1988 Chrysler New Yorker
|Air Date||March 24, 2014|
The '88 New Yorker: An Autobot that transforms into a dish of Werther's Originals. This car, for all its silly faults, proved the genius of Lee Iacocca.
[AUDIO FADE IN, MR. REGULAR:] Chrysler New Yorker. A LeBaron that’s all whored up and turned out on the streets of Camden to make daddy money. --- INTRO SONG, THE ROMAN (please find original tune!) I like my things nice and slim, And appreciative of my Landau trim, New Yorker. --- MONOLOGUE by MR REGULAR The headlights are wedged in like a circumcised penis in full retreat from its destiny to assistance in procreation. Chrysler New Yorker – it’s like an elderly relative that’s…expected to die soon but never does. The official car of megachurch preachers. Chrysler New Yorker – Matlock on wheels. It’s like…the Perry Mason-mobile. The kissing cousin of the Dodge dynasty. 1998 (sic) Chrysler New Yorker – an Autobot that transforms into a dish of Werther’s Originals. Chrysler New Yorker – a car for a man who begrudgingly tolerates mixed marriages. The New Yorker – a car for people who think they deserve disability checks for being profound. 1998 (sic) Chrysler New Yorker – a car for idling in the parking lot of Sonoco at 10AM while smoking Parliaments and waiting for the methadone clinic to open. This is another car from the ‘K-Era’ of Chrysler Corporation, and when I’m saying the ‘K-Era’, I’m referring to the ‘K’ platform. [TEXT: See…] See, Lee Iacocca applied the Taco Bell approach to his fleet in the 1980s – he had five ingredients to work with, and three platforms, and by Jove, he was going to build a menu out of that. The ‘K’ platform was the hard-shelled corn tortilla of Chrysler’s fleet, and out of this simple container came: [TEXT, as spoken: Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Dodge Shadow, Plymouth Sundance, Dodge Omni, Plymouth Horizon, Chrysler LeBaron] And even the minivan. [TEXT: Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Town and Country] If everything old becomes new again, how long before Landau tops come back? How long before we have a weird fetish with CB radios and Boda Bags? [TEXT: Boda Bags] Landau tops – an automotive look for a man who enters a bar west of the Susquehanna, and immediately shouts: (text follows along) E A! E A! E A G L! E A G L! E A G L! E A G L! E A G L E S! This New Yorker is powered by the same Mitsubishi-based 3.0 litre transverse single-overhead-cam V6 that moved the higher-trim-level Dodge Caravans. In an effort to pile on the options, the New Yorker had an airbag-style suspension that was kinda like Lincoln Town Cars, but it was designed on the cheap. This means, that when your suspension fails, your rear saaaaags. But if you wanted your car to stand out in the 1980s, all you needed was one thing. [TEXT: All you needed was one thing.] If you wanted your car to be seen as modern, and with it, all you needed was one thing. [TEXT: All you needed was one thing.] Digital. Gauges. Oh yeah, digital gauges because, oh, oh, digital gau- it’s the 1980s! [TEXT: It’s the 1980s!] And guess what, guess what – computers. [TEXT: COMPUTERS] (with reverb) Abeepboopboopboopboop! Computers, mainframes, SCSI boards, (with reverb) DOS… Mark Cross. *sigh* Maybe Mark Cross meant something in the 70s, or the 50s – agh – it means nothing now. And also, these spokes do nothing. This was how the wheel covers came – fake spoke wheel covers over standard steel wheels. One thing the New Yorker does have that has gone dodo is small lights that illuminate the same corner of the room that the indicating turn signal flashes upon. Now this a neat idea, and people try in modern times to have headlights that turn and oooooooh, headligh – all you need is this one little light down here, and suddenly, everything is right. Oh yeah, Dolby Digital sound. See, this little joystick here? That controls the balance of the car’s speakers. And you can move this joystick at any time. You can drive along with your friends, and you want to have fun with them? You put your joy- you put your thumb on it there, and just go wowowow like around in circles, and the noise will go in a circle around the car. It’s devilishly disorienting. Here’s the deal with the New Yorker – it never became the Lincoln Town Car competitor, or the Cadillac contender that Iacocca was aiming it to be, but it ended up serving a greater purpose – cheap luxury. And the appearance of prestige for people who don’t really care about cars. Designing the New Yorker was a genius move, and I think it really proves what a smart man Lee Iacocca was. Lee Iacocca – and he was the head of Chrysler at the time – was interviewed a few year ago in the early 2000s long after he left Chrysler, and while Chrysler in his absence was going straight down the tubes again, and Charlie Rose asked him, “Could you do it again? Could you save Chrysler again, Mr Iacocca?”, and Iacocca sits back in his chair and says, “Yes I could.” And Charlie Rose says, “How? How would you do it?”, and Iacocca says very specifically: “I will build small, inexpensive cars that Americans want to buy.” And that’s what he was doing with this. Yeah, I know, the Chrysler New Yorker isn’t that small, but for American standards, it’s kind of a small car for what it was trying to be. But it was an example that you could take a lower to mid-level car and bump it upmarket. And that’s something very, very difficult to do. People will accept expensive cars because they have a certain look to them. But when you try to take a budget car and make it look expensive, you’re playing a very risky game. Because people are going to see styling cues – you can lavish all the extra stuff on it, but if the dimensions are the same, people will know. All I have to do is say ‘Cadillac Catera’. [TEXT: Cadillac Catera] But, if your entire line-up looks the same, because it’s all built on the same platform, now you can do it. It’s a holistic approach – the Dodge Aries looks sort of similar to the Chrysler LeBaron, and the Chrylser LeBaron looks the same as a Dodge Dynasty, and the Dodge Dynasty looks the same as the Chrysler New Yorker. All you have to do is add options and trim, and you have a new market. All Iacocca was doing what taking a chalupa, sprinkling a little cilantro on it, and bam, you got a Chipotle dinner. And people ate this car up. You could have leather seats; You could have all these plastic diamonds that kinda look real; [TEXT: Kind of…] You could have that wonderful bench seat that you can’t get anymore, and you had a smooth engine. I mean, say what you want about that Mitsubishi-derived engine, but if it was nothing else, it was smooth. And since a lot of the underpinnings were the same, it was a cheap car to repair, sagging air suspension notwithstanding, of course. It was a lot of technology on a very small car, meant to give prestige for a company for a company that was rebuilding itself. But I hope that now Chrysler Group LLC – its not even a corporation anymore, its an LLC – will take a look back at what went right in the 1980s, and employ the same lessons today, and maybe Chrylser will stick around. Have a good week. --- OUTRO SONG by THE ROMAN New Yorker, I love you, but you’re bringing me down, Like a rat in a cage, pulling minimum wage, New Yorker, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. --- [u/napping1:] …the first job I’ve ever had where there’s no, there’s no- [MR. REGULAR:] Porsche Panamera. --- [MR. REGULAR:] I’m…I’m done hating on him, because a lot of people…that’s a neat idea, right there that’s kinda… *extra cupholder comes out. [MR. REGULAR:] Ooh! --- *New Yorker drags through the snow* [MR. REGULAR:] Your, uh, parking brake’s on!