Forgotten 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Is a Rare Wagon With Bad News Under the Hood

1955 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon 6 photos
Photo: Charles Vincent/Facebook Marketplace
1955 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon1955 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon1955 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon1955 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon1955 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon
With just two vehicles in showrooms as of 2024, Chrysler is currently a shadow of its former self. Decades ago, it was one of the US luxury car market leaders and a company that brought many innovations to the streets. The New Yorker is part of that rich legacy.
One of Chrysler's longest-running nameplates, the New Yorker debuted in 1938 as a sub-series of the Imperial and became a stand-alone model in 1940. Discontinued in early 1942 after the US entered World War II, the New Yorker returned in 1946 and remained in production for a whopping 50 years. And it spent most of this time as the brand's flagship model.

The New Yorker was part of Virgil Exner's famed Forward Look design program that put Chrysler at the forefront of US automotive styling. The Forward Look cars debuted in 1955 with styling cues inspired by the 1952 Imperial Parade Phaeton.

The same year saw the arrival of the C-300, a high-performance two-door hardtop produced for NASCAR homologation. It was the first American vehicle to top 300 horsepower, and it's regarded as one of the first muscle cars. But I'm not here to talk about the iconic 300 "letter series" lineage. I want to show you a New Yorker station wagon that's not exactly famous but just as rare as the C-300.

While the New Yorker is one of the most celebrated Chrysler nameplates, we tend to forget it spawned more than just fancy hardtops, convertibles, and sedans. Chrysler also offered a station wagon version. It arrived in 1951 and was one of the most luxurious grocery-getters available until it entered the history books in 1965.

But it's far from surprising that the New Yorker wagon is a forgotten classic. Although this body style was still popular back in the 1950s and 1960s, the New Yorker didn't bring too many customers into showrooms. Mainly because it was very expensive. In 1955, these grocery-getters came in at more than $4,000. That's nearly $47,000 as of 2024.

As a result, of the 52,178 New Yorkers produced that year, only 1,036 left the assembly line with the station wagon body, or just 2% of the total production. The convertible is the only version with lower production figures at 946 units. And needless to say, far fewer than that are still around in 2024.

The seller of this Nugget Gold Poly example claims only 25 have survived. I'm pretty sure that's just guesswork, but these wagons are indeed a rare sight today. Especially when talking about vehicles that are still in one piece like this one.

On the flip side, this wagon is far from what we can call a survivor. It's quite weathered after sitting outside for years, and there's a lot of rust to take care of on the lower body panels. The ad is missing shots of the interior and the chassis, so it's definitely one of those rigs you must inspect before buying.

But even if the undercarriage is sound and the interior complete, there's bad news under the hood. This grocery-getter is a rolling classic because both the engine and the transmission are missing. Like all 1955 New Yorkers, this long-roofed gem left the factory with the iconic 331-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) FirePower V8. Part of the first-generation HEMI family, the unit delivered 250 horsepower when new. The two-speed PowerFlite automatic was the only transmission available that year.

The seller says the car was "driven 34,000 miles," but there's no proof it's the actual mileage. Assuming it is, the wagon was most likely taken off the road decades ago. So, is this New Yorker worth restoring? Well, this kind of project will swallow more cash than the car's value in Concours-ready condition, so the answer is no.

It will have to be a labor of love, even at only $3,999, and a parts car "available for extra dollars." But as much as I'd love to see this wagon back on the road, it's probably wishful thinking.
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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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