Harry Truman’s 1955 Chrysler New Yorker for Sale: $83,500

·3 min read
Photo credit: Classic Auto Mall
Photo credit: Classic Auto Mall
  • A restored 1955 Chrysler New Yorker that was once owned by President Harry Truman could be yours, if you don't mind buying a vehicle that doesn't run.

  • Restorations were done inside and out, including new exterior paint, plenty of chrome touches, and a redone (but not currently working) 331-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine.

  • Truman reportedly drove this 1955 New Yorker on a 19-day road trip after leaving office. The trip was supposed to be low-key but turned into such a story that it became the subject of an entire book in 2011.

If you’ve ever been interested in owning a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker but didn't want just any version still floating around, have we got news for you. There's an example currently on sale that's a true rarity in the automotive world: a car that wasn't just owned by a former president but one that was also used by Harry Truman as his personal daily driver once he left office.

Photo credit: Chrysler
Photo credit: Chrysler

The presidential offering has a lot going for it, including the fact that it's been fully restored inside and out. Other "pros" include the restored 331-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine and a two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels. Well, it did, anyway. The one "con" about this car is that it does not run. For car collectors, that's really just a list of pros.

The list goes on, according to the sales description at Classic Auto Mall, which is selling the vehicle. The New Yorker is painted black with chrome accents and trim decorations throughout. The seller claims the steel panels are rust-free, although there is some "slight cracking" resulting from an earlier restoration. White sidewall tires complete the classic exterior look.

The interior is covered in tan leather and cloth as well as, of course, more chrome. The swinging doors are "near perfect," and the dashboard has all of the 1950s analog dials and buttons you could ever want, including a dash-mounted shifter.

Classic Auto Mall is asking $83,500 for the New Yorker, which is a presidential-size jump up from what these kinds of vehicles usually sell for. A non-running two-door hardtop 1955 New Yorker sold for $7700 on Bring a Trailer in 2020, for instance, while the most expensive New Yorker ever to sell on that auction site (which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos) was a 1959 hardtop coupe example that went for $43,500, also in 2020.

Last year, presidential historian Michael Beschloss posted the above image to Twitter of Truman in his New Yorker in 1953. Beschloss said the picture showed the former president—then just five months from leaving the White House—at the wheel of the car (probably this exact same vehicle) taking part in what would end up being a 19-day road trip with his wife from Independence, Missouri, to the East Coast and back. The trip was supposed to be a romantic, under-the-radar getaway to visit friends and see the sights, all done without any Secret Service protection or media along for the ride.

A 2011 book by Matthew Algeo called Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure explains how that didn't happen. "Truman's plan to blend in went wonderfully awry," the publisher said, thanks to "fellow diners, bellhops, cabbies, squealing teenagers at a Future Homemakers of America convention, and one very by-the-book Pennsylvania state trooper, [who] all unknowingly conspired to blow his cover." Classic Auto Mall says Truman also drove this car to his daughter's wedding.

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