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Chrysler New Yorker Convertible, Red, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $36,900.
A handsome, rare, easy-to-drive postwar convertible, this New Yorker is bargain-priced compared to its competition.
The New Yorker was Chrysler’s top-of-the-line in 1948, and formed the foundation for the stunning wood-bodied Town and Country. With straight-8 power, Fluid-Drive transmission, and handsome styling, it most certainly fit the role, and competed on equal footing with the Buick Roadmaster and even the Cadillac Series 62. New Yorker convertible coupes are almost as rare as the Full Classic Town and Country, with only 2,995 being built in 1948. Today they represent outstanding value, as Town and Country prices skyrocket into the six-figure range while the New Yorker remains a very affordable alternative that drives and handles just as well but without the maintenance that comes with the wooden body.
This particular 1948 New Yorker has been restored as needed over the course of its life but still retains a great deal of originality throughout. It also offers the highly desirable Highlander interior option, which is admittedly a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, but true Chrysler fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Fully functional, this one drives well and shows no immediate needs, although it is not a concours competitor. It is an affordable senior convertible that can be upgraded over time, adding significant value without the necessity of a full frame-off restoration.
Repainted some years ago, the car presents well in Royal Maroon. There is very little evidence of previous damage or rust repair, and the sheetmetal is straight throughout. The paint shines up reasonably well, and the car looks quite handsome even from 10 feet away. Up close, a few imperfections are visible, but to most observers this car remains an eye magnet with tons of upscale charm. The extremely long hood enhances the powerful proportions and adds to the feeling that this is a very expensive car, while the front fenders extending into the doors give it a very 1940s look. The “harmonica” front grille remains in excellent condition with almost no pitting or damage, the bumpers are excellent, and all the stainless trim is straight and bright. This is a handsome, imposing car.
You can count me among the people who love the Highlander interior. The bright blue and red tartan material in this car is a very close approximation of the original, and a careful examination by noted Town and Country expert Bob Porter indicates that the interior boasts a lot of originality. The carpets are almost definitely original, which suggests that this car has never been rusty or disassembled, although they are starting to show their age. Matching door panels are in excellent condition, and I do like the use of the tartan fabric on the top pads and bows, which ties the entire interior together nicely. The steering wheel is in excellent condition, and it appears that all the gauges are fully functional, although as is common in cars of this vintage, the clock and radio are not. The newer tan canvas power top folds as it should, and there are dual heaters under the dash for those cool summer nights. All the unique folding window cranks are in excellent shape with no damage or cracked inserts and even the shift knob is a correct clear acrylic piece. The trunk is upholstered in matching red carpet, and it appears that the cardboard bulkhead is original, more proof that this is a very solid car that has never had water intrusion issues.
The smooth running 323 cubic inch straight-eight under the hood appears to be original to the car. It runs well, with no smoking or noise, and shows evidence of regular and conscientious maintenance. Finished in Chrysler Silver, it isn’t detailed for show, but all the correct components are still there including the carburetor, air cleaner, generator, and oil filter. It starts quickly and easily without the need for an auxiliary electric fuel pump, and once it’s warmed up it drives very well. Smooth torque and a nice eight cylinder exhaust note make it a pleasure to drive, and it will happily cruise all day at 65 MPH thanks to the tall 3.54 gears out back. Braking is firm, the steering is accurate for a vehicle of this vintage, and it rides extremely well befitting a full-sized luxury car. Painted steel wheels wear original hubcaps and L78-15 Delta wide whites with a lot of life left in them.
The Fluid-Drive system uses a fluid coupling in place of the flywheel, and there are four gears in the transmission, though they’re split into high range and low range. The clutch pedal is only necessary for engaging the transmission, whether forward or reverse, but in normal driving it is not required even at a full stop. Most of the time, you’ll use high range, which is where third gear would be on a standard “three-on-the-tree” setup. The New Yorker gathers speed easily, even in high range, and shifts between gears when you lift off the throttle. It may appear complicated on the page, but in application it’s easy to get the hang of the system, and the past six decades have proven that Fluid-Drive is one of the most durable and reliable semi-automatic systems of the era.
This is a solid, presentable car that could be easily upgraded over time without having to take it off the road, and the only thing keeping it from the roster of CCCA-approved Full Classics is a wooden body. With reliable mechanicals and plentiful parts supplies, it presents the opportunity to own a handsome, rare, easy-to-drive postwar convertible. This New Yorker is a steal compared to its GM competition and is an excellent choice for the hobbyist who is looking forward to driving a car rather than spending time with it parked on a show field.
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Engine:323 cubic inch straight-8
Location:Warrensville Heights, Ohio