History of the 1955 - 1956 Chrysler New Yorker
The 1955 Chrysler New Yorker benefitted from a total body redesign that eliminated the “fat fender” look of the early 1950s. It was replaced with a smooth-sided physique that would continue through the balance of the decade. The New Yorker was Chrysler’s middle luxury line and commanded a premium over the entry-level Windsor; it was not as elegant as the Imperial, and somewhat apart from the performance-oriented Chrysler 300.
The various body styles available in 1955 often received their own exotic names, including the two-door “Newport” and “St. Regis” hardtops and the four-door “Town & Country” Wagon. There was also a two-door convertible and a four-door sedan in the basic New Yorker nomenclature. Between the two hardtop models, the Newport was the base trim level, and the St. Regis received upgrades such as two-tone paint and special trim. Mid-year, this treatment was also made available on the Newport models.
The 1955 New Yorker carried a 331.5-cid Hemi V-8 engine, with a standard dual exhaust and 250 horsepower. The Chrysler 300 used dual carburetors, solid lifters and a racing camshaft on the same engine to create 300 horsepower. The PowerFlite automatic transmission was standard on the New Yorker line.
For the 1956 model year, the New Yorker diverged further from the base Windsor line in its styling. The St. Regis trim level now received a three-tone paint scheme, and a new four-door hardtop Newport was added to the line. Buyers were also treated to a new 354-cid, 280-hp Hemi V-8 engine, mated to the pushbutton-controlled PowerFlite automatic transmission.
Collectors may be happy with any New Yorker of this era, but the St. Regis hardtops should command special interest. Among rare and amusing options, 1956 Chryslers offered the “Highway Hi-Fi” record player. The number of cars so equipped is not recorded, but cannot be very large. A hot water heater was also available. Fewer than 1,000 convertibles were produced in each year, so those may be hard to find compared to the nearly 60,000 New Yorker four-door sedans produced in this era. Engine power aficionados may want to look to the 1957 model year, when another 45 horsepower was added to the New Yorker line.