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Chris Hoffman's 1978 New Yorker Brougham Salon

This is my '78 NYB with the rare Salon package, which is listed but not shown in the brochures. In fact, I've never seen an official Chrysler picture of a car with the package, but since mine is a 17,000-mile original, I know this car is essentially reference material.

The Salon package was optional only in 1978, and only on 4-door hardtops. For $630.60, it consisted of:

  • Exclusive "Silver Crystal Coat" paint (code RA3, with no swatch included in the color and trim guide even though the package is listed). This was Chrysler's first clearcoat paint ever, and it was hand-buffed at the factory, according to a code on the build sheet.
  • Red tape stripes (in the new-for-1978 placement along the lower bodysides).
  • Silver "Elk-grain" (smooth-grain) padded vinyl roof with formal backlight (reduced-size rear window like the '74-5 Imperials had, but as '78s were the only ones without the "halo" roof, it's a unique-to-the-Salon style and texture).
  • Exclusive "aluminum-fascia road wheels" (the finned cast-aluminum face bolts onto a unique, 7" wide steel wheel and is finished with a Salon-specific center dome and cap, plus flat trim rings with a reflective white stripe (even though the brochure says the stripes were to be red).
  • Padded leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt/telescope feature (also exclusive to the Salon).
  • Red or Dove Grey "Verdi" velour or optional (for another $273.60) Corinthian leather upholstery.
  • There are no "Salon" badges anywhere (perhaps because there's no place left to put any more model name badges on an NYB). Only the styling cues and color reveal its identity.

    In addition, four other options were required with the Package: Trunk dress-up, fender skirts (optional on NYBs for 1978!), electrically heated rear window, and JR78-15 wider-whitewall tires. With all of these options plus the leather, the Salon package added $1,130.25 to the $7,715 base MSRP of a 1978 NYB 4-door. That's 15% of the base price!

    My car is 99% cosmetically original. I have only replaced the original tires (using the correct Firestone 721 in the modern-day equivalent of the original size, with the correct 1-5/8" whitewall) and reproduced the reflective white stripes for the wheel trim rings (in the exact same three sections per wheel). Its first coat of wax ever was applied by my hands in 1999.

    My car has the 400-4bbl with ELB, Sure Grip differential, AM/FM/8-track, air conditioning, and literally every other available option except, thankfully, the problematic ones: Auto Temp, the sunroof, heavy-duty suspension automatic height control. Its total original MSRP was $10,946.80 including destination.

    My photos also show a few of the new-for-1978 features that all NYBs received for the final year of the big Chrysler (and the last year any automaker offered a 4-door hardtop): Body-color tape appliques were added to the outside mirrors (with a Chrysler script on the driver's side) and door handles. The tape stripes moved to follow the lower body crease. The grille was a new, segmented design. The taillamps received a chrome vertical center rib. The vinyl roof came all the way to the drip rails (versus the prior "halo" treatment). The headliner was now molded fabric. And intermittent wipers were added (as standard equipment). Contrary to the brochures, the lock-up torque converter for the transmission never reached production for the C-bodies.

    Chris Hoffman

    Los Angeles