Spotting these two New Yorkers next to each other on a Sunday morning outside the former Western Hotel & Casino was like Curbside manna descended from heaven. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. It reminded me a little bit of those rare episodes of The Price Is Right daytime game show where a contestant had ended up winning both showcases for an extremely accurate bid during the final Showcase Showdown. These Chryslers were delivered unto me and my trusty Canon camera while I walked briskly through the East Fremont district early in the morning. This was before most people would normally be up and about, and I was determined to photograph some old, Las Vegas Americana and evidence of the human condition. These older New Yorkers appeared to come from the same state in the Pacific northwest as evidenced by their license plates and were, thus, out-of-towners like me.
Just two months ago, I had written an essay about an ’83 New Yorker Fifth Avenue which, had the M-body not been kept in production alongside its erstwhile, front-drive E-body replacement, would have been the direct forerunner to this pair of white New Yorkers. The older one above, a Turbo model, appears to be an ’84 by the newly-introduced wraparound taillamps and the absence of a high center-mounted brake light. As such, it’s powered by a 142-horsepower, turbocharged version of Chrysler’s 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine. The newer car, the entry level Salon model, is from the ’92 restyle of the enlarged ’88. It might also be a ’93, which was the last year of this generation before the LH cars were introduced. It had a 3.3 liter V6 with 147 horsepower from the factory.
With even just a quick glance at both cars, the differences in their external dimensions are apparent enough:
|1984 Chrysler New Yorker Turbo||1992 Chrysler New Yorker Salon||Difference|
|Base Curb Weight (Pounds)||2,802 lbs.||3,274 lbs.||472 lbs.|
|Passenger Volume (Cubic Feet)||97.2 cu. ft.||99.4 cu. ft.||2.2 cu. ft.|
The older car may look a bit stubby from stem to stern, but the ’92 is only fractionally wider and almost eight inches longer, making it look tall and skinny. The slightly rounded corners on the ’92 are in contrast to its otherwise very linear, angular design, but the ’84 seems more all-of-one-piece, whether you like the E-body’s basic, K-sourced styling or not. One thing is certain: the ’92 Salon looks more substantial, which it is, all 472 more pounds of it, with not that great of an increase in passenger volume. While the V6 of the newer car undoubtedly provided smoother power delivery than the turbocharged 2.2 four-cylinder of its forerunner (would you like some torque-steer with that shake?), there’s almost 17% more of the Salon’s weight to be tugged around by its front drive wheels.
The ’83 Fifth Avenue I had written about at the end of this summer seemed to get a lot of love in the comments from readers with positive experiences or memories of them, which made me really happy, as my grandparents had owned one and also liked it. That essay wasn’t so much about my trying to present those rear-drive cars as advanced in any area, but rather as a comfortable, nicely appointed car in the idiom of the traditional, American brougham that had been familiar to so many buyers, albeit in a smaller package than those that had been popular through the end of the ’70s.
That other, fuller-bodied, rear-drive Fifth Avenue could be likened to a crisp, refreshing Coke on ice on a summer afternoon. Never the best thing for you from a dietary perspective, the occasional, cold Coke on a hot day, full of all the sugar and caffeine of the regular formula, can make one feel great, giving just a little extra pep and with that inimitable flavor. (Just have gum ready for when that sugar coats your teeth and makes your mouth taste gross, afterward.) The front-drive New Yorkers might be like Diet Coke: still caffeinated, with fewer calories, and designed to help keep the pounds down (I’m still shocked by the difference in the base curb weight of the two featured cars), but artificially sweetened and, well, still not good for you.
When you want a Coke, though, you want one, and you should be able to enjoy the occasional one or two in moderation. This isn’t about me trying to ruin someone’s enjoyment of their favorite soft drink. There are things that are much worse for people to drink. I just liked the idea, when it came to me, that the front-wheel-drive New Yorkers seemed to represent a way for connoisseurs of that traditional, American style of luxury to keep enjoying it, but in a “brougham-lite” kind of way. As one reader had recently pointed out in the comments following a different essay, Lee Iacocca didn’t style these Chryslers, but they still certainly combined the features he was reportedly fond of and were met with his approval. Las Vegas is know for its excesses, and on this particular Sunday morning, I got two Diet Cokes for the price of one.
East Fremont District, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sunday, October 16, 2022.