1974-75 Chrysler cars
The product line for 1974 and 1975 was nearly identical, with one basic model sold as the New Yorker, Newport, and Town & Country wagon. They remained as they had been in the past, solid, well-built big cars, selling (albeit not well) at a time when smaller vehicles were becoming all the rage. Chrysler Corporation had invested a huge amount in their re-engineering, and had reaped benefits in quietness and cornering; but these “C-bodies” came out at just the wrong time, as fuel crises meant that those who could find gas had to pay high prices for it. Sales were dismal, and many said, with hindsight, that Chrysler could have done much better by investing in a new generation of A-bodies.
Standard features across the board included the TorqueFlite three-speed automatic, power steering, and electronic ignition, a Chrysler invention that was rapidly being adopted in various forms by other automakers - but was not yet de rigeur by any means. An eight-stream wiper mounted windshield washer provided better coverage, while a standard battery heat shield prolonged battery life — which was also aided by a newer, better voltage control system. On the more surreal side, a fuel pacer system activated the optional fender-mounted turn signals to warn the driver when he stepped down too far on the gas. All vehicles used the famous torsion-bar suspension with rear leaf springs.
New for 1974 across the board was a collapsible steering column, side door impact beams, a new hydraulic impact-absorbing bumper system, a coolant reserve system (that avoided having antifreeze splashing wastefully onto the roads, and made it easier to check coolant levels), and color-keyed seat belts with a starter interlock (this last item was used only in 1974!). The fuse box now swung down from the dash for easier access, and a tilt - telescope steering column was made available. A larger, molded dash panel liner covered more than three times the area of past liners, cutting back on noise.
1975 brought in the Phase II Electronic Ignition System (for the New Yorker), and a new muffler system which, with other changes, that reduced external noise by 60%. Spark plug replacement was moved from 18,000 to 30,000 miles on Newport, while oil changes were extended to six months / 5,000 miles across the board. Not least, new, smaller door latches were actually stronger than prior latches.
1974-75 Chrysler New Yorker
At the top of the line stood the New Yorker Brougham, “a totally new expression of an idea that has never changed ... well-styled cars with engineering differences that set them apart from the crowd.” Newly restyled for 1974 (and remaining virtually identical for 1975), the New Yorker Brougham was sold as a two-door or four-door hardtop, and as a four-door sedan.
New for 1974 were additional, strategically placed sound deadeners, foam seals, silencer pads, and vibration absorbers. Also new were 50/50 bench seats (with individual adjustments for driver and passenger) as a standard feature. The standard was cloth and vinyl, with all-vinyl optional. Standard features included power disc brakes, windows, and steering, and a regular-gas-drinking 440 cubic inch V8 engine coupled to a smooth, reliable TorqueFlite automatic. As in the past, a torsion-bar suspension was used to provide remarkably good cornering for a fairly immense vehicle. The base New Yorker also came with a standard 440 V8 and steel-belted radial whitewalls. Options included a power retracting antenna, power sunroof, and vinyl-covered roofs in six colors. The base model was not available as a two-door.
Inside, a new interior included dual armrests (Brougham), passenger-side recliner (four-doors), and rear center armrest; colors were blue, green, black, gold, and parchment. A new modular instrument panel included temperature, alternator, and gas gauges, with a digital clock and optional LED warning lamps for overheating, discharging, and low fuel. A thermostatic temperature control was optional, along with FM stereo and eight-track.
The New Yorker didn't sell especially well, with just over 6,100 base models and about 26,000 Broughams sold in 1975; the most popular was the four-door hardtop. In 1975, the plain New Yorker was dropped, and Brougham sales remained at around 26,000, again mostly four-door hardtops. Generally, it just wasn’t a good time for full-sized cars, though sales would rise for the big car soon enough.
1975 was essentially the same car, with a new grille insert, a no-extra-cost 400 V8 option (for gas mileage), and a “St. Regis” option package.
Chrysler Town & Country
In 1974 and 1975, the Town & Country was a station wagon version of the New Yorker, including simulated walnut body sides, wall to wall carpet (including the cargo area), and a standard 440 and TorqueFlite. An auto-lock system automatically locked the tailgate when the ignition was on; a power tailgate window was standard; and a front sway bar and heavy duty suspension were used for cornering under load. The two-seat version boasted 104.9 cubic feet of cargo space, and was able to handle a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood.
For 1975, the tailgate was closer to level with the cargo floor for easier loading, the result of a revised hinging system. Also new was a built-in step at the tailgate, which used an extruded aluminum panel between the rear body and bumper; it pivoted out of the way when the bumper was deflected. A 400 cid engine could be swapped for the 440, and a new 1.8 hp high-speed starter was used.
For 1974, the Newport was downsized - one inch lower, one inch wider, and a full five inches shorter than in 1973. Sales still fell as a result of gas shortages, even though Chrysler allowed buyers to swap a 360 V8 for the standard 400 V8 starting mid-year 1974. New for 1974 was an upper-level vent system that kept fresh air moving around the passengers, and individually adjusting 50/50 bench front seats.
Standard features included wheel covers, rear-seat ashtrays, dual horns, thick, color-keyed carpeting, power front disc brakes, and a big, 400 cubic inch engine. Thermostatically controlled climate control was optional. The Newport also used a modular instrument panel, with related controls placed together.
Newport sales were higher than the more-expensive New Yorker, with over 70,000 Newports sold in 1974, and over 60,000 Newports sold in 1975. The vast majority were four-door sedans.
The big news for 1975 was the Cordoba, introduced after the other 1975 models. Essentially “yet another B-body,” but given the Chrysler sound-insulation and luxury-feel treatment, the Cordoba struck a cord and sold in vast numbers, especially for a Chrysler model. This model is covered in detail on our Cordoba page. A full 150,000 Cordobas were sold in 1975, all of them two-door hardtop coupes.
These basic specs were provided by Chrysler for Newport and New Yorker four-door sedans:
|Headroom: front/rear||38.3/37.2||38.7/37.9||37.9 / 37.0||38.7 / 38.0|
|Legroom: front/rear||41.9/41.2||41.8/41.5||41.6 / 39.7||41.8/40.2|
The Chrysler New Yorker four-door Brougham hardtop was .2 inches wider, and the wagon was two inches longer. The wagon, with rear seats folded down, had 97.7 straight inches from the back of the driver's seat to the gate; it was 58.9 inches high.