Wow! My Dad bought my Mother a 1988 Fifth Avenue, Mink Brown Pearl with a matching Leather Interior for their 25th Wedding Anniversary. My job, keep the Wire Wheel Covers clean, Southern California car, didn't worry about Rain or Snow. The car had a Moonroof, a Cassette Player, Semi-Automatic Temperature Control, and the mandatory wire wheel covers, gorgeous car and color combination. It was stolen from the Velvet Turtle Restaurant parking lot in Long Beach, California in September of 1990. A Dark Day Indeed! Replaced with a 1991 FWD Black Cherry Chrysler Fifth Avenue V-6.
Wanted one then, want one now. Even though they (M and J bodies) wander like a lost puppy when driven on the highway. For me, one of the most comfortable driving positions I’ve experienced. Pretty reliable for a car of the eighties, too-the 318, in particular, was really tough to kill. A friend has an incredible 88 Gran Fury. Not as cool as a Fifth Avenue, but close. Now if I can get him to sell...
The NYPD and NY State Police had the police package Grand Fury or Diplomat painted the most horrendous high visibility colors you could ever find. The NYC cars had the old 225 slant 6 forever, not to mention no A/C, until Chrysler Corp. made the 318 V8 and air standard around '82. Then came the K cars, with turbos or without, not really meant for HD service, but that's another story. The NYSP cars had the standard factory AM radios removed with a block off plate "radio delete" for a while, until someone decided it was an extra cost option; they did have A/C though. Powered by the high output 318 V8, and with 200 lbs. of junk in the trunk (Motorola two-way radio, flares, emergency must haves) and non aero light bar, the top speed was just over 100 mph, which probably saved some lives in the long run. Of course, being unibody they were prone to being twisted driving through median ditches, and would not withstand what a body on frame car would, and still got wrecked, but you couldn't kill the drivetrain. My station had what had to be the last Dodge Diplomat in "school bus chrome (yellow) over ford emblem blue two tone" which was supposed to represent the blue and gold NY state colors. Finally, the dark blue with reflective gold tape stripe arrived, just before the transition to Chevy Caprice and Ford Crown Victoria police cars. I was one proud Trooper when we got a brand new unmarked "concealed identity" Dodge Diplomat in a nice metallic gold, and it was assigned to me. Even with a top speed of 105/6/7, maybe 108 downhill with a tailwind, being saddled with 3 speed automatic and 10 mpg average on high test, they were very durable vehicles at that time.
I got 119 mph on a level road in an 87 slick top, radar readout, not speedo. The next time I tried it had developed an intake manifold leak at the left rear cylinder. The lean condition from that caused uncontrolled pre-ignition. Less than a mile of that at full throttle melted the piston. They sold it at auction rather than fixing it unfortunately.
I worked at Chrysler in 86. A lot of the mid-level execs had these cars. I always felt like they had the air of a gussied up Plymouth, lacking the slickness, quietness and style of a Chevy Caprice. I drove a Chevy Caprice at the time, and, despite themselves, other Chrysler people were always impressed with it. Chrysler hasn't built a real luxury car since the last of the body on frame Imperials in 1966.
Early in my professional career I was sent to Boston for a few weeks. I picked up an Avis GM econobox on the employers rental plan at Logan and was on my way. An hour later, I limped into my hotel parking lot with a disintegrating transmission. This being the era before cell phones, I called Avis from the hotel. By good fortune, a satellite rental center was close at hand. My replacement car was a loaded Fifth Avenue.
I'd grown up in a family where cars had vinyl interiors and no A/C. All my friends were pretty much the same. My ride at the time was a '79 Formula Firebird with vinyl and no A/C. The Chrysler was my first exposure to leather and luxury. I enjoyed every minute of it.
i owned a1984 fifth avenue,i bought the cat to part out for a street rod,ended up selling street rod unfinished and started driving the chrysler,minor repairs made it a wonderful driver for couple years,a friend talked me out of it and have regretted selling it since