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Chrysler Fifth Avenue

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Chrysler New Yorker/Fifth Avenue
Chrysler Corporation
Production 1982-1989
Class Intermediate
Body Style 4-Door Sedan
Length 204.6"
Width 72.4"
Height 55.1"
Wheelbase 108.7 in
Weight 3300 - 3500 lb
Transmission 3-Speed Automatic, RWD
Engine 3.7L (225 cid) I6 (1982-1983)
5.2L (318 cid) V8 (1982-1989)
Power 90-140 hp
Similar Dodge Diplomat
Plymouth Gran Fury
Platform M

To better understand the Chrysler Fifth Avenue, some explanation is necessary as to understand Chrysler's use of the New Yorker name in the 1980s. As mentioned in other articles, it seems that just about every Chrysler model in the 1980s was some sort of New Yorker or LeBaron, and to try to sort out which is which can be exhausting, and at times downright confusing.

What does this have to do with the Fifth Avenue? you ask.

Well, the Chrysler Fifth Avenue actually started life in 1982 as, of all things, a New Yorker. When introduced, this particular New Yorker accomplished 2 things: it replaced the outgoing full-size R-body New Yorker while carrying on the previous rear-drive M-body LeBaron bodystyle - the LeBaron, of which by now became a front wheel drive K-car offspring that same year.

In 1983, Chrysler decided to use the New Yorker name on another new stretched front wheel drive K-car model. To differentiate between the "old" and the "new" New Yorker, the "old" New Yorker became the New Yorker Fifth Avenue (the Fifth Avenue previously being an option package). And, in 1984, perhaps deciding the name New Yorker Fifth Avenue was too much of a mouthful, the New Yorker name was dropped altogether, and it simply became known as Fifth Avenue.

Whew... Got all that?

Here's a quick rundown:

1982-1989

Disregarding all the name changing, the 1982 New Yorker, as aforementioned, picked up where the previous rear-drive M-body LeBaron left off. This New Yorker was much better appointed and equipped than the previous LeBaron as Chrysler attempted to move this model upmarket. It became one of a trio of other rear-drive M-body sedans, the others being the Dodge Diplomat and Plymouth Gran Fury (which also debuted this year). Base engines, like the other M-bodies, had the 90 hp 3.7L (225 cid) Slant-6 as standard, with the 140 hp 5.2L (318 cid) V8 as an option. A 3-speed automatic was the only transmission available throughout this car's tenure.

No changes for 1983 other than its second name change, in 1984 the name changed a 3rd time in as many years, and the largely-ignored Slant-6 was dropped. The 318 was now the standard and only powerplant and would remain so. No real changes in 1985 other than the usual new color choices, in 1986, all models had the newly required Center High Mounted Stoplamp. 1987 models got a new steering wheel, and a driver's side airbag became available in mid-1988. There were no changes in 1989, which was the Fifth Avenue's last (along with the other M-bodies).

The Fifth Avenue had actually become a bit of a sales surprise for Chrysler, averaging over 100,000 units in 1985 and 1986 - not bad for a platform dating back to 1976. The conservative styling, value-for-the-money and a proven drivetrain apparently clicked with alot of buyers as this became Chrysler's best selling model for its first few years. The Fifth Avenue was effectively replaced in 1990 by a Dodge Dynasty clone that came out in 1988 named... you guessed it - New Yorker.

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