Okay, excuse me while I run and grab my advertising writer’s hat, and you’re about to see why.
Behold the magnificent 1956 Chrysler New Yorker St. Regis. Gazing upon this dashing, full-size coupe nearly takes one’s breath away, for it is truly nothing less than stunning.
Hats off to the St. Regis and its designer, Virgil Exner, a star in automobile design. Now if you’re reading this story in print, unfortunately you won’t be able to appreciate what makes this car so special – its “tri-color” or “tri-tone” color combination – a new feature offered by a number of makers including Ford and General Motors in the period of the mid-50s. Astute auto expert, columnist, blogger and just a downright fascinating guy, Donald Pittenger goes on to explain in more detail. This from Don:
“One brief fad was that of the three-tone paint job. Because it’s difficult to coordinate three colors on an automobile, what stylists and color consultants fell back on was making at least one of those colors black or white. An alternative was to use black and off-white with one other hue.
“Three-tone paint schemes first appeared on mid-fifties Dodges, DeSotos, Buicks, Packards, Fords and Edsels.”
The 1956 Chrysler New Yorker St. Regis coupe seen here, is decked out in Stardust Blue, Raven Black and Cloud White. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, this is not a real car. It is a 1/18 scale die cast model by Acme Trading, priced at $199.00.
All New Yorkers, including the St. Regis’ were powered by a Chrysler Hemi V-8 of 354 cubic-inches, producing 280 brake horsepower. This was to be the last year for coil front and leaf-rear springs. The 1957 Chrysler lines, including Plymouth, Dodge and DeSoto, would implement Chrysler’s praised ‘torsion bar suspension’ up front and coil springs in the rear which would be a staple for their cars until the advent of front drive cars in later decades.
Typical options for the day: power assisted steering, brakes, windows and seats were offered as well as Chrysler Air Temp air conditioning. What was not offered by competitors was Highway Hi-Fi, an under-dash unit which played 7”, 16-2/3 rpm records which would provide up to 45 minutes of music or one hour of speech. They were offered on all Chrysler Corporation vehicles from 1956 through 1959 model years.
The St. Regis coupe weighed in at 4,175 pounds (shipping weight) and had a suggested factory base price of $3,889.whichequaled to $40,333 in today’s dollars.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Look for The FIN MAN & Company at the St. Louis Auto Show at America’s Center, Friday, January 14 through Monday, January 17. You’ll most likely find us at the Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri’s display of members’ collectible automobiles... always a treat!