1956 Chrysler New Yorker Is a Rare Time Capsule, Hides Hemi Surprise Under the Hood


Introduced in 1938 as a sub-series of the Chrysler Imperial, the New Yorker evolved into the top-level luxury trim package for the brand in 1946. The full-size was redesigned again in 1949, while 1955 saw the debut of a sleeker, sportier design penned by Virgil Exner. Chrysler also introduced the brawny 354-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Hemi V8 alongside the familiar 331-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) FirePower mill. While not as popular as the bread-and-butter Windsor series, the fourth-generation New Yorker moved more than 90,000 units in its two years on the market. The convertible, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly a hit, with just 946 delivered in 1955 and 921 sold in 1956. More than 60 years later and the New York drop-top is incredibly scarce. To the point where only eight 1956 examples are known to exist. And one of them is currently being auctioned off via Hemmings as a restored beauty with a cool surprise under the hood. Originally delivered in California, this car was reportedly found in storage in the early 2000s. And it has since been through a “frame-up” restoration that took almost 20 years. The end result is a gorgeous classic that looks better than new. It sports a perfect white-over-red two-tone body and a perfect black soft-top. The interior looks just as impressive. The seats are wrapped in all-new leather that matches the two-tone exterior, while the floor is covered in all-new English wool. The trim appears to be in excellent condition, and all power functions work as they should. The car is also equipped with a record player, but it’s not the rare Highway Hi-Fi unit that Chrysler offered from 1955 to 1959. But that’s not necessarily bad news since Highway HiFi used only proprietary discs and had a tendency to break down. This aftermarket unit not only looks period-correct but also uses common 45-rpm discs. Pretty cool! But you’ll find an even bigger surprise under the hood. While the New Yorker’s 354 V8 was no slouch at 280 horsepower, the seller opted to replace the original mill with a 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) Hemi V8 from a 1957 Chrysler 300C. The replacement was rated at an impressive 375 horsepower when new. The 300C engine was rebuilt and gained a Holley four-barrel carburetor and electric choke, as well as electric radiator fans. The car was driven for only 1,000 miles since the rebuild. The V8 mates to its matching TorqueFlite three-speed automatic gearbox. While it’s not a numbers-matching car anymore, perhaps it helps to know that the New Yorker did receive the 392 V8 in 1957. However, it’s was rated at “only” 325 horses, 50 horsepower below the 300C. This rare drop-top is being sold on a clean California title. The bidding has reached $32,000 with almost two days to go, but the auction still has a “reserve not met” status.