MAY 2020: 1989 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER – THE PERFECT MOTHER’S DAY CAR STORY

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The 1989 New Yorker was never a dream car for most people, but Chrysler built over 100,000 of them that year so New Yorkers definitely had buyers.

One of them was Yvonne Mitten-Omerod’s mom.

Yvonne explained how this car became part of her family the day her mother took ownership of a brand new, fully-loaded, 1989 New Yorker 31 years ago. Her mom used the car as a daily driver until 1998 when she passed away. Yvonne said, “She didn’t put many miles on the Chrysler because it was only used around town for errands”.

Yvonne and Wally took over ownership of the New Yorker after her mom passed away, so then a decision had to be made about the future of the car. Yvonne had the answer: “Why wouldn’t we take my mom’s car down to Cabo San Lucas?”. Yvonne and her husband Wally own a winter place down there so the New Yorker became a snowbird in Mexico.

Yvonne said her late husband Wally was also a big fan of the car, so he volunteered to drive the car 2600 miles to their winter home in Cabo San Lucas. Wally took it to the dealer for a pre-trip inspection because, as Yvonne explained, “He’s big on details so he wanted to make sure the car was up for the trip”.

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The New Yorker “had a few issues”, according to Yvonne, like a faulty fuel gauge and the trip south included a run-in with a speed bump in Ensenada that broke a radiator line but the car made it in one piece.

Wally was a hands-on guy and he took care of details, so he really looked after his mother-in-law’s New Yorker. Yvonne explained how he would “pick up parts in Canada so he could look after the car when he got back to Cabo – he loved the challenge”. Wally kept the car in great shape, so it became a regular six-passenger family taxi in Cabo – the locals began to recognize it as Yvonne and Wally’s car back in the day when Cabo had much more of a small-town feel.

The New Yorker has hauled numerous family members – including Yvonne’s aunt and uncle. Yvonne’s mom was really close to her sister, so Yvonne was happy to drive her aunt around in the car when she visited a few years ago. She loved the experience of riding in her sister’s last new car.

The car has had provided a few adventures over the years like overheating because of a blown radiator hose plus the electrical system shut down the whole dash but it has been a dependable car over the years. Yvonne’s daughter Aimee and her husband were stranded on a Mexican highway thanks to the faulty gas gauge, but every winter the New Yorker has been ready to go for Yvonne and Wally.

Yvonne has so many memories of the New Yorker she could write a book about them – that’s why she resists pressure to sell it. She loves the feeling of being just tall enough to see over the steering wheel because that’s another fun feature of the car. She said the smell of the car still reminds her of her mom plus her husband Wally – the caretaker of the New Yorker passed away a few months ago. The car will never leave the family under Yvonne’s watch because there are so many strong personal memories associated with this New Yorker.

The memories are strongest because of two people – Mom and Wally.     

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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