Why can’t they make cars that look this good anymore? The ’57 New Yorker was the first and finest example of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” policy. With the average American production worker earning $82.32 a week, the $4,259 four-door hardtop was both sensationally good-looking and sensationally expensive.
The car’s glorious lines seriously alarmed Chrysler’s competitors, especially since the styling was awarded two gold medals, the suspension was by newfangled torsion bar, and muscle was courtesy of one of the most respected engines in the world—the hemi-head Fire Power. Despite this, “the most glamorous cars of a generation” cost Chrysler a whopping $300 million, and sales were disappointing.
One problem was a propensity for rust, along with shabby fit and finish; another was low productivit —only a measly 10,948 four-door hardtop models were produced. Even so, the New Yorker was certainly one of the most beautiful cars Chrysler ever made.
ONE MAN’S SHOW
Chrysler stunned the world with their dart-like shapes of 1957. The unified design was created by the mind of one man—Virgil Exner—rather than by a committee, and it shows. Those prodigious rear fenders sweep up gracefully, harmonizing well with the gently tapering roof line.
Torsion-Aire ride provided exceptional handling.
TorqueFlite automatic transmission was first seen this year.
Side mirror was an optional extra.
The New Yorker’s shape was so universally acclaimed that it was awarded two Grand Prix D’Honneur and two gold medals by the Industrial Designers Institute.
The New Yorker had few styling excesses. Even the gratuitous slashes on the rear wing did not look over the top.
SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE
Rather than looking over-styled, the rear end and deck are actually quite restrained. The licence plate sits neatly in its niche, the tail pipes are completely concealed, the bumper is understated, and even the rear lights are not too heavy-handed.
The tires were guaranteed not to deflate, so no spare was offered.
Captive-Aire tires were available, with promises that they wouldn’t let themselves down.
Dual exhaust was one of the options available.
Considering the excesses of the era, the New Yorker’s low belt line, huge expanse of glass, and slinky profile are commendably subtle. In fact, if it wasn’t for those outrageous fins, Chrysler’s dreamboat might have ended up in the Museum of Modern Art.
New Yorkers had everything. Equipment included power windows, a six-way power seat, Hi-Way Hi Fi phonograph, Electro-Touch radio, rear seat speaker, Instant Air heater, handbrake warning system, Air Temp air-conditioning, and tinted glass—an altogether impressive array of features for a 1957 automobile.
There are still many modern luxury cars that don’t have the same comprehensive specification of the Fifties’ New Yorker.
The top-of-the-line model had a top-of-the-line
motor. The hemi-head was the largest production unit available in 1957. Bore and stroke were increased and displacement raised by nearly 10 percent. It was efficient, ran on low-octane gas, and could be highly tuned.
The three other model lines for Chrysler in ’57 were the Windsor, Saratoga, and 300C.
One of the other models in the 1957 New Yorker lineup was a Town and Country Wagon, which was driven by the same impressive Fire Power V8 found in the sedan and hardtops.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Chrysler New Yorker (1957)
PRODUCTION 34,620 (all body styles, 1957)
BODY STYLE Four-door, six-seater hardtop.
ENGINE 392cid V8.
POWER OUTPUT 325 bhp.
TRANSMISSION Three-speed TorqueFlite automatic.
SUSPENSION Front: A-arms and longitudinal torsion bar; Rear: semi-elliptic leaf springs.
BRAKES Front and rear drums.
MAXIMUM SPEED 115 mph (185 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 12.3 sec
A.F.C. 13 mpg (4.6 km/l)