Home » This Malaise-Era Chrysler Had The Most Ridiculous Rear Door Window Solution Ever

This Malaise-Era Chrysler Had The Most Ridiculous Rear Door Window Solution Ever

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The late 1970s were a strange time for so many things, and while people tend to focus on the drugs and fashion and general debauchery, they often forget to note one of the most profound victims of the excesses and warped thinking of the time: the rear door windows of the 1979 to 1981 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue. Really, it’s whole rear doors, which are such an overdone and tortured design that the study of them is required for anyone hoping to become a genuine, accredited psychopath. Let’s take a look at these ridiculous things!

I should note that my attention was brought, really dragged, to these doors from one of our valued Kiwi readers, Jason of New Zealand, who emailed me just to be sure I was aware. Oh, I’m aware now, Jason, very aware. 

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Keep in mind, the whole Malaise era was sort of a low ebb for rear door windows as it was; many cars had rear windows that, for bullshit “safety” reasons masking the fact that designers and engineers seem to have forgotten how to make a door window not impact the rear wheel when down, only lowered halfway. Even worse, GM built countless cars on their A- and G-bodies that had rear door windows that didn’t roll down at all, cooking kids in the back seat like you were picking them up from the arcade in an air fryer.

These windows do seem to go down, but, well, look at them:

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Do you see what I’m getting at here? Because of what I think may have been a Carter Administration Presidential Order, the New Yorker had to have some sort of opera window, but instead of cutting a hole for the opera window in the still-quite-thick C-pillar, Chrysler decided to hack it out of the door window area itself, leaving what may be the narrowest opening door window in a car not designed to appeal to the giraffe community.

Look at that thing! You couldn’t hand someone a hot dog through that window unless you rotated it 90°, and then you’d be dumping chili and slaw and relish and onions (I’m assuming this hot dog would have everything on it, because this is a New Yorker, the flagship of the Chrysler fleet, not some pile of shit like a Volaré) all over that rich, sumptuous, buttery interior.

I don’t think you can really appreciate the stupidity of this window until you see the door open:



That’s a…half-frameless door? Who the hell makes a half-framed/half-unframed door? With that pull strap in the middle and the light and the upholstery, this thing is an absolute Malaise Marvel. Wow.

Now, the 1980 Cadillac Seville comes sort of close to this madness:


…but not really. That’s just a framed little window, it’s not the whole bulky Opera Window Operating Complex that’s commanding half that window-area real estate on the New Yorker door.

I just can’t get over the madness of that door. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen mawkish opulence take such a brutal toll on the design of a door.


I do have to give Chrysler credit for having color-coordinated bumper rubber impact strips; I have a particular fondness for those. As does Mr.Sportcoat there, clearly:


These doors’ complex shape may have been hard to seal as well, something I suspect by watching this hilariously disastrous review that noted the rear door didn’t seal, causing a leak that soaked the rear carpet:

Look at this mess!



I’ve actually written about this astounding review before, which also included such gems as the digital clock going out every time the brakes went on and the A/C crapping out.

Man, what glorious pile that New Yorker was! What a time to have been alive.


Watch A Brand New Chrysler New Yorker Fail Miserably In This Hilarious 1978 TV Review

The Chevy Celebrity Eurosport VR Proved Chevy Didn’t Know What ‘Euro’ Meant

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1 month ago

Talk about half-assed….ha ha this article was hilarious!

Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson
1 month ago

Welp, this has made it into my Top 5 Favorite Malaise Design Touches

Black Peter
Black Peter
1 month ago

Things I learned from this article:

  • At one time Chrysler made the most amazing door ever!!!
  • Jason is, pound for pound, the best humor automotive journalist working today.
  • The old site is an absolute shit show
1 month ago

…gems as the digital clock going out every time the brakes went on…

I discovered a little idiosyncrasy in my parents 1977 Dodge Aspen wagon that was similar. My dad had to run into the store for something, and left my mom, my brother and I in the car. The car wasn’t running, but the key was in the accessory position to keep the radio running. As a young kid, I was playing around with the few buttons and switches. I pulled the switch for the hazard lights, and with every flash of the hazard lights the windshield wipers would advance across the windshield about 10-15 degrees. My mom noticed it as well and we did a little experiment. Turning the wipers on, they worked normally. Turn them off, and only advaance a little with each flash of the hazards. Turn off the hazards and try each side turn signal and nothing. If the car was running, it didn’t do it.

1 month ago

The (slightly) better option would have been the Dodge St. Regis of the same period. My dad seriously considered the Saint for a while and I remember pouring over the brochure we grabbed after the test drive. No opera window, and retractable clear headlight covers for some reason. Ultimately, as always, the budget was not there, and we got new living room carpet instead and stuck with the 73 Grand Fury wagon.

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