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I am researching some Chrysler corporation cars of the later 40's and early 50's for a story I am writing. I am most interested in the 1946-1949 Chrysler Royal series, especially the coupes, and the Dodge Wayfarer.

My fictional character lives in New York City during that era and I am trying to pick the right car for her. I need to find out just how good these two cars were as city vehicles, particularly where handling, turning radius, cornering, acceleration, and parking are concerned. Also, since city cars take a beating, some information about their ruggedness and reliability (or lack of same) would be useful too.
I would love to hear from anyone who has owns one of these cars or has driven one.

Thanks a lot,
AC59
 

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I learned to drive in a 1950 Chrysler Royal 4 dr. with fluid drive. It was easy to drive because of the fluid coupling and it was very tough. Two teenagers learned to drive in it and they drove it in the evenings after dad got off work. We knew every trick to get the most out of the flat head six and the only thing we broke was the rear differential carrier. How it broke is beyond me. Besides other normal mainenance, we did replace the head gasket twice (second time we surfaced the head and that cured that problem). As far as handling, it held the road very good for it's time but had quite a bit of body lean. They rode softly as if sitting on a sofa in the living room which was why they had body lean. The fluid drive made hills no problem and both city and highway driving was easy. No drag records were set but no problems keeping up with traffic.
 

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I learned to drive in a 1950 Chrysler Royal 4 dr. with fluid drive. It was easy to drive because of the fluid coupling and it was very tough. Two teenagers learned to drive in it and they drove it in the evenings after dad got off work. We knew every trick to get the most out of the flat head six and the only thing we broke was the rear differential carrier. How it broke is beyond me. Besides other normal mainenance, we did replace the head gasket twice (second time we surfaced the head and that cured that problem). As far as handling, it held the road very good for it's time but had quite a bit of body lean. They rode softly as if sitting on a sofa in the living room which was why they had body lean. The fluid drive made hills no problem and both city and highway driving was easy. No drag records were set but no problems keeping up with traffic.
Great information, 68, thanks a lot. Everything I read about Keller-era Chryslers testifies to their strength and reliability. Do you recall how easy (or hard) the Royal was to park in the city? And what sort of 'tricks' did you use to push the six?

Thanks,
AC59
 

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Parked like any other car of the era. Lillte blind in the rear corner but once you learn how to park a car, you don't really have to look past the side window until you are fully in. The best thing to understand was that the transmission actually had four speeds. Low, Low Overdrive, High range low and high range high (direct. Each one had it's own speed control limits based upon the "fly ball" governor. You could start in low range and quickly shift to high range for instant gear change. Then taking your time after reving it out, you went easily (governor had told the trans to go to the high range but it took a time for the hydraulics to move it)back up to the low range for a "third" gear and then a snap back to high range for high (direct). For normal passing while in high range/high gear, you just needed to shove the pedal to the floor and if the governor still allowed the low range, it would momentarily kill the ignition releasing the load on the transmission and a spring would move the gears into the high range/low speed and once in postion, the ingition came on and you could pass. That downshift was fairly quick, upshifting for the lower range to the higher range took longer.

http://www.allpar.com/mopar/m6.html

ED: add link
 
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