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Great Car Commercials--1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham

Today we're honoring a commercial that had the chutzpah to compare a 1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham with the NASA Apollo command module used to transport astronauts from the Earth to the moon. My thoughts under the ad.

0:00 - In a world of airbrushed models and polished, attractive spokespeople, it's a bit jarring to encounter this ad spokesman, with his creased face and gravelly voice. Perhaps they were going for the Walter Cronkite gravitas?

0:02-0:08 - What was he doing, idly flipping random switches? Was he doing the same thing in there before Apollo 13? Where's NASA security during all this? Somebody get him out of there!

0:08 - Ah, now he's running down the really distinctive features of this marvel of engineering. "It's got an electronic ignition system, a reclining seat, a digital clock ..." Yes, these were the features that made Apollo special; it's a good thing for our space program that the Soviets didn't have access to the infinite mysteries of reclining seats and digital clocks.

Gee, I wonder where he's going with this.

0:16 - Oh, the Apollo command module is welded into a single unit? And so are Chrysler/Plymouths? Sold!

0:24 - "This is a unit body that flies!" Catchy. I'm not sure why this wasn't the official NASA slogan during the 1970s.

0:28 - "Of course you can't have one of these (Apollo command module). But you can have one of these (1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham)." This statement deserves honored status in the bait-and-switch Hall of Fame. You can't have a space craft, so here's a New Yorker Brougham. Oh, thanks.

0:35 - Now he's running down the similarities between the Apollo and the New Yorker. Boy, I did not see that coming. Oh, I see. The Brougham also has a unit-body construction, electronic ignition, and a reclining seat. "You can even get a digital clock, if you wanna." Wow, just like Apollo!

I'm convinced that an earlier version of this script included the line, "Just like Apollo, the New Yorker is made from metal, can accommodate human passengers, and was made in the 20th century."

0:50 - "But who wants to keep a car for more than 500,000 miles?" Well, Volvo 240 owners.

I understand that he's being clever, but the casual dismissal of the car's ability to last for 500,000 miles sounds a bit odd to modern ears. And how many of these have you seen around lately? And by lately, I mean in the last 20 years.

0:53 - "Chrysler New Yorker; extra care in engineering. It makes a difference!"

Right. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I don't think of the of the New Yorker Brougham as a triumph of engineering. Perhaps that extra engineering care netted a little bonus sheen on the vinyl roof.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this ad is how dated it feels, and just how much the Apollo program benefits from the comparison. Just think--we were going to the moon with technology developed in a age where cars like these were produced, and when commercials like these were normal.

Just for the record, and all snark aside, it should surprise exactly no one that I'm drawn irresistibly to that New Yorker. I'd buy one in a second and then bore my friends with incessant comparisons to the Apollo command module.

--Chris H.


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Imagine the Russian counterpart: "Comrades! The 1973 Lada Zampolit Landau Brougham, with advanced distributor ignition system and reliable mechanical clock--just like the Soyuz spacecraft! Visit your fraternal socialist Lada dealer for a test drive today."

Okay, now *that's* funny. Nicely done, Cookie.

To paraphrase Yakov Smirnoff:
In America, you drive Brougham.
In Soviet Russia, Brougham drives you!

"The Lada Zampolit Landau Brougham: decadent capitalist luxury at a price the New Socialist Man can afford."

(Didn't think of the tagline fast enough.)

Arthur Godfrey. Took me a while to remember his name.

I remember 100k miles being an almost mythical barrier before the mid-late '80s or so. Now people are upset when their clutch doesn't last 150k. When they have a clutch, which most don't.

Cookie - LOL! - right on. I can just imagine the space race between these competing superpowers - Chrysler and Lada.

The "host" (Thanks for the ID Anthony) Is an interesting blend of Walter Cronkite and Mafia Wise Guy. After he finishes idly pushing those buttons in the space capsule he's likely to pop a cap in somebody's head and stuff them in the trunk of the New Yorker Brougham. Then it's a quick ride to Jersey to dump the body.

This is the perfect car for a Wise Guy. The time stamp commentary is a completely hoot Chris - thanks for sharing this gem from the days of yore.

Arthur Godfrey was very BIG on TV in the 50's and 60's. He had several variety shows, in the afternoon and prime time, if I remember correctly. Sort of a poor man's Steve Allen or Jack Paar. Played the ukelele. Was in "The Glass-Bottom Boat" as Doris Day's father, played the uke in that too. Famously, he fired singer Vic Damone on the air for being arrogant. Soon after that, he got canceled.
Maybe NASA needed all the support they could get, a lot of people did not support exploring the moon. Maybe times have not changed so very much in 35 years.

Godfrey fired Julius LaRosa on the air. By most accounts, Arthur was not a very nice man behind the scenes.

Chrysler's impending bankruptcy in the late '70s suddenly makes a lot more sense. I am curious what "longer than ever before" meant... that it could make it past the near-mythical 50,000 mile barrier? That it could make it through 10 oil changes? That it had a 1 year warranty, instead of those "lousy" six month warranties that everybody else was offering?

Cookie - Hilarious. I love it. I wonder if anybody could convince Chris to do an article on a Lada? I don't care if it's a Lust or a Disgust. Heck, maybe it could be something just really cheesy, like "Auto Lustsky" or something equally Cold War era terrible like that. Or maybe not.

Chris - I vaguely recognize that car, so I imagine I've seen one somewhere. That said, I'm going to say that large Chryslers from the early '70s went to the same place that large Chryslers of this decade will end up in short notice - the dump. I'm thinking that lousy gas mileage, ridiculous size, and poor sales lead to a triple whammy of disappearing cars of any make, and most Chryslers from that time period definitely fell victim to that. The only Chrysler I've seen on a semi-regular basis from that time period is the already mentioned Cordoba; those things are surprisingly popular in Reno.

That.... to all you naysayers... is a GORGEOUS automobile. Imagine that, in dark paint, lowered, with some classy looking rims. Not mexi-d out, not rolling around like a hip hop video, but those long, low, and wide cars just look SOOOOOOOO good when they're dropped a little. :)

I'd love to have one, as long as I didn't have to pay for gas.

Oh, and for the record, most of those old chryslers didn't go to the dump.... they were turned into demo derby cars. 70s Chryslers were AMAZING at demolition derby, ESPECIALLY the imperial. The imperial, and other Chryslers that share the same chassis (C-bodies, if I remember correctly) were so successful at demo derbies that many places have banned them. They're huge, heavy, and extremely strong.

I just took a few minutes to read up about Arthur Godfrey; pretty fascinating stuff. I'd never heard of him, but it sounds like he was a pretty prominent personality of the time.

Rob the SVX Guy: "That.... to all you naysayers... is a GORGEOUS automobile."

Yes! Exactly. Your description of it slightly lowered and with dark paint is compelling, but frankly I'd be fine with it in stock beige, rolling high on its soft, gently undulating suspension.

Rob: "70s Chryslers were AMAZING at demolition derby"

Huh. That makes sense, I guess, though it's hard to imagine them being better than, say, an LTD or Impala. They all have the mass; does the Chrysler have the frame strength the others don't?

Arthur Godfrey really should have talked about the fact that the New Yorker was welded into a unibody just like the Apollo, just for the express purpose of serving a furious beatdown on a late-model Corvair under bright lights and with the crowd cheering.

I notice these are C bodies. It looks like this was also the platform for the Newport - which was one of the largest cars I think I've ever seen. While standing next to said Newport a small air plane tried to land on the hood.

for a little light hearted fun at the other end of the weight spectrum - check this honda powered original mini for sale in San Diego. Lot of bucks but looks like a lot of fun.

Mochi Mochi, the Newport was Chrysler's entry-level full-sized car (when full-sized really meant something). The New Yorker was one notch down from the top of the line. The Imperial -- no longer a separate body-on-frame line after the '66 model -- was the top model. The only significant differences were trim and levels of standard equipment.

1973 was the last year for that body, which was introduced in 1969. In 1973 I bought a 1970 Chrysler 300 coupe, with the 350HP 440-4bbl engine. I flat-out loved that car.

Alas, a few months into my ownership, gas rationing began, and you could only buy gas on odd or even days (based on the last number in your license plate). At the time I lived in Queens and worked in East Brunswick, NJ, and a full tank wouldn't get me two round trips. So I traded even-up with a friend for his (oh, the horror) 1970 Plymouth Duster. It had 20K on the clock, and was already a jalopy, but it would get me to work every day.

@D.D. - Ouch! Those cars had to have had 26-gallon tanks in them, so you must really have been burning through some dead dinosaurs. Queens to East Brunswick looks like about a 70-mile round trip, but it had to be more like going from Syracuse to Albany (about 150 miles each way) if my memory of driving around the NYC metropolitan area is right. To tolerate that, you need either (1) a big, cushy luxury car that is sufficiently so that you don't care what's happening outside, or (2) a teeny tiny economy car that's a good road warrior in the City. (2) would probably be a VW Beetle or nothing in 1973.

Chris: "I'd buy one in a second and then bore my friends with incessant comparisons to the Apollo command module."

I'm really tempted to buy one now for exactly that reason. "Hey guys, you know what else has a fancy digital clock like this?"

"But who wants to keep a car for more than 500,000 miles?"

I DO! The daily drivers at my house have between 160K and 170K miles on them, and I'm going to be royally p****d if I don't get a lot more out of them.

Great writeup, Chris. Everyone in my office had to see what I why I was laughing so hard!

Steaming: It was a 101 mile round-trip, which was doable (twice) at highway speeds but not with all of the stop-and-go traffic. I got about 17 on the road, but only about 10 during the ridiculously-named rush hour.

@D.D. - Sounds about right. Line of sight on Mapquest was about 70-75 miles, but nobody gets to drive like that. Still, burning up ten gallons a day had to suck. Not as much as moving to New Jersey (I kid, people. I kid.), but it had to suck.

The "Brougham" - always good to name a product with a name that sounds like someone clearing their throat...

The video, and comments, are just hilarious. I would have liked to see him flipping some random switches and accidentally launching into Earth orbit.

This commercial was hilarious as were the comments following it. I was born in 1974 and remember riding in land yachts like the New Yorker. I loved em then and still do. Real Detroit Iron, baby. Thanks for the laughs.

Outmoded but convincing!
I am convinced I need this New Yorker ( which they should have badged as the "lunar module" special edition.
I found a cream puff 2 door HT brougham, 15 000 miles.
I will try to get it down to earth in terms of price and keep you posted on my stellar extravaganza.
Marc Boulanger

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