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Hagerty Employee

The 1977 New Yorker Brougham St. Regis traded imperial status for the Empire State

The 1976 to 1978 Chrysler New Yorker Broughams came about due to the demise of Imperial as a separate nameplate in 1975. We were lucky to have gotten the marque’s final two years, by the way. A chance sighting of a design sketch at Highland Park led to a stay of execution for the beloved but slow-selling Imperial brand after the 1973 ‘Fuselage’ Imperial went out of production.


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Tom, that thing is a stunner! Sometimes it's hard to believe that at one time you could purchase a car as big as an aircraft carrier with only TWO DOORS! Now, you'd have to buy some crossover or minivan to get that kind of sheet metal, and neither choice would nearly be as stylish. 

By 1977, this thing was a dead car walking. GM had introduced their down sized cars and Ford and Chrysler were trying to use the older cars' size to their sales advantage. In reality, these New Yorkers (and contemporary Lincolns) competed with the big GMs of the previous generation that ended in 1976 and they were trying to make hay while the sun still shone. I was a teenager back then, but I remember the follow up cars to the 1977 GM full sizers from Ford and Chrysler and they were a bit too little, definitely too late. To add insult to injury, the Chrysler R-bodies were in theory, very nice cars. But in practice, the quality was all over the map and the contemporary situation with the bankruptcy and loan guarantees really killed these cars' reputations. 


But we can look back to the last of the 440 powered mastodons and smile...


I always loved the look of those cars. Mechanically, not so much. Cold start driveability was poor, at least here in the Chicago area. Valve stem seals petrified in the tremendous heat generated by the emissions-choked motors, resulting in oil-burning of epic proportions. (Said consumption was frequently misdiagnosed as bad rings and therefore not addressed-owners bailed out of the cars, selling them cheap and accelerating their downward spiral into “beaters”.)  “Lean Burn” problems were almost impossible to diagnose-Inevitably mechanics unfamiliar with the system concluded the computer was dead-and expensive. This was often true, but vacuum leaks and bad throttle contacts were frequent offenders as well. Premature rusting took its toll as well. And while they might not have had quite as soft a ride as their contemporaries from GM and Ford, they were steadier at high speed. 

Anybody know where I can find a good one cheap...? It’d make a good bookend to my 56 Desoto.