Chrysler R platform
The Chrysler R platform was essentially a slightly modernized version of Chrysler's circa 1971 B platform introduced in 1979. It was a response to the downsized Chevrolet Caprice and Ford LTD. It would soon prove uncompetitive against the two completely redesigned and more efficient platforms. The short-lived rear wheel drive R platform was used for four models.
- 1979-1981 Chrysler Newport
- 1979-1981 Chrysler New Yorker
- 1979-1981 Dodge St. Regis
- 1980-1981 Plymouth Gran Fury
The only models on this platform to see substantial sales were the 1979 Newport and New Yorker. 1979 was strong year for the industry as a whole, but after the second oil crisis, sales plummeted dramatically for 1980, and then again for 1981, and all of the R-body cars were dropped mid way through the 1981 model year. The 1979-81 New Yorkers and Fifth Avenues are now considered to be one of the most attractive Chryslers of all time, and are garnering collector interest. Sadly, very few exist today (2008) in any condition.
Only small numbers of the St. Regis and Gran Fury were built for private use, the bulk of the production being police package vehicles. A poll was taken of Police officers as to their favorite squad cars of all time. Astonishingly the 1979-80 Dodge St Regis equipped with the Police package and the 360 CI (5.9 ltr) 4-barrel engine won, due to its superb combination of power, handling, and durability. Unfortunately the CHP bought several hundred in 1980, and due to the CA emissions laws strangling the engines, the cars were poor performers. This issue received a lot of media attention at the time and hurt sales of the cars for both Police work, and general sales. Many, many R-bodies were used and destroyed in TV and film work, contributing to the scarcity of the cars today.