The Chrysler New Yorker is an automobile model which was produced by Chrysler from 1940 to 1996, serving for several years as the brand's flagship model. A trim level named the "New York Special" first appeared in 1938 and the "New Yorker" name debuted in 1939. The New Yorker name helped define the Chrysler brand as a maker of upscale models, priced and equipped above mainstream brands like Ford, Chevrolet/Pontiac, and Dodge/Plymouth, but below full luxury brands like Cadillac, Lincoln and Packard. During the New Yorker's tenure, it competed against upper level models from Buick, Oldsmobile, and Mercury. Until its discontinuation in 1996, the New Yorker had made its mark as the longest-running American car nameplate.
The New York Special model was originally introduced as a distinct sub-series of the 1938 Chrysler Imperial. It was available in 1938 as a four-door sedan with a 298.7 CID straight-eight engine and a generous amount of comfort and space for the passengers. For 1939 it was expanded with two more coupe versions and a two-door sedan and a larger, more powerful engine. Now the C23 series, it took on the "New Yorker" name, dropping the "Special" tag.
The first convertibles were introduced with the all-new body-design of the 1940 models. This, the C26 series, was the first New Yorker to be considered a standalone model rather than as an Imperial version. It also saw the introduction of Fluid Drive, a fluid coupling between the engine and the clutch. The only transmission available was the basic three-speed manual. There was also the "New Yorker Highlander", a special version with tartan seats and other interior elements
After the war, the New Yorker became a separate series. Unlike most car companies, Chrysler did not make major changes with each model year from 1946 through 1948. Thus models for 1946 through 1948 Chryslers have the same basic appearance, noted for their 'harmonica' grille, based on the body introduced with the 1941 models. 1947 saw a minor redesign in tires, trim, and instrument panel, while the first 1948s were just 1947s with no visible changes. Postwar Chryslers continued to offer Fluid Drive, with the New Yorker now offering the true four speed semi-automatic transmission.
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