Chrysler was one of the first automakers to suspend production in 1942, switching its manufacturing capabilities from civilian orders to the war effort, and it was among the last to return to civilian production in 1945. As a result, like all other automakers, the 1946 models were virtually unchanged from the short-run 1942 models. Chrysler also carried the 1946 model year through to 1948 essentially unaltered in an attempt to meet the demand generated by four years of no civilian production combined with the new buying power of returning servicemen.
Available in a wide variety of styles, the New Yorker was Chrysler’s high-end car for 1946. Body options included a line of two-door models including a three-passenger coupe, six-passenger club coupe, the convertible, and a six-passenger sedan. Four-door options included a six-passenger sedan. Additionally, buyers could opt for the wood-trimmed Town & Country styling that was available in the four-door sedan or two-door convertible. Another available trim level was a plaid interior bearing the “Highlander” nameplate.
The Chrysler New Yorker engine was a 323.5-cid inline eight-cylinder with a 135 horsepower rating. The transmission was an interesting feature, with a Fluid Drive torque converter mated to a standard clutch and a Presto-Matic semi-automatic transmission. With this transmission and overdrive combination, the driver selected a low range or high range using the clutch, and the transmission automatically applied overdrive to either of these, yielding four effective gears. The Fluid Drive torque converter allowed the driver to hold the car at a stop without using the clutch, in order to accelerate as an automatic.
For 1947, the Town & Country package was limited to the two-door convertible, which was the only significant change for that model year. In 1948, the New Yorker Town & Country package was also offered in a new two-door hardtop body, but only seven of these cars were ever manufactured.
Four-door sedans amounted to about 75% of New Yorker production in this era, with a total of about 52,000 cars. Additionally, about 10,000 club coupes, 8,300 Town & Country convertibles, 3,000 conventional convertibles, 699 three-passenger coupes, and 545 two-door sedans were made between 1946 and 1948.
Collectors will prefer the Town & Country models for their wood and high-line trim features. If you can find a single-row three-passenger coupe or two-door sedan, those should hold some value for their rarity. The most rare and collectible New Yorkers of this era would be the 1948 two-door hardtop Town & Country package, but they are predictably difficult to find and rarely are offered for sale publically.