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

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

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Last week I either treated or subjected you, depending on your frame of mind, to a 1979 review of a 1980 model year Fiat Strada from a Miami television station, a review that did nothing to help Fiat’s reputation for having quality control roughly on par with the same sort of care your average finch gives to building its nest, and with a similar quality of materials. I feel like Fiat tends to get grief quite a lot for its past quality issues, and it’s worth remembering that Fiats were inexpensive cars, in an era where quality control of any kind was about as mythical and unobtainable as a set of working magic wings you could strap on and use to soar into the sky. That’s why, in the interest of fairness and because it’s grimly hilarious, I want to share another review with you; this one is of a luxury car, a 1979 Chrysler New Yorker, the flagship of the Chrysler fleet. And dear god is it an impressive and absolutely towering pantload.

Here, just, just watch it, and keep in mind that this car, at $9,096 base price (close to $40,000 today – the one tested here was $12,625 or about $52,500 today) was almost twice the price of the little Fiat, which came in at $5,242. Sure, that Fiat had plenty of ridiculous quality control problems, but just check out what the New Yorker has on offer:

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Wow, right? Let’s recap the issues here, because this is fun, somehow.

First, there was the incredible brake light failure that cascaded into an dazzling electrical shitstorm, because when the brake lights failed, then pressing the brakes caused the digital clock to go out, requiring the time to be reset or acceptance of living in a world where it’s aways 12:00, 12:00, 12:00, and the Light Spirit that lived in the brake lights seemed to have migrated to the dash, into a light above the radio that now illuminated when the brake pedal was pushed.

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Just think about the massive helping of electrical clusterfudge that’s causing all of this mess. The brake light failure somehow roped in the clock and dash lights? Sounds like a nightmare (As an aside, I’d like to note that the New Yorker has those color-coordinated rubber impact strips I wrote about a bit ago). Oh, and also in the electrical camp is that the hazard light switch refused to stay engaged.

Then we have excitement with the doors: a bad run of paint, both front doors “stuck intermittently,” and while the interior was described as “sumptuous,” the left rear door didn’t quite fit right and wasn’t sealed well, so the rear carpet got nice and soaked when it rained.

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And, to top everything off, the A/C quit working on this test car. And, remember, this is all from a TV station in Miami. 

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But, hey, at least you could get just over a dozen miles per gallon out of this thing, and that 360 cubic-inch V8 made a boldly flaccid 150 horsepower, insuring that your hauling around nearly 4,000 pounds of half-ass opulence would be a leisurely experience, no matter what.

I never fail to be astounded at what impressively steaming piles some of these late-’70s cars were. This was a premium vehicle, a jewel in Chrysler’s crown, and the brand-new one chosen to be sent for a review leaked, lost its A/C, had strange electrical gremlins, shitty paint, sticky doors, and who knows what else would have fallen apart after, oh, say, two more weeks?

What a pile. Well, I don’t want to be such a downer; there’s always the chance their next review will be for something much, much better, right?

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Ah, crap.

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Jim Washam
Jim Washam
1 year ago

The AMC dealer I worked at bought hundreds of these at auction. Brand New Newports $3,995 New Yorkers at $4,995. We had to beg the local Chrysler dealer to do the warranty work on those pieces of crap.

Timohb
Timohb
1 year ago

I look forward to the GM diesel test ride!

Maymar
Maymar
1 year ago

With cars like this, it infuriates me when someone will refer to like an ’89 Olds Cutlass Ciera or something as Malaise Era, like they have no understanding of just how bad the real Malaise Era stuff was.

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
1 year ago

Does anyone think the late 60’s Mustangs and Chargers bringing mega-bucks at auction were any better?

Fun fact: “Nostalgia” was originally considered a mental disorder.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago

I love how TV is so formal and the poor SOB has to drive in the Miami heat wearing a polyester dress shirt and tie and big hair with broken AC.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago

> in an era where quality control of any kind was about as mythical and unobtainable as a set of working magic wings you could strap on and use to soar into the sky.

… For Italian manufacturers. At all price points.

Mercedes Benz QC during that same period was top notch, as they say in Stuttgart.

Robert Swartz
Robert Swartz
1 year ago

“Next week, the Olds 98 diesel.” what an end line.

Guido Sarducci
Guido Sarducci
1 year ago

I honestly cannot wait for Jason to Torch that Oldsmobile diesel!

Jim Nutt
Jim Nutt
1 year ago

My first car, in 1980, was a 1975 Ford Granada with less than 50k miles on it. It was falling apart. Both front seat backs were broken and would lie flat with no warning, I had a board behind each seat to keep them propped up. The clock never worked, and while it ran okay, the 302 was choked with 70s era smog control equipment. It was awful. But it was mine!

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
1 year ago

There is a local guy who dd’s a pair of new yorkers, one a late 70s that is a dead ringer for this one but with 40+ years of rust belt living. His other one is a remarkably clean gossin special 93ish also in a weird gold. I feel like I should talk to this guy next time I see him if only to learn the tragedy of his life that makes him so loyal to these terrible cars.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Helios

I will walk with my people.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

This is hilarious! Any more of these you have loaded up would make my day. This guy is a great reporter. With no hint of anger he calmly trashes a car in less than three minutes. I bought a new Dodge in 1984. They were no better.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 year ago

Now the question becomes… would you want to spend $12K for this heap of shit, or would you rather spend $6000 on the Fiat Strada heap of shit that was recently discussed and didn’t like to start?

Chris D
Chris D
1 year ago

This is exactly why Japanese cars became so popular. Things like doors, seats and lights had a way of just working like they should, all the time.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
1 year ago

I dunno, perhaps we got lucky but I learned to drive in a ’77 Aspen wagon and learned to drive stick in a ’77 Dodge pickup with three on the tree. Other than their propensity to munch ballast resistors like candy they were not terrible for late 70s malaise era vehicles and I still remember them fondly. However, I was not at all a fan of the previous ’75 Plymouth Valiant that we had to replace with the Aspen when the Valiant got totaled from an old man hitting us.

The Central Scrutinizer
The Central Scrutinizer
1 year ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

We had a 1977 Dodge Club Cab and we always kept a spare ballast resistor in the glove box. When the truck refused to start, we swapped the ballast resistor out for the spare but kept the seemingly failed ballast resistor. This, we placed in the glove box, and IT became the spare unit. They always magically cured themselves after some “time out.”

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
1 year ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

My parents bought a new 1977 Dodge Aspen wagon. It had a few issues with it, but it was solid family transportation for a long time for us. It was no longer the primary car in 1991, and in 1995 it was my car to go to school. It was finally retired in 2011 with 360K+ on the odometer.

Watching that video and seeing the interior light come on with a press of the brake pedal reminded me of an electrical issue I discovered as a young child. I was in the car with my mom waiting for my dad to come out of the store. Car was in the accessory position so we could continue to listen to the radio. In accessory with the radio on, and the hazard lights on, the windshield wipers would pulse and move a few inches with each pulse of the hazard lights. It took about a dozen pulses for the wipers to return back to the lower position. Fun little quirk.

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