1959 Chrysler New Yorker: The Lion-Hearted Mopar with Swivel Seats

In the realm of automotive competition during the 1959 model year, General Motors sought to rival Virgil Exner’s Forward Look with an ambitious display of one-upmanship. Meanwhile, Exner himself, the renowned automotive designer, prepared his response. The result? The 1959 Chrysler New Yorker, a four-door sedan that showcased Chrysler’s significant facelift and unyielding determination.

A Hierarchy of Power and Prestige

During this era, Chrysler’s lineup was structured with the Windsor at the entry level, followed by the Saratoga, New Yorker, and the formidable 300-E. Introducing the Golden Lion V8 engine, Chrysler bid farewell to the FirePower hemi-head V8. While the allure of the Hemi engine was undeniable, Chrysler claimed that the new “RB” Wedge engine boasted equal power and superior thermal efficiency. The Windsor and Saratoga models were equipped with a 383ci engine, delivering 305 and 325 horsepower respectively. However, the New Yorker and 300-E received a larger 413ci engine, generating 350 and 380 horses respectively.

Innovative Comfort and Stylish Design

Chrysler implemented new features to maintain its competitive edge in the evolving market. Notably, the 1959 Chrysler New Yorker featured swivel seats—a revolutionary concept. These seats consisted of two bucket seats within a split bench, allowing passengers to effortlessly pivot 40 degrees with a simple touch of a control at the seat base. This innovation provided a graceful and convenient ingress and egress experience.

However, it was the styling that truly defined Chrysler’s identity. While the facelift wasn’t as dramatic as General Motors’ complete redesign, it was a significant departure from previous models. The grille design, shared across all models except the 300-E, showcased a full-width design with headlights perched on the top corners—a distinct departure from the previous years. The iconic fins maintained their grandeur, reaching impressive heights and then gracefully tapering to accommodate new lenses positioned higher. A redesigned rear bumper housed the back-up lamps, completing the fresh and contemporary look. Though opinions may vary, it was a handsome and modern design.

Rarity and Enduring Appeal

Only 7,792 units of the New Yorker four-door sedan were produced in 1959, making it the most popular body style in the series. The featured car is loaded with desirable options, including swivel bucket seats, Auto-Pilot cruise control, power windows, and a removable driver-side mirror. While the paint exhibits some cracking, the body remains solid with a few minor dings. The interior is clean, and the original 413 Wedge V8 engine runs smoothly. As expected from a Chrysler, the car features pushbutton controls for the transmission. While not flawless, this rare gem presents an opportunity to enjoy a vintage driving experience with some tender loving care. The odometer reads 58,682 miles.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How many 1959 Chrysler New Yorker four-door sedans were produced?

In 1959, a total of 7,792 New Yorker four-door sedans were built, making it the most popular body style within the New Yorker series.

2. What engine options were available for the 1959 Chrysler New Yorker?

The 1959 Chrysler New Yorker was equipped with the Golden Lion V8 engine. The Windsor and Saratoga models had a 383ci engine with 305 and 325 horsepower respectively, while the New Yorker and 300-E boasted a larger 413ci engine with 350 and 380 horses respectively.

3. What are swivel seats?

Swivel seats were a unique feature in the 1959 Chrysler New Yorker. They consisted of two bucket seats within a split bench arrangement. With a simple touch of a control at the seat base, the seats could pivot 40 degrees, allowing for easier entry and exit from the vehicle.

4. Is the 1959 Chrysler New Yorker a rare car?

Yes, the 1959 Chrysler New Yorker is considered a rare car, particularly in the four-door sedan body style. With only 7,792 units produced, it holds a special place among collectors and enthusiasts.

5. What makes the 1959 Chrysler New Yorker desirable?

The 1959 Chrysler New Yorker is highly sought after for its distinctive styling, powerful engine options, and innovative features like swivel seats. Its rarity and enduring appeal contribute to its desirability among classic car enthusiasts.



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