Friday, September 2, 2016

Talk Derby to Me: 1965 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon

Being born and raised in the craigslist city where this car is listed, it's completely unfathomable to me that this thing hasn't been demo derbied yet. You see, the Newport and New Yorker were extremely close to the universally outlawed Imperial, however, they retained legality in nearly all derby championships. Find this alternative to the almighty Impala, a 1965 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon in Apex, NC for $5,500 via craigslist.

The New Yorker, along with several other models, was a real winner in the demo circuit due to its ability to bend upward in the rear very consistently. After all, nobody wants a tail dragger like a '77+ GM B-Body. Sure, it didn't have the fully boxed and splayed out fore section of the frame like the Imperial but it was still a battering ram with a big block. By some strange act of fate, this 9 passenger hauler managed to escape the grasp of the Main Feature and live to drive another day.

If this picture was taken 15 years ago, you'd take the opportunity - while the air cleaner was already off - to temporarily remove the fan belt and jet this thing on a gas analyzer while white-hot. That'll make it run like a beast when there's no water left and you really, really need to make a hit in the next 45 seconds to avoid DQ. Drop two heat ranges on the plugs while you're at it and set the timing so that it won't fight you on restart at 260 degree water temp. Many of these cars would have small block Chevrolet motors refitted and a hole cut in the firewall for easy timing adjustment with the crank of the distributor - clockwise for restarts up against the wall, counter-clockwise for kidney-rattling hits. Now that the derby risk is over for this Chrysler, the big block Mopar is in for years of smooth cruising.

The interior of this New Yorker remains in very good shape. No Group 24 battery-shaped holes have been cut in the passenger seat, which is usually the most convenient and accessible anchor point. It's interesting to note that the steering wheel has not been covered in duck tape nor has the column shift rod been replaced with a looped piece of rebar through the middle of a 12" hole in the floor. No one wants a lever through the neck.

See a less likely survivor? email us here:

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.


  1. I had one of these in college! Light yellow and a supremely smooth running tank.
    The hubs are reverse threaded on one side with copper coated threads. Military spec car...when I jacked it to change a tire it was like lifting a building.
    A made to derby car,

  2. These require quite a bit of welding to be competitive these days, but then again, most cars do. Find a derby that pays $2k or more, and I guarantee that the winning car will 5-6x that in the drive train alone. Here's a show in Utah with one of these wagons running:


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