while here in Rhode Island. They are either in pristine condition or totally beat to the ground. Great write up btw, Tom!
That’s how I feel, if your want a car like this, buy the genuine GM C-body 98/Park Ave/deVille instead of wasting time with an impostor.
I saw a great ’93 CDV yesterday–it was immaculate. I’ll have to do a CC on it one of these days.
Very nice indeed – Dad’s was a 1990 Spring Edition – Saffire blue with matching top and leather interior. It had every option except Bose and Theft Deterrent. I loved that car too – it was fast, handled great, was roomy and rode great too. Great design by GM.
The only sadness I see is how that car escaped the crusher for that long. It was a Die-Nasty with retracting headlights and different taillights. The only thing that was not culled from the Dynasty was the comfy seats and the digital HVAC controls(and I am not 100% that the Dynasty did not offer that option. What a horrible way to drag a storied name in the mud then to slap it on a snazzed up Dynasty. The dash and gauges screamed Dynasty.
all K-cars must die
Must agree with LT Dan on this one! Ugly styling, tacky roof, unreliable drivetrain. In a way, it’s too bad that Carter didn’t let Chysler died back in the 1970s, so it could have passed away with some dignity.
Just rented a new Fiatsyler 200 last week. Best part was that it made it back to Avis under its own power!
My mom bought one of these new back in the day. It was pleasant and comfortable, but the transmission really let the car down.
Downshifts were ultra slow and when they did finally occur it was with a sudden jerk that would snap your neck back.
The key was to drive the car as gently as possible.
The dealer said there was nothing wrong with the transmission and wouldn’t fix it.
I understood this generation of Chrysler product was envisioned by the designers as something more modern, cleaner, even European. It was Lido Iacocca who insisted on landau roofs, pillowback interiors, and a soft ride.
My 92 new yorker salon looks good and runs good. The lights won’t go out unless you disconnect the battery ternimal.
My friend’s wife had a Dynasty, that never failed them… I dunno why some say these are unreliable.
That landau vinyl half-roof…
When this model debuted in 1988 it did have the same Chrysler front and rear clips as the higher-trimmed New Yorker Landau, the one with the standard half-vinyl roof, loose-cushion pillowy seats and burled-walnut woodgrain. For a year or two starting in 1990 iirc, Chrysler went to the Dynasty front and rear clips for the low-end models. For the last year of this body style, Chrysler went back to the NYer/5th Ave front and rear clips for the entry-level Salon, and also finally allowed the upgraded interior with the pillowy seats from the 88-89 Landau and 90-93 Fifth Avenue to be had in a non-vinyl-roof model (minus the loose cushion backrests which had been dropped across the board). The high-trimmed versions of the New Yorker had the nicest interior of any K platform variant IMO.
Though my Dad had one for a short time until he was T-boned in it — and its firewall took the brunt, leaving him with a bump on the side of his noggin — I could never warm up to them. Admittedly, his car drove well, but the overhangs and pasted on luxury turned me off. Dad’s metallic green ’77 LeBaron had so much more presence; the wheel size enhanced the look, putting that weird-eyed Chrysler into Seville territory, while the relatively small donuts and shortish wheelbase detract on this generation. I’m sure it helped with CAFE numbers, though.
Looks like a ’93 to me, going by the 150 × 92mm sealed beam headlamps rather than the up-to-’92 165 × 100mm units.
Nope, it’s a ’92, which was the year they went to the smaller sealed-beam headlamps (which allowed the grille to be wider to help make the rather narrow car look wider along with it). As I noted a few posts above, the final year NYer Salon changed to the fancier interior previously only available in Landau or Fifth Avenue models, with button-tufted seats and burled-walnut woodgrain. The NYer Salon shown here has the plainer interior used from 1988-92 with simpler vertical stitching on the seats and straight-grained plastiwood. Both interior styles are shown in this CC writeup.
I sit corrected!
My uncle had two of these, an ’88 Landau and a ’93 Fifth Avenue so I know these quite well. Die-hard Mopar guy – pretty much traded in his old New Yorker for a new one since 1965/66 every time there was a new generation out, except the 4-cylinder K-car version from the ’80s, when he bought an M body 5th Ave instead. His wife (my mom’s sister) drove a succession of smaller Plymouths – Valiant Scamp, Volare coupe, Reliant sedan – when the New Yorker was in use (in exchange for driving the cheap car, she got to park in the garage). All purchased at Avenue C-P in Dollard-des-Ormeaux near Montreal.
When you see rust like this on a modern car, especially around the fuel filler area, it’s a strong indication the car was never washed or waxed. Road salt was likely left indefinitely, and spilled gasoline acted as a solvent, removing any wax or added protection for the paint under the fuel fill. Cars go to the junkyard in much better body condition. This car had a hard life.
I suspect the car may have simply failed state inspection due to rust.
The tidy one looks like a reasonable car in its day untill you see the roofline harking back to 1920s styling and only half covered in vinyl, it looks pathetic and ruins what ever styling the rest of the car had.
Surprisingly, they sold quite well and were decently reliable by this point.
These cars were aimed at the WW2 generation. They were the last car for many.