Dodge St. Regis
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan|
|Engine(s)||225 in³ Slant 6 I6|
318 in³ LA V8
360 in³ LA V8
|Transmission(s)||3-speed A727 automatic|
3-speed A904 automatic
Chrysler New Yorker
Plymouth Gran Fury
The Dodge St. Regis is a full-size Dodge automobile built from 1979 to 1981. The St. Regis was based on Chrysler's rear wheel drive R-body platform, itself based on a modified version of the circa 1971 B-body design that provided the underpinnings for such cars as the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler Cordoba. Engines available included the 225 in³ (3.7 L) straight-6 as well as the 318 and 360 in³ (5.2 and 5.9 L) V8s. The St. Regis name had originally been used on an uplevel trim package on the 1956 Chrysler New Yorker hardtop coupe, and again on the 1974-78 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham coupe.
Offered only as a four-door sedan, the St. Regis was differentiated from its sister models, the Plymouth Gran Fury, Chrysler Newport, and Chrysler New Yorker by retractable, transparent plastic headlight covers (introduced a year earlier on the 1978 Dodge Magnum).
Unfortunately for Chrysler, the new cars (like their 1974-78 predecessors) arrived at precisely the wrong time. A second gas crisis hit the U.S. in 1979, and despite the fact that the St. Regis was somewhat smaller than its predecessor, the Dodge Monaco, it was not much more fuel efficient. Also, under the sheet metal, the St. Regis was by and large the same old B-Body that dated back to 1962, and could not compete with the completely new GM B-Bodies and Ford's Panther platform vehicles. At the same time, higher interest rates and Chrysler's ongoing corporate and financial problems all combined to keep buyers out of the showrooms. The St. Regis and the other R-body models were dropped midway through the 1981 model year, leaving the Dodge Diplomat, (a mid-size car), to soldier on as the marque's sole "full-sized" model until the introduction of the Dodge Monaco in 1990.
After 1979, the bulk of St. Regis sales were for fleet use. The St. Regis, along with the Gran Fury and even the Chrysler Newport, did find a small following as a police car during the early 1980s, although it is generally accepted that the cars were not as good - or as fast - as previous Chrysler Corporation "cop cars". A green police-spec St. Regis was featured in the 1980s cop-drama parody Sledge Hammer. The car was also on the police drama T.J. Hooker on an ongoing basis.
Although the St. Regis does not hold much collector interest today, fans of Chrysler products sometimes search junkyards for the cars' disc brakes as an upgrade for earlier cars such as the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda.