by John Harmon
The AC-body was introduced in 1988 as the Dodge Dynasty and Chrysler New Yorker. The Dynasty was available in base and LE versions, using the 2.5 L 4-cylinder as a base engine. That engine was new to Chrysler and featured multiple-point injection. The New Yorker and Dynasty LE had a standard 3.0 Mitsubishi V6, which was also an option on the base Dynasty; it had a full 1/3 (50) extra horsepower. Chrysler considered the New Yorker Landau to be a separate model at the time, the main differences being a vinyl landau roof and standard load-levelling suspension and Infinity stereo.
The New Yorker joined an existing New Yorker model, which was renamed New Yorker Turbo for 1988. In that year, the Fifth Avenue was still based on the Diplomat/Gran Fury, and would remain so until 1989, so the New Yorker name was now split from the Fifth Avenue model for the time being.
The Dynasty and New Yorker were similar in architecture to all the various extended K-cars, with a similar suspension, solid rear axle, and common components under the hood and in the chassis; various visible parts were also shared, including the steering column, stereos, and climate controls. The Dynasty bucked the trend of console-mounted shifters and stuck with the tried-and-true column shift, though.
Dynasty and New Yorker got new front struts to reduce ride harshness and noise; partly grooved cylinders allowed hydraulic fluid to bypass the strut piston in normal driving, but under poor conditions the strut piston slid past the end of the grooves, increasing resistance and reducing the impact of the suspension against its internal stops. This was a domestic industry first. The Dynasty and New Yorker also had an optional power truck lid pull-down mechanism. They also had an electrically driven speedometer and odometer.
In 1990, the dashboard was changed slightly and the 3.3 V6 was added to the option list (the 3.8, too, but we'll get into that later). Also in 1990, the platform was stretched slightly to create the Fifth Avenue and Imperial (Fifth Avenue had 3.3 standard, 3.8 optional - Imperial had 3.8 standard). The only real difference was the rear doors were a bit longer. Also, the front end on the Chrysler models was given a sloping treatment, but otherwise looked the same. Dynasty was never changed on the outside.
These cars were the only EEK (K-based) Chrysler, Plymouth, or Dodge cars to use either the 3.3 or 3.8 liter engines, which were otherwised reserved for minivans until the LH series was produced. The Fifth Avenue and Imperial remain the only cars to use the 3.8 engine.
[Webmaster addition: the Imperial was generally viewed favorably by the press for its ride and fuel economy, and was rated highest in quality among domestic cars by Consumer Attitude Research. However, one magazine suggested that its dismal sales were probably due to the lack of a V-8, which was desired more as a status symbol ("price of entry") than for its actual acceleration.]
There was a base New Yorker model offered in the early 90s-a badge-engineered Dynasty. The only difference was the grille didn't have the Dodge "gunsights." All other things were identical.
The Canadian version was known as the Chrysler Dynasty. I know of no European export version of these cars.
The 3.3 engine made the car perform quite well - my 1993 Dynasty (with 152,000 miles on the clock as of this writing) handily beat both a Beretta GTU (it has decals, so it's gotta be fast!) and a '98 Ranger Splash with the 4.0 liter V6. Almost kept up with a 5-point-slow Mustang! This was probably the strongest of all the older front wheel drive Mopars since it used all the heavier-duty minivan underpinnings.
Dynasty and New Yorker front struts were unique to American cars at the time, and were specially designed to reduce ride harshness and noise; partly grooved cylinders allowed hydraulic fluid to bypass the strut piston in normal driving, but under poor conditions the strut piston slid past the end of the grooves, increasing resistance and reducing the impact of the suspension against its internal stops. The Dynasty and New Yorker also had an optional power trunk lid pull-down mechanism and load-adjusting suspension. Basic suspension design and other engineering features were similar to other contemporary models.
Chrysler is introducing an all-new, larger series of front-wheel drive luxury sedans for the 1988 model year. They'll wear the prestigious New Yorker and New Yorker Landau nameplates. While retaining the name that has graced Chrysler's full-size, top-of-the-line sedans for almost half a century, these longer, roomier, more luxurious four-door models provide all the features that buyers of large sedans seek: formal appearance, confident performance, assured handling, quiet riding comfort, luxurious appointments, and an array of convenience features. And they are backed by an outstanding warranty.
Styling is elegant in both the highline New Yorker model with its crisply designed all-new utitized body, and in the premium Landau version, distinguished by its formal, padded vinyl landau roof, and a more opulent level of equipment. Both are distinguished by an impressive waterfall-design grille flanked by concealed headlamps.
Built on a 104.3-inch wheelbase and measuring 193.6 inches overall, the New Yorker and New Yorker Landau provide seating for up to six occupants plus a 16.5-cubic foot luggage compartment.
The New Yorker and Landau models feature Chrysler Motors' first passenger car use of the 3.0-liter V6 electronic fuel-injected engine coupled with 3-speed automatic transmission and fuel saving lockup torque converter as standard equipment.
Estimated EPA fuel economy is 19mpg city/25 mpg highway, providing extensive range.
Other key features are 18:1-ratio precision feel power steering, a redesigned and specially-tuned suspension with new design struts and gas-charged shocks, an automatic load-leveling system (standard on the Landau), power front disc brakes and automatically adjustable rear drum brakes, or optional four wheel power disc brakes with anti-lock system.
The well-appointed interiors provide quiet-riding comfort on inviting "loose pillow" type front seats in the Landau and elegant pleated cloth seats in the New Yorker. Mark Cross leather interior packages are optional.
Full analog gauge instrumentation with electric analog speedometer and graphic message center is standard on New Yorker. The Landau has full electronic digital instrumentation and a mini trip computer. Standard radio is a 4-speaker AM stereo/FM stereo. Optional cassette systems with 8 Infinity brand speakers are designed to provide concert hall quality.
Convenience features include a new Automatic Temperature Control air conditioning/heater system, remote hood, trunk and fuel filler door releases; 50-50 split bench front seats with individual seat back recliners; front and rear folding center arm rests; front and rear reading lamps; interior courtesy lights; dual visor vanity mirrors; dual heated power side mirrors; an electric rear window defogger; side window demisters, intermittent wipers, plus cupholders and map pockets. The deck lid opens from bumper level for loading ease, and a power deck lid pull down mechanism is optional.
Standard equipment in the Landau includes nearly all of the above plus automatic power door locks, a power 6-way driver's seat, tilt steering column with leather wrapped wheel, electric speed control, front seat back assist straps, and luxury wheel covers.
Convenience options include an Electronic Vehicle Information Center with numerous vehicle system displays, including compass and outside temperature displays in an overhead console, lighted vanity mirrors, power radio antenna, dual headphone jacks (for Infinity systems) mounted in the rear shelf panel, and a power dual action sun roof. Options are available in selected groups in discount packages.
Seat belt systems include low-tension unibelts for front outboard passengers and lap belts for center positions and for rear outboard passengers. The Landau provides vertically adjustable head restraints for outboard rear occupants as well as 4-way adjustable head restraints for front occupants.
The cars had 5 mph front and rear bumpers; front fender and quarter panel moldings were fitted close to the bumper. A spring-loaded design in the end of the molding allows the bumper to force the quarter moldings away from the body in event of impact then return them to normal alignment.
Adding to appearance, these cars have aircraft-type curved doors and flush windshield and back window glass.
These new models have received 37 different treatments for noise, vibration, and harshness control. For corrosion protection Chrysler uses galvanized body panels and a stainless steel exhaust system, and metal moldings are co-extruded with PVC plastic or otherwise isolated from body metal. The new sedans are available in 10 exterior colors applied with an exclusive paint system that improves clarity and gloss of the finish. It is the only twocomponent clear coat process in the industry. Exterior colors are coordinated with a choice of four interior colors.
My great-uncle Harvey was a conservative, upstanding sort of guy who always drove big, full-sized Dodge 4-door sedans. Uncle Harvey would undoubtedly like the 1991 Dodge Dynasty. The Dynasty looks a lot like how I remember Harvey's cars, but maybe at about 7/8ths scale (Harvey's last car was a huge 1965 Dodge Custom 880 sedan, if I remember right). The Dynasty exhibits lots of straight lines and near-right angles, without much concession to aerodynamic trendiness. In short, it looks—well, conservative and upstanding.
I personally like the looks of the Dynasty, though my wife thinks it looks "old-fashioned". Maybe that's part of the appeal for me. The car has traditional American value written all over it, from its distinctly squared off roof to its no-nonsense rectangular grille.
This impression doesn't change once inside the car, either. The seats look comfortable and well-designed, but there's nothing particularly flashy about them; just nice, conservative upholstery and colors. The dash has a full set of guages, each set in its own particular rectangular face. Even the door panels exhibit squared off details. For instance, the power window controls are arranged in neat, orderly rows, as are the power seat adjusters.
The front seat is especially comfortable for two people, with plenty of built in support and grippy fabric to hold you in place during cornering (though this being the conservative car that it is, you certainly don't want to be flying around corners fast enough so that people notice, do you?). The rear seat is quite comfortable for two as well, though I found that the power seat mechanisms under the front seats cut into toe room a bit. The Dynasty makes a great four passenger car but things may be a bit cramped for six.
With the combination of 6-way power seat adjustment and tilt steering wheel, it's fairly easy to come up with a comfortable driving position in the Dynasty. However, I always felt like I was sitting a bit low in relation to the dashboard (or maybe the top of the dashboard seemed a bit too high--everything's relative). Hiking the seat up to what felt like a good height resulted in the top of my head being polished by the headliner. I did finally grow used to the "lowrider" driving position, but never completely forgot about it.
Though the Dynasty looks quite conservative, it behaves with almost youthful vigour. The car I drove (a top of the line LE model) was equipped with the standard 141-horsepower, Mitsubishi-built 3.0 liter V6 engine and electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain gives the Dynasty surprisingly strong acceleration from a standing start and also makes passing on a two lane highway a breeze. A larger, Chrysler-built 3.3 liter V-6 with 147 horsepower is optional in the Dynasty, but the 3.0L V6 in my test car certainly had plenty of zip for every situation I encountered. A 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine offering 100 horsepower and a 3-speed automatic transaxle are standard on the basic Dynasty. However, my feeling is that the 4-cylinder powertrain might be a bit too conservative, even for someone like uncle Harvey.
The Dynasty is a wonderful highway cruiser. The ride is well-controlled and almost completely serene, except for a tiny bit of road noise that makes it through all of the sound insulation. The engine is completely inaudible at highway cruising speeds, mostly due to the overdrive top gear in the transaxle--the 3.0L V6 is turning a very relaxed 1950 RPM at 60 MPH. The transaxle generally shifted very smoothly, but there were one or two occasions where I felt a rather abrupt downshift into low gear as the car was coming to a halt.
This automatic overdrive transaxle also contributes to the Dynasty's good fuel economy, which is rated at 20 MPG city/26 MPG highway. Over the time I drove the car, it averaged just over 22 MPG--good for a largish sedan with ample power. Uncle Harvey would have been pleased.
I came away from my week-long experience with the Dynasty very favorably impressed. I really wouldn't mind owning one of these cars. They are comfortable, exhibit good road manners and they perform well, plus they are priced quite reasonably. I give it two thumbs up--one for me, and one for my great-uncle Harvey.
We test drove a 1993 Dodge Dynasty in good condition with about 80,000 miles. By today's standards, the doors felt somewhat clunky, but after 11 years, it's possible that the hinges had bent a bit. The car still looks good on the outside - it has style. Inside, it has a standard extended K-car dashboard that doesn't look much different from the 1989 Reliant; faux wood trim that creates some sense of elegance (without looking like real wood) differentiates the Dynasty from its cheaper siblings. The seats are soft and comfortable, more sofa than sports-car, and the bench-like front seat has a split in the middle which accommodates two fold-down armrests - each with a cupholder hidden in the end, ready to be unfolded. The dashboard is backlit with Chrysler's formerly-standard soothing green at night.
The 3.0 liter engine has some pep, but does not burn up the track; it's the equivalent of a 2004 four-cylinder, putting out 150 horsepower. It's able to keep up with traffic easily, and accelerates well, but the 3.3 is clearly a better choice. The transmission is smooth, and ours had absolutely no "bump-shifts" or other anomolies of many of the four-speed automatics.
We were left with the impression of a car that was halfway converted to be upmarket - but not completely - and should have been sold as a Plymouth. It is not sporty; though it handles turns fairly gracefully, nobody would mistake it for having a performance suspension. The ride is surprisingly smooth and easy without the "lounging" and swaying of most softly-sprung vehicles. The dashboard is a mix of parts recognizable to other Mopar owners, including the corporate climate control also used in the Shadow/Sundance. We found it fairly enjoyable, but wished for that 3.3 liter V6.
This is a nice car for everyday commuting by people who don't want sport, just day to day comfort.
There is now a little bit on a turbocharged 3.3-powered Dynasty here.
Mike Rodick sent in his drag results for his 140,000 mile Dynasty with 3.3: (on a 1,000 ft track).
"My best time was this:
60 ft. - 2.4829 sec
330 ft. - 7.0943 sec
1/8 th mi. - 10.9268
1000 ft. - 14.2379 at 73.24 mph
60 ft. - 2.4829 sec
330 ft. - 7.0943 sec
1/8 th mi. - 10.9268
1000 ft. - 14.2379 at 73.24 mph
"I took my 91 Dynasty with 140,000 miles to the local drag strip one weekend. I beat a V8 Ford Explorer twice, and almost had an early 80s Camaro V8 beat. ( Got me by .06 sec). The 3.3 holds her own!!"
Mark Swingle wrote about police Dynastys: "The only 3.8L Dynasty police mules I ever heard of were naturally aspirated. Even without the turbo, they provided enough power as a 3.8 Dynasty to be competitive. The reason the program was shelved as the Dynasty was at the end of its product cycle and the Intrepid was due out in a year or so."
1988 New Yorker: English
41.9 / 38.7
1064 / 983
Shoulder Room (F/R):
New Yorker Landau
56.4 / 55.9
56.0 / 55.7
1432 / 1429
1422 / 1416
Hip Room (F/R)
51.2 / 51.7
1300 / 1313
38.3 / 37.8
973 / 959
Suspension: coil springs and gas shocks in front and rear; front, variable damped iso-strut; rear, trailing arm with track bar; 18:1 ratio rack and pinion steering
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