Let's fire up the ole Wayback Machine and take it back, back...back...to the summer of 1977. The summer that my parents decided to dump our '68 Ford Ranch Wagon and "splurge" on a new car. For this car loving 13 year old, it felt better than Christmas morning! I should say they splurged on a "newer" car since my parents always and wisely purchased their cars used. In reality, the 1970 Buick Electra 225 they bought was actually only two years "less old" than the well worn Ranch Wagon. I really loved that Buick but it was a little old. So old that mother insisted we tell people that it was a 1972, not a 1970. The difference of two years "less old" being of seismic significance to my mother.
Anyway, this isn't about my idiosyncratic mother and my parents often misguided attempts to improve their lifestyle nor is it about that beautiful Buick. No, sir. This is about a car that I fell in love with in the showroom of the car dealership where we bought that Buick. This is about, The New Yorker.
It was a sweltering Long Island night and while my parents arm wrestled with the used car lot sales guy, which was part of a Chrysler - Plymouth Dealership, I wandered into the air conditioned new car showroom to get a respite from the heat and sniff that oh-so-rare-to-me new car smell. Ok. Truth be known. To get away from my parents too.
I was alone in the showroom that was jammed packed with gleaming new Volares, Cordobas and...The New Yorkers.
I have no idea why I'm drawn to large, ersatz automobiles like the Chrysler New Yorker of 1975-1978 vintage. Might be the chemical reaction that a clean slate of mind has when it gets hit with that first, heavy dose of something significant. Similar to why a child bonds with its parents when young. Where I exposed to BMWs or a Mercedes Benz when young perhaps I'd appear to have more high falutin tastes than junky, American luxury cars from the '70s. Sigh. Such is my plight in life.
My parents equated success with large, expensive automobiles jam packed with luxo frills like leather seats that moved with the help of a motor, power windows, air conditioning, stereos and massive, gas sucking engines. Forgive them, they didn't know better. Neither did I back then. Even now though I find them appealing. Blame that chemical reaction. If this was a two door I might have left a love note on it asking them to contact me if they wanted to sell it. Green color and all. Love is blind.
Compared to the almost harsh, vinyl floored station wagon we arrived at the dealership in, the Chrysler New Yorker felt decadent. I mean, look at that leather sofa! That is some serious luxury.
About a half hour or so after I wandered off my father found me in a New Yorker having the time of my life playing with the power seats and windows. Squeezing the soft leather pillows on the seats. He tapped me on the shoulder through the open driver's door window. "Time to go", he said. He had some good news, though. He and my mother had negotiated an acceptable price on that big Buick.
The 1978 model year was the last year for this car. Chrysler rolled out a drastically "downsized" New Yorker for 1979 that was butt ugly.
For Chrysler's big New Yorker, it was time to go too.
All photos taken by Charles Connolly