When General Motors brought out its answer to Virgil Exner’s Forward Look for the 1959 model year, it was the result of a serious case of one-upmanship. How did Exner prepare for that move? Our Pick of the Day, this 1959 Chrysler New Yorker four-door sedan, nicely demonstrates Chrysler’s big facelift. It is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Ramsey, Minnesota. (Click the link to view the listing)
During this era, Chrysler’s hierarchy started with the Windsor, then went up to Saratoga, New Yorker, and the mighty 300-E. Brand-new for Chrysler was the Golden Lion V8, which meant the FirePower hemi-head V8 was officially discontinued. The romance of the Hemi was substantial but, all things considered, the new “RB” Wedge was equally as powerful and, as touted by Chrysler, featured greater thermal efficiency. The Windsor and Saratoga used a 383ci (not to be confused with the “B” Wedge used by the 1959 Dodge and DeSoto and produced through 1971) with 305 and 325 horsepower, respectively, but the New Yorker and 300-E received a 413ci with 350 and 380 horses, respectively.
New features attempted to help the brands within the Chrysler Corporation maintain the competitive position they had in 1957. Most notable was the swivel seat, which was two bucket seats within a split bench that, “with a slight tough of the finger, a control at the seat base unlocks the spring-loaded seat,” permitting driver and passenger to pivot 40 degrees for a more graceful ingress and egress.
But it was styling that needed to carry Chrysler and, while the heavy facelift was nowhere near as radical as GM’s complete redesign, it was all-new. The grille for all (save the 300-E) featured a full-width design that housed the headlights perched on the top corners, a distinct change from 1957-58. The fins soared to the same heights as before, but now they cut back to house new lenses suspended in a higher position. A new rear bumper housed the back-up lamps to complete the new look. It’s arguable that it was an improvement from 1957 (to these eyes, the high-water mark of the trio), but it was handsome and contemporary.
Only 7,792 New Yorker four-door sedans were built in 1959, which was the most popular body style in the series. This one appears to be loaded thanks to swivel bucket seats, Auto-Pilot cruise control, power windows, and remove driver-side mirror. “The paint does have some cracking [but] the body is solid, [with] a few dings around the car.” Sounds like an old car that can be enjoyed while you give it TLC. “The interior is clean and the original 413 Wedge V8 runs nice.” Of course, it being a Chrysler, it has pushbutton controls for the transmission. “Not a perfect car, but rare and still will make for a great driver.” Odometer reads 58,682.
The asking price for this 1959 Chrysler New Yorker four-door sedan is $14,980. That’s not a lot of money for a near-luxury Exner creation that can haul the whole family and more. Plus, when you take it to the local cruise, showing folks the swivel seats will put a smile on everyone’s face.