- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2004

Records show that this particular 18-foot, 2-inch-long 1965 Chrysler New Yorker has led a pampered existence.

The 2-ton sedan was one of 12,411 such four-door models manufactured with a 413-cubic-inch V-8 engine that delivered 340 horsepower.

The original owner kept the car outside Indianapolis for 24 years before selling the pristine Chrysler to its second owner, who kept it for four years.

In 1993 the third owner purchased the car and drove it from Indiana home to Winchester, Va. For the next six years the handsome Chrysler sat there in a preserved state.

When new, the well-appointed car carried a base price of $3,146 and came from the factory equipped with:

• Map light.

• Electric clock.

• Backup lights.

• Undercoating.

• Power brakes.

• Power steering.

• Carpeted trunk.

• Day/night mirror.

• Custom armrests.

• Brake warning light.

• Firepower 340 V-8.

• Glove box/trunk lights.

• Fendertop turn signals.

• Rubber bumper guards.

• Pulldown center armrest.

• TorqueFlite transmission.

• Engine hood silencer pad.

• New Yorker wheel covers.

• Vari-speed wiper/washers.

• Translucent steering wheel.

For six years the Chrysler was barely used by the third owner.

However, the owner found that Scott Patton, a co-worker at the Merrifield [Va.] Post office, was inexorably drawn to the car.

It was as if the car produced a gravitational force that he couldn’t escape.

From 1993 until 1999 Mr. Patton not only washed and waxed his friend’s Chrysler but also either maintained it or informed the owner of the car’s needs.

By 1998 it became apparent to all concerned who had the Chrysler’s best interests at heart. The third owner realized he would be happier with a much older automobile and he was happy that he had found a concerned caretaker — Mr. Patton — for his 1965 Chrysler.

Before he would sell the car to Mr. Patton, he wanted to make the car as perfect in every way as he could.

Both bumpers were replated with chrome and both the engine and transmission received a thorough examination. In 1998 the car received a new coat of the original navy blue metallic paint.

The title was transferred to Mr. Patton in February 1999 with the odometer reading 65,454. He drove the car to its new home in Manassas on its 124-inch wheelbase supported by 855.14-inch tires. The original spare tire is still in the trunk.

Mr. Patton points out the unusual light treatment on his car. Both sets of dual headlights are covered by a panel of glass.

At the other end of the Chrysler, there are no red taillight lenses. The lenses are a silvery white that blends nicely with the surrounding chrome trim. The lights burn red when activated.

Looking through the 16-inch-diameter steering wheel, the driver sees the 120 mph speedometer.

Will the car go that fast?

“Without any problem,” Mr. Patton says.

Beneath the hood a four-barrel carburetor feeds premium fuel to the big V-8 engine.

Mr. Patton says the owner’s manual states that no fuel less than 95 octane should be burned. The most that modern premium gasoline can do is 93 octane. To keep the Chrysler from pinging, he slightly retards the timing.

Besides the chrome accents, virtually everything on the interior, fabric, vinyl or carpeting, is some variation of medium silvery blue. Despite the official description of “six-window sedan” the car actually has a total of 10 tinted windows.

The unusual interior door handles, Mr. Patton says, operate like aircraft throttle handles. He states they were only used one year.

In the mid-1960s a popular automotive option was a reverberator mounted in the two-speaker sound system. It made broadcasters sound as if they were reporting from Echo Canyon. Of course, Mr. Patton’s New Yorker is so equipped.

Back by the rear speaker is the rear-window defroster. A two-speed blower motor hidden beneath a slot in the package shelf circulates the air in the cabin against the rear window.

In the lower center of the dashboard is what 1965 Chrysler publicity literature refers to as “a drawerfull of surprises.” Sliding out the 16.5-inch-wide drawer reveals two ashtrays, lighters and miscellaneous compartments plus a coin holder for tolls or parking meters. The folks at Chrysler thought about every little detail.

Tinted windows in the 4-foot, 9-inch-tall car help the superior Chrysler Air Temp air conditioner control the temperature in the hot summer months. Mr. Patton can’t say enough good things about his air conditioner, unusual in antique cars.

Last autumn he took his Chrysler on a 500-mile tour with other antique cars. With steady highway driving he reports that his car “might do 16 miles per gallon.” He quickly adds that a tailwind would help.

But that’s not the point. With new shock absorbers and replacement leaf springs contributing to the torsion-bar suspension, Mr. Patton remarks, “the ride is heavenly.”

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