1956 Chrysler New Yorker St. Regis, 2-dr. hardtop
Original cost: $3,889.00 (In 1956: average car cost, $2,050.00; average household income, $4,450.00; average home cost, $11,700.00; gallon of gas, 22 cents)
On loan from: Brad Kernick of Kearney; Ross Woods, Buffalo County
Number made: 6,686 – St. Regis model
Engine, etc.: 354 cu. in.; V-8 Hemi, 280 bhp; 4,175 lbs.; 126″ wheelbase
Chrysler used the New Yorker nameplate from 1935 through 1966 making it, at the time, the longest lived car nameplate in history.
The St. Regis was introduced in 1955 as an upscale version of the New Yorker and was designed by Virgil Exner who also designed the Chrysler 300 series.
The 1956 New Yorker series was tastefully restyled using a finer detailed grille and different bumpers to set it apart from the Chrysler Windsor series. The rear fender had eight chromed teeth. Chrysler designer Virgin Exner’s fascination with jet aircraft shows in the “Powerstyle” 1956 Chrysler. It had “flight-swept” rear fenders with a new wedge-shaped “forward look of motion”.
The St. Regis had a new, larger Hemi engine with 354 cubic inches. The Hemi engine was first used by Chrysler in 1951.
The “PowerFlite” transmission was controlled by push-buttons located on the dash. It had “Power Pilot” steering and “Powersmooth” brakes. It was billed as “18 gleaming feet of power eager to call you master”.
All St. Regis models were tri-tone color combinations set off by chrome moldings, a choice available only in the St. Regis. Nine color combinations were available. The three-tone color combination did add slightly to the car’s price.
The 1956 models were the last ones to use front coil springs with rear leaf springs.
Options included power steering and brakes, power front seat, air conditioning, electric windows, power radio antenna, and Solex safety glass.
A 1956 Chrysler 300B set the World Passenger Car Speed Record at Daytona Beach, Florida in 1956, averaging 133.9 mph.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Krause Publications, 2002. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9164/Chrysler-New-Yorker.aspx
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Chrysler_and_Imperial/1956_Chrysler/1956_Chrysler_Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1956 brochure)