Car Clock of the Week: 1977 Chrysler New Yorker mechanical-digital



Car Clock of the Week

November 08, 2019 09:00 AM

Car Clock of the Week: 1977 Chrysler New Yorker mechanical-digital

In the 1970s, digital clocks were considered very futuristic.

Murilee Martin



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Murilee Martin

Not just a clock, a chronometer.

After a pair of analog Lincoln clocks, from 1984 and 2000, we take the Car Clock of the Week series back to the era of “digital” clocks with mechanical innards: the 1970s. While Honda and Datsun both installed this style of clocks in their cars, Detroit was the king of the faux-digital car clock during the Malaise Era. We admired a mechanical-digital timepiece pulled from a 1974 Ford Mustang Ghia and one from a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88, earlier this year, and now it’s Chrysler’s turn.

Murilee Martin

The New Yorker got downsized for 1979, but the ’77 was still a vast dreadnought of a car.

The 1977 New Yorker four-door hardtop scaled in at an impressive 4,739 pounds, about what the lighter versions of the 2019 Dodge Durango weigh. I found this car in a Denver self-service yard, and I will feature it in a future Junkyard Treasure post.

Murilee Martin

I decided to remove this clock, even though I didn’t think it would still function at age 42.

The “Electronic Digital Clock” was a pricey option for the New Yorker in 1977, and Chrysler claimed that it would be accurate within one minute per month. Most clocks from old Detroit cars don’t work, but I had my $6 clock tester with me and decided it was worth disassembling the instrument panel to extract and test this chronometer.

Murilee Martin

A very substantial mechanism.

I was shocked to discover that it still worked, so I paid the $4.99 to take it home.

After nearly half a century, this clock makes some noise and doesn’t seem to operate very smoothly, but it outlived the car it came in.

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