Shell Newsom's 1948 Chrysler New Yorker Convertible
(from Volume 19, Issue 226)

Shell Newsom bought the 1948 Chrysler New Yorker convertible you see pictured here in 2006, but the inspiration for the car came long ago. Before he was in high school (many years ago), Shell’s father gave him a 1947 Chrysler Windsor 4-Door Sedan, which had belonged to his uncle when new. The motor didn’t motor, the steering didn’t steer, and the brakes didn’t brake. Well, you get the idea. Shell was told he could drive it as soon as he fixed it. After countless bicycle trips to many different junk yards, workers were heard to say, “Here comes that kid again”, and “I can’t wait to see what he wants this time”. Finally some workers took pity on him, and offered much needed advice and knowledge regarding repairs. A year later he was driving, and a year after that he got his driver’s license. That ‘47 Chrysler was his car all through high school. With four doors, a six cylinder flathead and klunk-a-matic (Fluid Drive) transmission that had a fluid coupling between the engine and the clutch, his car was far less than cool....but he felt lucky to be one of the few that had a car at all. The stories Shell tells about that car are too memorable and too numerous to go into here. Use your own imagination (or get Shell to tell some of them to you when you see him at a car show).

The fact is, the 1948 Chrysler New Yorker convertible that Shell bought in 2006 was his high school fantasy. How cool is that! Shell says he didn’t build this car, but if he had he wouldn’t have changed a thing.

While retaining many of the stock exterior appearance items, such as the side trim and beautiful “harmonica” grill that makes the car a standout, there are some body modifications you’ll notice upon closer inspection. Most notably, the top has been chopped 1-1/2 inches, with the center post of the windshield removed. The headlights and taillights have been frenched, it now has a power antennae, welded and molded rear fenders (the original units were bolt on and utilized welting), a custom gas filler door integrated into the left rear fender, and the trunk lid was shaved and a Chrysler PT Cruiser emblem added. Originally a two piece design, the car now has a one piece hood, retaining the neat “flying wing” hood ornament. The body was treated to a coat of ‘96-97 Ford Royal Blue Metallic paint, the bumpers are one piece with no bumper guards, and setting it all off are a set of Colorado Custom wheels (16 inch in front, 17 inch out back).

Originally the car came with a 324.5 cubic inch engine producing 135 horsepower, but now that it has a 426 cubic inch Hemi from 1966-67 it packs 552 horsepower, as recorded on a dyno. That legendary Hemi has been fitted with March aluminum pulleys, Sanderson headers, an 800cfm Edelbrock carb under a very unusual custom air filter cover, chrome accessories throughout, and a Be Cool aluminum radiator with a polished tank. The power now goes through a 727 3-speed automatic transmission, twisting a ‘70-71 E-Body rear end with 2.76:1 gears.

You’ll find light cream upholstery in the expansive drop-top’s interior accommodations, along with the stock chrome trim and some tasteful billet touches. The stock dash was preserved, though now fitted with Dakota Digital gauges. A custom center console resides between the 10-way power seats, plus you’ll find power windows, power steering and power brakes to make the cruising more comfortable. The Colorado Custom steering wheel matches the car’s rims, and tunes are provided by a Custom Auto Sound hidden radio operated via remote control.

Back in 1948 the car had an original price of $3,123. While there were 8,368 produced, you can bet that the number remaining today is WAY less than that....and Shell considers this one priceless. Though he now owns many classic cars (including a Corvette of every generation, and other hot rods), I’m sure this 1948 Chrysler holds a special place in his heart due to a similar Chrysler being his first car. If the kid who rode his bicycle back and forth to the junk yards to get his first car up and running could see what he would be driving today, I can only imagine the smile it would have put on his face. Actually, I saw that big, happy smile....when we were talking to Shell about his ‘48 Chrysler New Yorker convertible while taking these pictures. Many years might have passed, but that same enthusiasm was still evident today! CN