When one thinks of road racing, a '53 New Yorker is about the last car that comes to mind.
We all are guilty of searching the classified ads hoping to score a deal on a rare car, but these days we must take the extra step of searching internet classifieds, as well as the newspaper ads just to be thorough. More often than not we don't find a deal on anything interesting, but still we search. Surfing the internet was just what Owen Grigg of Auckland, New Zealand, was doing when he stumbled across an advertisement for a '53 New Yorker coupe on a small, rarely visited, classified web site. While nothing about the advertisement immediately jumped out as unique, when he read on, the text stated this car had dual-quad carburetion and four-wheel disc brakes. With his interest piqued, Owen e-mailed the seller to find out the details.
When the seller of the New Yorker replied, he stated that the advertisement was correct-the New Yorker had dual-quads and four-wheel disc brakes, and he was selling it for the widow of the original owner. Further questioning of the seller revealed that the car's owner had passed away in the early '90s, and his widow had faithfully kept paying the storage charges to keep the car in a storage facility where it had been parked in 1958. The seller also stated that the car was all original, had only 32,000 miles on it, and was some sort of road racing car. Owen decided not to make an offer until he did a little research, and so he called his friend Wayne Graefen, who knew more about the early Hemi cars. What Wayne told him was nothing less than amazing.
You never know what's hiding inside a storage unit. just ask Owen Grigg who discovered thi
Wayne stated that the car was likely a factory built '53 New Yorker Special, built by Chrysler specifically to compete in the '53 Pan-American road race. His advice to Owen was to purchase the car sight unseen, so Owen quickly contacted the seller. Unfortunately, the seller had a pending deal with an Arizona car dealer and was obligated to give him rights of first refusal. Luckily, the seller's transaction with the Arizona dealer fell through, and Owen bought the car for what he states was a "fair price, given the car's rarity."
Upon retrieving the New Yorker from its storage unit, Owen says it was exactly as described. The odometer showed only some 32,000 miles, and the engine was indeed a dual-quad-fed Hemi, equipped with a solid roller camshaft and experimental Bohnalite intake manifold. The car had also been fitted with disc brakes, special Imperial limousine suspension components, and even had the original road race tires. This was definitely one of the Pan-American racers, and it was preserved in its original trim. Even better, it was in great shape and needed very little attention to be road-worthy.
Since purchasing the New Yorker, Owen has simply cleaned it up, performed some routine maintenance, and detailed the engine bay to get it back on the road.
As far as the car's history, Owen's research revealed that while the car is one of the original 15 cars produced for the Carrera Panamericana (the Mexican Road Race), this particular car was never actually raced. Believed to be originally ordered by the Shah of Persia, the Shah didn't take delivery of the car when he discovered its experimental induction system was not allowed in the race rules. The car was then loaned to a Detroit dealer for promotional use, and then sold to a neighbor of the dealer who had a radio and windshield washer system installed prior to delivery. The New Yorker was driven as a "toy" for several years, before being parked in storage unit 153 in 1958.
With its racing heritage and unique story, this car is definitely a rare part of Mopar history. As the only car of its kind that we've ever seen, we wouldn't be surprised if this is the only remaining survivor of these specially built vehicles, or at least the best preserved example. We congratulate Owen and thank him for sharing his rare find.
This car was parked shortly after it retired from racing, so it's a great example of a per
Even the tires on this New Yorker were intact and marked as special "road race" tires. Whi
After storing the car for many years, the widow of the original owner (shown here with Owe
The '53 New Yorker just needed some TLC and an engine bay detailing to be presentable. giv
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